Reduce Cart Abandonment Rate: Here’s How

January 8, 2024

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Reduce Cart Abandonment Rate: Here’s How

Consumer expectations have certainly evolved over the years, but their behavior remains the same. Picture this scenario: a shopper walks into a physical store, scans the surroundings, picks up something of interest, but suddenly puts it back and decides to leave.

Understanding what triggered them to leave is difficult, but important. It could be a number of factors such as-

  • The checkout line was too long
  • The price was too high
  • They didn't see enough value in the product
  • The store's music was annoying 
  • etc.

With countless potential reasons for the shopper's departure, determining the exact cause would be impossible unless someone were to ask. This uncertainty predominantly remains an issue for physical stores, but in 2024, knowing why a shopper abandons an online store is getting easier and easier.

By harnessing new technologies, accessible research, and inexpensive experimentation, there's no reason an ecom store can't effectively reduce its cart abandonment rate. That's why we're here today—to delve into the reasons behind this common behavior and explore how businesses can proactively address it.

What is Cart Abandonment?

In eCommerce, cart abandonment occurs when a shopper adds an item(s) to their cart but leaves the website without completing the purchase. Given the expense of getting a user to this part of the funnel, having them abandon the purchase at this point is a gut punch to your bottom line. As a result, understanding and addressing the rationale for this action is crucial for your store’s success.

How to Calculate Cart Abandonment Rate

You've noticed users adding items to their carts, but your completed purchases don't quite match up. If this resonates with you, it's time to calculate your cart abandonment rate. Here are the steps:

  1. Determine the number of completed purchases during a specific period  
  2. Count the total number of online shopping carts that were initiated but left incomplete during the same specific period.
  3. Apply the formula below:

[1 - [ (#) completed purchases / (#) shopping carts created ]] * 100 = (%) Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

There you have it – you've calculated your cart abandonment rate. Now, before jumping to conclusions, it's important to note that there is no universal right or wrong cart abandonment rate. Lower is of course better, but don’t get spooked- according to data from the Baymard Institute the average cart abandonment rate in 2023 was 70%. Every business, whether new or established, experiences fluctuations in this metric over time. It's natural. However, whenever possible you should pinpoint the causes of change in order to improve the metric for the long-haul. If you haven’t already, identify your rate, set a benchmark, and start tracking your progress.

How Can I Reduce My Cart Abandonment Rate?

To reduce your cart abandonment rate, it's essential to be aware of common mistakes that can lead to its inflation. While every ecom brand is unique, many tend to encounter challenges in these areas:

Unexpected Costs and Additional Fees:

Hidden charges can turn a happy shopper into a frustrated shopper. As per the Baymard Institute’s data, unexpected additional costs emerge as a leading factor in shopping cart abandonment, accounting for 48% of abandoned carts. When a shopper is ready to make a payment, and their mindset is fixed on a particular price, introducing unexpected fees at the last minute tends to create a sense of inconvenience and breached trust, resulting in a less positive experience.

To avoid losing potential customers, transparency is crucial. Therefore, it is advisable to:

  • Avoid unnecessary fees.
  • Provide clear information on potential fees like shipping before customers add items to their carts.
  • Consider incorporating any additional costs and fees into the displayed price to offer customers a straightforward understanding of the total cost right from the start.

Account Creation:

Typically, checkout is not considered a fun activity. No matter how excited someone might be about a product, the idea of money leaving their bank account is not exactly thrilling. This makes the checkout stage of the user journey exceptionally sensitive.

While operators are always looking to get first-party data from consumers for good reason, forcing users to create an account can be inconvenient and off-putting. The additional time and effort, coupled with the need to remember yet another set of login details, can disrupt the checkout experience.

Some users might find the process annoying, especially if they don't immediately see the benefits of having an account, and there's the added concern of receiving unwanted emails. For those involved in one-time transactions or casual browsing, the request to create an account may seem a bit excessive.

To address this, offering alternatives like guest checkouts should be considered, allowing users to complete transactions without feeling obligated to create an account. This approach focuses on making the user experience more convenient and flexible, potentially minimizing the chances of users leaving the site due to the perceived hassle of account creation.

Complicated Checkout Process:

Similar to account creation, having a complex payment process can also be a real turn-off for users, especially when it involves lengthy forms, extra steps, and confusing navigation. Dealing with numerous fields and steps can make users feel a bit overwhelmed, disrupting their smooth journey toward completing a purchase.

To enhance the user experience, consider following these tips:

  • Streamline checkout by removing unnecessary steps.
  • Simplify form fields, asking only for essential details for payment and shipping.
  • Ensure clear navigation from start to finish, to ensure a quick payment process when customers are ready.
  • Offer popular third-party checkout options such as ApplePay, PayPal, AmazonPay, ShopPay, and Google Pay.

