12 Steps To Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment

68.63% – average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate (as of January 2016)


First step in fixing the problem?  Prevent cart abandonment before it takes places.

These strategies are all proven highly effective in engaging shoppers and making them more likely to follow through with their purchase.  Review your current cart set up and see where you can implement these strategies.  Don’t forget to either formally split (or multivariate) test or at least track the date and time of the changes so you can validate their success.

  1. Show images. VoucherCloud found that 92% of people identified ‘visuals’ as being a top influencing factor that affected their purchase decision. Additionally, multiple images of a product increased sales by 58%.
  2. Add Testimonials and other forms of Social Proof.
  3. Show pricing – if people have to go hunting for the price, they assume you’ve hidden it for a reason and they usually think that reason is that it’s too darn expensive!
  4. Offer Price Guarantees and Refunds: 36% of shoppers don’t complete their purchase because of price.
  5. Show shipping costs – again transparency is always best. No one wants to work to find out how much they have to pay you.  Make it easy for them.
  6. Test Single Page vs Multi-Page Checkout – you would think single page would perform better since it’s quicker and easier but that is not always the case – so test and find out!
  7. Make Editing the Cart Easy – people will change their mind on colors or quantity or even add and remove items. Let them. By making it harder, you aren’t going to trick them into buying more.  You simply risk losing them.
  8. Offer Different Payment Methods. It shows flexibility and makes it easier and more convenient for the buyer.
  9. Avoid Registrations: A study by User Interface Engineering showed a 45% increase in customer purchases when forced registration was removed from the checkout page.
  10. Offer Free Shipping: A Deloitte study found 69% of shoppers are more likely to shop with online retailers who offer free shipping. A ComScore study found that 61% of shoppers would quit their order if free shipping wasn’t offered.
  11. Close the deal with videos. According to Kissmetrics, a short video tutorial or demonstration can help reduce cart abandonment rates and increase sales.
  12. Anticipate last minute questions. Don’t lose sales because your prospects have “one more question,” but no idea how to reach you. MarketingExperiments found that displaying your contact information at checkout is a smart way to minimize cart abandonment.

Make A Big Difference On Your Bottom Line With Ad Retargeting

According to AdRoll: “2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your [retargeting] ads to them as they visit other sites online.”   Note: Adwords, AdRoll, or Retargeter are all resources for retargeting.

The retargeting ads you display can be as targeted as you want. If a buyer comes to your site to purchase a hat, you can have retargeting ads of that same hat show up when the shopper is on another site.

Recover Shoppers After You’ve Lost them

 Once they’re abandoned the cart, they are gone right?  No!  With the use of Email Recovery Campaigns you can work to get those shoppers back in and through the check out process.

It’s fairly simple, you setup personalized emails that get sent to the shopper if they don’t complete their purchase. If you’re using a multi-page checkout it’s easy to get the shoppers name and email address upfront.  Next you create a series of 1-3 emails that will get sent out to that shopper at set intervals after they have abandoned the cart and left your site.

The emails should include:

  • Pictures of the item they selected
  • Reviews or testimonials from other shoppers
  • Guarantee and refund policy information
  • A strong call to action to get them back to your site

Timing the emails:

  • 1st email – should go out within 24 hrs (ideally about 3 hours later)
  • 2nd email – send within 2 days
  • 3rd email – send within 1 week

Initial emails, sent three hours after a consumer abandons a cart, average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, according to Listrak.

Not Sure How & When People Are Dropping Out?  Using Google To Track Abandonment

 Set up a conversion funnel in Google. It gives you solid data so you understand how and when people drop out during your conversion process, it also allows you to measure your cart abandonment rate over time.

There are two parts when it comes to setting up these reports for your site: a goal and a funnel.

A goal can be a number of different things:

  • A url destination ex. /confirmation.php
  • A duration ex. 5 minutes onsite
  • Pages/screens per visit ex. 5 pages
  • Event ex. clicked “buy now” button

A funnel represents the path that a customer takes to reach your goal. For the purposes of measuring cart abandonment, we’re going to use a URL destination as our goal. Typically, that destination is your thank you page or order confirmation page.

How to Set Up a Funnel

  • Sign into your Google Analytics account and click “Admin” in the upper right-hand corner. Choose the profile that you’ll be setting up the funnel for and click on “Goals”
  • To set up a new goal, click “CREATE A GOAL”
  • Next, you’ll set up a description and the type of goal you’d like to track. For cart abandonment, choose “URL Destination” and name your goal checkout.
  • Next, set the Funnel Option to “On”. To a test checkout as your customer would, noting each step in the process. Add in the additional steps as the funnel leading up to your confirmation page.
  • Step 1. Cart Page ex. /checkout/cart/
  • Step 2. Checkout Page ex. /checkout/onepage/
  • Save your new goal. The data for your funnel report will be available the following day.

Cool Resources:

Ideally you want to work hard on the front end to reduce cart abandonment and work on the backend to recover lost shoppers.