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What is cart abandonment?

What is cart abandonment

In 2023, cart abandonment remains the ecommerce bogeyman that keeps merchants up at night.


Because a staggering 7 out of 10 online shoppers bail on their purchases at the last minute, leaving trillions in lost sales on the virtual table.

But before we write off those flighty customers as a lost cause, let’s unpack what cart abandonment really means – and how smart brands are fighting back to reclaim those would-be sales.

Cart Abandonment: The Silent Revenue Killer

  1. Cart abandonment is when a shopper adds items to their online shopping cart but leaves without completing the purchase

  2. Abandoned carts can happen at various stages of the checkout process, from initial item selection to the payment screen

Cart abandonment is a common occurrence in the world of ecommerce sites. It happens when a potential customer starts the checkout process for an online order but drops out before completing the purchase. Any item that enters the shopping cart but never goes through the transaction is considered to be “abandoned” by the shopper.

Average Cart Abandonment Rate:

The average cart abandonment rate is approximately 69.57% across all industries.

Examples of Cart Abandonment

There are several scenarios that qualify as cart abandonment:

Shopper adds items to cart but closes the browser tab before checking out

A shopper may browse an online store, and add products they like to the cart, but then decide not to buy. They might close the browser tab or window without proceeding to checkout, leaving their selected items behind.

The customer begins filling out shipping information but leaves the site without paying

Another common example is when a customer starts the checkout and payment process and fills out some of the required information, such as their shipping address, but then abandons the site before entering their payment details. They might get distracted, change their mind, or encounter an issue that prevents them from completing the purchase.

User gets distracted or change their mind partway through the checkout page

Distractions are a major culprit in cart abandonment. A shopper might be partway through the checkout process when they receive a phone call, get pulled away by a family member, or simply decide they don’t want the items after all. Any interruption that causes the user to leave the site before finalizing their purchase counts as cart abandonment.

It’s important to note that cart abandonment is not the same as checkout abandonment. Checkout abandonment specifically refers to users who begin the checkout process (by clicking the “checkout” button) but leave before completing it, while cart abandonment encompasses all users who add items to their cart without making a purchase, regardless of whether they start the checkout or not.

Why Understanding Cart Abandonment Matters For Online Retailers

For ecommerce businesses, understanding cart abandonment is essential to optimizing the user experience and maximizing sales. By identifying at which stage shoppers are dropping off and why, retailers can make targeted improvements to streamline the checkout process, build trust, and encourage more completed purchases.

Additionally, analyzing abandoned cart data provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This information can be used to create more effective marketing campaigns, personalize the online shopping experience, and develop strategies to win back lost sales through abandoned cart recovery tactics like email reminders and targeted discounts.

In the next section, we’ll dive into the latest cart abandonment statistics to uncover just how big of an impact this phenomenon has on ecommerce businesses in 2024.

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Cart Abandonment Statistics for Ecommerce in 2023

  1. Cart abandonment rates vary by industry, with an average rate of 70.19%

  2. Mobile users abandon carts more often than desktop users

  3. Monitoring cart abandonment rates helps businesses identify areas for improvement

In 2023, the shopping cart abandonment rate continues to be a significant challenge for ecommerce businesses. Cart abandonment rate, the percentage of online shopping carts abandoned before a purchase is completed, varies by industry and device type.

Industry Statistics:

The highest average cart abandonment rate is in the Cruise and Ferry industry, reaching up to 98%.

The lowest average cart abandonment rate is in Consumer Electronics and Groceries, around 50%.

The cart abandonment rate for Black Friday is 76.63%, and for Cyber Monday, it reached 80.25%.

The highest average cart abandonment happens in sectors like home furnishing (90.50%), automotive (85.97%), and jewelry (84.49%).

Average Cart Abandonment Rates by Industry

Different industries experience varying levels of cart abandonment. According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%. In 2023, the travel industry has a high cart abandonment rate, followed by fashion and retail.

