Getsitecontrol Insider

Quick Guide to Cart Abandonment + 5 Ways to Fix it

December 13, 2020 Getsitecontrol Episode 25
Getsitecontrol Insider
Quick Guide to Cart Abandonment + 5 Ways to Fix it
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Shopping cart abandonment is like a splinter in any ecommerce store owner’s foot; it’s painful to experience but avoidable if you know where to look.

By the end of this episode, you'll have a clear understanding of what may cause cart abandonment in your store, and learn 5 proven tactics to reduce the abandonment rate.

Prefer reading the text version instead? Then check out the blog post where we've shared specific tools and popup templates to help you fix shopping cart abandonment.

Hi, you’re listening to Getsitecontrol Insider where we talk about all things ecommerce! In this episode, we’ll discuss cart abandonment. Stay tuned to find out what causes cart abandonment, how to find these causes, and how you can fix them.

Shopping cart abandonment is like a splinter in any ecommerce store owner’s foot; it’s painful to experience but avoidable if you know where to look. It’s not a threat to your business’ success to see some people leaving your cart without purchasing; the problem exists when most of your shoppers leave your cart without buying.

In 2010, a Forrester Research study estimated cart abandonment caused ecommerce brands to lose as much as $18 billion in yearly sales revenue. In 2020, that number is many times higher.

But what is cart abandonment exactly?

Cart abandonment happens when a visitor leaves an online retail store after adding a product to their shopping cart without making a purchase.  

Cart abandonment does not only describe an action; it's a measurement of a store’s failure to persuade a visitor to purchase.  

Picture it this way:

  1. John visits your ecommerce store after finding a product of yours on an Instagram post.
  2. After browsing your store for a few minutes, he adds a product he liked to his shopping cart.
  3. Then, John leaves your website without buying the product he added to his cart.

Everything seemed to work just fine, yet in the third step, the visitor decided to leave your store without second notice. 

That raises the question: what caused the visitor to abandon their cart? 

You should think of cart abandonment as a crucial metric that indicates an underlying issue in your visitor’s shopping experience. Adding a product to cart creates "commitment” which pushes us to act consistently.

Consumers are biased to finish their purchase after adding a product to cart — so, whatever causes them to break this pattern must be a strong behavioral disincentive.

Wondering what the most common reasons why people abandon a cart?

Here are top 10 responses from customers who did not complete their purchases:

1.     Extra costs – such as shipping or taxes – are too high

2.     The site wanted me to create an account

3.     The checkout process is too long or too complicated

4.     I couldn’t see or calculate total order cost upfront

5.     Delivery was too slow

6.     I didn’t trust the site with my credit card information

7.     The website had errors or crushed

8.     The return policy wasn’t satisfactory

9.     There weren’t enough payment methods

10.  The credit card was declined


Notice: every cart abandonment cause appears after a visitor adds a product to cart. From this data, we can conclude the problems come into existence when a company surprises the visitor and breaks their expectation of what a successful purchase should be like.


Think of it this way: if you decided to buy a t-shirt for $9.99 and you eventually find you have to pay $14.99 due to taxes and shipping fees, you’ll likely be disappointed and leave. Regardless of your desire to buy the t-shirt, your mind had decided that the “fair” price was the initial one.

Psychologists call this “price anchoring,” a cognitive bias that makes humans take the initial price presented as the most relevant one.


We’ll get into the details of fixing cart abandonment in a moment, but for now, remember the following: avoid surprising your visitors with new prices, complex checkout experiences, and any information that breaks their expectations.


Better yet, think of your company as a direct competitor of Amazon: you need to offer fast, free shipping, easy returns, and a simple checkout experience. Considering that Amazon has nearly 40% market share in the US andalmost 10% in Europe, it’s very likely your shoppers have the option to buy from them; your job is to make it as easy to purchase from you as in Amazon.

How to find your cart abandonment

To find your current cart abandonment rate, open your Google Analytics account, and go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior.


When you do that, you’ll see that Google Analytics shows two types of cart abandonment:

●       Cart Abandonment, which measures those visitors who leave your cart before reaching the checkout page.

●       Check-Out Cart Abandonment, which measures those visitors who leave your cart after reaching the checkout page.

Ideally, you want to target your efforts for the latter visitors as it’s likely the causes of their abandonment are simpler and easier to fix. One potential cause could be that you don’t show any security badges or that you don’t offer enough payment methods. These fixes are relatively simple and will solve your most pressing problems right away.


On the other hand, pre-checkout cart abandonment issues may be caused by more critical issues, like high delivery costs, unclear return and shipping policies, and more.


To find the real causes of your cart abandonment, look beyond the numbers in Google Analytics and uncover the reasons your visitors have for their actions. 


