How to Reduce eCommerce Cart Abandonment and Increase Conversions

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eCommerce business cart abandonment

What’s the problem?

According to Forbes, shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce is a $4 trillion-plus problem. That’s the estimate of total lost sales retailers suffered from a consumer adding something to their cart and then failing to complete the purchase. In fact, estimates suggest that 70% of visitors to eCommerce stores abandon their carts. And the numbers are even more depressing for mobile, where the average abandonment rate exceeds 85%.

What exactly is cart abandonment?

Cart abandonment is when a customer adds items to their eCommerce shopping cart on an eCommerce retailer’s site, but then doesn’t complete the purchase. The typical scenario is an online shopper visits your store, browses, and adds products to their shipping cart. They go to the checkout page and even start filling out the checkout form — and then poof — they disappear without completing the transaction.

Why does it happen?

There are several reasons, and some of the most common are difficult checkout processes, high shipping costs, discovering the item isn’t available at checkout, and the consumer second guessing whether they really need the item.

According to a leading research study conducted in 2023, the reasons for consumers abandoning their carts are:

  • 55% because of unexpected charges like high shipping costs
  • 34% because the site forced them to create an account
  • 26% because of a complex checkout process
  • 21% because of hidden charges that appeared later in the checkout process
  • 17% because of trust issues
  • 16% because of slow shipping times
  • 11% because of a bad return policy
  • 6% because of a lack of available payment methods

In addition, a Forrester survey indicated that 41% of people abandoned carts because they weren’t ready to make the purchase, or they wanted to compare prices on other sites.

Is there a solution for cart abandonment?

Is cart abandonment plaguing you and your eCommerce business? Are you experiencing high rates of cart abandonment? It’s unrealistic to think you can solve every instance of cart abandonment, but there are tips an eCommerce business can use to tip the scales in your favor.

Push notification to address cart abandonment in eCommerce

Eleven ways to counter cart abandonment

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide so you can learn what you may be doing wrong, that’s causing visitors to your store to abandon their carts. And we cover what strategies you can use to convert cart abandoners into buyers. We’ll also provide tips on how to use tactics like retargeting and email marketing to bring back customers to complete their abandoned transactions and boost revenues.

Here are 11 ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment:

  1. Simplify your checkout method
  2. Be clear about any additional charges
  3. Offer free shipping or low-cost shipping options
  4. Offer more eCommerce shipping options
  5. Offer more payment options
  6. Use exit intent pop-ups
  7. Use live chat
  8. Make returns easy
  9. Send push notifications
  10. Send abandoned cart emails
  11. Run retargeting ads

Simplify your checkout process

Want to lower your cart abandonment? Don’t make checkout a hassle. Make the process quick and easy. Statistically speaking, two in three customers expect to check out in four minutes or less. Another thing to keep in mind is not to make registration compulsory as research indicates that over 34% of shoppers abandon their carts because they don’t want to register. You can overcome this by offering a guest checkout option.

Here are some tactics that can simplify the checkout process:

  • Display the cart icon prominently on all pages
  • Always give a clear indication of which products the shopper added to the cart and the quantity
  • Include a checkout progress indicator
  • Clearly label your checkout buttons
  • Inform the customer why you need personal information
  • Optimize your checkout form by removing unnecessary fields or making them optional
  • Keep the checkout page clean and free of distractions
  • Ensure the checkout page looks professional
  • Be transparent about shipping or other additional charges and delivery estimates (h3)

Many shoppers abandon their carts because they get “zinged” at the end once the shipping costs have been calculated. The more transparent you are about shipping costs, the less likely they are to abandon their carts. And when you mention “standard shipping,” include an estimate of how long it takes. Customers want to get their products as quickly as possible. If you don’t give them a delivery estimate, they’ll assume that shipping takes too long and will abandon their cart. To overcome this, give them a clear estimate of delivery time.

Be clear about any additional charges

Be upfront about all additional charges your buyers may have to pay. A good practice is to display the total cost on the shopping cart page or first checkout step, instead of showing them only on the final checkout step.

Consider altering the verbiage on your site to add more clarity. That way, your shoppers have all the information they need at the point of decision and therefore more confidence that they’ve made the right decision.

Note that most third-party logistics (3PL) companies — especially those that integrate with Shopify — can automate estimated delivery dates.

