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How to Reduce Cart Abandonment

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment

May 15, 2023
Leila Kabbaj

Now think about the last time you deserted a basket full of items just before you were about to proceed to an online checkout. Sound familiar? That’s because this is common behavior among online shoppers – better known as shopping cart abandonment. Recent studies have shown that an estimated 70% of ecommerce visitors abandon their shopping cart before their transaction is complete. This is said to cost a staggering $4 trillion a year in lost revenue and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

A large cause of the cart abandonment epidemic is simply a consequence of how consumers shop online. For example, many people use online shopping as a form of window shopping, whether it's to compare prices, save items for a later date or exploring different gift options. There will always be an unavoidable element of cart abandonment, but at the same time there is a significant percentage that is easily recoverable.

In this article, we explain what cart abandonment is, why it happens, why it matters and give you some top tips for how to convert abandoned carts into successful transactions.  

What is cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is simply when a customer adds a product or products to their basket but then fails to complete the purchase.

Shopping cart abandonment rate is a vital metric for ecommerce businesses as it’s a good indicator of whether or not you have a problem with your checkout process that might be impacting conversions.  You can calculate your shopping cart abandonment rate by dividing the number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created, subtracting that number from one, and then multiplying it by 100.  

Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem

If you have a high rate of cart abandonment, it means you’re losing a large number of potential customers and sales. If this proves to be a persistent problem, all that missed revenue could have serious implications for your business. However, in many cases, these losses can be avoided by taking the time to understand why your shoppers aren’t completing their purchases.

Reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Here are some of the key reasons you might be experiencing a high shopping cart abandonment rate.

Unexpected high shipping costs

Discovering unexpectedly high shipping costs at checkout is frequently cited by shoppers as one of the biggest reasons for shopping cart abandonment. Many consumers have become used to the quick, cheap delivery options offered by large ecommerce businesses like Amazon, though smaller rivals can’t afford to be so generous.

Have to create an account

Anything that introduces additional stages into the checkout process can discourage potential customers from completing their purchase, and creating an account is one of those inconveniences that can make the whole process seem like more effort than it’s worth, especially when they have no intention of buying from you again. Many consumers suspect, correctly, that creating an account will lead to their inbox being flooded with unwanted marketing emails. A simple fix is just to offer a guest checkout option.

Redirected to buy later

Online shoppers can be very fickle, and whether they came to your website with the intention of buying a particular product or it’s an impulse buy, suddenly being redirected to a buy later option could be all the reason they need to give up on their purchase entirely.

Payment security concerns

Payment security concerns can be a harder aspect of shopping cart abandonment to pin down. That’s because, for your potential customers, it could be as simple as being put off by an old fashioned looking website or an unfamiliar payment gateway that makes them feel suspicious or lose confidence in the safety of your checkout page. They could also be dissuaded by a lack of customer reviews or testimonials, which could damage your image as a legitimate business.

Long or complex checkout process

Even if you don’t mandate account creation, if your checkout process is too complex or confusing, shoppers might be disincentivized from completing their purchase. The fewer the steps from discovering to buying a product, the better.

No discount codes available

Some savvy shoppers will only buy something if they can get money off with a discount or promo code. It’s not always affordable to do this, and encouraging customers to only buy from you when they can get a discount comes with its own set of problems. However, offering incentives for first-time customers can reap rewards in the long run, especially if your rivals are doing the same.

Long delivery times

The delivery date of an item is often not revealed until the end of the checkout process, but even at this late stage, if the shipping time is longer than expected, your customer might abandon their purchase. As with shipping costs, smaller online retailers are often unfairly compared with the delivery times offered by large rivals, and it’s not always feasible to compete. The important thing is to be realistic and to manage your customers’ expectations.

Lack of payment options

Customers often have a preferred method of paying for their purchases, which can vary by region. Whether it's because they consider their chosen method to be more trustworthy or because they can only afford big ticket items by paying in installments, failing to offer desirable payment options at checkout could make all the difference between a completed and an abandoned purchase.

Site speed

A slow or laggy site could result in cart abandonment for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the shopper might simply give up on their purchase because the relevant pages are taking too long to load. Secondly, they could take it as a sign that your site has been compromised in some way and is not to be trusted.  

Technical issues

Similarly to site speed issues, if your customer experiences a technical problem, like a 403 error while trying to make a purchase, they might either abandon the purchase because it’s taking too long or because they’ll see it as a sign that your website can’t be trusted.

How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

The good news is that there are ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Use these tips to transform your abandoned baskets into completed purchases.

