Last updated on November 16, 2023

Lindsay Sakraida
Director of Content Marketing @ Yotpo
March 15th, 2021

Are your eCommerce profits being held back by shopping cart abandonment? Learn the best ways to improve your purchase rate, reduce abandoned carts, and recover sales.

Table Of Contents

Are sales on your eCommerce site being hampered by shoppers who add products to their carts but don’t complete their purchases?

About 67% of customers abandon their carts on an eCommerce website—that number jumps to about 78% on mobile. These abandonment rates will vary by industry, but they’re a good benchmark to get a sense of how your eCommerce store stacks up to the average numbers.

About $18 billion in sales revenue is lost each year because of abandoned shopping carts. If you’re not taking steps to combat cart abandonment, your company could be seeing smaller revenue streams.  Learn 10 steps you can take to prevent cart abandonment and help shoppers return to complete their purchases.

1. Display brand reviews on checkout page

After shoppers have added items to their cart, doubt or uncertainty can cause them to double-back to the research phase of the customer decision-making process, rather than moving forward with the purchase. Successful eCommerce companies can help shoppers resolve doubts so they can buy with confidence. A key way to do that is to use authoritative content like brand reviews to build trust.

When shared during the final stages of the buying process, authentic feedback like reviews provides a powerful trust signal that can have a big impact on shoppers who are hesitating. At this stage of the checkout process, it’s important to avoid adding additional information such as product details or customer photos. These can distract shoppers and can prompt additional browsing. By contrast, brand reviews provide the big-picture context that affects emotions. It helps shoppers feel good about their buying decision.

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2. Optimize the checkout process

The infrastructure of your site can also be deterring shoppers and causing them to abandon their cart. Shoppers can be turned off by slow-loading sites, requirements to make an account, uncertainty about site security, and not seeing their preferred payment type.

By making sure the checkout process is optimized for the shopper’s user experience, you’ll be able to remove the barriers that cause shoppers to become frustrated or not complete the purchase. As a part of this optimization, many brands are moving to a one-page checkout system that creates a path of least resistance with fewer clicks and easier navigation.

3. Be transparent about fees

Unexpected costs are one of the top reasons shoppers will abandon a cart, and more than half of customers have not completed a purchase because of high shipping costs, taxes, or fees. Offering free shipping is a helpful way to remain competitive, but if that’s not possible, be up front about shoppers with costs.

Transparency about costs can help shoppers avoid being surprised when they see their checkout total. For example, a site that sells furniture or other bulky items may include shipping costs within the product description so customers don’t get sticker shock later on.

4. Create an exit-intent pop-up

Before the shopper navigates away from your site, an exit-intent pop-up gives you one last chance to connect with that person. This can be a pivotal conversion tool that occurs at just the right moment.

Your messaging strategy here will vary depending on what the biggest cart abandonment issue is for your brand. You can nudge shoppers to complete their purchases by offering an additional discount code. You can also offer loyalty points for signing up for the email newsletter or prompt the shopper to chat with an agent.

5. Send automatic reminder messages

After the shopper has left your site, follow up with a reminder message about the items in their cart. The cart abandonment recovery rate for follow-up emails is about 10% to 12%. This can help you recover a significant portion of lost sales and add a significant revenue stream.

Savvy eCommerce companies are opting to send SMS messages about abandoned carts. A text message can be a more personal way to connect, and they have much higher open rates than email. As a result, conversion rates can be 19% or more for cart abandonment SMS messages.

6. Use multi-step message flows

Sometimes it takes a few reminders before a shopper takes action. If a shopper doesn’t engage with your first email or SMS message, automated flow sequences can follow up with another message the following day. These highly targeted messages can reinforce your messaging and help recapture distracted shoppers.

7. Provide incentives

For shoppers who are on the fence about making a purchase, a discount code or free shipping coupon can motivate them to act.

The best time for incentives within the customer sequence will vary by brand. Some businesses provide discounts early in the process through the exit-intent pop-up. Other companies save them for one of the follow-up messages to entice a shopper to come back for savings.

8. Show products in action

Some shoppers may be hesitating because they’re unsure about the product. This is where user-generated content (UGC) can make a big impact when used in your follow-up messaging.

Reviews and ratings that are shared by other shoppers are generally seen as unbiased. As a result, they can be very effective at persuading shoppers. Highlight customer photos and videos with visual galleries to show shoppers how people are using your products in real-life. In reviews, highlight feedback about key decision-making factors such as product quality, fit, and satisfaction so shoppers choose a product they’ll be happy with.

9. Personalize!

A good sales agent knows that each prospect will be motivated by slightly different things. Making the sale means matching the right message to the customer.

Today’s messaging technology can help you deliver this type of personalization at scale. Advanced message flows can be customized based on different data points. For example, you can send different messages based on how the value of the shopping cart compares to your average order volume.

By personalizing your messaging, your company can achieve maximum gains. For example, a recent case study about SMS conversions showed how one eCommerce brand recovered 33% of abandoned carts through personalized text messaging.

10. Use shopping bots

Customers want immediate access to customer service when they have a question or an issue, and chatbots are an effective way to provide help. Bots allow brands to connect with shoppers 24/7, no matter where they are in the customer journey. This constant availability builds brand trust and increases conversion rates.

Shopping bots can reduce cart abandonment by providing customers with quick answers to questions they may have. For example, if a customer wants to know when an item they are about to purchase is expected to ship, your chatbot can provide that information. Having that easy answer could mean the difference between an abandoned cart and a completed purchase.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates: How to Measure Your Success

Your shopping cart abandonment rate is a KPI that can indicate if you have a major problem with your eCommerce site. It can also help you track your performance over time and help you understand how your brand compares to industry averages.

Here’s an easy formula for calculating your shopping cart abandonment rate:

Number of completed purchases ÷ Number of shopping carts created = Purchase rate

(1 – Purchase rate) x 100 = Shopping cart abandonment rate

And remember to dig into the data to determine your rates for desktop vs. mobile—as we mentioned, mobile shoppers abandon carts more than those on desktop. Once you have your rates, you can start testing the strategies above to see which ones will help you bring those customers over that last hurdle, to conversion.

Learn more about what causes shopping cart abandonment [Add link to AT] to find out how the user experience can be influenced by your eCommerce site.