Offer free shipping or low-cost shipping options

Shipping costs can often make the difference between purchase completion and cart abandonment. It’s that extra cost that can change shoppers’ mind about making a purchase. In fact, UPS notes that customers can get all excited about purchasing the item, but unexpected delivery charges put a roadblock at checkout. By offering free shipping as a limited offer promo inducement or just at the point of purchase, you can often save the sale. You can also encourage customers to reach a certain value threshold (e.g., free shipping on orders of $100 or more) to secure their commitment to purchase.

eCommerce free shipping offer

Offer more shipping options

One of the most common reasons for shoppers abandoning their carts is a lack of competitive shipping options. To counter this, research your actual shipping costs. By offering as many different shipping options as possible, you can reduce unexpected shipping costs and reduce cart abandonment.

Another thing to be aware of is that online shopping has an inherent drawback compared to brick-and-mortar shopping in that the buyer can’t take home the product immediately after buying. And to some buyers, the wait can be a source of frustration. That’s why it’s important that you offer the option for expedited delivery at an extra cost along with standard shipping.

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Offer more payment options

One of the leading reasons shoppers abandon carts is that there is not enough choice when it comes to payment options. More options mean a greater chance the customer will complete their purchase.

Use exit intent pop-ups

Exit intent pop-ups can tempt your site visitors and potential customers to act before they leave your site. Using these pop-ups, you can offer a discount code or free shipping to customers who are about to abandon their cart. According to a leading eCommerce conversion service company, cart abandonment pop-ups have an average conversion rate of 17.12%.

eCommerce business checkout button on keyboard

Use live chat

Use live chat to assist customers with orders and provide real-time customer support. A good example of this is a customer having questions about the product and the agent answering on the spot. The net result is that the shopper is less likely to abandon their prospective purchase. The agent also can recommend products to increase cart volume and give discounts to further prevent abandonment.

Make returns easy

If your return process is complex, it will scare off your customers. Having an easy returns policy in place can not only prevent shoppers from leaving items in their cart, but it can also save you from customer service headaches down the road. When a customer knows that it’s just as easy for them to get their money back as to spend it, the purchase becomes a “no-risk” proposition. That said, they’ll tend to shop with more confidence and spend more.

Send push notifications

The average push notification is 12%. Using push notifications, you can convert anonymous web visitors into subscribers. If they abandon their cart, simply send them a follow-up push notification, and encourage them to return and make a purchase.

Send abandoned cart emails

Let’s face it, cart abandonment can really put a damper on your mood. However, with every dark side, there is a potential bright side. Cart recovery can make you money. Research indicates that cart recovery emails are among the best-performing emails across any email marketing strategy.

Run retargeting ads

The plain and simple truth is most shoppers do not buy the first time they visit your site. In fact, most eCommerce stores only convert a little over 5% of traffic, and only 8% of visitors are ready to buy. However, by displaying retargeting ads to those who left something behind in their cart, you have another opportunity to encourage them to come back and buy something.

Those who abandon their carts are ideal for retargeting ads because they are far down the conversion funnel. All they need is a little push or incentive such as a discount or an offer for free shipping.

Another thing to consider is building greater trust and credibility

With approximately 17% of visitors to sites abandoning carts because of trust issues, it’s important to address their concerns. You can build credibility by:

  • Addressing concerns about payment security
  • Offering a variety of communication channels

You can also build trust though social proof on your product pages. Use customer testimonials to show that your products really work and are worth buying.

Consider outsourcing

Outsourcing your eCommerce automation to companies like Shopify and tracking cart abandonment with Google Analytics can be effective. But just taking care of cart abandonment is not the only way to retain customers; you also need to deliver on your promise to provide quality items that are shipped to them fast and intact.

Importance of timeliness in shipping and fulfillment in eCommerce

Your eCommerce customers have high expectations, and their delivery experience factors into that. They expect their order to arrive at their doorstep as quickly as possible, in the exact condition anticipated, with full transparency during the shipping process.

Consider these statistics: 73% of eCommerce shoppers expect affordable, fast deliveries, and 38% will never shop with an eCommerce business again following a negative delivery experience. A dependable 3PL (third-party logistics) provider like Red Stag Fulfillment can help your eCommerce business meet rising customer expectations with order fulfillment guarantees.

The bottom line

The odds are not the best for eCommerce retailers when it comes to cart abandonment. But you can turn the tide by employing creative strategies and adding new tools to your toolbox. By thinking outside the box, it’s possible to reduce the rate of cart abandonment and improve your conversion rate.

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