How To Reduce Cart Abandonment? Full Guide

Shopping cart abandonment is a significant issue in e-commerce, where a shopper adds items to their cart but leaves the site without completing the purchase. With the global cart abandonment rate hovering around 70%, this phenomenon represents a massive loss in potential revenue. Understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment and implementing strategies to mitigate it can significantly improve conversion rates and boost sales.

cart abandonment

Detailed Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Understanding the nuanced reasons why shoppers abandon their carts is essential for e-commerce businesses aiming to improve conversion rates. Here are the detailed explanations of the common causes:

1. Unexpected Costs

Issue: Many shoppers abandon their carts when they encounter unexpected costs such as high shipping fees, taxes, or other additional charges during the checkout process.

Example: A shopper finds a pair of shoes for $50. At checkout, they discover an additional $20 for shipping and $5 for taxes, raising the total to $75. Feeling misled and overwhelmed by the sudden increase, the shopper abandons the cart.

Solution: Display all potential costs upfront, including estimated shipping and taxes, on the product pages or as early as possible in the checkout process. Offering free shipping or flat-rate shipping can also mitigate this issue.

2. Mandatory Account Creation

Issue: Requiring shoppers to create an account before making a purchase adds friction to the buying process. Many customers, especially first-time buyers, prefer a quick and hassle-free checkout experience without the need to remember another set of login credentials.

Example: A shopper intends to make a one-time purchase but is forced to create an account. The additional steps and perceived time investment lead them to abandon their cart.

Solution: Implement a guest checkout option that allows customers to complete their purchase without creating an account. After the purchase, you can invite them to create an account for future benefits.

3. Long or Complicated Checkout Process

Issue: A lengthy or complex checkout process can frustrate shoppers. Each additional step or required field increases the likelihood of abandonment.

Example: A shopper has to navigate through multiple pages, each requiring detailed information such as phone number, date of birth, and billing address. This cumbersome process discourages them from completing the purchase.

Solution: Simplify the checkout process by minimizing the number of steps and required fields. Use a single-page checkout format if possible and auto-fill information for returning customers.

4. Payment Security Concerns

Issue: Shoppers may hesitate to enter their payment information if they do not trust the website’s security. Outdated design, lack of SSL certificates, or unfamiliar payment gateways can trigger these concerns.

Example: A shopper reaches the payment stage but notices that the website lacks security badges or the URL is not secure (HTTPS). Fearing their credit card information might be compromised, they abandon the cart.

Solution: Display trust signals prominently, such as SSL certificates, security badges from recognized providers (like Norton or McAfee), and customer reviews. Ensure your website has up-to-date security measures and communicates these to your customers.

5. Lack of Payment Options

Issue: Offering limited payment options can deter customers who prefer specific payment methods, such as digital wallets or buy now, pay later services.

Example: A shopper wants to pay using PayPal but finds that the only options available are credit card and direct bank transfer. Unwilling to use these methods, they abandon the cart.

Solution: Provide a variety of payment options, including major credit cards, digital wallets (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay), and alternative payment methods like buy now, pay later (Klarna, AfterPay).

6. Slow Delivery Times

Issue: Long delivery times can be a deal-breaker for many shoppers, especially if they need the product urgently or are accustomed to fast shipping options like Amazon Prime.

Example: A shopper is about to complete their purchase but learns that the expected delivery time is 10-14 days. Preferring quicker delivery, they decide not to proceed.

Solution: Clearly communicate estimated delivery times on product pages and offer expedited shipping options. Partner with reliable logistics providers to ensure timely deliveries.

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7. Unsatisfactory Return Policy

Issue: A rigid or unclear return policy can make customers hesitant to complete a purchase, fearing they might be stuck with a product they do not want or that doesn’t meet their expectations.

Example: A shopper considers buying a dress but finds that the store only offers store credit for returns and the return window is just 7 days. Doubting they can easily return the item if needed, they abandon the cart.

Solution: Offer a flexible and transparent return policy. Provide a reasonable return window (30 days is common) and clearly state the terms and conditions on your website.

8. Website Errors or Crashes

Issue: Technical issues such as slow loading times, crashes, or glitches during the checkout process can frustrate shoppers and lead them to abandon their carts.

Example: A shopper tries to proceed to payment but encounters a loading error or the site crashes. Frustrated and unsure if their payment went through, they abandon the cart.

Solution: Regularly test and optimize your website for performance. Ensure it is stable, fast, and can handle high traffic, especially during peak shopping seasons.

9. Comparison Shopping

Issue: The ease of online shopping allows customers to compare prices and features across different stores. If they find a better deal elsewhere, they are likely to abandon their cart.

