You’re losing money. Each and every day you sell online, you’re losing potential orders on your website.
According to Baymard Institute, 70.19% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Think about that. For every 100 potential customers, 70 of them will leave without purchasing. How much would your revenues increase if you were capturing those sales instead of losing them?
Let’s look at a quick example. If you’'re currently making $15,000 per month in online revenue and could turn just 25% of those abandoned orders into sales, you’d make an extra $45,000 each year.
Cart abandonment causes online businesses a great deal of pain. This article explains why people abandon their carts and what online retailers can do about it. Armed with this knowledge, you’'re one step closer to converting browsers into customers.
What is cart abandonment?
Cart abandonment occurs when a customer adds items to their shopping cart but does not complete the purchase. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as not having the right payment methods available, shipping being too expensive, or simply changing their mind about the purchase.
Why do people abandon their online shopping carts?
Extra costs are too high
Cost is clearly important to modern-day online shoppers, so it’ll come as no surprise to learn that any extra costs tacked on at checkout are a leading cause of cart abandonment.
Extra fees—including unexpected shipping costs, taxes, and duties—aren’t always made obvious to a customer. Those fees added on top of each product price are the reason 47% of shoppers abandon their cart and exit a site.
An account is required
First-time customers to your store want a fast, friction-free ecommerce checkout experience. That doesn’t happen when they’re being asked to create an account.
Time-consuming fields, like your birthday and phone number, aren’t essential to buying an item online. For some shoppers, it’s frustrating to have to give all of that information for a single purchase—which is why one quarter of checkout abandonment happens because the site asked them to create an account.
Even if someone has created an account before, remembering their login isn’t an easy job. Just 13% of people use the same password for every online account.
Offering a guest checkout option or an accelerated checkout option that remembers a customer can be enough to solve this problem.
Delivery is too slow
Delivery is a pain point for modern customers. Some 45% of shoppers head online because they get free delivery, but if there’s a long delay between placing an order and getting the product, almost a quarter will abandon their cart.
The easiest fix is to distribute inventory across warehouses in cities where you get the most orders. The less distance there is between a product and your customer, the quicker it’ll be in their hands.
The checkout process is too long
Did you know that the average checkout flow contains almost 12 form elements by default? Your name, address, and birthday are popular form fields that help online retailers understand their customers. But your quest for information could be causing them to exit altogether.
A long and complicated checkout process is the reason behind 18% of shopping cart abandonments.
Luckily, this has an easy fix: ditch the unnecessary form fields in favor of checkout solutions like Shop Pay. It stores a customer’s information so they can simply tap to buy the items in their cart. No three-page walls of questions needed.
Pricing was unclear
High shipping costs are a leading cause of cart abandonment. In a similar vein, many (17%) site visitors abandon their cart because they can’t calculate the total order cost upfront.
Customers can be subject to extra fees when buying online, especially when they’re purchasing from another country. Import taxes and currency conversions all play a role in determining whether it’s worth buying from an online retailer.
The website is untrustworthy
With sensitive information—like credit card details and home addresses—being submitted through an online checkout, it’s no wonder why modern-day shoppers are concerned about their privacy when shopping online.
Some 19% of people abandon their online shopping carts because they didn’t trust the site with their credit card information.
Installing an SSL certificate, highlighting customer testimonials, and showcasing warranties and trust badges on your ecommerce website all help to combat this.
What is the average shopping cart abandonment rate?
Research by Barilliance shows the average cart abandonment rate differs by device, with tablet and mobile device shoppers hitting the exit button on a checkout page most often:
- Desktop: 73%
- Mobile: 85%
- Tablets: 80%
The location of your customers also plays a role in how likely they are to abandon their online shopping carts. Some 86% of Spanish shopping baskets are abandoned midway through. On the other side of the scale, shoppers in the Netherlands have the lowest abandonment rate, at 65%.
Certain items also have bigger drop-offs. Items in fashion, luxury, and baby and child categories are most prone to “website window shoppers.”
