The Phenomenon of Shopping Cart Abandonment and How to Address It Effectively

What is an Abandoned Cart and How to Prevent it

02 February 2022 12 April ~ 19 min read 3432 views
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Claspo Blog What is an Abandoned Cart and How to Prevent it

Abandoned carts are an issue that eats into the revenue of many e-commerce stores, costing them billions of dollars yearly. But is it really your fault and responsibility, or is it just a reality that you must learn to deal with?

In this article, we will examine cart abandonment, its main causes, and how it can be prevented.


What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

With so much of our shopping done digitally, it is easy to imagine casually browsing an online store, adding items to your cart, starting the checkout process, stopping short of completing it, and leaving the site without making a purchase. 

That last action is what analysts refer to as online shopping cart abandonment. You might have done it as a shopper, but if you’ve never paid attention to this metric as a retailer, it is a huge oversight that needs to be fixed.

Why Does Every Abandoned Cart Count?

You might be curious: why is reducing the number of dropped shopping carts so important? According to the studies by Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%, which might seem like a terrifying loss of profits. 

That’s because it is! Remember, at the start of the article, we told you that businesses lose billions of dollars in profit due to cart abandonment? In particular, the latest estimates show that e-commerce stores lose up to $18 billion to this issue each year!

Of course, the customer's final decision doesn’t depend entirely on you. It takes hours of studying reviews, browsing social media accounts, and comparing websites before customers can finally make an educated choice and finish their purchase. However, there are some website and strategy issues with cart abandonment that are your responsibility.

This is an incredibly broad topic, and besides elaborating on it here, we have other articles dedicated to cart abandonment, including negative consequences of shopping cart abandonment and effective ways to reduce it.

11 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

Now that we’re familiar with what cart abandonment is and why it matters, it’s time to dig into the meat of the issue. What are the reasons people abandon their carts? The latest statistics reveal that most issues lie with store and checkout inconveniences.


1. Just browsing

The number one reason for online shopping cart abandonment is pretty trivial. 48% of US respondents say that they left their cart before initiating the checkout process because they were just browsing. Unlike the other categories, people who are just browsing rarely reach checkout.

Despite being the biggest contributor to cart abandonment, there isn’t a clear consensus on how to solve this issue. Your initial conclusion might come to: “There isn’t much we can do to fix it; just do our best and pray.”


At Claspo, we firmly believe in proactive marketing, so we have a solution that will help you capture even the “just browsing” crowd. While it isn’t a miracle cure, our cart abandonment solutions have proven very effective at offsetting this issue.

You can offer an incentive to stay: free shipping, a promo code, or products that might interest the customer based on their viewed items.

Try this template

You can also remind a customer about an ongoing sale. If it is a limited-time deal, it may appeal to their fear of missing out (FOMO) and make them complete the purchase faster.

Try this template

All of these can re-engage those who are just browsing and make them think twice before leaving.

2. Extra costs

The next biggest contributor to cart abandonment is extra costs, such as shipping, taxes, or additional fees. It is only natural that people will get frustrated when items cost more than they were initially led to believe. Therefore, it is vital to be transparent about additional costs out of the gate. 

Factoring duties and other taxes into the price of an item is a good way to offset the majority of these issues. The product will look a bit more expensive, but that’s just the cold, harsh reality.

If that doesn’t help, offering free shipping can mitigate this issue. Doing this for everyone may eat into your bottom line too much, so offering free shipping only to those who purchase a certain amount or purchasers of a certain offer is wise. For example, using Claspo, you can target first-time buyers or people coming from different marketing campaigns and communication channels.

Try this template

3. No guest check-out

This is a story as old as time. Some stores insist on pushing their AMAZING, ONE-OF-A-KIND, EXCLUSIVE accounts on users. Frankly, that is just inconvenient and pushes many potential buyers away.

If you are still not convinced, let’s look at Adidas. They entice users to create an account, but it’s presented as a convenience, not a necessity. Logging in with your Google account makes the checkout process shorter and offers access to a multitude of loyalty programs, including adiClub, which allows you to earn loyalty points by running.


4. Trust issues

The convenience of online shopping is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you don’t need to wait in line or interact with anyone; you can shop from anywhere, and ordering takes only a couple of clicks. On the other hand, the store might be a scam, and the time it takes to receive delivery amplifies the anxiety. 

Naturally, the more well-known your site is, the fewer people will question its legitimacy. A good way to ensure trust is to include safe checkout guarantees, which most popular e-commerce platforms allow.


