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10 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment (With Case Studies)

Updated on May 28, 2022

13 Min Read

Shopping cart abandonment is a phenomenon where a customer adds items to their cart, but leaves the ecommerce store before making a purchase. A higher shopping cart abandonment rate usually signifies issues with the checkout process. It’s imperative for ecommerce store owners to track this metric if they want to regain potentially lost revenue and improve conversions.

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What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is when a shopper on your site initiates the checkout process for an order, but abandons their cart midway without completing the purchase. If the item is added in the cart but doesn’t isn’t purchased, it’s considered “abandoned”. It’s one of the most important ecommerce KPIs that retailers pay close attention to.

How to Calculate Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

To calculate the shopping cart abandonment rate, here’s the formula you’re going to want to use:

Shopping cart abandonment formulaSource: Bolt

The formula is as follows:

Cart Abandonment Rate = The total number of completed transactions / The total number of transactions initiated.

This will give you your shopping cart abandonment rate over a specific period of time. For instance, you can factor in all transactions over the last month or last quarter, and divide them by the number of initiated transactions, which basically means items that people put in their carts but didn’t purchase.


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10 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment (with Case Studies)

If you want to reduce shopping cart abandonment, there are a number of ways to do so. Here are 10 different methods that are highly effective for reducing shopping cart abandonment.

1. Offer Free Shipping

Offering free shipping is one of the most effective methods of reducing shopping cart abandonment. Most people are likely to abandon their carts if they reach the end of the checkout process, only to find that an additional shipping fee has been added to their carts.

At times, the shipping fee of any product is more than the cost of the product itself. Why would a smart online shopper order from that store? You can either mention free shipping on your product pages, or send out an abandoned cart email to only offer it to the customers who have abandoned your cart.

  • The shipping fee creates a huge psychological difference when your online customers are passing through your checkout process.
  • If you have a defined policy for shipping, make sure you present it on your website.
  • It’s important to be very transparent about what customers have to do in order to be eligible for free shipping.

For instance, Target, arguably one of the biggest retailers in the world, makes it very clear to shoppers about what they have to do to qualify for free shipping on their Target purchases.

Target RedCard policies

The company is known for its ability to incentivize users, charming them with the allure of one product, and eventually upselling them to buy a lot more. Most people often visit Target for a single product, and end up buying a lot more than they originally planned!

In fact, it’s not just Target that has managed to reduce shopping cart abandonment by being clear about their messaging. KURU Footwear, a footwear brand, increased conversion by 21.5% by simply adding a black bar at the top and providing clear messaging about their shipping and returns policy. Here’s how it looks:

Kuru free shipping bar

This subtle change boosted their conversion rate by 21.5%! “We found simplicity performed best,” said Kelly Stanze, Manager, Marketing & Communications, Kuru.

Making sure potential new customers know just how much we prioritize customer satisfaction can be difficult. While the proof is in the shoes, we’re constantly seeking ways to elevate just how passionate about our customers we are as a company. This was just one step in that never-ending effort,” Stanze said, in a statement to Marketing Sherpa.

2. Enable Guest Checkout

A majority of customers, especially first-timers, don’t want to bother with making an account when buying online. Enable a guest check-out to improve sales. It shows that you value your customer’s time. It can help you reduce cart abandonment rates considerably.

  • When you enable the guest checkout feature, it will also help you speed up your checkout process.
  • You can always ask your customers to sign up or create an account for additional promotions once after they’ve completed their purchase. It is a win-win for everybody!
  • Enabling guest checkout can help you reduce friction for buyers interested in making a purchase, ultimately reducing shopping cart abandonment.
  • It’s been proven to reduce shopping cart abandonment by a considerable margin.

Even bigger brands like Barnes & Noble now offer guest checkout options, as shown below:

Barnes and Noble guest checkout

Endless Gain actually ran a fantastic test, which included a comprehensive case study about how users didn’t like being forced into creating an account for making a purchase. And, when over 50% of your buyers are first-time shoppers, it can translate to a significant number of buyers.

