6 Strategies to Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment

By Tinuiti Team

For most retailers, shopping cart abandonment is rampant. There’s nothing worse than a customer entering the checkout process only to close out their browser before finalizing the transaction. It’s a trend that results in tons of lost sales (and profits) for ecommerce merchants, and it’s only getting worse.

In fact, according to Entererprise Apps Today, nowadays “more than 60 percent of online shoppers abscond before completing an online transaction.” In a nutshell, that means 6 out of every 10 customers leave their cart before finishing out a purchase.

Don’t worry, hope is not lost. Fortunately, we have a few strategies that can help you dwindle those shopping cart abandonment rates. You’ve probably seen a hundred other articles like this, titled exactly “# Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment,” but hey, we’ve actually seen these simple strategies work to improve conversion rate optimization for many of our clients. Let’s take a look at all 6.

Shopping Cart Abandonment: Have Clear, Bold Call-to-Actions

Your on-page call-to-actions are a key player here. They effectively turn a web visitor into a legitimate customer and, in the end, put money in your pocket.

A call-to-action can come in many shapes and forms: a graphic, a button, an image, or just plain text. Typically, when crafting your call-to-actions, there are 4 main factors you should pay attention to:

Effective call-to-actions can be hard to craft. Because they can vary so greatly, it’s often hard to know what works, what really resonates with your users, and what just isn’t effective. If you want to nail down the best possible call-to-action, you’ll have to test a number of variations first to see how they measure up.

Software like Unbounce, Optimizely, and Visual Website Optimizer can help you pcull performance data for each variation you create. Once you figure out what works and what doesn’t work in terms of wording, color and other variables, you’ll be able to implement the most effective call-to-action possible, and improve shopping cart abandonment rates in the process.

This ad uses a bold red button for its call to action and a simple “add to cart” phrase that’s direct and actionable.


Petsmart uses a call to action right away on its homepage, giving you a visible, obvious and fast way to shop online sale items.


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Make Your Checkout Process Faster

Requiring your customers to fill out lengthy registration forms, create an account, or even log in before checking out can be a HUGE detriment to your success. In fact, according to KISSmetrics, an estimated 42 percent of online shoppers actually abandon their shopping cart when asked to do these things. That’s nearly half of your potential customers.

If you want to cut down on shopping cart abandonment rates and up your sales, eliminating unnecessary elements in your checkout process is key. Offer one-step shopping options that allow customers to click a button, check out and finalize their purchase all in just a few seconds. Take out any long, time-consuming forms, and don’t ask them to register for an account before making their purchase. Basically, just make checking out as easy and fast as possible.

You’ve all seen this button before. Amazon lets users make a purchase just one quick click.


With Magento’s One-step Checkout extension, you can put your entire checkout process on one page. There’s no additional registration required and everything can be completed in one step.


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Be Up Front with Your Pricing and Fees

Additional fees are one of the biggest reasons customers abandon their shopping carts during checkout. Unexpected fees, high shipping costs, and other add-on expenses can often leave customers surprised and unwilling to move forward once all costs have been tallied up. The shopper browsed your site and picked out their purchases with a specific price point in mind – a total they have mentally prepared for. If they get to checkout and see those numbers changed or inflated in any way, it can take their purchase from in-budget to outside of their price range and discourage them from following through.

To help prevent this from happening, it’s important to be as transparent and up-front as possible with your pricing. Display any extra fees or charges prominently on your site, and include a shipping calculator on every product page. This will help give customers a better overall picture of what sort of total they can expect. Then, they’ll be able to choose products accordingly and go into the checkout process more prepared to finalize the transaction.

If you’re on Magento, you can easily add an on-page shipping calculator for free, with the Estimate Shipping extension. Other platforms have similar plug-ins and modules as well. All in all, you just want to avoid surprises in the checkout process, and make sure your customers are as informed and knowledgeable about their total as possible. Bad surprises are one of the most common contributors to shopping cart abandonment.

