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Golden Rules To Reduce Cart Abandonment Rate of Your Ecommerce Store

December 11, 2018

4 Min Read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The holiday shopping season is already here, and if there’s one safe bet, it’s that a majority of shoppers will abandon their carts this year. That’s how it always goes, but does it really have to be this way?

Every year, e-sellers complain that shoppers pick out purchases and some even go to the checkout screen, but for some reason, those shoppers bounce before whipping out their credit cards, with some never to return.

It’s time to stop this trend of shopping cart abandonment. To facilitate this change, here are the latest shopping cart trends and tactics e-sellers can use to ensure shoppers stay put to complete their purchases as we head into the New Year.

The Year of the Smartphone Shopper

This year will see an influx of people doing their holiday shopping on their smartphones. In fact, a little more than half of all smartphone and tablet users plan to shop for and purchase gifts using their mobile devices this season. While this means that people can shop on the go, which is excellent news for ecommerce, unfortunately, it also means that shopping cart abandonment is on the rise.

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Studies show that shopping cart abandonment on smartphones is as high as 85%. On desktops, online sellers can expect 70% of buyers to jump ship. That amounts to $4.6 trillion of unpurchased merchandise across a myriad of industries.

The Industries Hardest Hit

Shopping cart abandonment tends to be the highest in the travel industry, which often sees an 80% abandonment rate. Retail has about a 74% abandonment rate, and fashion isn’t far behind with 69%.

The Nature of Online Shopping

Of those shoppers that do tend to abandon their shopping carts, some will return all on their own to eventually follow through. Others will leave and never return, and that’s just how the business goes. However, some of those who have left can be nudged in your direction with a few well-timed and well-written emails.

The problem? Most online sellers aren’t sending emails. In fact, only 1 in 3 major US retailers sends emails to shopping cart abandoners.

What do you say in the emails? Before you write an email and send it off, it’s important to understand why shopping cart abandonment occurs.

A majority of the abandonment occurs because of costs related to the purchase price, shipping, taxes, or other fees. Mandating that customers create an account, an overly complicated checkout process, unclear costs, and a website that malfunctions are just some of the reasons people abandon carts at the last minute.

Other reasons can include a distrust of using credit cards online; the fact that there were too few payment options or the customer’s credit card just got declined.

When to Send Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

You have a very short window of opportunity to reach a shopper after the cart has been abandoned. Brands that do use emails send their messages to abandoners within three hours. Or mailing within 24 hours max. Any longer than that and the email may not even make a blip on the person’s bandwidth radar.

Emails should be sent out immediately, not three days later. Marketing automation has been shown to drive sales and can help you ping those customers that may have left some unfinished business behind.

One May Not Be Enough

More brands are sending a series of emails instead of the one-off “What happened?” after the person has left a purchase unresolved. 30% of brands send three or more messages.

Be Specific

Asking why the person abandoned the cart is one way to entice someone to come back. Another is to show them the names and images of the products they came very close to purchasing, which is what 85% of brands are doing. Seeing the products may reinvigorate the customer’s motivation.

67% of brands are also showing shopping cart abandoners the names and images of related products. You never know when this tactic can create a few impulse buys that double or triple the original abandoned cart total.

26% are using seasonal imagery and language in their emails to entice abandoners to return. This is especially useful during the holiday season when people are in the mood to snuggle on the couch with their tablets or laptops and shop for everyone on their lists. Evoking a little holiday spirit might just be the trick to put shopping cart abandoners back into the buying mood.


To recap, your brand should ensure that the checkout process is easy to use and doesn’t require the customer to jump through numerous hoops to complete a purchase. Assuming the shopping process is simplified, the moment someone leaves a shopping cart high and dry, send out an email quickly. Send out a series of emails for greater effect and remind the shopper that they left one or more products behind. Show the customers’ names and images of the products, as well as related products, to entice the up-sell.

If done correctly, shoppers will be more likely to enter their credit card information and hit the buy button, or at least return to buy at some point in the future.

Finally, include a little holiday message and shoppers should be returning soon to pick up where they left off- adding a little holiday cheer to your company’s bottom line.

Author Bio: Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement, and conversion.

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Fayyaz Khattak

Fayyaz is a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed Magento Hosting Platform. His objective is to learn & share about PHP & Magento Development in Community. Fayyaz is a food lover and enjoys driving. You can email him at

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