Business Advice

How do you reduce shopping cart abandonment?

- July 13, 2021 6 MIN READ

In a recent episode of the Kochie’s Business Builder TV series, Kochie and I discussed how to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates through conversion rate optimisation (CRO). 

The topic has proven to be really popular so I decided to write a much more detailed version for anyone wanting additional tips.

In case you missed it, here is a segment from the show:

One of the most common problems faced by eCommerce store owners is the practice of potential customers checking out some products, adding them to their cart, and then ultimately dropping out of the process before completing the transaction. This is called shopping cart abandonment. 

Globally, the average rate of cart abandonment is 75 per cent. The best-optimised checkout process has a cart abandonment rate of 20 per cent

Hence, as an eCommerce business owner or a marketer, your focus should be to understand and get answers to:

  • Why do customers abandon shopping carts without purchase?
  • How to lower cart abandonment?

Let’s understand how to calculate the cart abandonment rate for your online store before finding out reasons for cart abandonment. Thereafter, I will discuss the ways to lower your cart abandonment rates. 

How to calculate cart abandonment rate? 

To calculate the cart abandonment rate of your ecommerce store, divide the number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created. After that, subtract the value you got from 1 and multiply by 100.

Here is the formula:

Cart abandonment rate = 1 – transactions completed/shopping carts initiated * 100

For example, if you have 400 carts created by customers and 200 completed purchases, your cart abandonment rate will be 50%.

What are the top reasons for cart abandonment? 

A high shopping cart abandonment rate reduces your profits and leads to lower customer retention. There are several reasons why your customers leave after adding items to their cart. 

Here are the top reasons for cart abandonment due to which users don’t attempt to complete the transaction:

1. Long and confusing checkout process

Nearly 21 per cent of customers abandon a purchase or transaction if the checkout process is too complex. 

A report by Baymard shows that the average checkout process has 23.48 form elements and 14.88 form fields

2. Unexpected shipping costs 

The unexpected shipping costs encountered at checkout drives customers to re-evaluate buying decisions.

Around 28 per cent of customers abandon carts if they see unexpected shipping or other hidden costs such as taxes or compulsory addition of complementary items.

3. Payment options and payment security concerns

Sometimes the absence of desirable payment options, such as PayPal, credit/debit cards, cash on delivery, Apple Pay, GPay, or Google Wallet, may cause cart abandonment. 

Around 57 per cent of customers abandon an eCommerce site, and 80% of those never return if their preferred payment method is not available. 

Making online payment requires customers to trust your website before entering their credit card details. If customers feel their details may not be securely handled, they might abandon the transaction.

4. Ambiguous refund and return policies

If refund and return policies on your website are not clearly defined, it may cause hesitation on the part of the customer during checkout.

66 per cent of shoppers read the return policies. Therefore, an inconvenient refund and returns policy can deter 80 per cent of customers

5. Slow page load times 

Consumers prefer websites that do not crash and have faster loading times. 

You can face a drop of 7 per cent in eCommerce shopping cart conversion rates for every one-second delay in page loading. 

Thus, your site errors, crashes, and slow load times deter shoppers from completing purchases and contribute to a sense of insecurity on the website. 

6. Customers using carts for comparison

Some users may just put a product in their cart to view the price offered by your store but they ultimately buy from another website that offers them a better deal. 

Therefore you must provide the best prices to your customers in order to reduce shopping cart abandonment. 

How to tackle cart abandonment?

If you are looking to reduce card abandonment, then here are some of the best ways to reduce cart abandonment, whilst at the same time, increase your revenue. 

1. Offer different payment options

If shoppers have no preferred option to make a payment, they will likely abandon your site. Hence, you should add a variety of payment options to your site. 

For example, you can use shopping apps and payment gateways, such as Shop Pay or PayPal, and digital wallets, such as Stocard, Apple Pay, Lemon Wallet, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. 

Take the Australian department store chain Myer for instance, who offers the following payment options:

  • Myer Gift card.
  • Reward card. 
  • Credit card.
  • PayPal.
  • Afterpay. 

Having several payment options ensures the customer can choose their preferred payment option to complete the transaction. 

offering different payment options can help avoid cart abandonmen

You can also offer buy now and pay later options, such as shop pay installments, Klarna, and Four. In the early months of 2021, the use of the buy now and pay later option increased by 215 per cent

This is why, Afterpay, as a payment alternative, is expected to rise in popularity in the coming years. 

2. Leverage the power of conversion rate optimisation (CRO)

As the term itself suggests, CRO is the process of optimising your site to increase the percentage of website visitors who take specific actions. 

With the CRO process, you can look at how your customers make a purchase and the potential roadblocks that lead them to abandon carts. 

This process helps you to see what slows your customers down or what entices them to buy more. 

You can use tools that help you record the screen to see where people have dropped off and where they stopped. 

For instance, sales funnel optimisation tools, such as Hotjar heatmap and Hotjar session recording, can help you see where shoppers drop from your sales funnel.


Based on the data, you can improve your checkout process so that customers don’t leave your store midway and complete the entire checkout process.

3. Reduce unexpected shipping cost

Hidden costs is another primary reason for cart abandonment. They deter online shoppers from completing their transactions. 

Offer free shipping to your customers to reduce price shocks. For example, the Australian grocery shopping store Woolworths provides free delivery and shipping for all orders above $100. 

Similarly, Catch, one of the most popular deals websites in Australia, provides free shipping on its best selling products without any minimum spend.


4. Send follow-up emails to customers who abandon their cart

A great way to reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate is by following up with the customers who abandon their cart frequently. 

Customers who receive several abandonment shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive just one follow-up email. 

For example, Whisky Loot, an Australian whisky club, sends emails to buyers and asks them to complete their purchase before their chosen Whisky sells out. 

whisky loot

Sending timely reminder emails to persuade the customers to complete their purchase is a great way to increase your conversion rate and decrease your cart abandonment rate.

5. Offer fast checkout experiences

Speed is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why customers drop off from your sales funnel. Sites that offer blazing fast checkout experiences hardly miss out on any sales.

Nowadays, most shoppers are using their mobile devices to browse items and complete their shopping. Therefore, the need for having a super-fast website has increased significantly.

You can use a one-click checkout option for faster checkout experiences. For instance, there are services like Bolt that offer one-click checkout to improve your conversions by almost 60%.


6. Use exit-intent popups

People love discounts. You should persuade your site visitors to complete their purchase by using exit-intent popups.

An exit-intent popup is displayed when the user is leaving the checkout page. The popup offers a special discount to motivate the customers to complete the payment. 

Here is an example of an exit-intent popup in action:

leaving-so soon- dont abandon your shopping cart


What’s the bottom line?

A poor checkout experience is more likely to lead to your customers abandoning their carts; and ultimately, if you don’t have things set up right then it’s going to hurt your sales. 

By offering things like various payment gateways options, hassle-free product delivery, reduced shipping costs, a fast site speed, and special discounts will help you to reduce shopping cart abandonment; whilst at the same time, increase your sales

Now, here’s the bottom line: If you can keep your customers’ happy by employing some of the tactics mentioned in this article, your customers will be more likely to choose you over your competitors. In turn, this will turn into repeat business.

Now read this

Australian online shoppers demand great customer service…or else


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