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The Ultimate Guide To Shopping Cart Abandonment

Co-founder, CEO
shopping cart abandonment
Tags :
Email recommendations
5 mins

Every year, people make New Year resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. Each year's recurring resolution mainly includes an active approach to health and fitness. And my resolution was kinda the same.

To be fit and lose weight was my ultimate goal this year andhe first thing I wanted  was a shoe to exercise in. I did my research and finally shortlisted the brand, color, price, quality, and other things that I wanted. Then I began browsing through various websites and comparing shipping prices. I also added different shoes to each cart on the websites.

Ultimately, I couldn't decide which one to buy and left all the carts behind. 

Turns out, I am not the only one!

More than 68% of shoppers abandon their carts during online shopping The shopping cart abandonment rate increased  to 89.11 % in March 2021. It is important for eCommerce store owners to understand the significant impact as carts are abandoned by shoppers who were interested in the product initially, for several reasons, most of which could be avoided. 

This article will discuss the various reasons for shopping cart abandonment, and their solutions, and also the essential things to consider while sending out abandoned cart emails.

As I said, it’s the ultimate guide!

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment, and Why does it Matter for eCommerce Stores? 

Shopping cart abandonment is a critical metric of the online shopping process and online retailers need to pay careful attention to it. Shoppers abandon carts when they add items to their cart and leave before completing their purchase. 

The items that enter the shopping cart but never complete payment are considered to be "abandoned". Shopping cart abandonment has nothing much to do with your store's popularity or the kind of offers you provide to shoppers. 

eCommerce stores need to perform a careful analysis of where exactly users are bouncing from the website, to understand why shoppers are abandoning the carts.

How to calculate the shopping cart abandonment rate? 

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate is the total percentage of shoppers who add items to a shopping cart but abandon it before completing a purchase. It also shows the rate of potential customers who leave without buying anything compared to the total number of shopping carts.

Here’s how you can calculate shopping cart abandonment: 

     Calculation of abandonment cart rate


For example, if you have 50 purchases completed and 300 shopping carts created, the shopping cart abandonment rate would be 84%. This rate will identify what percentage of a site's users signal intent by adding an item to the cart and later not completing the purchase. 

Why should eCommerce stores take shopping cart abandonment seriously? 

"The top 23 sites all gross over $1 billion per year but have a 44% worse checkout user experience. At the average abandonment rate of 68% each of these sites could be losing $3 billion, if not more." - Hazel Bolton, Optimization Consultant at User Conversion
  • Shopping Cart abandonment is an important metric for retailers to detect, and correlate conversion rates to revenue. 
  • A high cart abandonment rate is a strong indicator of friction in the checkout process, poor customer experience or a broken sales funnel. 
  • Reducing shopping cart abandonment can lead to more sales and revenue, so optimizing the checkout flow is a priority focus for many online retailers.
  • The Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate also indicates the shopping behavior of website visitors and customers. 

7 Common Reasons behind Increased Shopping Cart Abandonment for eCommerce Stores 

According to Statista, eCommerce stores lose $18 Billion in sales revenue each year due to Shopping Cart Abandonment. This is a severe problem for online store owners, regardless of how big the eCommerce store is. People abandoning their carts dramatically reduce the amount of revenue your business brings in. 

Let's dig deep into some specific triggers for shopping cart abandonment.

Reason 1: A tedious checkout process

A complicated checkout process can create friction and slow down your shoppers. An additional step or form field can slow the user from completing payment, making it more difficult. It can also permanently deter the customers from purchasing on your site again. 

Solution: Speed boost for your store 

  • You can reduce steps, minimize the data entry, and optimize the checkout process, making it more streamlined. 
  • You need to also set up an auto-save capability for users when they abandon their shopping cart. 
  • The best way to speed up the checkout process is to accommodate various payment methods and offer other checkout options. 
  • Abandoned cart checkout emails is also an alternative way to compensate for a tedious checkout process.

Reason 2: Forced sign-up 

The worst idea is forcing users to create an account or sign up to add items to a shopping cart. It breaks the purchase cycle by adding a step, and it will turn most of the customers away. This additional step before checking out is an unnecessary barrier to purchase. And for first-time shoppers who may not be quite ready to sign up for an account, it hinders the order completion process. 

Sign-up during checkout


Solution: Brief checkout process and guest checkout option 

  • Offer guest checkout and never force account creation.
  •  Suppose you want to collect emails and other details for remarketing purposes? In that case, try collecting this information after the shopper’s purchase.

Reason 3: Additional charges 

The sudden shock of unexpected costs usually occurs after a shopper has entered their shipping information during the checkout process. This makes the customer rethink their purchase. Some customers even add items to their cart to view the total price. And once they see the additional charges, they are skeptical about proceeding.

