The Ultimate Guide to Cart Abandonment

by Dave | Blog


Creating a successful online store doesn’t only rely on heavy traffic, well-planned inventory, and true-to-word reviews. Yes, they are your heavy hitters in making your e-commerce site work, but they don’t cover all the bases. If you’re still getting a high amount of lost sales, the cause may be shopping cart abandonment.

Here are some interesting numbers to consider. For every 10 shopping carts filled, about seven of them will be abandoned. Statistics say that about 75% of online shoppers abandon their carts before making a purchase.

If your average single purchase transaction is about $100, for every $1000 worth of possible purchases placed in the shopping cart, about $750 will not get checked out.

The more you slack off and let this happen, the more potential sales you lose along the way. To avoid such a scenario, it’s important to have a deeper understanding of cart abandonment.

  1. What is cart abandonment?
  2. Why is it happening?
  3. How can you minimize cart abandonment?
  4. What are abandoned cart emails?
  5. What are the best practices in creating abandoned cart emails?
  6. Summary

What Is Cart Abandonment?

integratepro-cart-abandonment-Cart Abandonment

Simply put, cart abandonment refers to an online customer behavior where one customer fails to complete a shopping cart check out, opts out of finishing it, or prematurely ends it. When a customer clicks on a product to purchase but chooses to leave the site without purchasing, that is cart abandonment.

Considering the previous data we discussed, how much would your sales increase if you actually get to convert those potential purchases?

Here is an example. Let’s say you are currently earning $10,000 per month through sales. If you get to convert at least 25% of your abandoned carts into checkouts, that means a $2,500 monthly bump or a whopping $30,000 additional income per year.

Why Is It Happening?

Now that you see a clearer picture of the possible earning increase in case you get at least a minimal amount from abandoned carts, you need to better understand why it happens.

According to Statistia, the usual reasons behind online shopping abandonment are:

  • Unexpected cost.
  • Simply browsing.
  • Found a better price somewhere else.
  • Too expensive total price.
  • Decided against buying.
  • Too complicated navigation.
  • Site crashed.
  • Process taking too long.
  • Too many security checks.
  • Payment security concerns.
  • Delivery options not suitable.
  • Website time out.
  • Pricing in a foreign currency.
  • Payment got declined.

Many of the reasons provided are pretty much self-explanatory. It’s easy to see that some of them are also quite unavoidable, like simply browsing, which pertains to visitors who never had the intention to buy in the first place. For this reason, we will not be tackling some of them. Instead, we will highlight the ones you can do something about.

Unexpected Cost
Based on Statistia, customers being presented with an unexpected cost got the highest mean score of 56%. This means that majority of potential customers back out from purchasing after finding out the cost of the purchase. You might have experienced this too. You find something you want to buy and decide to click Add to Cart. When you are about to check out, you are informed of additional fees and charges that were not clearly listed in the product details. The result? You close your browser tab.

Site Crashed and Time Out
Having a faulty or slow website definitely affects sales. Imagine the lost sales from a sales page crashing, returning a 404, or making you wait a minute or two before loading everything above the fold. This will annoy potential customers, resulting in them leaving and finding a different site to make the purchase from.

Navigation Too Complicated and Process Too Long
Design issues also have to be considered. If the site either redirects a potential customer to multiple pages before checking out or fails to show a clear path as to where a customer should go, it would definitely incur much cart abandonment. Remember that the checkout process should be swift with at most 2 steps before completion. More than that will either bore or scare potential customers.

How Can You Minimize Cart Abandonment?

Minimizing cart abandonment approaches can be done before cart abandonment happens or after it happens. Let’s look at these approaches.

Before Abandonment
You can minimize cart abandonment when potential customers are still on your website. While many messed up situations can result in them leaving, you can follow these simple steps to push and persuade your customers to complete the checkout process.

  1. Show an image of what they are purchasing. If you are offering a digital product, it won’t hurt to represent it with a possible artwork.
  2. Let users update cart content and make the process simple and accessible.
  3. Offer more than one payment method.
  4. Show your presence in the site by adding visible phone numbers to contact in case things go wrong or have the capability for a live chat support.
  5. Avoid asking your customers to register in the middle of the checkout process.
  6. Offer discounts and free shipping if you have a physical product.
  7. Reviews increase your website and product trust rating so make sure they are visible in the product page.
  8. Don’t forget to add price guarantee clauses and refund statements. Make them visible upon or before checkout.

After Abandonment
If all else fails and your potential customers still exited the site before making a purchase, fret not. You still have a chance to turn things around by reengaging them with either an ad retarget or an email recovery campaign.

Ad Retarget
Ad retargeting keeps track of visitors by showing your ads to them as they visit other websites. You can use different services like Google Adwords and AdRoll to display the ads you choose to visitors as they visit other websites that have enabled and accepted ads. Think of it as backlinks in the form of ads.

Email Recovery Campaign
Email recovery campaigns, on the other hand, are email campaigns you send to visitors who abandoned their shopping carts. This is where abandoned cart emails come in. You can set up personalized emails and send them to buyers who did not complete the checkout process.

What Are Abandoned Cart Emails?

When we talk about abandoned cart emails, we are talking about personalized emails that get sent to people who added items to their online shopping carts but failed to complete the checkout process.

Abandoned cart emails are very effective sales recovery techniques. By data, about 50% of abandoned cart emails are opened and 25% of those who opened the emails end up purchasing the item.

Abandoned cart emails often achieve their purpose because not all who abandoned their carts did it on purpose. Oftentimes, customers abandon their carts without meaning to do so because either the website crashed/timed out or they got bored by the process/got confused with the navigation/got lost on pricing details.

What Are Best Practices in Creating Abandoned Cart Emails?

You can safely say that abandoned cart emails are fairly easy to make and have the potential to bring back and persuade customers. Always keep in mind that these customers are persuadable.

Before diving into tips on how to create a successful abandoned cart emails, always remember that the most important parts of these emails are:

  1. A reminder of what they abandoned. Remind them of the product they wanted to buy, let them know it is still available, and present your email as a window to purchase.
  2. Create a great copy or email content. To do so here are more tips:
    • Craft a subject line that is easy to understand.
    • Make your call to action in the email clear.
    • Be precise and distinctive in your content. Make sure your email’s purpose is understandable.
    • Add images and important details about the product in question.
    • Use catchy graphic elements in the email.
    • Let the buyer feel a sense of urgency in the email.
    • Include possible alternatives to the abandoned purchase.
    • If you think your product garnered objections from the buyer, address them by answering possible questions.
    • You can add reviews to the email to improve your trust rating.
    • You can make a judiciously-timed coupon offer.
    • Add a phone number or a support email address in case the buyer has more questions.
    • Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile phone users.
    • If possible, you can also create a survey to better understand customer behavior towards cart abandonment. Link your email to a survey to get more data.
    • Make sure your email content is simple and clear with only one call-to-action.


Cart abandonment should no longer be that frustrating now that you understand how it could happen. By implementing tools, tips and techniques presented in this article, you are given the chance to improve your sales value. Nonetheless, be advised that you are not aiming to recover all lost sales as some of your abandoned carts come from people who are just passing by. These techniques are for those who are still persuadable. Don’t waste time in applying the lessons shared here. Start recovering those lost sales now.