According to their case study, simply adding the Guest Checkout option improved sales drastically, as it allowed people to feel more in control. If you’re wondering how to reduce cart abandonment, this is a great method.

Moreover, according to Layer0, shoppers are likely to spend 1.2 times more if you offer a guest checkout option as compared to requiring them to log in.

3. Offering Multiple Payment Solutions

Talking about facts, 10% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts because the online store doesn’t offer their preferred payment solutions. Some people prefer using PayPal, whereas some prefer using Stripe. Many amongst them also prefer to pay via credit cards. The reason being, they are comfortable with these payment processors and would not switch to new options as the online payment processing is a sensitive procedure.

  • It’s a good practice to offer a mix of a few payment processors so that your online customers do not leave your store due to a lack of payment options.
  • You can even onboard third-party payment processors if need be.
  • Providing your customers with more than one payment solution is an excellent move to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

It’s a proven fact that customers prefer having choices. Multiple payment options can make shopping easier for customers, and offering multiple options instills trust in customers, as they feel safer in using payment methods that they’re more accustomed with. Ecommerce payment processing is generally quite easy now, as there are various options available to you now.

The most popular payment solutions include:

  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Square
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • Stripe

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

4. Using Exit-Intent Popups

Exit-intent popups work as bait when you realize your online prospects are about to leave your web page. When they hover to another tab or they wish to close the existing tab, you can activate your exit intent popup and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

  • You must put exit popups on every web page if you want to bring down ecommerce cart abandonment.
  • To effectively use these pop ups, you can add them to your product and checkout pages alongside providing a deal, a coupon, or additional information.

Here’s a fantastic example from J.Crew, a famous clothing website:

J Crew popup

Their exit-intent popup is incredibly subtle and simple, and attracts user attention right away. They give you two options: one to sign up and another to continue shopping, thus confirming your intent to continue on with your purchase. It’s a fairly nifty and simplistic way of attracting more attention.

ZooShoo, an online retailer, managed to increase its revenue by 7% by simply adding an exit-intent popup that offered 10% off to customers. In a mere two months, ZooShoo increased its revenue, got more than 5,000 new subscribers, out of which 1,129 ended up buying their products!

5. Simplify Your Checkout Process

What is the average time for a shopper to complete a purchase in your store? Most entrepreneurs don’t really think of it this way. The best way to do so is by analyzing and evaluating the checkout process of your competition. Feel free to use different tools, forms or surveys to collect your data. Use various A/B testing plugins for your website to accomplish desired goals and bring down online shopping cart abandonment.

  • You want to simplify the checkout process as much as possible to make it easy for shoppers to buy from your store.
  • There are several best practices for optimizing your checkout page that you can follow to improve your checkout process.
  • You can A/B test single page and multi-page checkouts to determine what works best for your store.

According to a case study, switching from a multi-page checkout to a single page checkout yielded significant results. Conducted by ElasticPath, the results were achieved through A/B split testing.

Olympic store checkoutSource: ElasticPath

As per the results, the single-page checkout outperformed the vanilla checkout experience by a humongous 21.8%. Of course, this is not always the right move. In some cases, multi-page checkout is the better option, but if you want to reduce your cart abandonment rate, this is definitely something to consider. There are dedicated abandoned cart recovery plugins that you can try out as well.

6. Use Trust Signals

Use tactics that establish and build trust in a potential customer, especially when asking them to fill out a transaction form. For instance, adding trust signals in your site can go a long way in improving your shopping cart abandonment rate. People are going to be hesitant when adding their credit card details and other personal information. It’s only natural. You need to understand their hesitance, and give them a reason to trust you.

These might seem simple, but they are there for a reason — to reassure potential customers that their shopping experience is in safe hands. Multiple stores use these, so it’s best that you add these in your website too. If you are using these services, you can easily add their trust signals to your site.