Factors influencing industry-specific abandonment rates

Several factors contribute to these differences in abandonment rates:

  1. Price sensitivity: Customers are more likely to compare prices and abandon carts in industries with higher-priced items, such as travel.

  2. Browsing behavior: In fashion, customers often use shopping carts as wishlists, leading to higher abandonment rates.

  3. Urgency: Retail purchases often have a higher sense of urgency, resulting in lower abandonment rates compared to other industries.

Mobile vs. Desktop Cart Abandonment Rates

Mobile users abandon carts more frequently than desktop users, with abandonment rates of 86% and 70%, respectively. This difference can be attributed to several factors:

  1. User experience: Mobile screens are smaller, making it harder to navigate and complete purchases.

  2. Distractions: Mobile users are more likely to be interrupted by notifications or other apps.

  3. Connectivity issues: Slow or unreliable mobile internet connections can lead to frustration and abandonment.

Optimizing for mobile users

To reduce mobile cart abandonment, businesses should:

  1. Ensure their websites are mobile-responsive and easy to navigate

  2. Simplify the checkout process, minimizing the number of steps required

  3. Offer mobile-friendly payment options, such as digital wallets or one-click ordering

Importance of Monitoring Cart Abandonment Rates

Regularly tracking and analyzing cart abandonment rates helps businesses identify areas for improvement. A good cart abandonment rate varies by industry, but generally, rates below 70% are considered better than average.

High cart abandonment rates may indicate issues with:

  1. Pricing: Customers may abandon carts if they feel prices are too high or if they find better deals elsewhere.

  2. Shipping costs: Unexpected or high shipping costs can deter customers from completing their purchases.

  3. Checkout process: A complicated or lengthy checkout process can lead to frustration and abandonment.

By addressing these issues, businesses can reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions. In the coming months, we expect to see more companies focusing on optimizing their mobile experience and streamlining their checkout processes to combat cart abandonment.

Top Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

  • Unexpected costs and complex checkout processes drive away over 50% of potential customers

  • Requiring account creation and not displaying total costs upfront also contribute to high abandonment rates

  • Addressing these key issues can significantly reduce cart abandonment and boost sales

Shopping cart abandonment is a major challenge for ecommerce businesses, with global rates averaging around 70.19%. But why do so many shoppers leave window shopping, without completing their purchases? Let’s explore the top reasons behind this phenomenon.

Unexpected shipping costs

According to a study by the Baymard Institute, extra costs like shipping, taxes, and fees account for a staggering 48% of all cart abandonments. Shoppers are often caught off guard by these additional expenses, which can significantly increase the total order cost.

To combat this issue, consider offering free shipping or clearly displaying shipping costs early in the checkout process. A report by UPS found that 52% of shoppers have added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. By setting a reasonable free shipping threshold, you can encourage larger orders while reducing abandonment rates.

Account creation required

Forcing shoppers to create an account before completing their purchase is another major turnoff. The Baymard Institute found that 24% of users will abandon their carts if they’re required to sign up for an account.

To streamline the checkout process, offer a guest checkout option alongside account registration. A case study by ASOS revealed that allowing guest checkouts increased conversion rates by 50%. By giving shoppers the flexibility to check out as guests, you can remove a significant barrier to purchase.

Lengthy or complicated checkout process

A long or complex checkout process can quickly frustrate shoppers, leading to abandoned carts. Research shows that 17% of users will jump ship if the checkout process is too cumbersome.

To optimize your checkout flow, aim for a single-page design with minimal form fields. A study by the Baymard Institute found that the average U.S. checkout flow has 14.88 form fields, but this can be reduced to as few as 7-8 fields without sacrificing necessary information. By simplifying your average checkout flow process, you can keep shoppers engaged and moving toward the finish line.

Couldn’t calculate total order cost up-front

Transparency is key when it comes to pricing. If shoppers can’t easily calculate their total order cost, including taxes and fees, they’re more likely to abandon their carts. In fact, 16% of users cite this as a reason for not completing their purchases.

