Conversion Optimization

How to combat shopping cart abandonment (15 fresh ideas)

On average, 69.89% of shoppers will add something to the shopping cart but end up leaving without buying anything.

How to combat shopping cart abandonment (15 fresh ideas)

The eCommerce industry has become extremely competitive. Despite the US eCommerce retailers spending $23.50 billion every year on online advertising, buyers can get distracted while shopping online. On average, 69.89% of shoppers will add something to the shopping cart but end up leaving without buying anything, leading to shopping cart abandonment.

The average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is a dismal 2.86%. Chances are — you’re grappling with this problem as well.

15 Smart Ways to Tackle Cart Abandonment

1. Make exit intent pop-ups irresistible

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

The key is to tell them something that's instantly relatable.

Or give an offer that is super compelling.

Or put a cute cat on the pop-up — and top it with a great discount.

A compelling pop-up can help reduce cart abandonment

Or tell them there’s a discount waiting if they shop within the next few minutes.

Example of pop-up using urgency to reduce cart abandonment

And wait!

You don’t always have to offer a discount.

Compelling copy and unique design can always do wonders!

Example of pop-up with compelling copy and unique design

We love what Kate Spade does — they offer free shipping even on small orders and an invite to their community.

Example of pop-up with offer

And hey, what if your customers have a little bit of a doubt?

A Forrester report states that “44% of consumers think that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

Pop-up with live chat example

So yes — you can always try that as well.

Pop-up with feedback example

2. Tell your customer what truly sets you apart

Flesh out all the product details and help your customers make the right choice. IceShaker sets a classic example of advertising a product. The website outlines what differentiates this brand from other protein shake bottles.

Example of using product details to reduce cart abandonment

Providing social proof validates the website as well as the product. TrustPulse is a powerful application that works on similar lines for eCommerce websites. It allows your customers to track purchases, downloads, or registrations on the website and shows them as an ‘actual activity on the site which keeps getting updated.

Example of social proof to reduce cart abandonment

It's only human to go through other customers’ reviews before ultimately buying a product. By sharing their experience with the brand, the product they received, and the delivery process, they can help set a tone for your brand.

This is also an example of providing the buyers with a platform where they can exchange opinions. A bond of trust is built between the buyer and seller. Such reviews help build credibility and steer the buyers away from hopping from one website to another — leading to more purchases.

A subtle emotional value is associated with the brand when customers describe the feeling of purchasing the product. According to a study by Spiegel, reviews for a lower-priced product led to an increased 190% conversion rate. However, for a higher-priced product, the conversion rate increased by 380%.

Let your consumers understand that it’s your transparency and commitment that truly sets you apart.

3. Keep talking to customers through the buying process

There's always that one friend whom we turn to for advice, right?

That’s the exact thing your customers need!

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.

Take the level of care and attention up a notch by offering them immediate assistance through a chat with a customer support representative or allow their queries to be solved over live chat.

Example of using communication to improve cart abandonment

Options like click-to-call, live chat, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) help a great deal to reduce cart abandonment as buyers can shop peacefully without any qualms.

live chat support

Make the shopping process an interactive one.

Talk to the buyers — it would urge them to complete the purchase.

Casual messages like ‘Okay, we’re almost done’ and ‘Only one more step to go’ encourages the customers to go the whole nine yards.

4. Be clear about all costs upfront

‘Taxes’. ‘Shipping Costs’.

These are the terms that would make the buyers run in the other direction.

According to a study by Statista, 56% of customers abandon the cart due to unforeseen expenses.

Once a buyer adds a product to the cart, he/she will not like to witness a jump in the amount. So, don’t keep your customers in the dark.

Avoiding hidden costs can reduce cart abandonment

Be upfront about all costs - shipping charges, taxes, and other probable fees. This way, the user will know what they are getting into.

5. Eye-catching headlines are always a win-win

headline for cart abandonment email

The content on your website can make or break the deal for you.

Either the customer is hooked right from the headline or they can take a quick nap if the content is a bore.

Content that's crisp and short retains customer interest, encourages them to buy products, and lures them to get back to their cart.

Similarly, a sense of urgency in the copy is bound to grab customer eyeballs.

Everyone has this psychological fear of missing out on products that they were keen on buying. Along with the website, the email copy can reflect the same and urge the customer to complete their purchase.

6. Make your refund and return policy super prominent

Another component that makes buyers anxious is the return and refund policy.

Return and refund policy example

As far as eCommerce businesses are concerned, users do not get the opportunity to see the products in person. This gives them all the more reason to be unsure about the product they are purchasing.

