Digital shopping cart abandonment is an online ecommerce curse, haunting store owners and retailers. According to Listrak, the average documented cart abandonment rate is 81%.

That means for every ten ecommerce users that put an item in their cart, nearly eight will leave the site without paying.

It’s not a pretty sight to lose your potential customers at the very last second.

So what exactly is digital shopping cart abandonment, let’s take a look.

What is digital shopping cart abandonment?

Digital shopping cart abandonment happens when users enter the checkout process but drop out before completing the purchase.

While buying groceries at your local store, you have to drive all the way to the store, add items to the cart and wait in the queue to complete the checkout process.

One doesn’t do all this work to abandon the cart at the checkout process.

Whereas in an online store, you only type in the website address, add items to the shopping cart and with a few clicks all the items get delivered to your house.

So, abandoning an online store is much easier than an offline store. Let’s take a look at the common reasons why users abandon their carts.

Common reasons for digital shopping cart abandonment

  1. Fail to establish trust: Without social proof or security badges, users don’t feel comfortable sharing their credit card information online.
  2. Complex checkout process: Users want an easy checkout process.
  3. No free shipping: Customers desire free shipping for fewer items in the cart.
  4. No discounts: Users need added motivation to complete the checkout process.
  5. Technical glitches: Any technical issues such as longer page load time can scare away users.

How to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment?

The digital landscape is very volatile and a new notification is seconds away from stealing your user’s attention. You have to constantly work to keep users on your site.

1. Add exit-intent pop-ups

An exit-intent pop-up is a powerful trigger to keep users on your site. It can be a special offer, a coupon-code for first-time visitors or any incentive that brings users back to your site.

One of the simplest ways to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment is by using exit-intent pop-ups. Grab users before they exit your store.

Consider this:

  • 93% of consumers reported that they would buy more products when offered free shipping.
  • By offering a coupon code improves revenues by 10% using exit-intent pop-ups.

Dodocase uses an exit intent pop-up to get the attention of first-time visitors to its site. It offers 10% off on the first buy.

Take a close look at the pop-up, it’s a simple question. Now, who wouldn’t want a discount on their first purchase!

The red-color call-to-action button is the answer to the above bold question in the pop-up. The overall design is simple and easy to digest. It helps users decide to get the first-purchase discount offer.

Exit-intent pop-up to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment.

How can you use exit intent pop-ups in your store?

  • Keep the UX and buyer’s journey in mind.
  • Keep the content concise – speak straight to your audience, and don’t be salesy
  • Use a consistent look with your branding.
  • Give your visitors a choice. In other words, allow them to turn down your offer.

2. Display shopping cart to user on-screen

A visible cart keeps the users aware of what they’re buying. Users may not be comfortable shopping on free will.

Let your users know how much they’re buying, so there are no surprises upon checkout. Also, this is a good way to remind someone that they have items in cart when they log in after many days.

Display shopping cart to user on-screen.

Booktopia helps users with a cart that is always visible as you navigate the site. Studies show that with better checkout design, the average e-commerce site can expect an increase of 35.26% conversion rates.

With almost 70% of shopping carts abandoned, keeping the cart visible can help keep the users engaged. ASOS, for example, provides the option of viewing previously saved items on its checkout page if you return to the site within 60 days.

Show abandoned shopping cart items to user.

How do you make the shopping cart visible to users?

  • Ensure that when a user puts a product in a cart, he or she knows where to check out.
  • Your visual cues should command attention. In other words, they should be in contrast to the rest of the site design.
  • Ensure your checkout area is visible. When a visitor places an item in a cart, insert a CTA that nudges them towards checkout or related items. For example, the book depository shows this pop-out when you add an item to your cart.

Attractive call-to-action to encourage user to checkout.

3. Offer guest checkout

Guest checkout is a method to allow users to checkout without registering on your store. They only need to add their phone number or email address to get updates for the one-time purchase.

This is a good way to kick-start nurturing your potential users.

Eight out of 10 US retailers offer a guest checkout option to their users. Apple and Walmart do so.

25.6% of online consumers would abandon a purchase when forced to register first.

Guest checkout option without registration.

While the simple solution would be to offer guest checkout, it may not make sense for all e-commerce stores. For example, you could run into problems and difficulties when:

  • Reviewing, modifying, or tracking orders.
  • Reordering the products.
  • Processing returns, exchanges, or refunds/credits, whether manual or automatic.
  • Linking customer orders with loyalty programs.
  • Assisting shoppers with their orders or shipments.

When should you offer a guest checkout option?

  • How often are users likely to shop in your store?
  • Are users likely to reorder?
  • Will returns, refunds, and exchanges be a hassle without account information?
  • Could account information help with other purposes, such as memberships, courses, or bookings?