Additional tax, shipping charges


Solution: Keep charges transparent; offer free shipping from time to time 

  • Provide customers with all charges at the initial stage, including shipping costs, what taxes apply, and additional charges. 
  • Additional charges could be displayed on the product detail page by asking the customer for their pin code. 
  • Offering free shipping frequently is also a good initiative for reducing cart abandonment, leading to increased sales.

Reason 4: Uncertainty and lack of personalization 

Browsing through innumerable options before making a purchase is complicated and results in many abandoned carts. Customers have a short attention span, and many brands offer similar products. 

At this juncture, most shoppers get confused about what to select. Sometimes they are also uncertain about their choice. Lack of personalization is the key reason for this issue.

Personalized Recommendations


Solution: Personalized recommendation engine and personalized suggestions 

  • When several sites offer similar products, retailers can gain a competitive edge by creating a personalized shopping experience.
  • You can also attach personalized recommendations in the cart abandonment emails, seeing that there is a high chance shoppers change their mind.
  •  Every customer and their journey is unique, and tailoring 1:1 personalized recommendations in real- time just for them is vital. This can be challenging with scale — this is where an AI personalized recommendation engine can help! 

An AI-personalized recommendation engine like Argoid can provide 1:1 hyper-personalized recommendations in real-time.

Argoid offers the following recommendations: 

  • Home page Recommendations
  • In-cart Recommendations
  • Product detail page recommendations
  • Cart & Checkout page recommendations

Argoid can reduce the cart abandonment rate by 15% with personalized recommendations. 

Reason 5: Single payment option 

Customers, while making payments, want the convenience of using their preferred payment method. If only one option is available to customers, they are more likely to abandon the cart. Some shoppers may be willing to accept the default or the only option, but for others, your inability to support their preferred method is an easy reason for leaving the site. 

Solution: Add multiple payment gateways 

  • Provide customers with multiple payment options as you can. Because prioritizing primary payment methods first is essential, you can keep expanding as you grow.
  • By including more payment options, you can reach more customers.
Multiple payment options


Reason 6: Unclear return policy 

Customers usually get information on return policies after adding items to their cart. An unclear return policy will cause customers to leave and find a better return policy elsewhere. Shoppers want to know that if anything goes wrong with the product, they can quickly return it to the retailer and receive a refund. If the return policy is ambiguous, it can become a deal-breaker for customers.

     Clear refund policy

Solution: Have a transparent return policy 

  • Inform customers about the refund and offer a transparent and easily understandable return policy with. Also offer them a simple customer service system to facilitate this. 
  • Link to the return policy early in the process so that customers are informed prior and comfortable making the purchase. 
  • While sending abandoned cart emails also you can mention the refund policy to keep them aware about the policy.

Reason 7: Site is not mobile-friendly 

It’s  high time to make websites mobile-optimized. Since more youngsters e-shopping online, a streamlined mobile interface is vital. If the mobile interface is haphazard, it will increase the cart abandonment rate. If not, you will lose a lot of potential customers.

Solution: Take a mobile-first approach 

  • You need to prioritize a mobile design for your eCommerce store first. Ensure your shopping cart is optimized for mobile use. 
  • You can provide customers with the most enjoyable shopping experience with a site-friendly mobile experience.
  • .Create a mobile shopping experience designed primarily for use on a touch screen mobile device by making buttons and text accordingly easy to read and click.

The Do's and Don'ts of an Abandoned Cart Email - 6 Things to keep in Mind 

As we mentioned above, an average of 69% of online carts are being abandoned by users. The most effective way to recover abandoned carts is to follow up with an abandoned cart email. 

45% of cart abandonment emails are opened; 21%  are clicked on, while 50% of the users who clicked, purchase.  

According to Greg Zakowicz (Omnisend senior eCommerce expert), "Cart abandonment has become one of these important messages for eCommerce brands everywhere. First, it recaptures a significant portion of sales. But secondly, consumers increasingly expect to receive them."

An abandoned cart email template needs to be very relevant for the customer, and tailored to their browsing history. It shows the customer that you understand and value their needs, and you’re willing to build a lasting relationship. Abandoned cart emails work the best to drive customers back to the site, encouraging them to complete purchases. 

There are some effective abandoned cart email examples from which I have taken inspiration.Here are some of the tried and tested tips to master abandoned cart emails.

Some dos and don'ts for abandoned cart emails to get the best results:

1. Write a short, catchy and personalized subject line

64% of people decide if they would open an email based on the subject line. The abandoned cart email subject line should be short and catchy.  It should try to draw the user's attention to the fact that they still have products in their cart.