Example: A shopper has added a gadget to their cart but decides to check a competitor’s website. Finding a lower price or better shipping terms, they abandon their cart to buy from the competitor.

Solution: Conduct regular competitor analysis to ensure your prices and offers are competitive. Consider price-matching policies and highlight any unique value propositions, such as superior customer service or exclusive product features.

10. Distractions or Loss of Interest

Issue: Shoppers might get distracted or lose interest during the shopping process, leading to cart abandonment.

Example: A shopper adds items to their cart but gets interrupted by a phone call or another task. When they return to their device, they no longer feel the urgency to complete the purchase.

Solution: Use retargeting ads and abandoned cart emails to remind shoppers of the items left in their cart and encourage them to complete the purchase. Offering a small discount or incentive can help regain their interest.

By addressing these detailed reasons for cart abandonment, e-commerce businesses can create a smoother, more reliable shopping experience that encourages customers to complete their purchases and reduces the overall abandonment rate.

Strategies to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Here are several effective strategies to reduce cart abandonment:

1. Offer Free Shipping

One of the most effective ways to reduce cart abandonment is to offer free shipping. Unexpected shipping costs are a major deterrent for online shoppers. Highlight free shipping policies clearly on product pages to set the right expectations. For example, Target and KURU Footwear successfully increased conversions by being transparent about their shipping policies.

2. Enable Guest Checkout

Many first-time customers do not want to go through the hassle of creating an account. Enabling guest checkout can reduce friction and improve sales. For instance, Barnes & Noble offers a guest checkout option, which has proven effective in reducing cart abandonment.

3. Provide Multiple Payment Solutions

Offering a variety of payment options can significantly reduce cart abandonment. Ensure you include popular payment methods like PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. Studies show that customers are more likely to complete a purchase if their preferred payment method is available.

4. Use Exit-Intent Popups

Exit-intent popups can capture the attention of shoppers who are about to leave your site. Offering a discount or special promotion through a popup can entice customers to complete their purchase. ZooShoo, for instance, increased its revenue by 7% using exit-intent popups.

5. Simplify Your Checkout Process

Streamlining the checkout process by minimizing the number of steps and simplifying forms can reduce abandonment. Using a single-page checkout or a progress indicator can help keep customers informed about their progress, making them less likely to abandon their cart. For example, Olympic Store improved conversions by 21.8% by switching to a single-page checkout.

6. Use Trust Signals

Incorporate trust signals such as SSL certificates, trust badges, and customer reviews to reassure customers that their information is secure. Blue Fountain Media saw a 42% increase in sales by adding the Verisign Trust badge to their site.

7. Include Thumbnails of Products in the Cart

Displaying product thumbnails throughout the checkout process helps customers remember what they are purchasing and reduces the likelihood of abandonment. Baymard Institute found that 86% of top e-commerce sites use this tactic effectively.

8. Improve Page Load Times

Slow page load times can frustrate customers and lead to abandonment. Ensure your website is optimized for speed by using a reliable hosting provider and compressing images and files. For example, Lidia Crochet Tricot improved customer satisfaction by switching to a faster hosting provider.

9. Create Abandonment Cart Email Flows

Sending personalized abandonment cart emails can recover lost sales. Research from SaleCycle shows that nearly 30% of clicks on abandoned cart emails result in a recovered cart. Include product images, a summary of the cart, and a clear call to action in your emails.

10. Offer Transparent Pricing

Avoid surprising customers with additional costs at checkout. Display all costs, including shipping and taxes, upfront. If possible, provide a shipping cost calculator on product pages.

11. Provide Live Chat Support

Offering live chat support can help address any questions or concerns customers may have during the checkout process, reducing the likelihood of abandonment. Ensure that live chat is responsive and available during peak shopping times.

12. Optimize for Mobile

With the rise of mobile shopping, ensuring your checkout process is mobile-friendly is crucial. Simplify forms, use larger buttons, and streamline navigation to enhance the mobile shopping experience.

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Marketing Techniques to Reduce Cart Abandonment

In addition to optimizing your website, use marketing techniques to reduce cart abandonment:

  • Utilize Retargeting Ads: Retargeting ads can remind shoppers of the items left in their cart and encourage them to return to complete the purchase.
  • Send Follow-Up Emails: Use email marketing to send reminders about abandoned carts, including personalized product recommendations and incentives to complete the purchase.
  • Leverage Social Proof: Include customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials in your retargeting ads and follow-up emails to build trust and encourage conversions.


Reducing cart abandonment requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the various reasons why customers abandon their carts. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can create a seamless, trustworthy, and user-friendly shopping experience that encourages customers to complete their purchases. Continuously analyze and optimize your checkout process to stay ahead of customer expectations and reduce cart abandonment rates.

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