To address this issue, display a running total throughout the shopping and checkout process. A study by ConversionXL found that displaying order totals in the cart summary can increase conversion rates by up to 4.1%. By being upfront about costs, you can build trust with shoppers and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises at checkout.

By understanding and addressing the top reasons for cart abandonment, ecommerce businesses can significantly improve their conversion rates and recapture lost sales. In the next section, we’ll explore the benefits of reducing cart abandonment and how it can impact your bottom line.

Benefits of Reducing Cart Abandonment

Increased Conversion Rates and Revenue

Every recovered abandoned cart represents a successful sale that may have otherwise been lost. By implementing strategies to reduce cart abandonment, businesses can directly impact their bottom line. Even a small improvement in cart abandonment rates can lead to a significant increase in revenue over time.

Abandoned Carts Cost Billions:

Ecommerce brands lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year due to cart abandonment.

According to a study by Statista, the average cart abandonment rate across industries was 77.13% in 2019. This means that for every 100 potential customers who add items to their cart, nearly 77 of them leave without completing their purchase. By reducing this rate by just 10%, an e-commerce store with an average order value of $50 and 1,000 monthly visitors could see an additional $3,500 in monthly revenue.

The Compounding Effect of Improved Conversion Rates

Reducing cart abandonment has a compounding effect on revenue growth. As more visitors complete their purchases, the increased revenue can be reinvested into marketing and advertising efforts to attract even more potential customers. This cycle of growth can lead to significant long-term benefits for the business.

Additionally, improved conversion rates can help businesses better allocate their resources. By focusing on converting existing traffic rather than solely relying on acquiring new visitors, companies can optimize their marketing spend and achieve a higher return on investment (ROI).

Different Traffics:

The traffic source with the lowest cart abandonment rate is search at 76%, followed by direct traffic at 79% and email at 84%.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty and Lifetime Value

Customers who complete their first purchase are more likely to become repeat shoppers, leading to increased customer lifetime value (CLV). By reducing cart abandonment and providing a seamless purchasing experience, businesses can foster trust and loyalty among their customer base.

According to a report by Invesp, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can lead to a 25-95% increase in profits. This highlights the importance of focusing on customer loyalty and reducing churn. When customers have a positive experience with a brand, they are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend the business to others.

The Power of Personalization in Customer Retention

Personalization plays a crucial role in enhancing customer loyalty. By analyzing abandoned cart data and understanding customer preferences, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts and product recommendations to individual shoppers. This level of personalization makes customers feel valued and encourages them to return to the site for future purchases.

For example, sending targeted email reminders about abandoned carts with personalized product recommendations can effectively re-engage customers and encourage them to complete their purchases. A study by Epsilon found that personalized emails deliver a 6x higher transaction rate compared to generic email campaigns.

Valuable Insights into Customer Behavior

Analyzing cart abandonment data provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By understanding the reasons behind abandoned carts, businesses can identify areas for improvement in their online store and optimize the customer experience.

For instance, if a significant number of customers abandon their carts at the shipping calculation stage, it may indicate that the shipping costs are too high or not clearly communicated. By addressing these issues, businesses can reduce friction in the purchasing process and improve conversion rates.

Continuous Optimization through Data Analysis

Continuously monitoring and analyzing cart abandonment data allows businesses to stay agile and adapt to changing customer needs. By regularly reviewing this data, companies can identify trends, test new strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their e-commerce store.

Tools like Google Analytics and e-commerce platforms with built-in analytics dashboards can help businesses track cart abandonment rates and gain insights into customer behavior. By leveraging this data, businesses can continually refine their approach to reducing cart abandonment and improving the overall customer experience.