A trust badge is a symbol placed on your website that ensures your visitors that the page is legitimate and that all their data is collected through secure third-party service providers,” says Omniconvert. “The trust seal company that agrees to place their badge on your website confirms that your business is authentic, therefore users know that all processes taking place on your website are safe and secure,” they elaborate.

Blue Fountain Media, a digital marketing agency in New York, conducted a simple A/B test to see if trust badges work or not. They simply added the Verisign Trust badge on their website, with the page looking like this:

Blue fountain media trust badges

The results were nothing short of astounding: their sales rose by more than 42%, effectively confirming that a simple addition like a trust badge goes a long way in improving customer trust.

According to another study by the Baymard Institute, not all trust badges are equal. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • The Norton seal
  • The McAfee seal
  • Google
  • PayPal
  • Better Business Bureau
  • GeoTrust

CXL’s original research also confirms that familiar trust seals, like those from VISA or MasterCard, helped instill more trust amongst users. If you want to reduce shopping cart abandonment, you can’t go wrong with adding trust badges to your site!

7. Using a Progress Indicator

People hate checkout lines, both digital and physical. But at least when they are standing in a physical line, they can see how many people are up ahead before their number comes up. In a digital line, people often have to go through the hated process of flipping page after page and filling out information, without knowing when they’ll be done.

  • You need a progress indicator on your website that lets an average customer know how long till the transaction is completed.
  • Progress indicators are designed to improve the quality of the checkout process.
  • The progress bar doesn’t just help reduce shopping cart abandonment as a whole, but it’s also a usability feature.
  • It’s hard to discount the power of the progress bar, as it can be used to provide greater input and transparency regarding the status of a person’s order.

progress bar

For instance, Domino’s does a fantastic job of using the progress bar, letting people know about not just how far they are from completing their order, but also where it’s reached. The Domino’s Tracker is more than just a progress bar now, it’s a full-blown usability feature.

Not knowing how far along a user is in the checkout journey is one of the most common reasons for online shopping cart abandonment. By removing such reasons for abandoned carts, you can eventually drive more sales.

8. Thumbnails to Show Items in the Shopping Cart

People need to know what they are buying, and if you do something that makes them lose sight of the product, they might abandon the cart. To combat this problem, you need to make sure that thumbnails of every product in the cart are added throughout the checkout process.

This way you reduce the risk of distraction, something that affects almost every shopper out there. According to a review by the Baymard Institute, 86% of the top 100 ecommerce sites now show thumbnails. Baymard also did a case study on Macy’s, one of the largest retailers in the world, to show how thumbnails play an important role in improving the overall user experience on-site.

Baymard institute statsSource: Baymard Institute

9. Improve Page Load Times

There are plenty of ways that you can use to speed up your WordPress website. But, before you get started, it’s important to understand the factors that cause websites to slow down over time.

Ideally, you’d want to choose a dedicated ecommerce hosting provider such as Cloudways. One of the greatest examples of this is Lidia Crochet Tricot, an eCommerce platform that specializes in fabric production. By switching to Cloudways, they saw a major shift in their overall performance, and it also greatly improved customer satisfaction.

Cloudways helped Lidia Crochet Tricot increase customer satisfaction.

Read our detailed case study about how we helped this fabric firm, and what difference it made to their bottom line.

10. Create Abandonment Cart Email Flows

Writing impactful abandonment emails is critical for the success of your store. It is by far the most important step for recovering abandoned carts. According to research from SaleCycle on 500 of the world’s top brands, 44.1% of abandoned cart emails are opened by users. More importantly, almost a third of clicks on abandoned cart emails (29.9%) eventually result in a recovered cart.

We sent abandoned cart email messages to registered users browsing our site who had left items in their cart. We used A/B testing to see what more users responded to in terms of brand messaging, but mostly it was a collaborative effort with our outsourced marketing team.