Don’t let your customers go on a scavenger hunt to locate the refund policy. Display it in broad daylight on your main menu or banners throughout the store website, and in your emails.

Avoid legal jargon and long procedures — instead, break your policy down into chronological steps.

Grand Canyon’s refund policy, for example, is explicit about the items that cannot be returned. Customers can, therefore, set the right expectations and stay wary about the products.

Transparent information in return policy

A visual demonstration of the entire returns policy is all the more helpful for customers. Zappos does a great job in delivering the same.

A visually attractive returns policy

A flexible return policy motivates even hesitant users to shop more. Just mentioning that ‘the item will be returned within 7 days…’ does not seal the deal. In case something goes wrong, a warranty or a refund policy should be in place to ascertain that the buyer understands when and how the product can be returned.

Refund policy updates

Return policy can be particularly tricky during the holiday season. Sites like offer an extended return period to those who wish to return their gifts even in the new year.

Special returns policies

Consider offering free returns. Austin Bazaar assures customers that returns are totally free and in case a product is damaged while shipping, they are willing to pay for both-way shipping charges as well. Who wouldn’t want to grab an offer like this?

Return policy with free shipping example

7. Get rid of the tedious form-filling

Many buyers leave online forms incomplete citing security reasons or if they find it complicated. Focus on capturing essential details in a few steps to help complete transactions faster.

Introduce radio buttons to minimize typing. This way, the customers only have to click on desirable options without the need to type in any personal information.

Crafting an attractive call to action (CTA) as a part of the landing page form goes a long way in retaining buyers.

Better CTAs an help reduce cart abandoments

Buyers might not find it necessary to lay out their personal details. So, keep it simple. Here’s a great example of a minimalistic 2-step checkout form created using Cartflows.

2-step checkout form example

Avoid compulsory registration and provide a social login or social sign-in facility. This process helps users sign up from a third-party platform using the existing information available on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Hence, buyers will not be required to create a new account.

Images work well to ensure form completion. For instance, Mercedes’s test drive request form provides images of car models for the users to choose from.

Use of images strategically

8. Add some personalization to your website

Personalized customer experience is the essence of the eCommerce industry. Show the customer that you care about them as much as you care about your commodity.

Website personalization

The website can allow you to filter your preferences and accordingly, show products that are well-suited to your profile. They may even present recommendations based on a consumer’s search history and behavior patterns, and thus, provide the user alternatives to choose from.

Shoppers can customize their experience by referring to their past orders, product recommendations based on past purchases, and saved preferred payment methods for faster future purchases.

Use this as leverage to retarget customers with highly relevant promotions for products they already displayed an interest in.

Personalization, however, transcends mentions on a first-name basis. It's directed towards a target audience or a small group with similar traits and interests.

This is a golden opportunity to meet specific customer requirements.

  • Deliver Customized Messaging With Dynamic Retargeting Ads
Dynamic retargeting ads

Retarget your customer base with dynamic ads and run them on social media platforms like Facebook and on Google, where the users are active. Remarketing ads can be exceptionally impactful in improving recovery and conversion rates.

You can customize the ad copy for every shopper who abandoned their cart. This means that every user-targeted will see exactly the items that are lying in their cart with a CTA leading them directly to it.

Hey, you'll love this: eCommerce Personalization: 20 High-Converting Examples

9. Include progress indicators on the checkout page

‘Reward Card?’ ‘Save 10% by opening one!’

A barrage of such questions will surely annoy any customer.  

A prolonged checkout process should be avoided in any eCommerce experience. A progress indicator — when included on the checkout page — helps customers keep track of how much further they have to go. It serves as a visual reinforcement for shoppers to seal the deal!

By clearly showing buyers where they are in the checkout process, you’re assuring them that they are ‘almost done’, making the purchase in a few quick and simple steps.

Showing progress bar can help reduce cart abandonments

Ideally, a progress indicator should contain as few steps as possible that would clarify the shopping status of the consumer. Crate&Barrel’s checkout process is simple and comprehensive. This is what customers look forward to — a straightforward and less intimidating process.

Simple checkout process

Although the above example fleshes out a detailed procedure, it just looks like a lot more work!

Checkout Process Needs Work? Here's 27 Tips To Improve Your Website Checkout Experience & Make More $$$

10. Add more payment options (and then some more)

Technology has helped create multiple online payment and transaction gateways.

Be it net banking, e-wallets, or cards (debit or credit), offer all possible payment avenues. Popular payment gateways also include PayPal, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay, given their cashback schemes or reward points.

Apple’s payment gateway solution is aimed at a mobile payment structure, allowing merchants to handle payments with customers using Face ID and Touch ID.

