How to Reduce Cart Abandonment for E-commerce Businesses

The most significant challenge e-commerce businesses are facing every day is turning potential buyers into customers.

Statistically, 81% of online-store customers abandon their shopping carts before completing a purchase.

This means, regardless of the product quality or popularity, cart abandonment is the biggest obstacle every e-commerce retailer has to overcome.

What is cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a buyer adds one or more items to the shopping cart and then leaves before completing the transaction.

Just imagine entering a grocery store, filling up your shopping cart with all the goodies, and then leaving it at the counter.

While it is improbable for this situation to happen in real life, this is typical for e-commerce.

The good news is — it is possible to reduce the percentage of customers abandoning their carts.

Why shoppers abandon carts

On the internet, customers are shopping differently than in physical stores. A person will visit many sites before completing a purchase. This typical browsing behavior suggests that people will shop around without necessarily completing the purchase at the end.

But what makes customers, who have already started the checkout process, change their mind?

A study conducted by Baymard in 2019 showed the most common reasons:

  • 55% — extra costs are too high
  • 34% — they have to create an account
  • 26% — the process is too long or complex
  • 21% — can’t see the total cost
  • 17% — do not trust the site
  • 17% — the website has errors or crashes
  • 16% — the delivery is too slow
  • 11% — the return policy
  • 6% — lack of payment options
  • 4% — the card was declined

People abandon their shopping carts for reasons that can be fixed with content, incentives, and a better online store design.

If you want to know how — read on!

How to reduce cart abandonment

While it is unrealistic to expect retaining every customer who fills up the shopping cart on your website, improving its usability and content can skyrocket the number of completed purchases.

  1. Be upfront about extra costs.

Product costs are a significant factor in any buying decision, and the number one reason why people abandon carts.

It is something people are going to consider before completing any checkout.

Customers are always looking for the best quality products at the best prices, so price comparisons between your products and your competitors’ will happen.

The consideration stage is always long because customers are looking for the best deal or offer for that product.

However, the problem is that most eCommerce stores are not upfront about the actual cost of their products.

They display a price lower than the real product costs and increase it with extra shipping costs, taxes, packaging, and other hidden fees later on in the checkout stage.

At first sight, this tactic will get customers to convert, but the extra charges will make them reconsider their buying decision and go back to evaluate their options.

The good thing is that this is the easiest to implement among all the tactics we are discussing today.

Just display the actual product costs.

Be upfront about how much shipping will cost your buyers and let them know about any extra costs they’ll incur before adding products to cart.

Seven out of ten shopping carts are abandoned because of hidden costs. You can avoid this in your business by letting people know what the total product is.

Instead of hiding fees, try keeping your product costs high but with free shipping and discounts as an incentive to increase purchase conversions with remarketing.

2. Improve your onsite experience

As obvious as it seems, regularly checking and updating your e-commerce website is the first action you should take to keep customers from leaving before they finish buying.

If your site isn’t functioning correctly, takes too long to load, CTAs are not clear, the design or navigation is not user friendly, you risk losing potential buyers.

Many factors affect onsite user experience, but some of the ways you can improve it to reduce cart abandonment include:

  • Increase page speed.

Most online stores experience errors and slow loading speeds in peak seasons like December, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday due to increased traffic volumes.

But no one wants to buy from a slow loading eCommerce site — in fact, most people will leave a website that takes up to 3 seconds to load.

Improving page speed alone can reduce cart abandonment because people can receive the information they need to make a buying decision faster.

A good example is how Aliexpress improved its load time by 36% and reported increased orders of more than 10%, along with a 27% higher conversion rate of new customers.

You can bring your website to a higher speed by optimizing images and offloading or cache-ing different files. Focus on improving your checkout page loading process, and make sure the delay between “Place order” and the payment provider’s final message is as short as possible.

3. Simplify the checkout process

You have probably faced this situation as a customer — you add the items to your shopping cart, proceed to the checkout with excitement but lose the enthusiasm when asked to log in or create an account.

Try offering guest checkout and let people who are not interested in creating an account at that time to complete their check out and maybe get them to register after.

I guess you have to decide what conversion is most important for your store, account creation or completed the purchase?

Another of simplifying your checkout process is by making it as short as possible.

If your online store has more steps in the checkout process, include a checkout progress indicator to show the steps involved and reassure your customers that the overall process will not take so much of their time.

Ideally, the progress indicator should have three steps — Review, Payment, and Completion.

There many other ways you can try to reduce cart abandonment with onsite improvement, like offering multiple payment options, simplifying store navigation, pop up, etc.

What’s important is to keep testing different changes to determine what drives the results you want.

4. Build trust

To make a purchase online, the customer needs to trust the online store.

Generally, prospective buyers look at security badges, SSL certificates, and social reviews before filling in their financial information.

To show your online store is trust-worthy, display logos of the security badges. The most trusted are Norton (35.6%), McAfee (22.9%), and TRUSTe (13.2%).

Additionally, please consider ensuring your website has a security badge by adding an SSL certificate (it is a must to gain Google search ranking) and password encryption.

Don’t underestimate the power of social proof. Did you know that 84% of online buyers trust online reviews equally as recommendations from close friends and coworkers?

Including product reviews on your website and testimonials on the landing pages will make your online store more trustworthy.

SHEIN online store has developed a grand strategy of including reviews on their page. The fashion brand encourages customers to leave a review with a picture of them wearing the purchased item.

Facebook ads are very visual (they allow only 20% of the text) and, therefore, perfect to showcase your product’s qualities. Other options for retargeting are Google AdWords, Bing Ads.

  • Email

Email is an effective remarketing channel because it’s direct to the buyer, personalized, timely, and free.

Abandon cart emails have been found to get a conversion rate of over 18%. Meaning that 10% of all users who abandon their carts will buy if you send them cart abandonment emails.

An excellent example is how Nanoleaf uses email to deliver targeted messages and recover 30% of Its Abandoned Carts.

Remarketing works because you can use other channels to give potential buyers a better reason to complete their purchase and reduce cart abandonment.


It is true — 4 out of 5 shopping carts are abandoned at the end of the buying process in online stores.

This statistic is encouraging if you know how to use it to your advantage.

Ensuring your website runs smoothly, building trust with your customers, and being transparent about extra costs lowers cart abandonment rates.

There are many ways of reducing cart abandonment, but I hope this article provided more information to help you get started.



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