What is Cart Abandonment? 5 Easy Tips to Recover Lost Revenue
Conversion Rate OptimizationMay 3, 2021

What is Cart Abandonment? 5 Easy Tips to Recover Lost Revenue

Get your cart abandonment rates under control, and you’ll capture more conversions and revenue. Learn why it happens, why it matters, and how to fix it.

In a brick-and-mortar store, you’d probably laugh if you saw someone place items in their shopping cart and then suddenly walk away from it and out of the store. But that’s exactly what happens in the virtual space to many eCommerce businesses.

Cart abandonment is a growing, costly problem for brands, as you’ll see in this guide. However, it’s also one that can be mitigated with the right steps, which you’ll also learn how to do.

So before we dive into some surprising stats about why shopping cart abandonment should be taken seriously and the best cart recovery tips, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

What is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment is when a website visitor adds items to their shopping cart, but never moves on to complete the transaction and make a purchase.

Though it may not seem that bad, cart abandonment costs eCommerce businesses a fortune. Current cart abandonment statistics show brands lose upwards of $18 billion in sales revenue every year because of this issue.

While your eCommerce business may not be losing anywhere near that figure, it’s still a crucial number to pay attention to, as we’ll explain next.

Why is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem for Retailers?

The most obvious way high cart abandonment rates hurt your eCommerce business is the loss in sales.

After all, when a customer finds items they like and intends to purchase, your business is so close to closing the deal -- but then *poof* -- it disappears before your conversion ever materializes.

And that’s just the beginning of your issues.

High cart abandonment rates actually prove you have a bigger problem on your hands. If you don’t address this issue, it’ll end up snowballing into more lost sales. You may even scare off potential customers from trying your brand now and in the future.

If that picture isn’t clear enough, let’s use some statistics to paint this problem in more vivid detail:

Fundera reports that the average eCommerce business experiences a 69.57% cart abandonment rate. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this figure jumps to 85.6% for people using mobile devices.

To put that into perspective, if you had 100 shoppers add items to their cart, roughly 70% of them would abandon it, and 85% of mobile users would do the same.

That leaves you capturing only 30% and 15% of customers, respectively.

See how much of the pie you’re missing out on?

Imagine how fast your business would grow if you could cut your abandon cart rate in half, or even just a quarter.

While these rates are averages, there’s a good chance your business could be experiencing abandon cart rates that are just as high (or maybe even higher!).

So why does this even happen?

The Most Common Reasons Why People Abandon Their Shopping Carts

There are dozens of cart abandonment reasons we could go over, but to save you time, here are the top ones you need to add to your radar:

1. Unexpected costs at checkout is the number one reason why cart abandonment happens, according to Sleeknote.

Ordering food delivery is a perfect example of this issue. You add a bunch of items to your cart, then when you get to the checkout process, suddenly your bill has tripled in price, and you’re unsure of why.

Tacking on extra service and delivery fees and tips may scare you from completing the order, just like your customers may be experiencing before they abandon their cart on your site.

2. Forcing shoppers to create an account comes in at a close second, Sleeknote says.

A whopping 39% of mobile shoppers will abandon their cart if it’s difficult to enter their personal information too.

And if customers detect questionable security and privacy protection during the account creation and checkout process, they’re also more likely to abandon their cart.

3. An extremely long, complicated, or slow checkout process rounds out the top three cart abandonment reasons.

Unsurprisingly, 57% of online shoppers surveyed will abandon their cart if they have to wait more than three seconds for a checkout page to load.

Another 46% will jump ship if they have to enter their credit card information or shipping information more than once due to technical difficulties.

4. Shipping-related issues are also a major roadblock.

High shipping costs and long delivery times force many would-be customers to simply leave the products they intended to buy.

5. Comparison shopping, return/refund policies, and unusable discount codes also factor in the decision process.

Once customers know exactly how much purchasing from your brand will cost, they may shop around with your competitors to see if they can lower the final purchase price.

Sleeknote also notes that 46% of online visitors will leave if a discount code doesn’t work.

And if your return and refund policies aren’t user-friendly, many customers won’t risk making a purchase they’re on the fence about.

So now that you know the most common reasons behind this issue, let’s move on to how to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

5 Tips for How to Combat Cart Abandonment in Your eCommerce Business

These simple yet effective cart abandonment solutions can help mitigate the most common reasons, so you earn more revenue:

1. Be Transparent In Your Pricing As People Shop

Your cart preview should factor in any and all estimated expenses, including shipping, so people aren’t sticker-shocked when they go to checkout and see extra fees tacked on.

2. Let Customers Check Out As A Guest

Give people the option to skip creating an account, and you’ll see higher conversion rates. This works well for first-time customers. If they end up liking your product, they’ll be happy to create an account for their next purchase, and you’ll capture a repeat customer instead of losing out on the first sale (and potential others).

3. Simplify Your Checkout Process

Figure out how to make your checkout process easier, and you’ll see an uptick in sales. Consider connecting popular apps, so a good portion of someone’s information is populated for them automatically. All they have to do is edit what’s there instead of adding it all in themselves.

You should also test how long it takes someone to check out every so often. This ensures technical issues, such as page load times, aren’t preventing customers from moving forward with your brand.

4. Be Upfront About Your Privacy Protection Standards and Return/Refund Policies

Eliminate risk and doubt for customers early on so they know your brand can be trusted. You’ll find fewer carts abandoned when customers feel comfortable with what they’re getting into.

Having customer reviews displayed prominently throughout your site can also help build trust and reduce risk for new shoppers.

5. Slash Your Shipping Costs and Estimated Delivery Times

Customers don’t want to spend a fortune or wait too long to get your products. So try to brainstorm with your fulfillment centers and logistics partners to see what you can do to minimize these.

Once you tackle these measures, you should also implement the next three strategies to get people to make a purchase despite abandoning their cart.

3 Simple Tips to Recover Lost Revenue with Cart Abandonment

Just because someone abandoned their cart, doesn’t mean they’re out forever. These three sales recovery tips will give you another chance at closing the deal:

1. Use Exit Pop-ups That Include Customer Reviews

Before someone goes to “X” out of your site, hit them with an exit pop-up that displays customer reviews. This can help on-the-fence shoppers see that other people love your product and trust your brand, which could be enough to help them finalize their purchase instead of walking away.

2. Try Retargeting Ads That Also Include Customer Reviews

Retargeting ads also give people an extra nudge to complete the purchase instead of abandoning ship. And they’re even more effective when they’re paired with customer reviews, since people are more likely to take action if they see others have already done so. You can learn about this tactic in our social proof guide.

3. Send Personalized Emails

If your customers have already given you their email, send them a personalized message letting them know they still have items in their cart. You’ll likely find that they end up finalizing their purchase more often than not. Showing customer reviews and offering a last-minute but limited-time discount can also sweeten the deal.

In all three cases, using social proof can help people who are unsure feel more comfortable purchasing from your brand because so many others have happily done so already.

So it’s wise to weave in social proof whenever you can to maximize the effectiveness of these three tips.

Final Thoughts on Reducing Cart Abandonment in Your eCommerce Business

You may have thought high cart abandonment rates were just the norm in eCommerce businesses, and it was a fact you had to accept.

But now that you’re here, you’ve learned that this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you use the tactics in this guide, your business may drastically reduce cart abandonments, which will help increase sales and create an even bigger tribe of happy, loyal customers.

So get to work on implementing these tips, and you’ll see a positive difference in no time!

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