Shopping cart abandonment and recovery: the definitive guide for e-commerce

Young woman carrying basket while shopping in the supermarket

99% of customers won’t buy anything during their first visit in your e-store, SeeWhy research proves. 68.53% of shopping carts are abandoned (Baymard Institute). Why customers leave their baskets behind and how to reduce that trend?

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Why Does Cart Abandonment Happen?

Before we find a solution, we need to understand customers’ motivation to abandon their carts. Business Insider survey casts some lights on the problem. The respondents indicated the following reasons for quitting shopping process:
1) Shipping costs made the total purchase more than expected (58%): Remember that the practice to lower your prices and increase shipping cost (to compensate for it) never prospects. Customer will feel cheated and won’t return. Consumers, in general, love the idea of free shipping, so consider offering them one (or only for bigger purchases) to increase the likelihood of a sale. It’s also a good idea to offer 2 options of shipping: one economic and deluxe (faster but more expensive).
2) I wasn’t ready for purchase but wanted to get an idea of total cost (57%): Customers often do research before they buy a product. Part of the process is checking how much it costs, including all additional charges. They’re looking for the best deal, so maybe you can’t tempt them with a discount on the exit-triggered popup?
3) I wanted to save the cart for later (55%): when browsing your e-store, even without a clear shopping intention, customers might add products to cart to spare themselves an effort of searching the item next time. It means that she is interested, but needs more time to consider. Make sure she doesn’t forget about the product.
4) My order value wasn’t large enough to qualify for free shipping (50%): in the cart, you can put a counter showing how much customer has to spend to qualify for free shipping.
5) Shipping and handling costs were listed too late during the checkout process (37%): when customer proceeds through the checkout and after filling in many fields she is confronted with additional costs, she might feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s fair to give the full price from the beginning. You can even put the price including shipping costs on the product site (below the original price).
6) The estimated shipping time was too long for the amount I wanted to pay (28%): Sometimes customers need a product fast and resign if they can’t have it in desired time.
7) My preferred payment options were not offered (25%): listen to customers’ feedback about the payment. It doesn’t make sense to introduce the new method for one customer, but if many declare a problem, maybe you’re missing an opportunity?
The list above indicates that what plays the vital role in cart abandonment isn’t randomness (like customer gets distracted when confronted with another stimulus, unpredictable events), but small mistakes that can be easily corrected. A good sign! According to BI, marketers can rescue 63% of baskets left behind.


How to improve your e-store to reduce cart abandonment?

Present the final price from the beginning of the checkout process: Don’t surprise customers with additional costs at the end, hoping that they will complete the purchase anyway.
Allow for purchase without registration: you can send an email encouraging to register, explaining all the advantages of having an account. But don’t make the user go back to register. If the process takes longer, the possibility of quitting increases. Don’t take that risk.
Give guarantees: make a customer feel safe. Explain briefly (in 1 sentence!) your return policy.
Make cart editing super-easy: consumer should be able to remove one or two items from the basket, it the final price is too high for her. If she doesn’t find such option, she will most likely resign.
How does it look on a smartphone? Be sure to optimize your checkout process for mobile devices.


How to recover abandoned carts?

But what if consumer quits with no regard for your optimization? Milk is spilled! There is still a couple of tools to use to win that customer back.
Exit-triggered popups: offer discount to draw the attention of researchers. If they see a benefit they didn’t expect (a discount, a gift or free shipping), they might realize that the deal is good enough.
Dynamic emails with abandoned products. Such messages see 193% higher OR, 439% higher CTR and 621% higher conversion rate (see our Case Study). Why do they work? Because you offer something customer wants!
A couple of messages: should I send one cart recovery email? It depends on. When you sell something expensive, the shopping process takes longer, and 3 emails would suit. But if you send more than one, make each of them unique. The first one might remind of products, the second could offer a discount, and the third – inform that an item will be out of stock soon.
Include a picture: it will be more powerful that an only name or description.
Send the first message after 24 hours: don’t wait too long with your cart recovery email, because the consumer will forget about her visit and her motivation will fade away.
Retargeting: choose from display remarketing campaign (better for customers who were just browsing and viewing products, but didn’t add anything to cart) or email (when shopping intention is clear). But what to do if your almost-customer didn’t give you her email address?
Anonymous Marketing Automation: thanks to integration with external databases, SALESmanago can identify your anonymous users and help you get in touch with them.


You have to fight for your carts!

Sometimes you can’t do anything about user resigning from the purchase, but there are improvements you can implement to reduce cart abandonment:
1) checkout optimization: presenting the full price from the beginning, options of purchase without registering, editable basket, return guarantee and mobile optimization,
2) cart recovery actions: exit-triggered popups, dynamic emails, retargeting.

SALESmanago is a Customer Engagement Platform for impact-hungry eCommerce marketing teams who want to be lean yet powerful, trusted revenue growth partners for CEOs. Our AI-driven solutions have already been adopted by 2000+ mid-size businesses in 50 countries, as well as many well-known global brands such as Starbucks, Vodafone, Lacoste, KFC, New Balance and Victoria’s Secret.

SALESmanago delivers on its promise of maximizing revenue growth and improving eCommerce KPIs by leveraging three principles: (1) Customer Intimacy to create authentic customer relationships based on Zero and First Party Data; (2) Precision Execution to provide superior Omnichannel customer experience thanks to Hyperpersonalization; and (3) Growth Intelligence merging human and AI-based guidance enabling pragmatic and faster decision making for maximum impact.

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