Stop Losing Money: 7 Guaranteed Ways To Fix Shopping Cart Abandonment

So near yet so far…

And you wonder what happened there?

Why are so many customers adding products to carts and then leaving midway?

What’s wrong?

You are not alone pulling your hair out. Every eCommerce store faces shopping cart abandonment issues.

But is it possible to solve?

Yes, you can. I will show you how to reduce shopping cart abandonment. And how to recover those lost sales.

Quick sure ways.

Why should you fix shopping cart abandonment?

Baymard Institute gathered 37 stats on cart abandonment rates. The stats were from various studies done in the last decade.

It will surprise you. Some studies reported cart abandonment rates to be as high as 80.30%. The lowest rate reported was 59.80%.

How to know your cart abandonment rate in Google Analytics?

Step 1: Firstly create a Google Analytics. Tutorial

Step 2: Enable Ecommerce tracking in Google analytics. Tutorial

Step 3: Install additional code to track key product and sales information like transaction rates, conversions, tax, SKU, price, and category. Tutorial

Step 4: Once you have set this up right Google analytics starts collecting data regarding your user’s shopping behavior. The same can be found under Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behaviour in Google Analytics.

To be fair, a lot of cart abandonment happen because of buyers browsing behavior. Undecided, window shopping, exploring options etc.

But you can stop a lot of cart abandonment. As per Business Intelligence estimates, you can recover around 63% of abandonned carts.

So get ready to recover your lost sales.

But before that, what are the reasons for cart abandonment?

Here’s a graphic from Baymard that gives you all the reasons you need to know-

Now that we know the reasons. Let’s get down to fixing it.

Reason 1: Hidden Costs – Shipping, Tax, and Fees

It happens to me as well. I see a discounted price on the product page and add it to the cart. At checkout, I see a different price inclusive of taxes and shipping charges. And I feel cheated.

Many times the price doesn’t make sense. I would better buy it from my nearby store. Why wait for a day?

I understand buyer have to pay taxes and shipping costs. Also due to market dynamics, it isn’t always possible to offer discounted prices.

But you can be transparent about pricing. That way your customers will know the total costs. If it makes sense for them to buy they will do it. Else they will not.


Amazon mentions the taxes and the shipping costs if any on the product page itself. By mentioning details like ‘inclusive of all taxes” and “Free Delivery” it is removing surprises out of the buying equation.

Be upfront in showing the total costs including taxes and shipping on the checkout page too. You can split the total payable cost like the table below.

Product Price$100
Our Price (@20% discount)$80
Other Costs$5
Total costs$95

WayFair gives a break up of all costs during checkout to give more clarity to the user about the cost he is paying.

#Reason 2: The site wanted me to create an account

Heard this many times from a lot of people. Experienced it myself. I don’t like to create an account if I am buying from a site for the first time.

Also creating an account from mobile or Tablet is not easy. Its cumbersome to type a lot.

Also, your buyer might be in a rush. He might be traveling or at work. Make it easy for him.

I understand why you want to make your customer create an account.

  • To make her commit to long-term
  • To make her a repeated buyer.
  • To use her personal details to personalize her experience next time.
  • To do email marketing and nurture relationships.

But shouldn’t that be a choice?

What’s more important? A sale or an account.

How to fix it? – Use a guest checkout

  • Allow your buyers to buy a product as a guest.
  • Make account creation a choice. And explain the benefit of creating an account with you. Like a faster checkout, preview to new product launches, order tracking etc.
  • Collect information that is essentially like email-id, contact number, shipping and billing address.

#Reason 3: Too long complicated checkout process

A long checkout process is a recipe for disaster. Period.

Online shoppers want to do tasks fast. Also, your checkout process should be simple. Free from any distractions.

How to fix it?

  • Allow users to buy from the product page. Integrate an ‘add to cart’ and ‘buy now’ plugin available in the market. Keep the user who adds a product on the same page. Confirm that this product is in the cart. Give checkout accessibility from all the pages. You can use a sticky ‘proceed to checkout’ that gets activated once the buyer adds a product to the cart.

Source: evok

  • Show progress bar in the checkout process. Let buyers know where they are and how close they are to completing their order.
  • Keep the form short. Use different forms for mobile and desktop versions. Make use of mobile UI elements like-
    1. Single input fields
    2. Automatic prefill
    3. Break up lengthy forms into different stages
    4. Use autofocus for forms for mobile devices
    5. Keep optional fields to least and wherever used display the asterisk (*).
  • In the checkout page, display thumbnail images of the products. Provide information like price, discount, quantity, estimated delivery date, shipping costs.
  • On the checkout page, display trust badges on-site security, payment gateway security. Don’t forget to remind your shoppers of good things your shop offers-
    1. Express Delivery
    2. Free Returns
    3. 15 Day Replacement Period

#Reason 4: Website had errors/crashed

Website crashes, errors, and timeout are major reasons not only for cart abandonment. But it is also poor user experience.

Site crashes might decrease the trust in your website.

It’s also bad for your reputation.

UK’s popular retailer Argos experienced it last month. The shoppers were out of luck one September early morning. The website crashed and pricing errors showed up. Customers took to Twitter to report problems at 5 am.