Getting a few genuine reviews can go a long way when you're just starting out. Attach shop reviews on the main page and encourage people to leave product reviews. You can use Claspo’s pop-ups to encourage people to leave reviews and display them in our slider on your product pages.

5. Slow delivery

The problem with abandoned shopping carts usually occurs when the platform fails to accommodate clients’ needs and expectations. Slow delivery is a significant issue that will cause trouble in the long run.

The leading solution is to speed up the delivery by choosing a different provider or beating your lazy workers until their performance improves (for legal reasons, that’s a joke). But if that’s not feasible or too inhumane for your taste, try offsetting it with a bonus in case of slow delivery. For example, many food deliveries, especially pizza places, compensate by offering full or partial refunds or promo codes for future purchases.

Try this template

6. Complicated checkout

Don’t you just hate it when you want to buy something quickly, but the checkout page wants to know your marital status, favorite Pokémon, and the names of your grand-grandparents? When checkout feels more like a crappy Tinder date, you know you’ve got to fix something.

In all fairness, the situation has been getting better over time, but it’s still not perfect. The average e-commerce store will ask you to fill out roughly 11–12 form fields when, in reality, you only need 8. If you want additional information from your visitors, it’s much better to gather that info later via a pop-up from Claspo while offering something in exchange.

Try this template

7. Convoluted cost calculations

Many buyers cite the inability to calculate additional costs on the spot as one reason for abandoning their carts. This is a different side of the coin when it comes to extra costs. While some users will quit on the spot just because the extra costs are present, others will do so if the cost calculations are not immediately available.

Tiffany is an excellent example of a good checkout calculator. Sales taxes and other extras are already factored into the price, and you can choose different delivery methods, which are immediately reflected in the total price.


8. Poor return policy

Nobody likes returning items, but it’s the reality of online shopping. You must make this process as smooth as possible, especially if you’re hoping for repeat patronage. 64% of customers who experience friction during the return process are hesitant to return to the same retailer.

Make your return policy short, sweet, and crystal-clear. Take Perroquet Shoes, for example. It features everything the users need to know: time limit, return-exempt items, shipping fees, packaging instructions, and a form for addressing issues with damaged products.


9. Poor technical implementation

Judging by your own experience, you can probably tell how annoying it is when the site takes too long to load or crash in the middle of a transaction.

This sentiment is universally shared, as the bounce rate climbs exponentially with each second it takes to load your website. Make sure your website is well-optimized, test it on different devices, and continuously update it to keep up with all the latest tech.


Speaking of load time, we’ve extensively tested Claspo’s widgets with Google PageSpeed Insights and can proudly say that they do not slow down the site’s performance. So you can safely use our pop-ups without worrying about a potential bounce rate increase.

10. Lack of payment methods

In a world where cryptocurrency, Apple Pay, PayPal, and Klarna exist, it would be remiss of you to only include payments with credit cards. The trend for diverse payment options is growing as credit cards are becoming less popular with the younger generation.

You don’t need to include every payment method known to humanity, but having multiple alternatives is good. We can’t tell you precisely how many you need, as that will depend on your target audience and budget. But take a look at ZARA, which features a healthy number of seven payment methods, including PayPal, gift cards, and the most popular card providers.


11. Credit card got refused

The final most frustrating thing for users that causes them to leave their carts is credit card refusal. There are many reasons why this might happen: issues on your side, problems with the payment method provider, or simply lack of money on the card. 

It’s an anticlimactic finish to this list, but life is not always sunshine and rainbows. All you can do is ensure your website’s complete functionality at all times and inform your users in case something happens with payment method providers. 

You need to act fast since these situations can heavily impact your buyers’ experiences. With Claspo, you can set up a widget to allow shoppers to contact customer support, who will explain the situation quickly.

Try this template

Abandoned Cart Recovery: Step-by-Step Guide

You know about abandoned carts in general, but what is abandoned cart recovery? It is fairly self-explanatory: abandoned cart recovery is a sales acquisition strategy where e-commerce websites use different approaches and methods to return visitors who abandoned their carts and turn them into customers. In layman's terms, it’s you trying your god-damned best to retain customers even when they’ve already quit.

With the definition out of the way, let’s examine the steps to return your lost customers.

1. Measure your cart abandonment rate

Cart abandonment and cart conversion rates are the most important metrics when it comes to evaluating how bad your state of affairs is. It takes only two formulas to calculate them. 


Let’s illustrate the process with an example. For instance, your online store’s current statistics display the following results:

  • 54,000 users added something to the cart;
  • 15,000 customers completed the purchase. 