Surprisingly, December is the month where cart abandonment is at its lowest: 77% compared to the 82% peak in January. Black Friday and holiday sales mean more discount and coupon codes are available, incentivising shoppers to complete their purchases.
The effects of shopping cart abandonment
When potential customers exit instead of selecting the “Complete your order” button, that’s lost revenue for your business. It’s reported that ecommerce stores lose $260 billion in recoverable sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.
So, what happens after customers leave your site?
Purchase later from the same retailer
Most often, products left in a shopping cart are purchased from the same retailer at the same date. We can largely credit this to shopping cart recovery emails and retargeted ads. Half of the people who click a cart abandonment email end up making a purchase.
Buy from another retailer
When someone abandons their online shopping cart, whoever gets there first likely closes the sale. If someone’s looking for t-shirts on your website and abandons their checkout, for example, there’s a good chance your competitor will get the sale if they get in front of the same customer first.
Although ecommerce has overtaken traditional retail, some people use a merchant’s website for window shopping. Once a potential customer knows what they want to buy, a percentage head in store and use their online cart as a shopping list.
Abandon the purchase entirely
Not everyone who adds a product to their shopping cart will end up buying it from either you or another online retailer. Some add items to their cart for fun without any purchase intent; others completely forget about it (and never get reminders from the merchant either).
7 strategies to recover abandoned carts
- Use a trustworthy ecommerce platform
- Accept alternative payment options
- Offer free (or discounted) shipping
- Highlight your returns policy
- Retarget cart abandoners elsewhere online
- Optimize abandoned cart emails
- Offer one-click checkout
1. Use a trustworthy ecommerce platform
The journey to recouping lost ecommerce revenue doesn’t start at the checkout page. The entire user experience influences how likely a customer is to complete their purchase. That success is rooted in choosing a best-in-class ecommerce platform.
Check whether your ecommerce platform is responsive. Cart abandonment is at its highest for tablet and mobile users. If your site speed is too slow, or the page needs pinching and squeezing to make sense, you’re delivering a poor mobile user experience—and likely contributing to higher abandonment rates.
Choose a template that changes based on the device it’s being loaded on. The Shopify theme library has more than 100 plug-and-play responsive themes to choose from.
Finally, consider any apps that can reduce cart abandonment across your entire ecommerce site. Keeper, for example, is available through the Shopify App Store. It remembers the items a customer has added to their online cart. If they leave your site and return at a later date, they’ll have the items saved and ready to buy.
2. Accept alternative payment options
Long gone are the days of customers having to enter their long card number into their browser. Some 11% of people abandoned their shopping cart because the retailer didn’t offer enough payment methods.
Amongst some of the most popular payment methods are:
- Shopping apps (Shop Pay and PayPal)
- Digital wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay)
- Buy now, pay later (Shop Pay Installments, Klarna, Four, and AfterPay)
One in four merchants using Shop Pay Installments see a 50% higher average order value when allowing customers to spread the cost over multiple payments. Customers can spread the cost of higher ticket items over a longer period.
You don’t need to overhaul your existing payment processing system. A plug-and-play app, like Shop App, means customers can use their preferred payment method and buy items in their cart in just one click.
3. Offer free (or discounted) shipping
There’s no doubt that Amazon changed the way shoppers buy online—especially when it comes to free delivery. As a small business, how do you compete with their free (and same-day) shipping options?
Because Amazon’s shipping deals are amongst one of its biggest incentives to shop on the site, some 24% of people leave abandoned carts because the retailer’s delivery options were too slow.
Consider offering free delivery to customers and displaying it prominently in your checkout process. You could cover the cost of shipping for orders over a certain amount, or bake the average cost of shipping into your product’s retail price.