Those who could access the website faced pricing errors. For example, an Xbox One price was £89.99 instead of £379.99.

How to fix it?

  • Track website errors. You can-
    1. Use error monitoring tools like trackjs, airbrake etc.
    2. Users recording tools like hotjar, smartlook and mouseplay also help identify bugs.
  • To ensure your site is loading fast and fine on desktop and mobile, use Google Page insights..
  • Use plugins to prevent your site from hacking and malware.
  • Conduct website technical audits.

#Reason 5: Payment issues or general lack of consumer trust

Many e-commerce websites suffer from these problems.

Shoppers not trusting the site is a big problem. You need to solve it ASAP.

How to fix it?

  • Assure your buyers that your checkout and payment gateway is secure. Show trust badges on the checkout and payment page.

  • Allow different payment options. Not only Visa and Mastercard. Paypal is popular with users. Mobile wallet and internet banking are also popular. Give them choices.
  • Create alerts when a customer’s card gets declined. Contact them through email or by phone to provide help.

#Reason 6: Delivery was too slow

If the user sees that the time taken to deliver the product is much higher than he expected he will abandon the cart.

How to fix it?

You can solve this by giving users multiple shipping options. If the user wants to get the product delivered faster he or she will be willing to pay a higher price for shipping.

AlexisDrake gives me 5 international shipping rates depending on the number of business days it would take to deliver. If I a need the product early I would pick the one which takes the least number of days.


#Reason 7: Returns policy wasn’t satisfactory

63% of American consumers check the return policy before buying. 48% would shop more with retailers that offer hassle-free returns.  

Source:comScore and UPS

Are these reasons genuine or a communication gap? If the latter then you can solve it with proper communication. Else you have to change your delivery partner and returns policy.

Please understand that eCommerce is a competitive space. You are not only fighting with online retailers but also with neighborhood shops.

I understand that both the reasons can be subjective. A buyer who needs a product ASAP won’t wait for a day. You cannot make every buyer happy with your return policy.

But make it reasonable. And competitive to ‘wow’ your audience.

How to fix it?

  • Review your returns policy. Simplify its language to help buyers understand it better. Write your return terms and conditions without any legal jargon.
  • Make your returns policy visible. It should be either in form of a pop-up or tabbed content on the product page.

Wayfair makes it easy for shoppers get access to their returns policy on every product page.

Abandoned cart emails to the rescue

You can’t eliminate cart abandonment completely. There will always be cart abandonment. What you can do is to minimize it. One of the most effective ways to minimizing cart abandonment is by leveraging cart abandonment emails. If you have an email id of the client who has abandoned the cart then you can send him a series of emails to address his concerns/objections to purchase and influence him to buy.

What is an abandoned cart email?

An abandoned cart email is a series of reminder emails sent to a shopper, who has added products to his cart and left without purchasing. The first email is generally sent a few hours of him leaving your site, a follow up the next day and a third email the next day.

The email talks about the product he left in the cart, offers him a better deal or alternative ways to order the product. It also offers you an opportunity to suggest similar products to invoke the customer interest. And, studies suggest that abandon cart emails are highly effective in recovering cart abandonment.

Emails sent within 20 minutes had an average conversion rate of 5.2%. Emails sent within an hour had a conversion rate of 4.5%, while emails sent more than 24 hours after cart abandonment only converted at 2.6%.


How to write powerful abandoned cart emails?

  • Write an irresistible subject line that compels users to open your email.
  • Remind the shopper about the abandoned product in the cart with all major information and link to the cart.
  • Offer a bait- discount, coupon, free shipping etc.
  • Use a single but strong call to action
  • Write in common and friendly language
  • Suggest him alternative ways to order the product like email/call/chat etc.
  • If you see no action even after a follow-up email then recommend similar products

How to setup abandon cart emails?

If your store is running on any ecommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magneto etc., then depending on the plan, the platforms offer you abandoned cart feature via apps and plugins to send emails. Check with your platform provider to know about setting up abandon cart emails.

If you have built up your website on WordPress or other website builders then, in that case, you can use services of email automation platforms like MailChimp, getresponse etc. You can also make use of tools like CartStackRejoiner, and AbandonAid etc., that can be integrated with any website.

Next Steps

I know you have your plate full. Fixing all these issues will take time. But there are some low lying fruits to pluck.

I will suggest what you need to do immediately

  1. Set up enhanced eCommerce Tracking to start tracking your Cart Abandonment. We have already discussed it at the start of the article.
  2. Allow buying as a guest option. This won’t take much time.
  3. Get an email automation system which shoots abandoned cart emailers based on user triggers.
  4. Read your return policy terms. Is it simple and easy for a school kid to understand? No rewrite it. Are you doing better than the competitor? No, tweak the terms. Is it accessible from any corner of the website? No, make it accessible.

Start fixing the issues on your website. And in a couple of weeks, you will see lower cart abandonment and more sales.

Let me know how it went. Share your experience with me in the comments section.

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After working 7+ years as a digital marketer for startups and large enterprises I quit my job to start EcommerceYogi. Here I share the exact same tactics which I have used to drive millions of users per month to e-commerce stores. Follow me on Linkedin and Twitter to stay connected.