Shopping cart abandonment: What eCommerce brands can do to improve recovery rates

Find out how to entice customers to return to your eCommerce store and avoid cart abandonment.

Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist

A constant pain for eCommerce companies is dealing with customers who abandon their carts before check-out. Boosting cart recovery rates can be tricky, but not impossible.   

In this blog, we will walk you through ways in which your eCommerce business can boost conversion rates and seamlessly bring customers back to their carts and encourage a purchase. 

What is cart abandonment?

Cart abandonment is when a customer does not complete a purchase after browsing your web shop and adding items to their cart. Once they exit your site or app, all the products in that cart are considered abandoned.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts?

To understand the “why” behind cart abandonment, it’s important to first understand that it is the unfortunate, but natural way people shop online. Window shopping, price comparisons and simply browsing for fun are some reasons why online shoppers abandon their cart- they weren’t all that serious about completing the purchase in the first place.   

But what about those shoppers who are seriously considering making a purchase and at the last minute decide not to?

According to the Statista, almost half of all online carts in the USA are abandoned. The main cause of cart abandonment in the USA was extra costs such as shipping, taxes and fees. Second place was when a customer was forced to create an account to complete a purchase.   

Another top reason, making up 22% of cart abandonment, is a long and complicated checkout process.   

Research from the Baymard Institute says that the average rate of online shopping cart abandonment for eCommerce companies is 70.01% which can be considered the benchmark.   

Want to calculate your abandoned cart rate? Check out our blog

How to calculate cart abandonment rates

Main reasons why shoppers abandon their online carts

Source: Statista

48%

Extra costs are too high (shipping, tax, extra fees)

26%

Asking for account creation

25%

Do not trust website with credit card information

23%

Delivery is too slow

11 ways to prevent shopping cart abandonment

eCommerce brands can try a number of strategies to improve their cart abandonment rates. Done right, your brand can see greater conversions, improved sales, and greater rates of repeat purchases if you optimize your shopping journey.

1. Make checkout easy

First and foremost, make sure your checkout process is simple. You don’t want to turn customers off with a long purchasing process, full of unnecessary clicks, and limited payment options.  

Consider adding a progress bar that clearly shows where the customer is in the checkout process and add a summary of purchase on the side so customers can clearly see a breakdown of costs including shipping and taxes from the get-go. Make it easy to remove items from their cart without having to leave the checkout page – that way, they can abandon one item instead of the entire cart. 

Make sure to enable different types of payment options, from various credit cards, mobile wallets, and digital bank payments. Customers don’t all bank the same way anymore, it’s important to make sure your checkout is simple for everyone.  

Enable different payment options like Apple Pay to improve cart recovery rates

2. Simplify returns

Make it clear to customers that your return process is simple and hassle-free. Many customers abandon their carts because they just aren’t satisfied with the return policy and aren’t confident they will want to keep the product.  

By adding a disclaimer on the checkout page, or on your product pages that clearly outlines your return policy and process, you can give customers peace of mind that they can go through with the purchase and have a simple return process if the product doesn’t fit their needs. 

3. Don’t force account creation at checkout

Make sure you offer customers the option to checkout as a “guest” and avoid forcing them to create an account. There are tons of other ways to encourage account creation and start collecting valuable customer data, but pushing this when they are preparing to purchase can turn customers off.  

If they have a painless checkout, they are likely to return, and you will have more opportunities to encourage them to make an official account and collect valuable data from them for future interactions.  

4. Reduce additional costs

Let’s be honest, how many times have you abandoned your cart when you saw the shipping cost added? As senseless as it might seem, customers will spend $75 on a product, but shy away from an additional $10 shopping charge. Offer different types of shipping options, from regular (which can be free for shoppers) to express, where a fee is applied.  

You can even try to offer free shipping if the customer spends X amount on their purchase. This incentive can go a long way in helping ensure that carts are abandoned at checkout. 

