12 powerful ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

She abandoned shopping carts.

You’d want to read this article if these three words make you uncomfortable or anxious.

Building an eCommerce website involves meticulously following a long list of steps and processes to deliver the best shopping experience for website visitors. But no matter how much effort you invest into building the perfect website, shopping cart abandonment and keeping visitors longer are persistent problems that have troubled online retail businesses forever.

In our two decades of experience as an eCommerce marketing agency, hundreds of businesses have fretted over low conversion rates due to shopping cart abandonment. And we have helped startups, marketplaces, and eCommerce behemoths ace that challenge with our expertise, skill, and technical nous. Today, we want to help you do the same with that very trifecta.

So, let’s dive into why potential visitors don’t finish their purchases on an eCommerce website and how to fix them.


What is shopping cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment happens when a potential shopper visits product pages on your e-commerce website and adds items to the shopping cart but leaves the site before the checkout process.

A simple 2-step formula determines the shopping cart abandonment rate:

  1. Divide the total number of completed transactions by the total number of initiated transactions.
  2. Subtract this figure from 1 and multiply the result by 100.

The more significant the gap between the total number of initiated and completed transactions, the greater the cart abandonment rate—consequently, the more substantial proof of a poor website experience for customers. 


What are the causes of shopping cart abandonment?

Studies show that around 70 percent of digital shopping carts are abandoned without completing the purchase for various reasons, such as poor user experience, finding a lower price elsewhere, extra steps in the shopping process, and so on.

An effective eCommerce marketing strategy is pivotal to fixing website flaws, especially for apparel, kitchen appliances, and healthcare eCommerce websites. Here is a look into the significant reasons for high cart abandonment rates:


1. Forced account creation

Businesses employ a variety of digital marketing tactics, like paid advertising, remarketing, and retargeting ads, to lure prospective customers to the website successfully. But all effort goes in vain when customers go through a mandatory account creation process to shop. Sign-in barriers are one of the primary reasons affecting conversion rates. 


2. Unexpectedly high costs

High shipping costs and other related costs disclosed at the final step of checkout discourage prospects from completing the purchase. In 2022, 48% of U.S. consumers abandoned online purchases during checkout due to additional costs, such as shipping, taxes, or other fees. 


3. Confusing checkout process

Checkout processes that make customers feel lost and entangled in a maze of lengthy procedures contribute to abandoned carts. Users should be able to move from one step to the next with ease.


4. Slow-loading website 

A slow-loading website that could be more responsive and intuitive will force customers to leave their purchase process halfway. Website errors are believed to have contributed to around 13% of cart abandonment rates.


5. Payment security issues

Customers often find it hard to trust sites with sensitive information like credit card information. Websites that don’t display recognized payment security logos are not deemed trustworthy by prospects.


Twelve practical ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

No business can completely escape abandoned carts. Website owners can implement effective eCommerce marketing strategies to maximize conversion rates and maintain high profitability. You hire an agency specializing in digital marketing for eCommerce, so experts take care of your eCommerce marketing.

Below are 12 tried and tested strategies to lower cart abandonment rates:


1. Leverage retargeting ads to lure back bounced customers.

Retargeting ads are one of the most effective ways to entice customers and prompt them to complete the purchase. Tailored ads are more likely to make them want to return to the site. Leverage personalization and segmentation to combine perfect content with perfect timing. A customer who abandoned the cart due to distraction or hiccups can be lured back by engaging in retargeting ads


2. Incentivize purchases by offering free shipping

Shipping costs are one of the most significant factors affecting abandonment rates. Shipping costs that are higher than the product cost are a massive turn-off for customers. If financially feasible, you should try to eliminate high shipping costs. If you can’t, then be upfront about the costs and disclose all the costs that will add up to the total amount as early as possible in the purchase process. Customers don’t like to be surprised by exorbitant costs just when they enter the final payment stage. Give complete information about all the extra costs so customers don’t feel deceived into buying the product.


3. Offer guest checkout options to get more sales from first-time visitors.

Your target audience sees an ad, clicks on it, lands on your website, likes the products on display, adds them to the cart, and proceeds to pay but suddenly gets interrupted by a ‘create account’ message. Forcing first-time shoppers to go through the account creation process will create a barrier to purchase. You want the shopping experience to be as seamless and effortless as possible.

A guest checkout option will help hasten the checkout process. You can ask users to create an account once they have completed the purchase. That way, you don’t risk losing customers, and visitors will be willing to create an account once they are satisfied with the shopping experience.


4. Alleviate customer concerns about payment and data security.

People are bound to be apprehensive about making payments online. Around 18% of users abandon carts because they don’t trust eCommerce sites’ credit card information. How do you get customers to trust you? Use trust signals on your website. Add recognizable security logos to your website so customers know their payment information is safe. Offer security reassurances through a few well-placed badges and security symbols on the checkout page.

Some security symbols you can include are the Norton seal, the McAfee seal, Google Play, the PayPal logo, Better Business Bureau, and GeoTrust, among others. For healthcare eCommerce sites, the HIPAA-compliant logo is easily the essential certification you need to display. When data theft and leaks are at an all-time high, HIPAA compliance assures buyers about the safety of their data and reinforces trust in your business.