This flexibility in payment structure enables customers to complete their purchases easily.

For international transactions, offer information around currency conversion and accepted currencies.

For products with a high average order value (AOV), you might consider allowing shoppers to purchase using customer financing options. For instance, MyBikeShop offers buyers the ability to split their payments into smaller monthly installments instead of having to pay the full amount in one go.

EMI option during payment

Not every consumer prefers saving card details, primarily for security concerns.

Thus, to ensure your customers don’t lose money, you can work with PCI compliant companies to protect customer data and payment information. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a system of standards that upholds security provisions for the electronic world.

Before you pull the trigger on any one gateway, double-check that they maintain PCI compliance. For example, PayPal is PCI compliant.

11. Remind them of your existence

Automated abandoned cart emails go a long way in showing the customers that you care. Pose a question in the email and make your consumer realize that the product is not worth losing out on. Make your emails quirky and crisp. Adding a CTA can also help get a lot of traction.

Email marketing example

Here’s an example of an attractive and compelling copy from Doggyloot. Phrases like ‘Lots of licks’ and ‘fetch your items’ are dog-related metaphors that will appeal to most pet parents.

Your cart recovery email can offer accessories for the main product, show different patterns or colors of the same item, and if your products are of a lower price, items that are popular sellers can be included as incentives to reach free shipping thresholds.

Cart recovery email example

12. Include a thumbnail of the product purchased until the very end

This reassures the buyer of the product they are purchasing until they checkout.

An eCommerce experience is very different from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. By including thumbnail images of the selected product/s in the customer’s cart, you are eliminating the possibility of hesitation a customer might experience during purchase.

Using a product thumbnail

This is an excellent example of this effective process.

Madewell exemplifies how customers can see their item in the checkout window along with details like size, color, and quantity.

Example of product view on checkout

13. Make navigation super easy

Take a look at Macy’s — they use two clickable buttons for customers to choose, between checking carts and proceeding to checkout.  

easy navigation macy's

Minimize the number of clicks and page views. Be it reviewing the cart or double-checking the products, an easily accessible and omnipresent cart button allows the buyers to move around with utmost ease. The cart button also serves as a prompt for a customer, to complete the purchase.

14. Optimize page load speed

Buyer’s time is of the essence and customers rarely wait for a page to download. In fact, even the slightest delay in load time can result in cart abandonment. According to an analysis by Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less. Also, a one-second delay (or three seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%.

You can speed up your site by compressing images. By adhering to the traditional search engine optimization (SEO) recommendations, moving on-page CSS and Javascript snippets out of the header and into their own external file can be of value.

The use of Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics makes all the difference.

Businesses can also apply the A/B testing or multivariate testing techniques that apply statistical hypothesis, typically on consumers and websites.

If nothing works, you can always check out Google SideSpeed Tools to enhance site performance and fix issues.

15. Wear your trust logos like a badge of honor!

Trust badges legitimize your website. A trust seal is associated with secure socket layers (SSL). It verifies the website and ensures that there is a secure transmission for customers to enter their credit/debit card details.

SSL Badge

Ensure that the logos are recognizable. A majority of consumers are likely to abandon their shopping carts, either because the trust logos were missing or because they did not recognize them.

Just by getting a few elements right, you can reap the benefits of improving sales and retaining customers. These elements can go a long way in combating cart abandonment and bettering revenue.

Now, let's take a look at how the top brands are using card abandonment emails to drive better conversions.

11 Cart Abandonment Email Templates from Famous Brands

1. Jack Wills (A little empathy goes a long way)

Email example from jack willis

Now, how do most fashion and apparel brands recover abandoned carts? By triggering an automated email that reminds the shopper of what they’ve left behind. Nothing wrong with the approach, but did you know that most of this abandonment happens when the shopper is looking for more variations of the product?

Jack Wills captures this need to search for more options perfectly within their cart recovery email. While they remind the shopper of what they’ve left behind along with product visuals, they also send across product recommendations to make sure they haven’t missed out on exploring products that they may have left to look for. As for the copy, they keep it conversational and informative.

2. Whiskey Loot (The proactive sales tactic)

whiskey loot cart abandonment email

Whiskey Loot's abandoned cart recovery email utilizes unique and engaging copywriting to entice customers to complete the purchase on their online store.

The email includes a list of reasons to purchase their whiskey, provide answers to frequently asked questions by other customers, and use a supremely clean design to draw your eye to the call to action button at the bottom, which takes the customer back to the store.

With this abandoned cart email, the customer has all the information they would need to complete the purchase.

