12 Effective Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment & Conquer Customers Hearts

12 February ~ 22 min read 737 views
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Claspo Blog 12 Effective Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment & Conquer Customers Hearts

Online shops and marketplaces are a relatively new phenomenon compared to face-to-face trading. That is why plenty of their aspects do not get the attention they deserve. 

For instance, many sellers choose to ignore when shoppers add items to their carts but then leave without completing a purchase. Yet, if they did not spare time and efforts to research the motivation behind this sudden loss of interest, they could identify and fix the problematic aspects, subtly inducing people to obtain the desired products or services more often. The same as in “real life” shops, being thoughtful and caring towards potential clients eventually pays off. 

That is why reducing cart abandonment should become an inherent part of every successful modern business strategy. So, let’s see what methods can become a great addition to your action plan


Shopping Cart Abandonment Definition

It’s hard to win the battle if you don’t know your opponent. Hence, it’s crucial to discuss the notion of cart abandonment first. The best way to understand it is through your own experience. 

It’s the year 2022, so you’ve definitely ordered something online. Some cases might have been a huge success, but many turned out to be a total disaster. Thus, these thoughts would probably sound familiar to you:

  • “New York looks astonishing this time of the year, but I am not ready to eat plain food for the rest of the month”.
  • “Completing this form is a ‘mission impossible’ challenge. One more glitch, and I’m out”.
  • “More than a month to deliver a Christmas sweater? They must have included knitting in the process”.

Usually, when something irritates and distracts you, or your wishful thinking does not stand a reality check, you quit the platform, and everything in your cart becomes abandoned. That’s why analysts decide to define this action as “shopping cart abandonment”.   

Shopping cart abandonment

The customer’s act of quitting after initiating a buying by putting products or services to the cart but eventually not placing an order.

Why do customers have this change of heart? Of course, an attempt to cover the whole plethora of motives behind this behavior would be impractical, to say the least. So, let’s focus on the most common ones instead. 

Baymard Institute asked shoppers what prompted them to drop their carts. Naturally, the most popular reason was “just browsing/not ready to buy” (58.6%) which implies that those users did not even get to the checkout process. This means that you manage to captivate customers and get them on the cusp of striking a deal. Maybe some of them just need a little push to place an order.         

Top 10 other causes include:

  1. Extra costs made the overall price too expensive (49%).
  2. The need to create an account (24%).
  3. Slow delivery (19%).
  4. The checkout process took too much time and effort (18%).
  5. The website did not look trustworthy (17%).
  6. The total cost was unclear before the checkout (17%).
  7. Platform crashed or had numerous errors (12%).
  8. Inadequate returns policy (11%).
  9. There was no suitable payment method (7%).
  10. The credit card was declined (4%).

The most common reasons for abandoning online shopping carts in 2021.png

The most common reasons for abandoning online shopping carts in 2021. Retrieved from Baymard Institute.

The majority of these discouragements can be addressed if you decide to incorporate methods of reducing shopping cart abandonment. Some of them, like form optimization, do not even require significant expenses. Plus, providing impeccable service when it comes to the technical side of the platform should be mandatory for any contemporary website.

Anyway, to handle cart abandonment with the gravity it deserves, you have to study it in all of its complexity. That’s why we prepared a comprehensive study of this matter, you can find it here.   

How to Calculate Cart Abandonment Rate

Cart abandonment rate is a vital part of developing a feasible action plan for reducing cart abandonment. You need to assess the damage and implications of its negative impact if you want to craft an adequate response. Basically, the questions “How to reduce cart abandonment?” and “How to reduce cart abandonment rate?” have the same answer. 

So, what is the cart abandonment rate, and how can you measure it? This metric has a direct connection to cart conversion rate, which means you have to use two mathematical formulas to calculate it.

Cart Conversion Rate.png

Let’s use an example for better visualization. Presume that you need to analyze a typical online store that shows this statistical data for the past month:

  1. 73 000 people accessed the platform;
  2. 61 000 visitors added products or services to the cart;
  3. 16 000 shoppers actually ordered something.

