How to Effectively Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is common, with people deserting their carts due to several reasons. Sure, there will always online shoppers who abandon their carts. Such is the nature of online shopping. People browse or “window” shop, save items for later purchase, and even compare prices.

A recent article by Baymard Institute – an independent web usability research institute – analyzed 34 studies on the shopping cart abandonment rate. The findings? Well, on average, 68.81% of shoppers abandon their carts.

That’s the reality online.


But there are also factors like user experience that impact cart abandonment. However, these are factors that you have control over. For example, the Baymart study cites reasons why people leave their carts. Out of 1044 participants, 27% said the checkout process was too complicated.  You will be in a better position to fix them if you understand these problems.

And this is the focus of this article; listing common problems causing cart abandonment and solutions to solve them. By implementing these techniques, you’ll convert more of these shoppers into buyers and repeat customers.

#1 Be Transparent About All Costs Involved.

In the Baymard study, 24% of shoppers abandoned their carts because they were unable to calculate their total order cost up-front. Many shoppers today are also hit with extra charges at checkout.

You must make these costs visible to shoppers before the checkout stage. If you don’t shoppers will feel cheated. It’s really that simple.

Understandably, there are certain variable charges you cannot avoid. But again, you can rectify this problem by adding a sales-tax calculator for people to work out costs before proceeding to checkout. A post on Crazy Egg highlights how Best Buy does this to avoid surprise charges.

#2 Provide Free or Flat Shipping Costs

A study by Forrester highlights that 44% of online shoppers abandon their carts because of shipping or handling.  And 82% of customers want free shipping at checkout. There then is some serious demand and valid reasons for you to offer free shipping.

Free shipping offers the extra benefit of increasing the average order value as shoppers are more inclined to buy more . It also gives you a competitive advantage over stores that don’t offer it, with the potential to attract more online shoppers. So, offer free shipping – and importantly – make it visible for everyone to see.

#3 Build Trust; Include Trust Seals

The study by Baymard highlighted another telling statistic: 18% of people didn’t fill out their credit card information because they didn’t trust the online store with this information. If you want to achieve success online it’s crucial to build trust. Remember, many of the shoppers cannot connect with you. All they see is the store.

Further, credit card fraud is on the rise and many shoppers will be reluctant to give you their card information. Build this trust by including trust seals and guarantees. Be wary of which badges you use, though. According to Baymard, all badges are not made equal. For example, of the people in a survey, more people trust Norton (36%) than Comodo (2.8%).

#4 Make the Checkout Process Simple

For many online shoppers, a lengthy checkout process is an inconvenience.  Customers will be less likely to buy if there are many forms, questions, and pages. People shop online for convenience. For speed! And any process that infringes on those benefits is a hindrance. Make the checkout process simple. Offer an express checkout option to streamline the process.

#5 Provide Multiple Payment Options


Customers want multiple payment options. If you’re unable to provide different payment methods you will lose customers as they will be unable to pay. The article in Crazy Egg highlighted how Walmart has reached a larger customer base since adopting this strategy. So, offer credit cards. But also offer the likes of PayPal, Apple Pay, and even Google wallet.

#6 Let Users Register an Account After The Sale

Some companies need shoppers to register an account before they buy. For many shoppers, this is an inconvenience and it’s no wonder that so many leave before buying.

As an online retailer, you want to track customer activity as having that data is essential. But, you need to do balance the need for that information vs shopper convenience. Consider employing a tactic that Walmart uses where shoppers are able to register an account at a later date.

#7 Remind Customers of Their Abandoned Carts

While the method we discuss here isn’t to reduce cart abandonment, it will help you recover potential lost sales. Remember: there will always be those customers who abandon carts.  

In such instances consider sending follow up emails to email customers notifying them of their abandoned cart. Or automate the process by using the many apps available on the market. For example, the Shopify App, Beautiful Abandonment Cart Emails,  will pull images of the applicable carts, allows you to customize email templates, and then send a follow-up.

Final Thoughts

Shopping cart abandonment is here to stay. This is the nature of online shopping. So, you will never get rid of it entirely. However, accepting this fact should not cause you to become complacent. You need to focus in on why people aren’t making that sale. Why are they abandoning the carts before checkout? You then need to make changes to your store to reflect the desire of shoppers.

The techniques listed here will help to reduce cart abandonment rates, with a spin-off: increased average order value, customer retention, more money, and ultimately more profits.

What techniques do you use to cut shopping cart abandonment?

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