  1. Google Analytics

  2. OptiMonk

  3. Klaviyo

  4. CartStack

  5. Drip

  6. CartBounty

These tools provide a range of features to help businesses track and analyze cart abandonment rates, including:

  • Cart abandonment recognition and tracking

  • Personalized email and popup campaigns

  • A/B testing and analytics

  • Integration with popular e-commerce platforms

By utilizing these tools, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ behavior and preferences, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their e-commerce store and reduce cart abandonment.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment on Your Site

Reducing shopping cart abandonment is crucial for boosting conversions and revenue. Here are proven tactics to optimize your shopping online checkout process and keep customers moving toward the “Place Order” button.

Display all costs clearly up-front

Unexpected costs are a top reason for cart abandonment. Be transparent about pricing from the start to avoid surprises at checkout.

Show estimated shipping costs and taxes on the product or cart page

As soon as a shopper adds an item to their cart, display the estimated shipping fees and taxes. This gives them a clear picture of the total cost before proceeding to checkout.

Include a line below the product price or in the cart that says something like: “Estimated shipping: $5.99” and “Estimated tax: $4.25”. Update these amounts dynamically if the shopper changes their shipping address.

Offer a shipping calculator tool

For more accurate shipping quotes, add a calculator on the cart page. Shoppers can enter their zip codes to see real-time rates from various carriers.

Here’s how to add a shipping calculator:

  1. Use an API from your shipping provider (UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.) to fetch live rates

  2. Create input fields for the user’s address and desired shipping speed

  3. Display the shipping options and prices returned by the API

  4. Auto-update the order total when a shipping or preferred payment method name is selected

Simplify the checkout flow

Every extra step in your checkout gives shoppers another chance to abandon. Streamline the process as much as possible to reduce exit points.

Limit form fields to only the essentials

Cut any unnecessary fields from your checkout forms. Only collect the information you need to process the order.

Essential checkout fields typically include:

  1. Email address

  2. Billing address (name, street address, city, country, postal code)

  3. Shipping address (if different from billing)

  4. Payment details (credit card number, expiration, CVV)

Avoid asking for information like phone number, company name, or birthdate unless required for payment processing or delivery. The shorter the form, the higher the completion rate.

Provide a guest checkout option that doesn’t require account signup

Many shoppers prefer to check out as a guest. They may not want to create an account or simply don’t have time.

Allow guest checkout options so users can complete their purchases without registering. Display the guest checkout button prominently at the start of the checkout flow.

You can still give shoppers the option to create an account but make it clear that it’s not mandatory. Phrases like “No signup required” or “Check out as guest” reduce hesitation.

After the order is placed, you can invite guest shoppers to create an account to “view order history, get faster checkout, and earn rewards”. But keep this optional.

Offer multiple payment methods

The more payment options you accept, the wider your potential customer base. Cater to different preferences by using enough payment methods and offering alternatives to standard credit card payments.

Accept digital wallets, shop pay, and other alternative payment options

Integrate popular digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay. Many consumers prefer these for ease and security since they don’t have to enter their credit card details directly on your site.

Also consider platform-specific accelerated checkout options like:

  • Shopify Pay

  • Amazon Pay

  • Google Fast Checkout

These allow shoppers to complete their purchases with saved payment info in just a few clicks.

Display your accepted payment methods with clear logos on your product, cart, and checkout pages. This reassures shoppers and reduces hesitation.

Consider adding ‘buy now, pay later’ solutions

To make higher-priced items more accessible, look into adding installment payment options like:

  1. Klarna

  2. Affirm

  3. Afterpay

  4. Sezzle

These ‘buy now, pay later’ solutions let shoppers split their total into smaller payments over time – often with 0% interest. Offering these can make your products more attractive and affordable for budget-conscious shoppers.

Provide real-time support during checkout

Even with a streamlined checkout, some shoppers may still have questions or issues. Offering immediate support can make the difference between a completed order and an abandoned cart.

Implement live chat on the cart and checkout pages

Add a live chat widget on your cart and checkout pages to provide instant support. This allows shoppers to quickly get answers without leaving the checkout flow.

Set up your live chat tool to automatically trigger a message when a shopper is idle on the checkout page for a certain time. For example: “Hi there Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.”