Steer and simplify the payment flow

Providing shoppers with a visual indicator of how far they have progressed throughout the entire checkout process is a must, always keep in mind that the less steps you have, the more conversions you are likely to get. Keep it as simple as possible to avoid abandoned baskets.

Preserve your environment

It might seem obvious but the importance of having a native integration with your payments page shouldn’t be underestimated and yet it is still neglected by far too many merchants.

You’ve invested substantial resources into creating your brand identity and crafting the best possible online store, so why falter at the last and most important stage of all? Can you imagine walking into a store and then being asked to complete your payment through a backdoor that leads to a small room? You’d probably refuse. With this is mind, it’s imperative that your payment page integrates seamlessly into your online store, providing users with a frictionless experience.

Be mobile friendly

These days, around one-third of payments are now made through mobile. Therefore it’s critical that all payment flows be completely responsive across all mobile devices to avoid checkout abandonment.

Add value with flexibility

It’s essential that shoppers are given the opportunity to be flexible and are able to make amendments to their order, even at the checkout stage. It all comes back to the user experience. By giving shoppers the capability to update quantity/remove items and the option to add items, you’re continuously adding value.

Convenience is key

Implement a one-click payment method to make it easier for customers to pay via securely stored details using “tokenization” technology. This enables customers to save their information the first time they make a purchase from your store. Moving forward, there is no need to re-enter payment details; everything is simply completed with one-click.

Be transparent  

Display all key payment information on one single page – including:

  • Product details
  • Buyer information (ID information and billing address)
  • Shipping address and delivery date
  • Payment methods
  • Have the privacy policy, shipping details, FAQ and returns policy within easy reach of the checkout screen.

Keep it simple with numbers

We’ve all experienced the frustration that comes with entering a wrong digit when trying to input the long credit/debit card number. One quick way to avoid cart abandonment associated with this dissatisfaction is to simply auto-format the card number field with spaces in 4-digit blocks.

The formatting of these spaces (primarily for AMEX cards) will need to be changed based on the card type. Then the auto-detection comes into play, based on the first starting digits of the card number – this is 4 for Visa, 3 for MasterCard and 5 for American Express. This leads to a reduction of steps associated with the payment process since you no longer have to select the card type – it’s all automatic.

Know your audience

Present as many local payment methods as possible in order to maximize conversion. This allows customers to pay via their preferred payment method. Alongside this, automatically adapt your language based on the IP address of your customer. These small details make a huge difference.

Companies spend a significant amount of time and resource into creating the best possible online experience for shoppers, supplemented by expensive marketing campaigns as a means to attract potential shoppers to their store. After investing so much, it would be disappointing if they failed to convert visitors to customers at the very last stage of the purchase funnel – the checkout step.

Use shopping cart recovery to re-engage shoppers

Retargeted ads and abandoned cart emails are a relatively friendly way to remind shoppers that they have items waiting in their basket. You can send them a payment link within the email or push notification to make it easy for them to continue their shopping journey. Sometimes this can be all the nudge they need to complete their purchase.

Offer guest checkout options

As we explained earlier, mandatory account creation can be a real turn-off for potential customers. That’s why we’d always recommend giving your shoppers the option to checkout as a guest. They’ll still have to provide their email and, once they’ve made a purchase with your business, you’ll have future opportunities to turn them into a loyal customer.

Offer free shipping

This isn’t feasible for every business, especially if shipping internationally, but offering free shipping can act as a powerful incentive and, if offered as a reward for spending over a certain amount, can easily pay for itself.

Optimize page load speeds

Slow, laggy pages can knock customer confidence. An easy fix is to keep an eye on your site availability and uptime and ensure you upgrade your capacity to meet demand at peak times.

Minimize false declines

False declines - where legitimate transactions are rejected because they’re suspected to be fraud - are a costly but easily rectifiable mistake. To minimize them, you need to understand why they're happening and build smarter filters within your fraud detection system that can better understand the context behind each transaction. You should also incorporate machine learning into your fraud prevention strategy, which can learn from historic data to better distinguish between fraudulent and legitimate purchase attempts.

Avoid checkout abandonment with

Transactions are the lifeblood of any business. By following the insights above, organizations will have a better chance of delighting customers with a frictionless payment experience, increase their revenue and avoid more cases of cart abandonment. helps ecommerce businesses optimize and improve not only their payments methods but also their payments processes. Find out how we can help you improve your customer’s online experience to increase sales.

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May 15, 2023 11:36
May 23, 2023 7:53