Conversion Optimization

27 Powerful Ways To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment (w/ Examples)

Almost 70% of shoppers leave their cart without buying. How to reduce cart abandonment rate? Here are 27 powerful ideas to prevent shopping cart abandonment.

27 Powerful Ways To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment (w/ Examples)

The average shopping cart abandonment rate on a global scale stands at 70.21% today. 

Mobile cart abandonment rates also drive the point further—as of 2023, it’s 85.65%

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce founders face today. 

Which is why in the piece below, we’ve rounded up our learnings from working with 500+ businesses across the world—on how to tackle cart abandonment and slowly move towards better conversions. 

Let's jump in, shall we?

What causes shopping cart abandonment?

Customers can abandon their shopping carts on your website for a lot of reasons.

Lack of Trust - Even though the world has switched to making digital payments for every purchase, there are still some people who are afraid of making online transactions and providing financial  information. 

Hence, it is important that you build trust via social proof. You can also offer the advantage of a strong return & refund policy to your customers to win their trust.

High shipping costs - Most of the customers abandon shopping carts when they get to know how much their order totals to with the shipping charges. Offering free shipping promos can solve this problem for your customers.

Complexity - Online shoppers generally have a short attention span and will abandon the checkout flow if it is too complex or time-consuming. You can avoid this by making the checkout process easy and painless. (Here are some valuable suggestions.)

Lack of payment options - Limited payment options can make your customers abandon the shopping cart—when customers don’t find their preferred payment option, their intent to make the purchase often changes.  

Technical problems - Slow site speed, frequent error messages and error pages can push shoppers towards cart abandonment. 

It is important that you keep a check on the analytics of your website and ensure that the checkout process has no show-stopping bugs.

Reduce cart abandonment: 27 proven ways

1. Pitch smaller % but higher $ discounts

As per a study, the revenue generated from emails that pitched a 5% off was higher than those that pitched a 25%+ discount. 

smaller discounts bring in higher revenue per shopper

Using this insight, when you create your popups or landing pages, try pitching a smaller discount to drive more checkouts and reduce cart abandonment. 

For dollar-based discounts: The greater the better. This is due to the nature of the discount.

When you say flat $50 off, it's a fixed amount—regardless of the amount the shopper has to shell out. 

For percentage discounts: Keep them lower, because they can quickly add up even if they seem not so huge. 

Remember: The Rule of 100

For setting discounts, look at what your price is—if it’s lesser than $100, offer a dollar discount—for what’s above $100, stick to percentage discounts. 

2. Reduce anxiety triggers  

Research shows a correlation between anxiety and the reduction of online purchases. 

Here’s how you can ease your shoppers’ lives after they’ve added to cart:

- Offer options to edit the cart with buttons to add or detract quantity, choose a different color/size, save for later etc. 

- Ensure the coupon field is fully functional—make sure it shows relevant offers and application is instant 

- Provide at least 3 different modes of payment—include a 1-click checkout for faster purchases

- Write return/exchange policies in simple language

- Recommend only up to 3 relevant products

- Ensure that trust seals & logos are easily recognizable 

- Remove distractions such as pop-ups, sticky navigation bar, and footer

- Offer multiple delivery options like store pick-ups and paid expedited shipping

- Give shoppers a chance to review the order

3. Add nudges to reduce cart abandonment

urgency nudges can help you reduce cart abandonment

Here are a few things you could do to call attention to the products they’re likely to buy:

- Already in the cart, with additional info such as promo offers and extra features

- Browsed previously, with date and time info  

- By showing real-time stock alerts to create urgency

- By featuring trigger exit-intent pop-ups 

- By adding a countdown timer to feature a limited time offer

- By using price anchoring—striking out the higher price & highlighting the lower price

Remember: Add nudges like ‘email my cart’ or ‘share my cart’ to help shoppers visit their cart or get feedback from their friends on certain products. 