Now you have to substitute the number of completed transactions & the number of shopping carts opened with the actual figures and do the math:

  1. 16 000/61 000=0.26
  2. 1-0.26=0.74
  3. 0.74*100=74.


Hence, in this case, the cart abandonment rate is 74%, while the cart conversion rate is 26%. Still, these results will be useless unless you know how to interpret them correctly. 

Baymard Institute aggregated the statistics of 46 studies and concluded that the average cart abandonment rate is 69.82%. This fictional store’s numbers are close enough to the average level, so this state of affairs does not call for urgent or drastic measures. Still, it implies that only 3 out of 10 potential clients directly contribute to your revenue by acquiring goods. 

Surely, this is not the picture that any business owner would enjoy seeing. Reducing cart abandonment equips you with the means to reverse the situation, and this indicator is irreplaceable if you want to evaluate the amount of work that needs to be done. That’s why you might find our article on calculating cart abandonment rate helpful and worth studying.      

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Generally, your average cart abandonment level can be higher or lower than 69% depending on the industry because planning a vacation will never be the same as buying groceries. But it’s important to keep in mind that under any circumstances it cannot reach zero.

Shopping cart abandonment rate by industries in March 2021.png

Shopping cart abandonment rate by industries in March 2021. Retrieved from Statista.

Maybe a person decided that ordering this expensive outfit for one fancy occasion is a bit extravagant, or got distracted by the arrival of unexpected guests. You cannot control other people’s behavior unless you can hypnotize or force them to obey. But humans are entitled to free will, so it is unacceptable and will be strongly disapproved of by all civilized communities. 

Piece of advice:

Eliminating all abandoned carts is an unachievable goal, whereas reducing shopping cart abandonment is a viable action plan. 

So, where do you start? Your primary task is to create a scheme that will help you convert customers’ intent to buy into real sales, or, as scientists refer to it, an abandoned cart recovery strategy.     

Abandoned cart recovery

A company’s strategy, containing a set of specific measures designed to prevent users from abandoning their online carts, or bring them back to complete the initiated purchase if they have already left the platform. 

It’s always better to draw conclusions from the information obtained from scientific research. Both Baymard Institute and Marketing Charts published reports about the motives behind customers’ behavior before and after they dropped their carts. Let’s use these findings to determine what postulates should lie at the heart of your policy on cart abandonment.      If developed properly, this recovery plan can become your beacon of hope in the sea of abandoned carts. But what principles should you adhere to while brainstorming ideas on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment?

1. Introduce convenient shipping & refund options

You might have a great selection of quality products or services, but if the shipping and refund policies are outdated, the chances are high your efforts to increase the conversion rate will turn out to be fruitless. 

  • If the shipping cost equals the product’s price, shoppers will usually refuse to proceed with the purchase.
  • Users long for improvements in retailers’ approaches to both shipping (58%) and refund (42%).
  • Customers favor stores that do not have delays (41%) and offer free/easy shipping (63-69%) & refund methods (28-29%). Moreover, they would be happy to recommend them. 

What can you do to comply with shoppers’ expectations? Here are the most popular suggestions:

  • Revise your shipping & refund policies to simplify them.
  • Do not charge customers with a restocking fee or make them pay for return shipping, they strongly disapprove of that (43% & 63% respectively). Allow automatic refund or submit return labels that can be easily printed or found inside the box.
  • Provide multiple shipping methods because more than half of shoppers can wait for 4-7 days for a package to arrive, but the others can be ready to pay for a fast delivery (still, 78% of the respondents expect a seller to have an economy shipping option).

How shipping policies affect customers' behavior in online retail.png

How shipping policies affect customers' behavior in online retail. Retrieved from Marketing Charts

2. Make customers feel welcome

The absence of managers, consultants, and other staff can become both a curse and a blessing of online shopping. On the one hand, users cannot be disturbed by unwanted interactions, but on the other hand, they can often feel lost and overwhelmed because of the complexity of technical procedures or the wide product range.

Here are some suggestions on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment by making people’s shopping experience more comfortable:

  • Greet your visitors with a gift (a small discount, a coupon, etc.). As Will Rogers once said, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so don’t miss this opportunity. Plus, you can use the message to collect contact information.
  • Keep it personal. We all love individual approaches. We feel valued when the waiter knows our favorite table, nod with enthusiasm when the barista asks us: “The usual?”, and smile when the baker hands us pancakes with an extra portion of strawberry jam as a token of appreciation. Hence, adjust your algorithms and marketing campaigns to charm potential clients with personal recommendations, discounts, or proposals. 
  • Always be ready to support and guide visitors through all challenges of the online shopping process. Comprise your customer service team of knowledgeable professionals, add a chatbot, provide explicit answers in the FAQ section.
  • Demonstrate popular and trending products because people tend to trust peers’ opinions. You might even hint that demand for these items is way higher than supply, stimulating them to refrain from delaying the purchase.

A discount offer with a data collecting form..png

Greeting with a discount offer and a data collecting form. Retrieved from Birchbox.              

3. Pay attention to timing and efficiency

Watering plants when it’s raining is useless. The same is true for reducing shopping cart abandonment. How can sellers avoid being a little too late? Here is a list of helpful tactics:

  • Provide key order parameters, such as available shipping & refund methods, total cost, estimated/guaranteed delivery date in advance, so the customers would stop quitting during the checkout.
  • Present shoppers with limited offers, discounts, or proposals, when they exhibit the signs that they are about to leave the site to make them reconsider. If they are certain that they want to leave, ask them if they want to save the details of the initiated order. 
  • Send a follow-up email right after visitors exit the website, it will bring you 105% more revenue than the same action but 24 hours later.   

Dote’s follow-up email pushes all the right buttons and sparks the desire to return..png

Dote’s follow-up email pushes all the right buttons and sparks the desire to return. Retrieved from Really Good Emails

4. Show that you’re trustworthy

Even after decades of e-commerce existence, trusting online shops and marketplaces does not come easy, and that attitude is completely reasonable. The Internet is flooded with pictures mocking the difference between expectations and the reality of shopping online, and that is not even a worst-case scenario because those people did not lose their money. Thus, do not expect users to believe you from the start, endeavor to earn their trust.

How can you accomplish it? Here are some of the most obvious ways:

  • Add a special section for reviews & testimonials (28% of shoppers check the reviews & retailer’s reputation).
  • Display trust seals, certificates, and other stamps of approval.
  • Tell people about your company & upload pictures of real people. 
  • Make your return policy clear, coherent, and simple. 3 out of 5 respondents confirmed that they returned a product they bought online, so it’s necessary to make this procedure as convenient as possible.
  • Provide estimated/guaranteed delivery date and tracking information.         

5. Be open with your clients

This principle stems directly from the previous one. The ability to see that you have nothing to hide will erase doubts about buying from you. So, share as much as you can with your customers, and they will reward you with ordering more. 

6. Avoid excessive elements & unnecessary complications

Sometimes platforms try to have it all, so they show all the available offerings and listings and fill the forms with all possible fields, making the website resemble a country fair or bureaucratic institution rather than a respectable marketplace. The human brain has limited capacity when it comes to perceiving and analyzing data. Therefore, this approach is doomed to make people flee the scene because they are tired, overwhelmed, or bored.

Here are some suggestions on how to make your store a relief for viewers eyes:

  • Display all the relevant information (shipping costs, return policy, delivery date, etc.), but do not be afraid to omit something that does not correspond with the customer’s needs. 
  • Checkout form should contain no more than 12-14 elements, and you can get a 35.26% growth in conversion if you manage to optimize it appropriately. It might be helpful to include order details or a progress bar, but the rest of the process should be subjected to thorough analysis.    

7. Optimize design & layout

You do not want your visitors to feel lost and disoriented. You must know from your experience how frustrating it can be when it takes forever just to find shipping options. Thus, ensure that your design: 

  • is user-friendly;
  • makes important information accessible within a few clicks;
  • works flawlessly on both desktop & mobile versions. 

8. Find a balance between quantity and quality of payment options

Users cannot buy anything if they cannot pay for their purchases. That’s why it’s in your best interests to provide multiple payment options. Yet, you should not forget about security. 

First, choose secure channels to handle clients’ transactions. Then search for safe payment methods:

✓ Credit cards? That’s definitely a “yes”.

✓ Web money? Acceptable with a reputable provider like PayPal.

✓ Gift cards? Can also be a viable option.

✓ Direct invoices? Complicated, but possible.

✘ Cryptocurrency? Risky and complicated, so it’s usually a no-go.  

Possible payment options..png

Possible payment options. Retrieved from ASOS

9. Keep the site up and running

In the age of sophisticated technology, it should go without saying that your software should be impeccable. Therefore, ensure that your team knows how to:

  • make pages load quickly;
  • eliminate bugs and errors;
  • promptly revive the website if it crashes;
  • maintain software properly and test it for usability.

If you cannot avoid disappointing customers, try to cheer them up with something cute or funny, as Product Hunt did..png

If you cannot avoid disappointing customers, try to cheer them up with something cute or funny, as Product Hunt did. Retrieved from wpbeginner

10. Do your research

Of course, human behavior is unpredictable. But your task is not to get a forecast of peoples’ actions with 100% accuracy. Reducing cart abandonment requires a basic understanding of the most recurrent patterns, obstacles, and motives. So, do not hesitate to:

  • Gather and analyze the indicators that are at your disposal.
  • Conduct surveys. If you directly ask your customers why they decided to cancel via a short, friendly, polite, and anonymous pop-up feedback form, there is a fair chance they wouldn’t mind sharing their experience. With Claspo pop-up builder, you’ll have all the instruments at your disposal to tailor the message in a way that would suit this purpose perfectly.  
  • Use the “trial and error” method and monitor users’ reactions.
  • Perform A/B testing.    

11. Don’t give up

According to the statistics, only 29% of businesses attempt to address the negative consequences of cart abandonment. That is a huge mistake because as soon as companies adopted cart recovery policy their return rate increased to 26% and showed significant growth of profits. There are two major tactics you can use when the abandonment has already happened:

  • Followup emails. These letters are incredibly efficient because they are personal. You can greet customers, use their names, offer free shipping, a discount, or a coupon, and present related items. 
  • Retargeting. This technique uses cookies to continue reminding visitors about your store when they browse other websites. Surely, it’s not as rewarding as emails, but you can apply it even when a person refuses to leave contact information.  

Post-abandonment shopping cart recovery rate.png

Post-abandonment shopping cart recovery rate. Retrieved from Marketing Charts.

12. Find each tactic a matching tool

You will not hammer in nails with your smartphone, right? The same goes for your reducing cart abandonment strategy. It is a toolbox, and you should fill it with the instruments that suit your purposes. For instance, Google Analytics can help you vastly with your research, and targeted emails with personal offers will warm up customers’ hearts. 

Yet, there is one tool that usually does not get the credit it deserves. In experienced and creative hands, popups can transform into a real Swiss knife. You can use it to present offers and discounts, gather feedback, or collect personal data. For instance, if you choose to create messages with Claspo simple and functional popup builder, it will provide you with an endless pool of ideas on how to reduce cart abandonment.   

Overall, there is an unlimited number of ways to reduce cart abandonment. If you want to learn more, you can check our article about cart abandonment recovery.     


Summing up, you should make customers the closest allies in your struggle against cart abandonment. Your primary task is to understand what bothers people and prevents them from leaving the site with a purchase. As soon as you identify your weak spots, you can lure them in with discounts, lucrative offers, elegant design, and a plethora of options concerning shipping, return, or payment. That’s how reducing shopping cart abandonment can become a beneficial experience for both your company and potential clients.