5. Create a favorites list

You may not be able to keep items in your customers’ carts, but depending on how your eCommerce store is set up, you can transfer those items to a “favorites” list. This makes it much more convenient for shoppers to remember what products they were interested in before they abandoned their carts.  

6. Send abandoned cart reminders

Sending reminders could be one of the more effective ways to encourage shoppers to come back to your eCommerce store. Thanks to conversational experiences that have been adopted by brands over the last few years, customers are growing accustomed to getting messages from brands on different channels like SMS, WhatsApp, Email, and RCS

Example of an abandoned cart reminder on email
Example of an abandoned cart reminder on RCS

Traditionally, SMS and Email were very popular for cart abandonment reminders. In Emails, customers can view the items they have left behind, and SMS can provide links that take shoppers right back to your online store.  

But digital channels are changing how eCommerce brands can reconnect with customers. Thanks to rich media like videos and images, and messaging features like shopping within the chat-app, or payment options, brands can guide customers through their shopping journey in the same conversation they sent the reminder on.  

7. Use a rewards program

Most eCommerce brands have rewards or loyalty programs in place – if you don’t, it’s worth looking into. So, if you aren’t in the position to be giving out discounts for abandoned carts, consider enticing customers to return with “double the points”. Depending on how your loyalty program is set up, you can use it to leverage customers to return and complete a purchase.  

Add this offer into your abandoned cart reminder messages and include a link that leads them right back to their cart. They can boost their status in your loyalty program or use the purchase to add more points to their loyalty points bank.  

8. Enable a web chatbot for FAQs

If a customer has a question or concern right before checking out, don’t force them into an egg hunt on Google or through your website to find the answers. By enabling a web chatbot, you can chat with your customers on the checkout page and answer any FAQs they might have that is keeping them from checking out.  

This way, you can offer customers fast, 24/7 and convenient support and lower the chance of them abandoning their cart with a friendly web chatbot.  

Use a web chatbot to answer FAQs and improve the shopping journey

Check out our guide on how to build a web chatbot all on your own and try it out yourself for free.  

9. Use social proof

Sometimes shoppers need a little push from the actions of other shoppers to get to the checkout and complete a purchase. Try adding a “best-seller” or “selling fast” tag on your most popular items. Or try adding a tag that tells customers how many people have this item in their cart currently, or how many have been sold in the last 24 hours. This adds a sense of urgency and gives customers more incentive to complete a purchase if the item is popular among other shoppers.

10. Send a discount

If you have sent your reminder message, and even offered a loyalty reward incentive, and the customer still hasn’t returned to their cart – try the good old discount trick. Shoppers love a deal, and if you offer even a small discount of 5 or 10% off their purchase, it can be the final push they need to complete the sale.  

Send special discounts to entice customers to return to their online carts

Add this discount to a message over a messaging channel that your customers are using daily, something like WhatsApp, SMS, or Viber. This way, you have a greater chance of your customers seeing the offer quickly and acting on it. Try adding a time limit to the offer to add a sense of urgency and entice them to head back to the check out right away.  

11. Use social media to re-target customers

Finally, if a shopper has abandoned their cart, and hasn’t engaged with your messages to return to complete the purchase, try using the data you have on that customer to retarget them in the future with those items. First-party data is incredibly valuable, and it can help you understand what your customers are interested in and how you should target them.  

Use Instragram to target customers who abandon their carts

Lauch targeted campaigns on social media platforms like Instagram, featuring items that customers have abandoned in the past. Add a “click to chat” button that leads them to your WhatsApp channel where they can ask questions, and even complete purchases.  

Best practices for abandoned cart messages with examples

// Abandoned cart subject lines

If you are sending abandoned cart reminders via email, the subject line is your first chance at getting your customer’s attention back.

When creating the subject line for an abandoned cart email, keep it short and sweet. You want to grab their attention without sounding spammy. Try asking a question or adding the item they abandoned in the subject line. You can add a time-limit to add a sense of urgency.