Applying the formulas, here’s the math we get:

  • 15,000 / 54,000 = 0,2777
  • 1 - 0,2777 = 0,7223
  • 0,7223 * 100% = 72.23%

As a result, your cart abandonment rate is 72.23%. Considering the average abandonment rate is ~69%, you are worse than the average. So, there is plenty of space for improvement.

Remember that the average rate may vary vastly in different industries. So, make sure to compare your results accordingly. Overall, the cart abandonment rate is a handy indicator for understanding the problem and its dynamics. If you want to learn more, we go into additional detail on calculating the cart abandonment rate in another article.    

2. Identify the causes

Now that you know there is a cart abandonment issue (or no issue at all, just your personal desire to improve), it’s time to identify the causes. The best shopping cart recovery tactics start with fixing the underlying issues and then opting for more direct methods.

Here are seven ways you can find the roots of cart abandonment:

1. Gather statistics. All the information you can get is applicable. It all matters, including the total number of visitors, how many initiated or completed a purchase, and at what stage the abandonment typically happens.

2. Consult outside information. All the stats you gather are pointless without context. Learn the market situation before you act. That way, your chances of overcorrection will be smaller.

3. Ask the customers. Gather data through emails and pop-up messages. Claspo pop-ups with exit-intent surveys can provide valuable insights about what causes your shoppers to leave without making a purchase.

Yellow_SpotsTry this template

4. User testing. Recruit participants to conduct user testing sessions where they attempt to make a purchase on your website. Observe their interactions and ask for feedback on any hurdles they encounter during the checkout process.

5. Heatmaps. Use heatmap tools to visualize where users click, scroll, or hesitate on your checkout page. This can reveal areas of friction or confusion contributing to cart abandonment.

6. Competitor analysis. Analyze the checkout processes of your competitors to identify best practices and areas where you can improve.

7. A/B testing. Conduct A/B tests on different elements of your checkout process, such as form fields, payment options, shipping costs, and button placements. Analyze which variations result in higher conversion rates.

A/B testing is among the most impactful tactics for developing a business. If done right, it can skyrocket your conversion rates and make your customers genuinely happy. Do you want to learn how to do A/B tests properly? Then we have a solution for you. Our A/B testing template contains critical steps you should take to validate your hypothesis wisely and get meaningful results for a cart recovery strategy.

3. Find a suitable tactic

Now that you have all the background information and a “diagnosis,” you can finally prescribe the proper remedy. Cart abandonment stems from many factors, including those we’ve discussed above.

As with many things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. So, the only advice here is to experiment and iterate. You can start with exit-intent pop-ups, which can increase your conversion rates by roughly 20%, and take inspiration from the best cart abandonment pop-ups. Why? Because it is a budget-friendly solution! With Claspo's free lifetime plan, you can employ our widget and prevent cart abandonment without spending a penny!

Conduct A/B tests right in the Claspo builder to optimize your strategy and discover your best-performing widget. Arm yourself with our A/B testing template above and launch your first test with a few clicks. 

4. Apply direct methods

Despite what you might think, the shoppers who have already exited aren’t gone with the wind. You can still win them back. How do you do it? Here are the two effective abandoned cart recovery techniques you can try:

1. Follow-up emails. These are incredibly helpful because they can be personal, and people love an individual approach. By hyper-personalizing your emails, you can gain up to 50% conversion rate and add up to 20% customer LTV. Among other things, you can offer free or flat-rate shipping, a discount, a coupon, display recommendations, and similar options. Here is an example of how Netflix did its follow-up email. It features an evocative slogan, quickly tells about benefits, and features a prominent button to quickly take you there. You can find more tips for writing emails in our article.


2. Retargeting. This method uses cookies to display personalized ads and is aimed at reminding people about you even after they have left the platform. Your website's advertising banners will appear while the user is casually browsing the web. That's how you can keep in touch with customers even if they don’t leave any contact information. 

If you capture those stragglers, you can add more punch to your recovery efforts by setting up pop-ups that target them specifically. Claspo allows you to easily target customers that come from different campaigns. This is another layer of personalization that can be the deciding factor between them buying something or leaving forever.


As you can see, cart abandonment and recovery are complicated issues involving many factors. Fixing the underlying issues takes a lot of time, but setting up a pop-up with Claspo takes only a few moments. Use Claspo’s widgets to engage those “just browsers” and retain those abandoners.

But you can’t just throw a pop-up on your website and call it a win. Well, technically, you can, and we’re not going to judge, but it’s much better to approach this with more thought. Testing is everything, and Claspo offers an easy way to A/B test your pop-ups, so use it and learn what works for your website. And if you need a few starting pointers on what you can test, we’ve got a few ideas we’re willing to share.

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