Check out: 30 Best Examples of Nudge Marketing in eCommerce

4. Offer product description snippet on cart page 

Including a snippet of your product description will allow users to think about the purchase, helping you improve shopping cart optimization. 

Reduce customer objections: Pick out how the product can impact the shopper’s life based on the lifestyle preferences of your target audience. 

Alternatively, include the customer support number or live chat option to ensure customers have access to support. . 

5. Let them know WHY you’re asking for info

limit form fields to reduce cart abandonment rate

According to Baymard Institute, 61% of respondents in a survey complained that many ecommerce websites ask for information that seems unnecessary or too much. 

You might have a very solid reason for asking for their contact number or alternative email address etc., but visitors need to know what that reason is. 

This helps remove any fears that visitors may have on shopping from your website and reduce cart abandonment.

6. Keep talking to customers to reduce cart abandonment

Give your customers a seamless browsing experience by integrating customer support services.

As soon as buyers reach the checkout page, they often tend to have doubts related to the refund policy, the payment procedure, or the quality of the product.

Feature the live chat option where it can be found quickly—alternatively feature a phone number as well:

an accessible live chat option helps shoppers through checkout

Ensure the chat window presents options like FAQ (increasing the level of self-service) and click-to-call (improving the time to resolve a complex query.)

Warby Parker live chat example

You can also include reassuring messages like ‘We’re almost there’ and ‘One step and you’re done’ as part of your cart abandonment solutions. 

7. Be clear about costs on every relevant page

Extra unforeseen expenses are the No. 1 reason shoppers abandon their cart and 48% of customers abandon carts due to unexpected costs. 

Make sure: if any product is removed from the cart page, the total billing amount reflects that change in real time. This applies to shipping costs and taxes as well. 

Notice how elaborately the brand in the following example mentions the shipping options:

price breakdowns through the checkout flow reduce cart abandonment

You can also provide: 

Multiple delivery options and point out how much each will cost. For example, Amazon offers express delivery for an extra fee as well as standard delivery.

A shipping rate calculator that helps customers review the charges specifically applicable to them. 

8. Ask customers to register after checkout

crate & barrel checkout page example

Creating an account can be a huge deterrent and cause shoppers to abandon their cart. 

Shoppers also hesitate before signing up through their Gmail or Facebook accounts, fearing breaches in social security. 

However, you do need a way to communicate with your ‘guest checkout’ customers. 

The solution: You can ask them to create or register after purchase. You can make it an attractive proposition by offering a relevant CTA that says ‘track your order’. 

Once the order has been delivered, you can push these customers through the post-purchase funnel. 

We suggest offering promos such as ‘40% off on your next purchase’ to increase of repeat orders and reduce cart abandonment.        

9. Enable currency switching

If you have scaled your eCommerce store for international deliveries, then you need to let shoppers switch between currencies. 

What you can do: Include geolocation capabilities to calculate shipping costs.

Optimize cart and checkout pages so that they are easily translated into different languages as well.  

A brand that’s known to optimize their site for various currencies is Nordstrom—as soon as you land up on their homepage, you’ll notice all the prices in your native currency. 

10. Don’t just make it mobile responsive (design for mobile!)

The mobile shopping experience needs a different design if you’re trying to figure out how to improve the cart abandonment rate. 

Quick Tip: Optimize the cart page for a one-hand user experience and keep the most relevant clicking elements in the thumb zone (like a full-width CTA button?).    

Utilize dynamic keyboards that change with checkout field needs.

So when you need a customer to type in a phone number, or use a numbers field, be dynamic by showing only a numeric keyboard. You can do this for letters or special characters as well.

11. Highlight IMPORTANT details of your refund policy

If you’re trying shopping cart optimization, focus on how you write the refund policy. Most shoppers don’t like legalese and many pages of fine print. 

So try summarizing the whole thing in 2-3 lines and mention what matters on the checkout and product pages such as offer trials and free samples—and alongside feature a link that hosts the whole policy. 

highlight return & refund policy to reduce cat abandonment

12. “Save for later” exit-intents 

There’s nothing better than saying something engaging to your users—just when they’re about to leave.

A personalized way to get their attention at this stage is to feature a “Save for later by signing up” pop-up. 

You can also add previews of pop-ups for a better mobile experience and reduce cart abandonment.

save for later exit intent popups can prevent cart abandonment

13. Create trust around a secure checkout

Research shows that 60% of customers don’t buy from sites without trust badges.  

Include trust badges from recognized organizations as one of your cart abandonment solutions. 

VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Norton icons assure customers that their financial data is secure. 

Popular and secure trust badges examples

14. Give pop-ups a rest 

Here's some advice — avoid banners and pop-ups that customers are compelled to click and move to another page (which becomes an endless loop.)

RXBar has a simple cart abandonment page with no popups or banners. 

The goal of this page is to provide payment methods, address concerns such as shipping costs and enter the promo code. 

RXBar cart page is distraction-free and inspires conversions

15. Make the CTA pop to reduce cart abandonment

Make the main CTA button stand out by adding a unique color button. 

Under Armour uses a red CTA button for checkout which is a visual cue for the customer to take action. 

Remember: Red is a color associated with urgency. 

using a bold checkout CTA button persuades shoppers to  convert

16. Upsell for sure (but subtly)

Upsell products using shoppers’ browsing activity and intent data.

Be gentle with product recommendations so that customers complete the purchase without abandoning their shopping cart. 

RXBar makes product recommendations gently using copy.

Not to forget, that the brand offers free shipping on all orders over $30, making it a persuasion trigger to qualify for free shipping

language used for upselling has an impact on the buying decision

17. Make the payment process user-friendly 

Long and complicated checkout processes form 17% of the reasons why customers abandon carts. 

Easy-to-fill forms and express checkout are non-negotiables. 

Gymshark offers express checkout with three payment options to reduce cart abandonment.

PayPal and GPay are popular payment methods that elicit response due to their familiarity.

Familiarity is one of the most important types of social proof. Interestingly, 27% of US customers use PayPal and Amazon. 

Gymshark offers multiple payment options at checkout

BNPL options are also compelling since they allow shoppers to distribute their financial burden—45% of customers use BNPL services to pay for purchases they can’t afford. 

18. Enable editable buttons on the cart page 

Your cart page should be a reminder of the items the customer is going to buy. 

Anthropologie allows customers to remove and edit their order on its cart page. 

Anthropologie makes it easy to edit orders at checkout

The Save for Later option is an effective way to improve the chances of repeat purchases. 

19. Offer multiple shipping options  

Since not all brands provide free shipping, there has been a rise of curbside pickup and in-store options.

This saves time and costs for both customers and the retailers. 

Another option to induce confidence is to specify the delivery date so that customers aren't kept in the dark.

As per a study, 48% of customers prefer 2-3 days whereas 42% of customers are okay to receive it in 4-7 days. 

If you have a physical store: Experiment with shoppers being able to order online but picking up locally (based on their location.)

This is what iconic brand IKEA ensures in a way to ease the lives of shoppers. 

20. Always keep the shopping cart within reach

A smart way to ensure customers can locate their carts is to show nudges or visual cues.

BuiltAthletics uses a blue color nudge for shopping cart optimization. 

You could also try: A floating cart button that expands into the mini cart when the shopper is done scrolling. 

BuiltAthletics uses cues to guide users to the shopping cart

21. Highlight credit card decline with reasons

4% of US customers state declined credit cards are the reason for cart abandonment. 

Often the reason for credit card decline is non-payment of dues or insufficient credits but the customer is forced to go to the bank website to confirm. 