Example

Ask an intriguing question

Forget something in your cart?

Mention items in their cart

Still interested in our smart watch?

Offer a special discount

Get 20% off in the next 24 hrs!

// Personalize messages

Adding personalized context to your messages can help entice customers to read and act on the messages you send. Especially if you are engaging them on channels they use regularly to interact with friends and family like WhatsApp or Viber – you want to keep your messages in-line with other messages they receive on these channels.  

You can do more than just use their first name. Combine other data you have on customers, such as birthdays or special dates and use them to encourage customers to return to their cart.

Example

Hey Julia! With your birthday coming up next week, we think you deserve to treat yourself to a gift! Check out your cart and we can have it delivered by your birthday next Tuesday – with a special birthday gift. 

Go to cart

// Use various channels

Preferences vary between customers; this includes the channels they want to communicate with you on.  

Use popular digital channels to get their attention immediately and add SMS or email as a fallback in case the message doesn’t go through.  

Alternatively, first send a push-notification from your app reminding them they have items in their cart. After a certain amount of time, send a second reminder over their preferred channel with a special offer to encourage the customer to complete their purchase.  

Example

Push-notification message

Julia! There are items in your cart, don’t forget to complete your purchase! 

Digital channel message

Hey Julia, get free delivery today when you complete your purchase!

// Feature abandoned items

Using images of the items in your customers’ carts will help nudge them to complete their purchase.  

Make use of the dynamic features of different channels and display product images and details directly in the chat.  

Example

5. Add social proof

We touched on adding social proof to your product page, but why not include it in your messages as well? Social proof encourages customers to follow the actions of others. Try adding some aspects to your abandoned cart messages depending on the channel you use.   

For email, you can add reviews of the products in the customer’s cart or testimonials at the end of the email. 

If you are using digital channels or SMS, try adding a sense of urgency by mentioning how many other customers have viewed or purchased the product. 

Example

Julia! The limited-edition smart watch is selling fast, 76 customers have purchased it in the last 48 hours. We reserved one in your cart for the next 12 hours, get yours before they’re gone! 

Go to cart

// Add a special offer

Online shoppers love special offers and discounts. Depending on what your brand can offer, get creative with your promotions when sending abandoned cart reminders.  

Example

Hey Julia, there are items waiting for you in your cart! Complete your purchase today and… 

Get free delivery
Get a special gift of your choice at check-out
Get 10% off your purchase  
Get double the loyalty points  
Get a free return voucher in case you need to send it back 

Go to cart

// Create a clear call-to-action

Make it easy for customers to access their carts with clear call-to-action buttons on various channels. If you use SMS, make sure to clarify exactly where the link in your message will lead customers. This is your opportunity to send them further into the purchasing journey- make it count!

Example

Go to cart

Click and shop

View items in cart

Tools for abandoned cart recovery

To bring all these possibilities to life and make sending abandoned cart reminders easier than ever, automation will become your best friend.  

With the right tools, you can segment customers based on their interests and behaviors to send the right messages, on their preferred channel.

Omnichannel customer engagement solution

Our omnichannel customer engagement solution, Moments, allows you to build message flows for various scenarios and is equipped with a wide range of features to bring your cart recovery messages to the next level: 

  1. Include send-time optimization, to ensure customers get their messages when they are most likely to open them  
  2. Add failover channels through Moments so customers never miss their cart recovery messages.  
  3. Create customized message flows with insights from customer data and ensure you build the right messaging strategy to boost recovery rates 
  4. Use behavior triggers to send messages to customers after they have abandoned their carts 
A customer engagement solution helps automate timely messages to remind customers of abandoned carts

Customer data platform

Collecting and utilizing customer data can help you bring personalization to your cart abandonment messages. Segment customers based on their behaviors and interests so that you can add personalized context to your messages. 

A customer data platform will create detailed profiles to help retarget customers who abandon their carts

Make the most out of your conversations with shoppers

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May 31st, 2024
11 min read
Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist