How to avoid shopping cart abandonment

By September 11, 2012Blog, eCommerce
No cart left behind

Some 67 percent of shopping carts get abandoned by online shoppers before purchase is completed. Ouch.

If you are a merchant with an online store and have already done the hard miles of attracting and inspiring your customers having customers starting the buying process but ditching it before the end,  hurts. Rather than chasing more and more leads, if you reduce abandonment and improve conversions you will improve your return on investment (ROI).  Here’s some things to watch out for:

  • You need to make things as easy for your customers as possible. Give them clear and simple guarantees and return policies.
  • Spell out, loud-and-clear your shipping policy in advance. Whether it means you include the costs on product pages or have a shipping widget that calculates shipping rates and time before shoppers undertake the cart process.
  • Steep shipping costs are one of the biggest factors to cause your customers to ditch their trolleys. You are much more likely to seal the deal if you have cheap or free shipping and it allows you to compete with the big players.
  • Customers don’t always like being forced to make an account. Avoid a long, multiscreen sign-up process that requires customers input unnecessary details (nobody likes that). Always have an ‘express’ option available.
  • Sluggish load times (more than two seconds as a rule of thumb) will frustrate and send customers away. Locating servers in country, rather than overseas, will help with this.
  • Having a range of payment options helps user convenience and confidence. Customers – particularly those who regularly use eBay – may perceive Paypal as more secure. However, it can be best to offer Paypal as a secondary payment option, particularly if you are selling large ticket items that require the credibility of having your own payment system.
  • People are still wary of the web. Make your site communicates security and credibility at every stage of the purchase. Avoid bugs and dodgy graphics and always display your accreditation badges.
  • Every cart abandonment is not necessarily a desertion – shoppers may use the cart as a ‘wishlist’ and will come back several times while they decide before buying.
  • Cautious shoppers can become loyal shoppers so make it easy for ‘cart abandoners’ to return to their shopping cart without having to start the whole shopping process again.
  • Encourage community creation and engagement by using SaaS platforms like Zendesk or Get Satisfaction.
  • Once customers have left, they may still be considering their purchase, so you could use emails to encourage them back. Or stay visible by engaging targeted Adwords so that you’ll appear on the sites that they’re visiting subsequently.
  • Use eCommerce platforms with a large and active developer communities like Magento or X-Cart.
  • Reducing you cart abandonment can be big for your online business. The infographic below, thanks to, has some interesting stats and handy hints.



  • Milos Friend says:

    love little milo

  • Jeff Smith says:

    what is the legality of sending shopping cart abandonment emails in the australian environment considering the anti-spam laws?

    • Tamara Caddy says:

      Yes that’s a good point Jeff. Our understanding is that these types of emails are not SPAM because they aren’t unsolicitated. The user has provided their email during the purchase or sign-up process, so it is fair and reasonable to send emails to encourage them back to complete their purchase. We recommend that merchants set up emails to follow up and remind cart abandoners but never to pester them. Of course, you always have to adhere to the rules regarding opt out requests and having clear Terms and Conditions.

      But hey, we’re web developers not lawyers, so always best to get legal advice from the professionals. You can find more info in the Email Marketing Code of Practice and the Internet Industry Association provides a summary of the SPAM code.

      We recommend using a module such as AheadWorks’ Follow Up Email extension.

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