 It should typically include a motivation to give the user one last chance to check out. Make sure that you use engaging and personalized abandoned cart email subject lines ensuring that you're using the right approach and tone for every customer while sending abandon cart emails.

                                                        Catchy subject line


2. Write killer email copy 

An abandoned cart email copy should be snappy, simple, and compelling. It should tempt customers to complete their purchase. The email copy should be personalized to the customer's interest, and you need to include the items left in their cart in the abandoned cart email.

There are three key points you need to address in your abandoned cart email copy:

  • They liked something so much that they had put it in their basket
  • It is left idle in their online shopping cart, and they should complete their purchase
  • If they complete the purchase, they will receive additional benefits
Killer email copy


3. Personalize with up-sell/cross-sell recommendations 

Some people abandon their shopping carts because of their uncertain choices, or maybe the item is not exactly what they had in their mind. Cart abandonment gives retailers a tremendous opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. Retailers can achieve this by adding product recommendations to the cart abandonment email, personalized similar to the shopper's items.

With a hyper-personalized recommendation engine like Argoid, you can enable real-time cross-sell and upsell recommendations based on shopping behavior, product type, and more.

 Cross-sell recommendations

 4. Offer discounts and rewards 

Won't you get back to your cart if you got a discount, reduction in cost or free shipping? One of the primary reasons why customers abandon their cart is due to additional expenses such as taxes or shipping. Offering a discount to customers in the cart abandonment emails solves this problem and gives you a good chance of re-engaging with the customer. 

Therefore, you could consider offering the shopper free shipping or a discount coupon in the abandoned cart email to encourage them to return. You can offer a discount on your final abandoned cart email as well. 

Be particular about the discount value depending on the abandoned cart value, number of items in the cart, and previous customer behavior while writing cart abandonment emails.

5. Add a clear CTA button 

Your email copy should also include a call to action (CTA) button. It is mainly to grab people's attention when customers open your cart abandonment emails, but you need a way to direct that attention. 

CTA, is one of the most important parts of your abandoned cart mail. The CTA leads the shoppers through your sales funnel, giving them proper instructions about what to do next. In brief, CTAs in your abandoned cart mails are the key to turning shoppers into loyal customers. 

Here are some popular CTAs you can leverage:

  • Go to basket
  • Claim my item
  • Finish the job
  • Go to cart
  • Take me back to my cart

 CTA Button


These CTA buttons in your abandon cart mail gently persuade the visitors to complete their purchase without pushing them.

6. Add ratings of other users 

Have you ever asked for opinions from your friends or colleagues while going on a trip or trying a new restaurant? 91% of people read online reviews. Social validation does affect online purchasing decisions. 

Go through reviews and ratings of your products by other customers and take the best ones to include in your cart abandoned email. 

Having the star ratings and best customer reviews next to the product in your cart abandonment email really stands out, and adding customer comments to them makes it even more convincing.

 Rating by users

Argoid's personalized email recommendations can rescue your abandoned carts!

Argoid can help you get rid of cart abandonment, by sending 1:1 personalized abandoned cart emails to your users at scale. By enabling personalized email recommendations by Argoid you can bring back your abandoned shoppers and convert them to loyal customers.

Argoid's email recommendations can:

  • Tailor unique product recommendations in abandoned cart email for each user at the right moment
  • Increase cart abandonment email conversions with personalized product recommendations
  • Deliver product recommendations in abandonment email to each shopper based on their historical behavior

Want to know more about email recommendations? Book a free demo right now!

FAQs about Abandoned Cart Emails 

Is it allowed under GDPR guidelines to send abandoned cart emails? 

Yes, it is allowed. GDPR guidelines enable eCommerce stores to use consumer email data to show a legitimate interest on behalf of the user. When you collect the customer's email while making sales, you have a legit interest to approach them to help them complete their purchase. 

Do I need my customers' consent for sending abandoned cart emails? If so, how? 

Under the ePrivacy complaint directive, you can freely send abandoned cart emails to your customers as you have their consent. The customers must express specific consent to receive cart abandonment emails about every online cart created. There are chances where customers can ignore requests to send them abandonment emails. For which there is an alternative to consent called soft opt-in, which allows you to send abandoned cart emails in compliance with ePrivacy Directive.

Can they withdraw their consent? What should I do then? 

It's highly possible that your emails have a built-in Unsubscribe button, by which the customers can withdraw their consent for abandonment emails. If the customers withdraw consent, you can reach out to them with messages addressing the things they might have missed, attach an exit link survey, or engage them in the unsubscribe mail page.

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