March 26, 2019

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment


Shopping cart abandonment. Three of the most dreaded words in the e-commerce world, they can make even the most seasoned online retailer shiver. But fear not, there are many ways to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate, and we’re here to help.

In order to effectively decrease your cart abandonment rate, you need to make a plan. Find out what the average shopping cart abandonment rate is for your industry and at where your business falls within those statistics. Are you high, low, or right on target? Maybe you are right in line with the rest of your industry, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Set a goal for how much you want to improve within the next few months.

Screenshot of a graph

You also need to consider how your customers are shopping for your products — be it a tablet, mobile, or desktop. According to a 2018 article by Barilliance, “mobile has the highest cart abandonment rates, with 85.65% of all transactions ending without a sale”. If the majority of your consumers shop via mobile, then you must ensure your website is optimized for it. No one wants to shop on a page that requires zooming in and out just to get around — they’ll just move on to the next retailer and leave their half-filled cart in the dust.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the good stuff.


Make Shopping Easy 

Online shopping should be simple and convenient. Include several images of your product, including multiple views and lifestyle images, and maybe even a video, so that people can clearly understand the item they are buying. For larger ticket items, like home appliances, offer comparison tools so that buyers can easily see how one product stacks up against another. 

Since they’re not shopping in a brick and mortar store, customers cannot touch, measure, or try on your product. Providing customer reviews helps the buyer get more information about the product and adds credibility by showing that others have purchased the item without any problems. 

Keep shopping simple by removing any distractions that may pull focus away from the goal of the consumer: to purchase your product. Too many banners, pop-ups, or suggestions may turn people off rather than entice them to buy more. It’s like the annoying salesperson who won’t let you browse at your own pace, hovering just behind you offering suggestions all the while making you feel increasingly more uncomfortable until you finally leave the store. 

Make the cart easy to find and visible from every page. Once an item has been added to the cart, the customer should have the choice to keep shopping right where they left off or checking out. The cart should be easily editable so customers can add or subtract multiples without having to go back to the product page. And, if they are not quite ready to purchase, they should be able to save the cart for later without having to set up an account. 

Of course, none of these things can be possible if your site speed is not up to par. People won’t hesitate to leave your slow-loading site to visit a competitor’s site. The same goes for a site that’s not optimized for tablet or mobile. Statistics show that more consumers are shopping via mobile, yet that’s where the highest shopping cart abandonment rate lies. Make sure you are doing everything you can to not be part of that statistic.

Graph comparing global average vs desktop tablet mobile phones


Transparency and Security is Key

Once your website has been optimized for simplicity and ease-of-purchase, the next step is to gain the consumer’s trust. It goes without saying that your website should have the proper security badges displayed in a prominent location—yet, here we are saying it. People are much more likely to plug in their credit card number if they know you’re taking the proper precautions to keep their information safe and secure. 

The primary reason for shopping cart abandonment is unexpected shipping costs. No one likes to be surprised with an exorbitant shipping cost once they’ve made it all the way to the end of the buying process. Make shipping costs known up front, or even better, offer free or flat-rate shipping.

Your site should include live chat or at the very least a customer service email address or phone number, for any questions a consumer has about your product. Don’t make a customer leave a product page to go in search of your contact info, that’s a sure-fire way to make them leave your website altogether.

Lastly, offer a stellar return policy. Because buyers can’t touch, feel, or try on the items before they buy, they want to know that they won’t be hassled with a complicated or expensive return process. Be upfront about what you offer: the length of time they have to return the item, if they are responsible for return shipping, and if they can return or exchange at any of your brick and mortar stores.


Primary reason for digital buyers to abadon their carts in the US as of 2015 graph


Mobile screenshot of Embr abandoned cart

Increase Ease of Checkout 

Once in the checkout process, your page should include a progress indicator so buyers know exactly where they are in the process. Each checkout page should contain a strong call to action so that customers know exactly where to click and what to do next. Using CTAs like Checkout Now, Continue Checkout, and Finalize Checkout will help clearly lead buyers through the process. 

Offer several payment options, like credit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal to suit all your customers’ needs. You don’t want anything to keep the buyer from clicking the Finalize Checkout button. 

Above all else, please, please (please!) do not require buyers to create an account. Requiring users to create an account is the second leading reason people abandon their carts. If collecting data is part of your marketing plan, allow the buyer to use an account they already have established, like Facebook or PayPal, to sign up. You get what you need and the customer walks away happy. 


If They Do Leave

The truth of it is that even if you’ve done everything right, a good percentage of people are still going to abandon their carts. When this happens, there are several steps you can take to entice them to come back and complete their purchase. 

Use an exit intent pop-up to discourage the buyer from leaving your site. A message will pop-up when users navigate their mouse toward the “x” on your company's website. Remind them of any discounts available and show a countdown to when the offer expires. If you can’t offer a discount, a chipper “Don’t leave yet! You seem to have forgotten something” message might do the trick. 

If your customer succeeded in leaving their cart, send a cart abandonment email within a few days that includes a bold CTA that will bring them back to your website. This is an appropriate time to offer a discount for returning to complete the sale. Make it personal — be sure to address them by name and specifically list the items they left behind. Use language that will draw them in, don’t be threatening. 


Retarget buyers after they leave your site. Retargeting, in a nutshell, is showing ads on websites other than your own. By retargeting, you are keeping your products in front of people’s minds —the more they see it, the more likely they are to return to your site and purchase it. 





No one in the e-commerce world is immune to shopping cart abandonment, but that doesn’t mean there’s reason to panic. By optimizing your business’s shopping and checkout experience, you can cut down on the number of people leaving their carts behind. If they do succeed in leaving, don’t give up! Reaching out to them through retargeting and automated emails may be just the things to bring them back. 

If you are having problems with cart abandonment and don’t want to go it alone, contact us! With customized marketing and development solutions for all business sizes, we’ve got you covered. 



December 22, 2023
Check out our latest webinar "2024 Trends and Predictions." We cover several topics based on our research, client conversations, and additional insight as we head into the New Year.