– Zach Goldstein, CEO of Public Rec

Shopping Cart Statistics That Really Highlight the Problem

There are several shopping cart abandonment statistics that really show just how serious this problem is. To give you a brief idea, here are a few that stand out:

  • 90% of online shoppers abandon their carts due to slow load times or prolonged checkout times (more than 30 seconds)
  • The global cart abandonment rate stands at 76%
  • Almost 50% of all cart abandonment emails are opened
  • By using personalized retargeted ads, companies can increase their ROI by 1,300%!

*For more in-depth information about these statistics and why this happens, check our blog on shopping cart abandonment statistics.

Key Factors That Impact Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

As online merchants, we all know how complex it is to ensure your online visitor becomes your online customer. Many online shoppers add different products to their cart, however, only a few pay and complete the checkout process. Various reasons can force these online prospects to abandon their shopping cart. Some of the core reasons are:

1. Lack of Trust

Online customers resist providing their sensitive information online, which is why you must improve your conversion rate by developing better trust with your online prospects. You must not only ensure that your web pages are user-friendly but you must also showcase a strong brand image at all times.

A clear set of policies in this regard help online customers make their decision swiftly. Using trust badges is also a fine idea, and as shown above, can have a major impact on your shopping cart abandonment rate.

2. High Shipping Costs

At times, the customers abandon the cart simply because the cost of shipping is more than the cost of the product they wish to buy. Offering free deliveries work like a charm. If you cannot afford 100% free delivery, then you can offer delivery promos to attract and convert more customers.

3. Browsing

Online prospects with low buying intent will continue to add different products in their carts, however, they will probably abandon before checkout. You can entice such customers by creating a sense of urgency with flash sales. Incentivizing such a target audience will help you reduce your cart abandonment rate significantly.

4. Complexity

We all know that the attention span of online customers is short, and they will abandon your checkout process in the blink of an eye if it is even a tad bit complex.

You must monitor your analytics and review your checkout process consistently to ensure no bug costs you your sale. A comprehensive checkout process also saves the time of customers which ultimately results in higher conversions.

5. Lack of Payment Solutions

Those who are comfortable shopping online always have their preferred mode of payment(s). They will bounce away if your online store doesn’t offer their preferred payment gateway. You can address this concern by providing all standard but popular payment gateways like PayPal, Western Union, Skrill, Stripe, even 2Checkout or Amex.

6. Higher Prices

A frequent online shopper doesn’t mind comparing the prices of different products on different online stores to find the best deals available. You can convert such customers by offering exclusive discounts or coupon codes so that your product becomes the best deal in town!

7. Lack of Transparency

Lack of transparency is also a key concern for many shoppers, and can affect your shopping cart abandonment rate. Avoid tacking on hidden charges or fees at the last checkout step, as that could motivate shoppers to abandon their carts altogether. Make sure all charges are shown in the cart only.

The Bottom Line

Shopping cart abandonment is a crucial issue and you must not neglect it at any cost. It has the power to make or break your online business. With the holiday season just around the corner, you must ensure your cart abandonment rate is as low as possible.

So, just to recap, here are 10 different methods that are highly effective for reducing shopping cart abandonment:

  1. Offer free shipping
  2. Enable guest checkout on your site
  3. Offer multiple payment solutions
  4. Exit-intent popups
  5. Streamline your checkout process
  6. Start using trust signals
  7. Add a progress indicator to your site
  8. Include thumbnails in the cart
  9. Improve your page speeds
  10. Create abandonment cart email flows

With the aforementioned tips and tricks, you can conveniently reduce your abandonment rate and entice your online visitors to become healthy customers for your business. Always remember, abandoned purchases don’t mean that your sale is lost. Retarget your lost prospects via email marketing and invite them back to your store helping them complete their checkout. Also, get to know about split testing and improve your online shop’s performance.

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Najam Ahmed

I work as a digital content producer at Cloudways. Besides that, I love to read, and i love to play the guitar. Fan of all things Arsenal and the Patriots. Occasional gamer. I like to fly drones too. Jack of all trades.


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