Anthropologie includes a “shipping and handling” link on each product page. When clicked, it pulls up an easy-to-understand shipping chart, so there are no surprises later in the checkout process. See below:


On ThinkGeek, the second you add a product to the shopping cart, you get access to a shipping calculator that helps you determine expected shipping costs based on your zip code.


Magento’s Estimate Shipping extension (FREE) lets you put shipping calculators directly on the product page.


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Enable Third Party Payment Methods

Lacking payment options can also increase your shopping cart abandonment rate. Like with lengthy registration forms, many customers simply don’t want to take the time to type in a long credit card number or other detailed information. Additionally, many customers use credit cards that aren’t Visa or Mastercard-based. Many online stores only offer processing of these two types, leaving these customers alienated and unable to make a purchase.

To ensure your customers don’t abandon ship because of payment options, it’s important you offer as many as possible. Specifically, it’s crucial you provide several third party payment methods. These include Paypal, Amazon Checkout, and other digital wallets. With these options, customers are able to use one login to make purchases across millions of sites on the web. They don’t have to type in a credit card each time, and they can even hook their account up to their bank and have the funds deducted immediately. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it can give customers the flexibility they need when making a payment. Remember, when it comes to decreasing shopping cart abandonment, it’s all about the customer.

On Urban Outfitters, you have the option to use the traditional checkout method, or check out with PayPal instead.


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Consider E-mail Remarketing

Unfortunately, no matter how much you try, some people still abandon their shopping carts in the middle of the checkout process. While you can’t prevent them all, you can make efforts to reach those customers and convince them to come back and finish their purchases. One great way to compensate for inevitable shopping cart abandonment is through e-mail remarketing. E-mail remarketing captures users’ email addresses and, if they fail to finalize a transaction, gives you the chance to email them, reconnect and, ideally, lure them back.

With e-mail remarketing solutions like Rejoiner, you can take a number of angles when attempting to win back lost customers. You can email them discounts or coupon codes in exchange for finishing out their order. You can create a sense of urgency, and alert them when products in their cart are running low in stock or expiring. You can also offer them different payment options, like extended financing, longer pay periods, and more. All of these can give them a little encouragement and entice them to head back to your site and finish out that purchase.

1-800-PetMeds uses email remarketing. If you don’t complete your order, they send you a “loyalty coupon” or discount code to encourage you to come back


Birchbox provides another great example of effective email remarketing.


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Run Remarketing Ads

Similar to e-mail remarketing, remarketing ads allow you to connect with lost customers and attempt to lure them back to your site. Instead of contacting them directly through email, though, remarketing ads utilize cookies to display targeted advertisements while they browse other sites on the web.

Here’s how it works: say a customer had a shopping cart full of jewelry items, but they closed out their browser before completing the sale. If you were using remarketing advertising, you would be able to connect with that lost customer later, as they browse other sites on the web. While they’re checking their email, looking at a blog, or shopping on other sites, your remarketing campaign can show them ads for necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that were left abandoned in their cart, hopefully reminding them of the item, how much they originally liked it and encouraging them to come back and make the purchase. Remarketing ads can also offer customers special deals related to their abandoned purchase and show sale alerts that can entice them back to your store.

Commonly used programs for remarketing include Google Dynamic Retargeting, AdRoll, and Chango. We actually just had a webinar for Google Dynamic Remarketing, and you can check out the recording and transcript here (or our Google Dynamic Remarketing Guide for additional questions).

I visited JCPenney’s site a few days ago, and closed out before finishing my order. Now, while browsing a blog, I see this ad displayed, notifying me of a sale going on. This is an example of remarketing advertising.


Shopping Cart Abandonment Bottom Line:

While these strategies will likely not prevent all customers from jumping ship, they will significantly lower the rate of shopping cart abandonment. Everyone suffers from it, but the first step is to do something about it rather than pass it off as an inevitability. In the end, this will help lead to more sales, transactions, and profits as a whole.

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