Make sure your support team is trained on common checkout issues and questions. Aim to resolve concerns quickly to keep the purchase on track.

Display a prominent customer service number

Some shoppers prefer to resolve issues over the phone. Display your customer service number prominently on the cart and checkout pages.

Make sure the number is ‘click-to-call’ enabled for mobile users. Use a large font and contrasting color so it’s easy to spot.

Test your checkout flow regularly to spot any hiccups. Run user testing sessions and gather customer feedback, to continually identify areas for improvement. Even small optimizations to your checkout can have a big impact on reducing cart abandonment and driving more successful sales.

Is Abandoned Cart Recovery Worth It?

Abandoned cart recovery campaigns are one of the highest ROI retention marketing strategies for most ecommerce stores

Second Chance Success:

Over 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened, and this rate can reach up to 45%.

Implementing an effective abandoned cart recovery strategy can lead to a significant increase in revenue for your business

When it comes to ecommerce, cart abandonment is a major challenge that businesses face. With an average cart abandonment rate of nearly 70%, it’s clear that a significant portion of potential ecommerce sales are being lost. However, abandoned cart recovery campaigns offer a powerful solution to this problem.

The Potential of Abandoned Cart Recovery

Abandoned cart recovery campaigns involve sending targeted emails or messages to customers who have added items to their cart but failed to complete the purchase. These campaigns are designed to remind the customer of their abandoned cart and encourage them to return and complete the transaction.

The potential of abandoned shopping carts for cart recovery is significant. Consider these shopping cart abandonment statistics:

Over 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened

Over 20% of those emails are clicked

Over 50% of those clicks lead to a recovered purchase

These numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of abandoned cart recovery campaigns. By sending targeted messages to customers who have already shown an interest in your products, you can bring them back to your site and encourage them to complete their purchases.

Ask Help From Technology:

Employing predictive AI can reduce the cart abandonment rate by 18%.

The Revenue-Generating Potential

The revenue-generating potential of abandoned cart recovery is substantial. Consider a scenario where your ecommerce store has an average order value of $100 and an abandoned cart rate of 70%. If you’re able to recover just 10% of those abandoned carts through a recovery campaign, that’s a significant boost to your revenue.

As you can see, even a modest 10% recovery rate can lead to a significant increase in revenue. And with well-crafted campaigns, it’s possible to achieve even higher recovery rates.

The Importance of Timing and Relevance

The success of an abandoned cart recovery campaign hinges on two key factors: timing and relevance.

Fix Your Social Funnel:

Users who land on ecommerce websites from social media platforms have the highest cart abandonment rate at 91%.

In terms of timing, it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. The longer you wait to send a recovery email, the less likely the customer is to return and complete their purchase. The best practice is to send the first recovery email within an hour of the cart being abandoned.

Relevance is equally important. Your recovery emails should remind the customer of the specific items they left in their cart and should include images and descriptions of those items. This personalized approach is far more effective than a generic “you left something in your cart” message.

Implementing an Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategy

Implementing an effective abandoned cart recovery strategy requires a bit of planning and setup, but the potential returns make it well worth the effort.

First, you’ll need to ensure that you’re collecting email addresses from your customers, even if they haven’t completed a purchase. This can be done through a newsletter signup, or by requiring an email address early in the checkout process.

Next, you’ll need to set up your recovery email campaign. This will typically involve a series of 2-3 emails, sent at specific intervals after the cart is abandoned (e.g., 1 hour, 24 hours, 3 days).

Finally, you’ll need to track the performance of your recovery campaigns. Key metrics to watch include open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. By monitoring these metrics, you can continually optimize your campaigns for better results.

In conclusion, abandoned cart recovery is worth it for ecommerce businesses. By implementing an effective recovery strategy, you can recapture a significant portion of lost sales and boost your revenue. While it does require some effort to set up and maintain, the potential returns make it a high-ROI endeavor for any online retailer.