These alternatives provide a quick and efficient checkout, enhancing the chances of conversion and ensuring a positive user experience overall. A Shopify study validates this, demonstrating that integrating the third-party checkout solution, Shop Pay, increased conversions by a whopping 50%.

One important drawback to consider is that your access to customer information, which might later be used for re-marketing, can be reduced to only the bare essentials when using third-party checkout options (which is one reason customers like them).

Security Concerns:

Trust is of utmost importance when it comes to online transactions. Users often abandon their shopping carts if they harbor any reservations or concerns regarding the security of their personal information. Ensuring a robust and secure online environment for users is essential in building and maintaining their confidence. Here are three ways to build a consumer’s trust through your website:

  • Integrate security badges, customer reviews, and testimonials across your site.
  • Implement industry-standard security measures: SSL encryption, secure payment gateways, and transparent privacy policies.
  • Communicate and reassure users about stringent security measures, fostering trust and encouraging seamless transactions.

Slow Website Loading Times:

If you've ever been on a slow website, you know how frustrating it can be. Unless you have impeccable patience, you're unlikely to stick around on a laggy site. Slow site speed doesn’t only impact cart abandonment. According to Deloitte (among others), it can also have a detrimental impact on other important ecom metrics including page views per session, conversion rates, and average order values (AOV).

In the fast-paced online world, where instant access and responsiveness are expected, slow loading times can seriously hinder a website's competitiveness. Users, accustomed to quick and seamless interactions, will abandon a site that fails to meet these expectations, leaving a lasting impression that can influence their likelihood of returning in the future.

Here are the best ways to increase site speed and keep your users happy:

  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML: Remove unnecessary characters and spaces from code files to reduce their size.
  • Optimize images: Compress and resize images to reduce their file size without compromising quality.
  • Employ Nostra’s Edge Delivery Engine™: Nostra goes well beyond the capabilities of traditional CDN’s, building on top of them to cache both Dynamic AND Static content. In so doing, Nostra improves site speed and performance by 20-30% on average after a rapid, no-code onboarding.

Fast site speed is crucial in not only retaining current users but also attracting new ones. If you're interested in learning more on the importance of site speed, how to test, and how to optimize your own website, read our article on site speed optimization.

Insufficient Product Information:

Unless your shoppers enjoy a sense of mystery, you may be missing out on potential revenue by not providing enough details about your products. Inadequate or unclear product information, as emphasized in Nik Sharma's Expert Guide, can undermine a consumer’s confidence in their purchase decision. Consumers appreciate knowing why your product is unique, especially in a competitive market where alternatives with more comprehensive information are readily available.

To prevent your users from seeking similar products elsewhere, consider implementing these tips:

  • Detailed Descriptions: Provide comprehensive and clear product descriptions that highlight key features, benefits, and unique selling points.
  • Visual Appeal: Enhance product pages with high-quality images from various angles, zoom features, and potentially videos to give users a better understanding of the product.
  • Customer Reviews: Encourage and display customer reviews to offer real-life perspectives on the product, addressing potential questions or concerns.
  • Comparison Charts: Include comparison charts that outline the differences between your product and similar ones in the market, emphasizing its advantages.
  • FAQ Section: Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to address common queries and concerns, ensuring users find relevant information easily.
  • User Guides or Manuals: Provide downloadable user guides or manuals for complex products, offering in-depth information on usage, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

Analytics and Feedback: The Road to Improvement

There you have it—the most common cart abandonment rate mistakes! If any of those hit home, use the provided tips to make the necessary changes. Before doing so, ensure you have calculated your cart abandonment rate to establish a benchmark for monitoring progress. It's crucial to acknowledge that not every website is identical, and your specific issue might not be listed above.

To ensure you're not overlooking any potential improvements, we recommend utilizing these tactics:

Conduct a Thorough Analysis:

Conducting an analysis on your site and the journey of your users can help pinpoint where users drop off. For a detailed guide on how to do so, check out our expert guide featuring Anthony Morgan, a Shopify and broader CRO expert. Anthony provides valuable insights on identifying pain points within a user journey and offers actionable tips for improvement.

Gather User Feedback and Surveys:

Get direct insights from users to discover valuable perspectives on potential improvements. Think of this as the ecom equivalent of standing in your store and asking shoppers why they decided to leave. In our expert guide with Nik Sharma, Nik speaks on the significance of utilizing user feedback and the advantages it can bring to your brand.

Steering Towards Conversion Success

Witnessing a high cart abandonment rate can be disheartening, but with these insights and approaches, your business can significantly improve this important metric. Embrace transparency, prioritize user experience, and leverage technology to create a shopping experience that users won't abandon.

“49 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics 2024 – Cart & Checkout.” Baymard Institute, Accessed Jan. 2024.

Fazeli, Mani. “Shopify Checkout Is the Best-Converting in the World. Here’s Why.” Shopify Plus, Accessed Jan. 2024.

Milliseconds Make Millions - Deloitte Us, Accessed Jan. 2024.

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