4. Simplify checkout process

It’s vital to offer a convenient checkout process for the customer, as 56% of respondents expect various payment options on the checkout page.

Another study showed that 8% of consumers abandoned their checkout because there weren’t enough payment methods.

Today, consumers have a lot of choices to pay online. We see an increasing popularity for Apple Pay and Google Wallet, among other payment service providers like PayPal.

Offering more payment options helps a buyer feel positive towards making the payment.

Crate & Barrel’s form makes it simple for users to sign up with all essential pieces of information available to the user.

Easier shopping cart checkout process.

How can you make the checkout process easy and fast?

  • Explain the relevance of filling the registration form to your users.
  • You don’t have too many fields in your forms.
  • Show a progress bar and segment lengthy registration processes into simple steps.
  • Make users feel secure and welcome.
  • Be clear about charges and deduction policies.
  • Provide guest checkout options.
  • Provide social sign-in options.
  • Use field suggestions to help users understand the type of content required in the field.
  • Provide shipping options.
  • Provide thumbnails of products in the cart.

5. Instant chat support

Answering your user’s inquiries is one of the easiest ways to keep them in your store. So, make your contact information easy to find.

Better still, offer live chat to help your users and earn their trust. Why? Consider this:

  • More than 30% of users expect live chat on your website. For users visiting a website on a mobile device, this number is as high as 62%.
  • 92% of users feel satisfied when using the live chat feature as opposed to other communication options.
  • 77% of users won’t purchase if there is no live chat support.

Edmund Optics handles almost 50% of customer interactions using live chat.

Greg Wolf, Product Support Manager at LiveChat, says, “The ability to provide technical and sales support to their customers instantaneously for those products has proven to be a huge selling point for their customers.

Live chat for ecommerce stores

How can you use live chat for your site?

  • Provide access to helpful features like modifying the font size and requesting a transcript of the chat.
  • Train your team in live chat so that they:
    • Know about inventory and website navigation.
    • Build trust and provide helpful advice to customers.
    • Up-sell or cross-sell only when appropriate.
    • Make a note of customer feedback to improve your site.
    • Are conversational
    • Are prepared for surges in chat volume

Do you want to ensure quality across all conversations happening on live chat? Add this integration to send the copy of finished chat from LiveChat to Slack.


6. Offer wishlist

As much as you are able to entice your target buyers with amazing offers, your users may not be in a state to make a purchase at that moment. Adding to cart is one option but offering a chance to “save for later” or “add to wishlist” will give you bonus points.

It is a psychological trigger where a user puts an item to his/her wishlist to consider later. ..

A study indicates that 56% of shoppers are not prepared to buy and save items for later. To win your users over, reserving a shopping cart should be as easy as clicking a button. Users can then return to their order at a later time.

Booktopia allows customers and potential users to save items of interest in a wish list that they can come back to later.

Booktopia shopping cart saved as wishlist to buy later.

How can you help your users to save the items in their shopping cart?

  • Get them to sign in or create an account.
  • Use browser cookies to remember a user’s cart (although most browsers now remember login credentials of sites).
  • Provide the option to save items in a wish list.
  • Whatever method you choose, tell your users about what will happen with their data.

7. Add security badges

A customer who first discovers your site via a Google search or an ad may not trust you enough to make a purchase right away.

Displaying security badges can instill confidence in users and reduce digital shopping cart abandonment. Using a security badge can help build a trust that is essential for a buyer to make a purchase.

If you look at it from a buyer’s point of view, a security badge is an explicit display that all transactions and browsing history are safe on that particular website.

Statistics showing most popular security badges for ecommerce site.

8. Make shopping mobile-friendly

More than 6% of consumers abandoned their online carts due to limited payment options. So, add mobile-friendly payment systems like PayPal, Apple Pay, and credit card processing. This way, you don’t have to rely on retargeting in the future.

Mobile-friendly payment process of Uber.

Uber uses this approach on its app. You can allow mobile purchases on your site using a solution that will enable mobile payments, such as Shopify or Stripe. Alternatively, Apple has compiled a complete guide to using Apple Pay for Merchants.

9. Offer free shipping

Why does free shipping work? Because most people are loss-averse and effort-averse. By offering free shipping, you help them to rationalize their online purchase.

If shipping costs too much, people are more likely to abandon their cart and visit a local store. The number one reason for digital shopping cart abandonment is expensive shipping.

Consider a scenario where you are shopping online and discover that your order does not quite qualify for free shipping. Your choices are to pay $5.99 for shipping or find another item to add to your shopping cart to be eligible for free shipping.

When encountering this choice, most people would happily increase their order amount. 60% of e-commerce companies say free shipping (with conditions) is their most successful marketing tool. Next offers free shipping on orders over $35.