Your eCommerce checkout page must confirm the exact reason and provide other options such as express checkout, BNPL and eWallets

22. Nudge them towards checkout 

Once the customer adds the items to the cart, provide two options:

‘Continue Shopping’ and ‘Go to Cart Page’. 

By color blocking the “checkout” button, you’re also offering intuitive directional guidance to the shopper. 

MyProtein gets this right. 

offer options to checkout and to continue shopping on the cart page

Create identifiable visual patterns. Notice how the CTA and the color of the CTA button and the cart are the same. This is a visual cue for customers to take action. 

The checkout CTA and the rest of the elements on the cart page must be distinct in terms of colors. Here’s an example from Bodybuilding.com 

use visual cues to make actions clear and reduce cart abandonment

23. Draft engaging cart recovery emails

The open rate for cart recovery emails is almost 50% with a 6.5% CTR. 

The key to stand out is to tackle 2 key areas: the subject line (yes they are important) and the body of the email. 

Experiment with email workflows: You can ask for feedback regarding browsing experience, share testimonials, send cart, search, browse, and category abandonment emails.

Here are a few tips to craft the cart recovery subject line to be more convincing: 

- Avoid being too direct like “Complete your checkout to get your product”—keep room for curiosity

- Use humor to grab their attention—it gives readers a chuckle and keeps them interested 

- Use emojis to add a bit of personality to your subject line but make sure not to go overboard

cart recovery subject lines with emojis

- Avoid leading with generic offers like “Free shipping”—instead offer a dollar based discount because it can impact the CTR

When it comes to the cart recovery email body, here are a few to-dos:

- Provide more alternatives to their selected product—more colors or versions—this keeps them interested if they happen to change their mind

- Design your email to replicate the cart page of your website—it creates recall

24. Spend smart on Retargeting (weed out low-performing ads)

Retargeting ads aren’t anything new—but they can potentially cost a lot to reduce cart abandonment. 

If you’re not generating the ROAS you expect: Take a look at the ads you're running, identify which ones have generated the most traffic back to your site and the largest conversions. 

An easier way to run an analysis of your ads is by using tools that can run a thorough analysis of all your ads and provide insights on what’s working, what isn’t and how to fix them.

25. Test the cart page YOURSELF

A/B testing is a crucial part of the eCommerce conversion strategy to reduce cart abandonment rate. 

Use your own eCommerce store tracing the typical customer journey map. 

Browse, add products to the cart, fill out each form, and complete each field. 

This will help you determine challenges on the cart page.

You’ll be able to answer questions on font reliability, product image view, effectiveness of product descriptions, navigational UX and much more.

26. Use an engaging error message (+ navigation resources)

Yes, you certainly need a developer watching your site’s uptime and keeping a check on your store’s vitals but sometimes, for even the biggest websites, things can go south. 

What can you do to keep visitors from abandoning their cart?—A funny but helpful message, like the following one:

Madcloth error page message is interesting and showcases navigational links

What’s great about it?

- Witty copy that incites an emotional reaction from the shopper

- Links that can lead the shopper back into the site & help further exploration

27. Make sure your site works on ALL browsers 

Your eCommerce store caters to different customers with different choices of browsers.

While Google Chrome is the most popular browser with 64% of users worldwide and 49.2% in the US, other browsers have a sizable user base. 

Make your site work on different browsers to reduce cart abandonment. 

To reduce drop-offs, ask users to shift to a different browser and in the meantime work on making the site all-browser compatible. 

Recommended reading:

40 Abandoned Cart Email Examples that Actually Win Back Lost Customers

Cart Abandonment Pop-Up: 14 Amazing Examples (That Actually Work)

Prevent Shopify Cart and Checkout Abandonment: 24 Tested Ideas

Cart Abandonment 101

1. What is “cart abandonment rate”?

Cart abandonment is when customers add products to their cart and start the checkout process but leave before completing the purchase.

The cart abandonment rate identifies the percentage of users that leave before completing the checkout process. 