You can get professional assistance from an eCommerce marketing agency to ensure all trust signals are placed correctly.


5. Make the checkout process executable for everyone.

A lengthy checkout process will only translate to more abandoned carts. In this fast-paced world where people have extremely low attention spans, a confusing checkout process means you give customers reasons to go to your competition. Businesses should test and optimize checkout pages before launching the website to ensure customers a smooth checkout experience.

If you own a healthcare eCommerce platform, you must ensure customers can browse through, add to cart, and complete payments. A single-page checkout is better than a multi-page checkout. A checkout process consisting of more than five steps should be avoided. 3 to 5 steps are ideally recommended.


6. Offer multiple payment options to cover a broader potential customer base.

Multiple payment options have recently emerged, and customers expect their preferred payment methods to be available on the eCommerce site. One customer prefers to pay via credit card, whereas others prefer digital wallets. Limited payment options mean customers will be forced to choose options they are unfamiliar with or comfortable with. This will eventually lead to an abandoned cart. Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Square, Google Pay, PayPal, and Stripe are some of the widely used payment options you should consider on your site.


7. Give progress indications to provide clarity to shoppers.

Going through the checkout process without knowing how many more steps await is a frustrating experience for users and compels customers to leave the transaction halfway. However, a progress bar enables visitors to understand their order’s status better, provides greater transparency, and removes uncertainty.


8. Use thumbnails to display items in the cart and hold the buyer’s attention.

Using a shopping cart as a shopping catalog is one of the typical user behaviors of eCommerce shoppers. On the other hand, distractions during online shopping are natural as the internet promotes multitasking, tempting users to switch to other apps or watch a new trailer.

For the above reasons, thumbnails to display items in the cart must remind and reinforce the desire to shop among the prospects. An agency with expertise in marketplace marketing can help you reduce friction and optimize the shopping experience for users with tried and tested strategies. 


9. Improve site speed to minimize bounce rates drastically.

Site loading speed is one of the crucial aspects influencing users’ shopping experience. A mobile site that doesn’t load in under 3 seconds will be abandoned by 53% of users. If you have been dealing with slow load times, analyze the factors slowing down the site and remove unnecessary elements compromising the site’s speed. You can limit the use of ad network trackers, poorly implemented tags, and social plugins to boost site speed. 


10. Maintain continuity between product pages and a shopping cart.

Understanding customer behavior when they land on the website is crucial in optimizing an intuitive navigation flow that lets users switch between the shopping cart and product page and pick up where they left off with the least hassle. 

For instance, offering cart-saving options to customers so they can return to the carts even if they switch to other pages during the checkout process is one of the tactics that enhances your eCommerce platform user experience.


11. Use strong calls to action.

Adding a solid call to action on the checkout page can also reduce cart abandonment to a significant extent by boosting the prospect’s confidence to complete the purchase. eCommerce businesses often assume that CTAs on the checkout page are redundant as the prospect is already interested in the product. However, calls to action that prompts prospects to finish the checkout process are vital to the success of an eCommerce website. Test the calls to action before incorporating them into the page. A vague call to action can backfire and hurt the user experience.


12. Send remarketing emails after cart abandonment to earn back recently lost hot leads.

Sending remarketing emails immediately after cart abandonment can convert prospects. Email campaigns can help win back prospects who came close to finishing the purchase but didn’t because of specific issues. Businesses must create email campaigns that address these issues with actionable solutions or content. Collaborating with an agency specialized in digital marketing for eCommerce would help as they can craft effective abandoned cart emails with rigorous A/B testing and optimization to increase conversion rates. 



Some customers are bound to abandon their carts for reasons beyond your understanding; you can do nothing about it. However, shopping cart abandonment becomes a serious issue and affects your bottom line. The impact of cart abandonment goes beyond lost revenue. It results in lost customer lifetime value and higher customer acquisition costs. According to recent stats, 2 out of 3 users abandon a purchase after adding items to the cart. Preventing cart abandonment before it happens is a more practical solution to addressing this issue. Following the tips discussed in this article will help reduce cart abandonment rates.

Cart abandonment is often a result of a poorly designed website. Rather than investing heavily in cart abandonment recovery tactics, you should focus on building an eCommerce website that delivers the best user experience. Powerful product pages, smooth conversion pathways, and intuitiveness are key areas to focus on for reducing cart abandonment. eCommerce businesses single-handedly may be unable to incorporate all the best practices discussed here. Hiring a professional eCommerce marketing agency will help leverage analytics and tools to monitor abandonment and take corrective action. 


Let’s quickly refresh your memory and review the essential tips discussed here.

  1. Use retargeting ads
  2. Offer free shipping or be upfront about the costs 
  3. Provide guest checkout options
  4. Address concerns about payment security 
  5. Simplify the checkout process 
  6. Offer a plethora of payment options 
  7. Give progress indications
  8. Use thumbnails to display items in the shopping cart 
  9. Improve site speed 
  10. Maintain continuity between product pages and shopping cart 
  11. Use strong calls to action on the checkout page 
  12. Send an email immediately after cart abandonment
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