Free shipping above $35 on Next ecommerce website.

Another site,, offers free shipping if people apply for the Club Catch.

Free shipping if users apply for Club Catch on Catch ecommerce website.

How should you offer free shipping?

  • Conditional free shipping applies to particular products or carts with above minimum order value.
  • Unconditional free shipping applies to all products and every order. But how do you choose what works best for you? That would depend on factors such as:
    • Your profit margins.
    • The size and weight of your products.
    • Average order values
    • Your customers’ geographical locations.

10. Offer money back guarantee

Offering a money-back guarantee allows users to return purchases that don’t meet their expectations. In other words, users buy insured products without any risk.

Research indicates that retailers make a profit with a money guarantee, given certain conditions. Other studies show that the money-back guarantee increases user satisfaction and reduces digital shopping cart abandonment.

In one case study, a 30-day money-back guarantee on a sales page increased conversions by 26%.

Annmarie skin care uses this guarantee to encourage people to buy its products.

Money-back guarantee on ecommerce websites.

How to add a money-back guarantee to your site?

  • State what customers can return.
  • Be clear about the expected refund amount.
  • Specify the return period and what the customer must do before the return period ends.
  • Give the address for returns.
  • State whether you accept exchanges or not.
  • State any particular circumstances.
  • Include a clause for discretionary changes to the policy.

11. Improve call-to-action

Michael Aagaard says that call-to-action (CTAs) are the tipping point between a bounce and a conversion. Why? Because good CTAs convert more shoppers who would otherwise abandon their carts.

CTAs form a part of the logical progression of a web page or landing page called perceptual set theory. CTAs also drive curiosity and anticipation. Dodocase, for example, makes its CTA pretty obvious, encouraging the user to take action.

Impressive call-to-action to encourage users to take action.

How to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment using good CTAs?

  • Make your CTA evident by making it bold and using a contrasting color.
  • Include secondary calls to action.
  • Please give it some space so it doesn’t get lost in visual or textual clutter.
  • Use action-oriented words.

12. Easy navigation

User’s shopping behavior is rarely a linear process. Hence, a more effortless navigation experience increases the conversion rates by 18.5%.

Your users don’t know specifically what they want, they only know that they need to buy a shoe for the winters. This is why an easy and consistent navigation menu helps chart a path for your users to find the product they’re looking for.

ASOS uses a simple navigation menu that is always available, whatever page you might be on.

Remember, a user lost on your site is a lost user.

Easy menu navigation on ASOS.

How to improve eCommerce site navigation?

  • Avoid generic labels as users hesitate to click on them.
  • Instead, use clear, keyword-rich labels.
  • Keep your labelling style and structure consistent across the site.
  • Avoid annoying drop-down menus.
  • Ensure drop-down menus don’t disappear when moved away from the track
  • Create responsive versions for mobile devices
  • Ensure they do not contribute to the paradox of choice
  • Show only a few items in navigation to avoid overwhelming users.
  • Get the order right. Studies show that items placed at the beginning or end get the most attention and retention.

13. Retarget abandoned visitors

Use retargeting to nurture the audience who have visited your website or any social media channels. It uses paid ads to target audiences.

Retargeting helps reduce digital shopping cart abandonment. A Comscore and ValueClick study found that re-targeted ads effectively got shoppers back into the customer funnel.

More benefits of Retargeting:

  • Retargeting ads provide a simple way to showcase your most popular products to your target audience.
  • They help you share your new products with people who have shown a liking towards your brand.
  • It’s a great way to increase your brand awareness.

Ebags, for example, sells millions of bags. With such a large volume of sales, they invested in retargeting.

  • They automated their retargeting bidding process for AdWords.
  • Used RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) and added positive bid modifiers on those who had bought earlier as well as those who had abandoned their shopping carts in the last seven days.
  • Targeted people who had bought products from other retailers using Gmail-sponsored promotions. With these ads, they ran cross-sell campaigns on similar products.

The retargeting resulted in another 15% in revenue. Also, the time spent in managing retargeting campaigns improved by 25%.

How do you retarget visitors who have abandoned their shopping carts?

  • Segment your cart abandonment so you can personalize the experience. You may want to start with three categories:
    • Value of cart
    • First time vs. repeat buyers
    • Product
  • Choose your advertising platform.
  • Set up your tracking pixel.
  • Select your time frame and frequency of ads. Derive these numbers on the behavior and demographic characteristics of your audience.
  • Develop your ad copy and prepare variations of it to avoid ad fatigue.
  • A/B test your campaigns.

Final words on digital shopping cart abandonment

Implement the above thirteen tips and you can definitely reduce shopping cart abandonment rate on your ecommerce store. Even though you’re not Amazon, you can achieve similar success with your store.