A high cart abandonment rate may indicate a poor customer experience. 

2. How to calculate cart abandonment rate?

The shopping cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of transactions that were initiated.

Shopping cart abandonment rate gives retailers an idea about the percentage of users who change their minds after adding items to the cart. 

3. Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem?

Shopping cart abandonment is a problem because of several reasons:

- It impacts your bottom line adversely 

- It gives your competitors an edge over your business

- It makes it tough to work on customer retention goals

- It pressurizes your business to acquire customers at a greater rate

4. How do you target cart abandoners?

Targeting cart abandoners is a three-step process:

Step 1: Send reminders to cart abandoners

When you’re targeting cart abandoners, the idea is to re-engage them in a conversation about the abandoned cart—through email, SMS or WhatsApp messages. 

Here are a few ways to ensure your communication is relatable for shoppers:

- A subject line that drives a benefit (they need to want to open that email or direct message)

- Content that instantly takes their attention to the abandoned cart (tell them what they could be missing out on if they don’t buy immediately)

Step 2: Offer something in return for checkout to resume

The only reason shoppers would sit up and take notice is if you give them an offer they can’t refuse. 

Position this as an urgency nudge: say it’s a one-time offer or feature a subscription discount for the product they added but didn’t buy. 

Step 3: Create checkout ease to reduce cart abandonment rate

Make it easy for shoppers to go straight to checkout from the email or the SMS. 

Feature a number of payment methods to simply moving forward—and if it’s a return customer, consider auto-filling some crucial information to prevent fatigue. 

5. How do I reduce abandoned carts on Shopify?

Here are some crucial steps you can implement when you’re trying to reduce cart abandonment on Shopify:

- Be transparent about all additional costs (offer a way to shoppers to calculate shipping charges etc.)

- Offer rewards to returning customers (even small but repeated discounts for loyalty can establish a greater connect between shopper and brand)

- Feature a free shipping threshold to reduce cart abandonment rate (even if free shipping isn’t possible)

- Create a customer-centric return & refund policy (and ensure shoppers get to understand the fundamentals before & after adding to cart)

- Highlight FAQ & live chat support (this can take care of customer objections right when they’re occurring)

- Offer various forms of payment methods (a mix of traditional & emerging methods can help you target various segments)

- Reduce form fields at checkout (only ask for information you need for the purchase & delivery)

6. How do you improve abandoned cart flow?

When you’re trying to improve your abandoned cart flow, which is nothing but a series of messages you set into motion to reel cart abandoners back, you’ll have to look into the following:

- The time delays: A time delay is essentially the time window you choose for a message to be sent within an event—for example, how soon you send out the first abandoned cart email after a shopper has left their cart behind is a form of time delay. 

The time delay for the first message is best kept within 2 to 4 hours of a shopper abandoning their cart. 

Send the second message in the next two days, and the final message can be sent two more days later. 

- The content you will use: It helps to use a tone that’s conversational, informative and non-pushy. 

Check out how in the following example, the brand uses tone which is humorously truthful about the situation:

example of engaging abandoned cart email message

- The persuasion techniques to use: Would you feature a dollar or percentage discount? Would you feature an exclusive subscription price? Or would you offer an extended warranty? When, how and what frequency you mention these can have an impact on a shopper’s intention to return to their cart.

7. How does cart abandonment change between mobile and desktop?

Between mobile and desktop, cart abandonment is definitely a more frequent phenomenon in the former. 

While mobile cart abandonment stands at about 86%, desktop cart abandonment is about 73%. 

There are several reasons that contribute to the numbers being so different:

- Most businesses have optimized sites for desktop use

- Shoppers are more wary of typing sensitive information like payment details on mobile

- Shoppers who check out products on mobile use the device for research and comparison

Before you go, here's something to think about:

98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.

Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.

And this is the problem ConvertCart solves.

We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.

How we can help you:

Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions. 

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