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices

Craft an engaging subject line

Your abandoned cart email’s subject line is the first thing a potential customer sees, so it needs to grab their attention and entice them to open the email. Personalization is key here – including the customer’s name or mentioning the specific product they left behind can significantly increase open rates.

For example, instead of a generic “You left something in your cart” subject line, try “Hey [Name], your [Product] is waiting for you!” or “[Name], don’t miss out on your [Product]!”.

Creating a sense of urgency can also be effective in encouraging customers to return to their cart. Consider using subject lines like “Your cart is about to expire!” or “Limited time offer: 10% off your abandoned cart items!”.

A/B test your subject lines

To find the most effective subject lines for your audience, conduct A/B tests. Send half of your abandoned cart emails with one subject line and the other half with a different subject line. Analyze the open rates and conversion rates to determine which subject line performs better, then use that knowledge to optimize future campaigns.

Include the abandoned product(s)

When a customer opens your abandoned cart email, they should immediately see the items they left behind. Include high-quality images of the products, along with their names, prices, and any other relevant details.

Make it easy for the customer to return to their cart by including a prominent call-to-action (CTA) button. Use clear, action-oriented language like “Complete Your Purchase” or “Return to Your Cart” to encourage clicks.

Consider also including related products or personalized recommendations based on the customer’s browsing history. This can help increase the average order value and showcase your brand’s range of offerings.

Offer an incentive

Sometimes, a gentle nudge isn’t enough to convince a customer to complete their purchase. Offering an incentive, such as a discount code or free shipping, can be the extra push they need.

If you choose to offer a discount, make sure it’s significant enough to be enticing but not so large that it eats into your profit margins. A 10-15% discount is often effective.

Free shipping is another popular incentive, especially for customers who abandoned their carts due to high shipping costs. If you can’t afford to offer free shipping on all orders, consider setting a minimum order threshold or offering it as a limited-time promotion.

Highlight risk-reducers

In addition to incentives, highlighting risk-reducers can help alleviate any concerns customers may have about completing their purchases. Mention your product guarantees, free returns policy, or any other features that demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

For example, you might include a message like “Shop with confidence – we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all products” or “Enjoy free returns on all orders over $50.”

Optimize for mobile

With more and more customers shopping on their smartphones, it’s crucial to ensure your abandoned cart emails are optimized for mobile devices. Use a responsive email template that adapts to different screen sizes and keeps your content concise and easy to read on smaller screens.

Make sure your CTA buttons are large enough to be easily tapped with a thumb and placed prominently within the email. Avoid using too many images or large file sizes that could slow down loading times on mobile networks.

Test and refine your strategy

Crafting effective abandoned cart emails is an ongoing process that requires continuous testing and refinement. Regularly review your email performance metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, to identify areas for improvement.

A/B tests different elements of your emails, such as subject lines, content, incentives, and CTAs, to find what resonates best with your audience. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new approaches or technologies, such as personalization, dynamic content, or interactive elements like animated GIFs or embedded videos.

Stay up-to-date with the latest e-commerce and email marketing trends by following industry blogs, attending conferences, or participating in online communities. By staying informed and adaptable, you can continually optimize your abandoned cart email strategy to maximize sales and customer engagement.

Recapturing Lost Revenue: Your Game Plan

Shopping cart abandonment is a major challenge, with over 70% of carts abandoned on average. High shipping costs, account creation requirements, and complex checkouts are the top reasons customers bail. Reduce shopping cart abandonment significantly by implementing straightforward strategies to boost your e-commerce revenue.

But there’s hope. By displaying costs upfront, simplifying the confusing checkout process, offering multiple payment options, and providing real-time support, you can significantly reduce abandonment. Personalized recovery emails featuring abandoned products and limited-time incentives can win back up to 30% of lost sales.

Plugging these leaks in your conversion funnel is one of the highest ROI strategies for growing your ecommerce revenue. What specific step will you implement first to combat cart abandonment on your ecommerce site?

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