To do so, use exit-intent popups and survey those visitors who abandon your store without purchasing. Your research should answer the following two questions:

●       Why do visitors choose not to complete their purchase?

●       What can you change to avoid any future issues?

With the answers to these questions, you will then implement relevant and effective tactics to fix cart abandonment.


With that in mind, let’s discuss 5 proven tactics to reduce cart abandonment in your store. 

Tactic #1. Nudge your visitors before exiting

Occam’s Razor claims that the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Following this logic, the cause of your cart abandonment could be that your visitors forget they added a product to cart.


In this case, just create and exit-intent popup triggered by an abandoned cart for your store. It will remind your visitors of their cart before they leave. For example, with the help ofGetsitecontrol, you can show modal popups, floating bars, and slide-ins to deliver your message without ruining the user experience.

Tactic #2. Offer discounts or free shipping

As the Baymard Institute shows, higher-than-expected costs — taxes, shipping — partially explain cart abandonment. If you can’t but charge your visitors for their shipping, or if there are any fees or taxes you can’t avoid charging,offer a discount


While the discount may affect your profit margins, the increase in conversion rate, and possibly average order value, will override the issue. Some discount types you could offer include Vouchers, Free shipping, BOGO — “Buy one get one free” deals, or initial purchase discount.


Analyze the effects your discounts will have on your finances before deciding on one, and ideally, A/B test them. While the financial impact may be the same between a 10% discount and a voucher, the way your visitors perceive them – won’t.

To make the discount even more exciting andboost your sales further, consider using countdown timers and stock scarcity. For example, specify how many units are left in stock when presenting the offer.

Tactic #3. Decrease FUDs (Fear, Uncertainties, and Doubts)

Your visitors have dozens of reasons why they shouldn’t trust your store, some that arise from the mere act of purchasing online, and some that your store causes them.


Take credit card frauds. According to aSmartMetric 2018 report, worldwide payment card fraud caused $24.26 billion in losses. 


To lower their fears of getting their financial information stolen, use the latest security protocols, like the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocols. These protocols are a trust signal that shows your store is secure and poses no threat to your customers’ safety.


Also, offer multi-factor authentication methods (MFA), like the 2-factor authentication (2FA) or 2-step verification (2SV) methods. These methods require the user to verify their identity after submitting their passwords, lowering the chances of getting their accounts hacked and stolen.


Finally, ask for the most essential shopping-related information you need, like the buyer's name and email address. You can ask for other information, like their age and gender, afterward.

Tactic #4. Lower Purchase Friction

When you think about a customer purchase, think of it as a painful process for them. This may not be actually true, but imagining it this way will force you to make your shopping experience as flawless and painless as possible. 

Once a visitor adds a product to cart, everything should be easy for them to buy. It should be too easy, in fact.


According to the Baynard Institute’s survey, 28% of respondents complained that ecommerce businesses ask them to create an account, while a study from SaleCyclefound 34% of consumers will abandon their shopping cart if they are forced to do so.


Sure, there are many benefits around having a visitor creating an account, but most of these benefits pale in comparison to your revenue. Let your visitors buy as guests, and you will see your conversion rates and sales volume skyrocket.


Another important aspect is to have not more than six pages in your checkout process. This suggestion comes from astudy by the Baymard Institute that found the average checkout flow for a new user is 5.1 steps long—which includes the shopping cart step all the way up to the order review step.


Also, let people pay with different payment methods. At the minimum, your store should accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express; plus the most popular mobile payment options such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Amazon Pay.

Tactic #5. Add Social Proof

People like following other people. We want to believe that other people’s behavior is an indicator of the correct behavior to follow, a process known as “social proof.” 


That means, show your visitors what other visitors have done, and they will be more likely to imitate them — which includes making a purchase.


To influence your customer’s love for social proof, add customer reviews to your product pages. 

You can easily do that with plugins like Yotpo and PowerReviews.


Plus, you can show your visitors what products other customers are buying. Tools like Proof and Nudgify allow you to do that and might influence your visitors to pick the right product for them.


Cart abandonment is an expensive and unnecessary problem most ecommerce store owners face. But the good news is, you can easily reduce it.


Start by researching your visitors with the help of customer feedback forms. With the data you get, optimize your shopping experience accordingly using any of the tactics we’ve just discussed.


Sooner or later, your cart abandonment rate will plummet, and your conversion rates will increase. 




What is cart abandonment exactly?
What causes visitors to abandon their carts?
The most common reasons why people abandon shopping carts
How to find your cart abandonment
How to reduce cart abandonment in your store: nudge visitors before exiting
How to reduce cart abandonment in your store: offer discounts
How to reduce cart abandonment in your store: derease FUDs (Fear, Uncertainties, and Doubts)
How to reduce cart abandonment in your store: lower purchase friction
How to reduce cart abandonment in your store: add social proof