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How to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Few things can be more frustrating for online brands than consumers putting products in their digital baskets only to not complete the purchase later. Read on to discover why shoppers abandon their carts and what to do about it.

February 22, 2024

6 min read


Celeste Rivas

A consumer’s purchase journey is rarely a straightforward affair. With multiple channels available to compare, consult and shop on, and attention pulled in many different directions, the path to purchase can consist of several stages and detours. 

And while brands know this, and actively look to support multi and omnichannel shopping, one thing can be especially frustrating for them: cart abandonment. 

What is cart abandonment? 

Cart abandonment occurs when a potential buyer adds a product or products to their shopping cart on an ecommerce website but does not complete the purchase. This not only translates into lost revenue for brands but can also make the product unavailable for other shoppers, amplifying the negative effect of a single abandoned cart. Likewise, and more importantly, it can point to a host of bigger issues with the checkout process and the customer and user experience on the site. 

Shoppers fail to follow through with their purchases more often than brands would like: a recent study estimates that the average online cart abandonment rate is 70%.  

This figure can vary broadly depending on where consumers are shopping and what they are shopping for. For example, mobile is the leading channel for cart abandonment, with nearly 86% of consumers failing to complete the transaction, and sectors with higher price points and a typically longer purchase process, such as home furnishings and automotive, experience the highest average rate of abandoned carts. 

How shoppers get to a brand’s checkout page also makes a difference when it comes to cart abandonment. While search registers the lowest rate (76%), social media, where consumers are more in ‘scroll’ mode, sees the highest one (91%).

Reasons for cart abandonment

According to a study carried out among US online shoppers, the number one reason for cart abandonment is the consumer being merely browsing or not ready to buy the item in their bag.  

However, setting this specific cause aside can reveal useful information to help brands optimize their prospective buyers’ purchase journey.  

With the ‘just browsing’ reason removed, extra costs associated with the purchase, such as shipping costs and fees, emerged as the leading reason consumers abandon their shop (47%). This was followed by the need to create an account (25%) and a slow delivery (24%). Lack of trust in the website (19%) and the checkout process being too long or complicated (18%) were also among the top reasons to not follow through with a purchase.

How to reduce cart abandonment 

If your brand is experiencing a high rate of cart abandonment, there are several tactics you can action to get the purchases across the finish line. 

1. Give consumers all the information they need before they get to the checkout page

Shipping costs, delivery times and return costs or information need to be listed clearly and be easily findable. Adding this data to the product pages, so the consumer can visualize it as they are deciding whether to add an item to their cart, is ideal to avoid a last-minute decision to not buy.

2. Offer a range of delivery and payment options

Give your customers the chance to pick free delivery and/or faster shipping options whenever possible. And make sure you make these alternatives visible on your website — having access to them can be a make-or-break variable for shoppers and can encourage them to complete a purchase they are on the fence about. Additionally, if free shipping comes with a minimum order value, help customers visualize how much more they need to spend to qualify for it. A progress bar, for example, may do the trick and help increase AOV. 

Likewise, offering multiple payment options, including express checkout with the likes of PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, and buy now pay later, will ensure you are catering to a host of different consumer needs and will increase the likelihood of a shopper completing a purchase.

3. Add guest checkout

Whether it’s because they want to protect their privacy or because they don’t want to fill out a longer form, not needing to have an account to shop with a brand is increasingly important to consumers. In a recent UK study, 56% of online shoppers said they prefer guest checkout when shopping with a new online retailer. Likewise, 37% said it was ‘very important’ for businesses to offer this option to gain their trust as a new customer.  

To give consumers even more options on this front, enable logins through other platforms, too, so they can use their social media or email credentials to complete a purchase on your site.

4. Optimize your checkout process

When a consumer reaches your checkout page, your brand is one step away from a conversion. Making that step as short and straightforward as possible, leaving little room to second thoughts, is crucial.  

To do this, help shoppers visualize how many steps there are to purchase completion with a progress bar, so they know exactly what to expect. Shorten forms and make them easy to fill out, ensuring you have an auto-fill function in place (especially for completing the billing and shipping information) to make things faster. Remove any distractions or pop-ups that could interfere with the customer experience, so that the checkout pages are as uncluttered as possible, and have your page 100% optimized for mobile — after all, 60% of ecommerce sales comes from mobile channels.  

Likewise, ensure your back and front-end operations are always running smoothly and seamlessly (especially during peak periods). The last moment in which you would want your systems to crash or glitch is when a shopper is attempting to complete a purchase, so picking a technology partner who can support your brand across all tech aspects is key.

5. Build trust

Concerns surrounding data security, privacy and online fraud are rising among consumers, and many may be wary of shopping on a new site or sharing their personal and payment details with an online retailer for the first time.  

Peer reviews, customer testimonials and user-generated content can be effective ways to build trust among newcomers to your website by showing previous shoppers’ positive experiences with your brand. Making your T&Cs and returns and refunds policy easily accessible and clear will also contribute to making new shoppers feel secure.  

Likewise, displaying SSL certificates, third-party security badges and having payment certification processes in place will help first-time shoppers feel comfortable with sharing sensitive information with your business (and keep regulars coming back for more).  

And don’t forget, quality is essential to make your brand appear professional and reliable, so ensure everything on your website — from copy to image resolution — is first-rate.

Lastly, if you want to engage the consumers who have left a product lingering in their basket, abandoned cart emails can be an effective way to lure them back to your website. A catchy subject line, straightforward and easy-to-read content and CTAs and maybe even a discount or special perk can all be good tactics to help that browser finish what they started.  

Cart abandonment can be an especially complex issue to resolve, as it can be the result of not just a single problem, but a combination of different factors. Partnering with experts such as Ingenuity Commerce, who can help you optimize your website and the complete online customer experience, is crucial to improving performance sustainably and keeping your brand on the path to growth.  

Ready to see results? Get in touch with us today.



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