Even if you can’t scrap shipping costs entirely, there are workarounds to offering cheaper delivery for people mid-checkout. You could:
- Use lightweight packing materials to reduce its weight
- Rely on Shopify Shipping
- Offer free local delivery or pickup
4. Highlight your returns policy
Returns policies aren’t just essential post-purchase. Some 16% of cart abandonments happen because the shopper wasn’t satisfied with the returns policy during the checkout process.
Online retailers are plagued by returns. So, it doesn’t make sense to show return options before a customer has purchased it, right? Not necessarily. Shoppers want to know they have options for items they buy online—like returning it for a full refund if it’s different from what they expected.
Reduce shopping cart abandonment by showcasing your return policy mid-checkout. Even a few small graphics to explain the no-risk purchase, like this example from Bear Mattress, can do the trick.
5. Retarget cart abandoners elsewhere online
The beauty of online shopping is that most customers use several channels at once. Advertising slots on social media, email, and other websites are prime real estate for reducing cart abandonment.
Not convinced? Research shows that retargeting can bring up to 26% of otherwise-lost customers back to your website. Plus, three out of four shoppers notice retargeted ads. Of those consumers, 26% will click on the retargeted ad and return to your site.
Facebook is one social platform that makes it easy to retarget shoppers who’ve left items in an online cart. A pixel is installed on your site and collects data about the shopper—including which items they’ve abandoned. That data is synced with a Facebook profile.
Dynamic product ads show the exact items they’ve left, and nudge them to head back to your website to complete the purchase.
6. Optimize abandoned cart emails
Cart recovery email campaigns are another way to recoup lost revenue. Similar to retargeting ads, they collect product information data—like which items a customer has added to their cart, the size, and the color—to deliver an email reminder to complete the purchase.
This type of email marketing campaign has an open rate of more than 40%—a stark improvement to the benchmark of 21% for general retail emails. One in two cart abandonment email recipients will click it, and half will purchase something as a result.
So, what makes a good cart recovery email? A reminder of the product they’ve left, along with extra incentives (like free shipping), can be enough to convince a shopper to continue with their purchase.
When reminding people of the items they’ve left in their shopping cart, timing is key. The vast majority (77%) of people who converted from White River’s cart abandonment email did so within the first hour.
“What this translates to is: If you wait too long, they’'re gone,” says John Chao, co-founder of Tresl. “So any abandoned cart recovery tactic that waits six hours and sends a follow-up has clearly missed the boat, not to mention waiting a day or more!”
7. Offer one-click checkout
The success of ecommerce sites depends on the checkout experience. A positive experience will take shoppers to the purchase confirmation page in as few clicks as possible. A negative one will cause them to exit midway through.
Earlier, we touched on the fact that 18% of cart abandonments happen because of a complicated checkout.
An average large-sized ecommerce business can gain a 35% increase in conversion rate though better checkout design. An estimated $260 billion worth of lost orders are recoverable solely through a better checkout flow and design.
One way to do this is to offer a seamless checkout process, like one-click checkout. Not only is it essential for fast conversions (Shop Pay increases checkout speed by four times), but one-click checkout has been proven to increase conversions by 35%.
Once a buyer uses Shop Pay for the first time, their information is saved for future purchases. They can then securely speed through checkout with a simple tap.
Checkouts going through Shop Pay give a seamless experience to shoppers. So much so, that our study showed that checkouts going through Shop Pay have an average checkout-to-order rate 1.72 times higher than those going through regular checkouts.
While Shop Pay’s conversion advantage is evident across both mobile and desktop, it is significantly improved on mobile, where Shop Pay checkouts convert at a 1.91 times higher than regular checkouts.
This is a massive advantage for direct-to-consumer brands, where conversion on mobile can be the difference between making money or losing money.
Start recouping lost ecommerce sales
These shopping cart abandonment statistics prove you’re leaving money on the table. People are already visiting your website. More than half of those who like a product enough to add it to their cart exit without buying.
Complicated checkout processes, unclear pricing, and high shipping costs are huge factors in why a shopper decides to exit.
The good news? It’s preventable. Use these techniques for fewer abandoned carts on your online store.