How to reduce Cart Abandonment and increase online sales conversions

How to reduce Cart Abandonment and increase online sales conversions

The very mention if cart abandonment is enough to make some ecommerce merchants shake in their boots.

What is Cart Abandonment

When a shopper adds something to a shopping cart and does not then proceed to purchase on a virtual or online store.

Unlike physical shoppers who have a very low cart abandonment rate a leading ecommerce research company Baynard, estimates that up to 67% of online sales are actually abandoned!

If you can grab even 10% more sales from your customers that’s more money in your back pocket!

Why is this so high?

There are many reasons that shoppers may not complete their order with some of the most popular reasons:

  • Unexpected Costs (such as shipping, etc)
  • The customer was just browsing
  • Was price comparing and found a better price elsewhere
  • Website too difficult to use
  • The customer is forced to signup
  • Lack of security or trust

Apart from the customer just browsing or doing price comparisons you can reduce your cart abandonment by addressing some key on site ideas.

Unexpected Costs

The most common of all causes of cart abandonment is unexpected costs and this is almost always an issue with shipping costs.

Website too difficult to use

If a customer can’t easily use your website or checkout process they won’t spend time trying to learn something new they will just go somewhere else.

The customer is forced to signup

A personal bugbear of mine are website that force you to signup before you can go through the checkout process. It’s unnecessary and only makes another hurdle for customers to go through.

Even worse are websites that don’t give you option as checking out as a guest (not that hiding the checkout until you click join or checkout as a guest is any better).

If you want people to join your site allow them to do so as part of the checkout process. But don’t force them to sign up.

Lack of security or trust

I review and analyse thousands of ecommerce websites and I am an avid online shopper. No matter how much I want a product if I feel nervous or unsure about the trustworthiness of a website I will not give my credit card details. It can be a new brand or company that I have never heard of, a broken image or a website that just doesn’t “feel” professional.

If the customer does not trust your website you are going to abandon the cart.

What can we do to reduce cart abandonment?

There are two ways to deal with cart abandonment:

Before the customer has abandoned the cart

After the customer has abandoned the cart


Display your Shipping Costs Prominently

Make sure your shipping and any additional costs are clearly displayed on your website preferably near the Add to Cart button on the product page.

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It’s even better to offer Free Shipping or Free Shipping when you spend over a certain amount but only if you can actually afford to do so.

Transparency is key to reduce unexpected cost abandonment

Show Product Images in Cart Summary

Give the customer a visual summary of what they are ordering. Names might mean something to you but to the customer all they want to see is that the product they want to purchase is the item in their cart.

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Show all the costs on the summary page

If there are additional costs such as shipping, expediated shipping etc make sure it is spelt out very clearly on the cart summary page.

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If you vary postage based on their location it’s ideal to have a shipping calculator on the product page and the cart summary page.

Offer Free Shipping

Study after study has found that sites that offer Free Shipping have a better sales conversion rate than those that charge for shipping. Sure it’s not always practical but it certainly helps!

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Show Security Seals and Emblems

You should be encrypting your ecommerce traffic and you will have an SSL certificate, this and other security seals should be placed prominently on the cart summary page.

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Display your real physical address and phone number

Want to increase the trust of customers about your website, make sure your physical address is prominent on the site and the cart summary page. And don’t use a PO Box or mobile phone number it’s unprofessional says you can’t be contacted if there is an issue.

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Offer easy and FREE returns and exchanges

This is a big point, if you offer clothing for example and there is a chance customers may have purchased the wrong size, make it easy to return the item to you. And make sure a statement that you offer exchanges and returns is prominently displayed on the site.

There are many companies that can assist you with your returns and make it easy, Parcel Point is one that many of our customers use to great advantage.

Offer multiple payment options

You should always offer your customers multiple ways they can pay. Whether it is through credit card directly on your website or through PayPal or Stripe on their respective sites. Options for payment make people far more comfortable.

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After Cart Abandonment

If someone still abandons your cart even after they have gone through the process there are a couple of ways that you can still try and get them back.

Email Recovery

If you have the email address of the customer you can send an email to them a short time after they have not proceeded and remind them that their order is still available.

It should go out:

  1. 24 hours later then
  2. Within 48 hours and then  follow up
  3. Within a week

The email should include:

  • Pictures of the items in the shopping cart
  • A Call to Action to get the customer to finish the transaction
  • Guarantee or refund or exchange policy

Customers these days may start an order on a mobile device and then get interrupted. The email serves to remind them and get them back to the website.


You can display targeted advertising to people who have visited your website on other website by remarketing to them:

Adroll explanation
Adroll explanation

The most popular of these are:

It works by setting a cookie on the customers browser if they do something on your website IE add an item to a cart or visit the site.

You can then have advertising shown to them for a period of time afterwards. You can even go so far as to have an advertising campaign reminding them they have left something in the shopping cart!

You can have this set for a specific amount of time, say 1 week and if they do purchase on your site you can exclude them from seeing the advert again.

Bottom Line

If your website and your follow up marketing are not performing up to scratch addressing the reasons why customers abandon their orders on your website is a great way to increase your sales conversion rate.