3. Huckberry (Incentive + great copy = $$$)

Email example from huckberry

When it comes to copywriting, there is a said rule to lead with the most important thing, and that’s what Huckberry does in their email.

By focusing on the most important thing they have to offer, which is free shipping, they create a good incentive for the customer to complete the purchase.

By making it clear in the headline, “Shipping = Free”, the deal is more or less sealed.

On top of that, you also see the product image, description, quantity, and price, and there are multiple options for contacting the company if customers have trouble with the checkout process.

4. Casper (It could be short but comforting)

casper cart abandonment email

Everyone knows how well social proof works when it comes to doing its magic, and that’s the most amazing part about this example of an abandoned cart recovery email from Casper.

When people don't complete a purchase, it might be because they haven't finished their research. Hence, by including word of mouth directly in their cart recovery email, Casper is making it easier for their customers to make their decision, faster.

The email also includes snappy text and clear call to action buttons that entice the customer to continue shopping on the website with just one click.

5. Forever 21 (Put a timer on it)

Email example from forever 21

Now this abandoned cart recovery email from Forever 21 is truly one of its kind. Countdown timers work really well in a lot of places, and what better than an abandoned shopping cart email?

It creates the right kind of urgency for the shopper to come back and complete their purchase, while also making the action time-sensitive for the buyer.

Forever 21 wants you to know that it will save your items, but only for the next twenty hours. After that, the cart goes away and you won’t be able to get the items you were looking for.

6. Kate Spade New York (Playing your cards right)

kate spade cart abandonment email

Abandoned cart email examples that leverage multiple elements well are hard to find. As can be seen in the one above by Kate Spade New York, as long as you have an attention-grabbing reminder to get people to open your messages, adding extra benefits to checking out can only increase conversions further.

Here we have a discount code for 15 percent off as well as free shipping.

But, there’s a caveat that acts as an element of urgency: you can only use the offer within the next two weeks. See what they did there?

7. Dote (A touch of childish humor)

cart abandonment email dote

Funny, the interesting text is the way to your shoppers’ and customers’ hearts. Dote excels at it with a pinch of the humorous copy. In their email, they say "Your shopping bag has abandonment issues" and "Save these items hours of therapy and give them a loving home."

This text is entertaining, which makes the brand compelling to its audience. This example showcases how to use abandoned cart emails to illustrate your brand's personality and create brand enthusiasts.

Plus, this is short, sweet, and to the point, making it easy for the buyer to continue with the shopping session.

8. Shutterfly (Straight to it)

shutterfly cart abandonment email

We have included quite a few abandoned cart email examples like this one from Shutterfly.

There are no product images, but the copy along with the call to action button text is persuasive and compelling.

Similar to Kate Spade New York’s example we shared above, Shutterfly’s cart recovery email also creates urgency by putting a limit to the discount coupon they’re offering, making it more likely to be used earlier.

Another thing that this email does really well is to make it super easy for the shopper to seek help with their order (look at the Need help? No problem section.)

9. Nike (Just buy it)

Email example from nike

In this abandoned cart recovery email, Nike, the sporting giant, knocks it out of the park, too. Instead of going for clean, simple, and minimalist, Nike uses a hero image with a primary headline.

And they’ve made sure they remain consistent with their brand identity, by making the image relevant to what they sell.

You’ll see a picture of what is in your cart as well as a reminder about the company’s free shipping policy.

What we love most, though, is the “You May Also Like” section, recommendations, and personalization in the email is always a great strategy for luring people back to your site.

10. Target (Hitting the right price point)

target cart abandonment email

Target takes the tried and tested approach in their abandoned cart email by offering a discount on the items in the customer's cart.

The accompanying copy "New price alert" and "Time to check out" make it harder to walk away from checking out what they have to offer now, as the reader’s curiosity has already been piqued.

But if that approach doesn't work on their customer, Target also includes similar items to get their customer browsing and shopping again. Good one!

However, if there’s one thing they could have improved in this email, then it would be the footer, as it does not add much value to the email, and makes it look cluttered and congested.

11. Dyson (Sweeping the doubts away)

Email example from dyson

Dyson is known for marketing their products with utmost sophistication and simplicity, here are the several things their cart abandonment email does really well:

  • They use clear text that is helpful to understand and fun to read. For example, "All is not lost" and "We saved the contents" let the customer know that Dyson wants to assist them.
  • They include an image of the product and list the item that was left behind in the shopper's cart.
  • They include two CTA buttons, which allows customers on mobile to see a call to action button even as they scroll down.


You may also like

38 Browse Abandonment Email Subject Lines That Are Never Ignored
Get the guide
Sent to your inbox