As an ecommerce store owner, the prospect of losing 70% of your sales probably makes your heart drop. But according to the Baymard Institute, that’s exactly what’s happening: 69.82% of online carts are abandoned.
Even with the ecommerce shopping cart best practices in place, brands of all sizes struggle to get customers to place an order. The good news is that a handful of tweaks to your site’s user experience can greatly reduce cart abandonment.
Below, we’ll dive into some actionable solutions — ranging from offering free shipping to simplifying your checkout process — to lower your abandonment rates and boost your sales.
What is Shopify cart abandonment?
Shopify cart abandonment occurs when a customer who’s online shopping on a Shopify store adds items to their cart but leaves the website before making the purchase. Ecommerce businesses that track cart abandonment do so by determining the rate of customers who add items to their cart against the rate of purchases.
How to calculate your cart abandonment rate
The formula to calculate your cart abandonment rate is:
[Completed purchases / Carts created] x 100 = Cart abandonment rate
Online shopping is a bit like browsing a shopping mall because you can browse a wide variety of stores without much buying intent. You may carry a few items around the store while you consider buying them, but you may put them down on a shelf and leave for another store — especially if the store associate doesn’t catch you in time to close the sale.
Shopify cart abandonment represents the online version of that lack of commitment — with even less commitment because online shoppers can get distracted by a text message or leave your store without moving an inch. Fortunately, you can tweak your Shopify store to reduce cart abandonment, just like the in-store associate.
But before we share the steps you can take, let's explore the frequency and impact of the overall Shopify cart abandonment problem.
9 strategies for decreasing Shopify cart abandonment
- Use your data to prioritize changes
- Offer free shipping (or low-cost) shippin
- Create a rewards program and offer discount codes
- Use proactive live chat to guide customers through checkout
- Offer as many payment options as possible
- Simplify your checkout process
- Ditch the mandatory account registration form
- Use exit-intent pop-ups to catch shoppers before they leave
- Use push notifications, SMS, and abandoned cart emails to recover abandoned carts
Reducing shopping cart abandonment is one of the most effective ecommerce growth tactics. Rather than spending tons on ads to get new audiences to your site, you’re instead maximizing the value of the visitors you already get. (And what’s the point of more visitors if they don’t end up placing orders?)
Here are nine of our best tips for reducing cart abandonment to grow your ecommerce business.
1) Use your data to prioritize changes
You could pick one of the tactics below and cross your fingers that it improves your cart abandonment rates. But you’ll see much better results by using your store’s data to come up with a strategy based on the highest potential impact for your unique store.
Dig into your cart abandonment data to strategize where you can make the most impactful changes. Specifically, you’ll want to pull data like:
- Date and time of cart abandonment
- Total abandoned order amount
- Items abandoned
- Shopper information (e.g. new vs. repeat)
With information like this, you can better identify trends that can affect other areas of your ecommerce strategy. For example, if you notice that the majority of your carts are abandoned before the winter holidays, you may want to consider running a Black Friday promotion. Alternatively, you may also learn that your abandoned carts:
- Usually contain the same item, indicating you might want to revisit that item’s pricing or the product page
- Don’t meet your threshold for free shipping, indicating you might want to lower that threshold
- Are from first-time shoppers, indicating you may need more social proof like testimonials and positive reviews to boost new shopper confidence
2) Offer free shipping (or low-cost) shipping
As we mentioned above, unexpected taxes, fees, and shipping costs are the most common reasons shoppers abandon carts. For context, 82% of shoppers say they’d rather have free shipping than expedited shipping. And shoppers are used to free and fast shipping because of services like Amazon Prime, so it’s becoming an even bigger disadvantage to require paid shipping.
For some ecommerce stores, especially new or small ones, free shipping for the entire site catalog isn’t always a sustainable option. So instead, offer free shipping for carts that meet a free shipping threshold.
Once you have a compelling shipping offer, use it as a marketing tool. Mention your free shipping in website banners, on checkout pages, and even on product pages. Look how Jaxxon, a luxury men’s chain retailer, clearly lets the shopper know how much they’ll have to spend to unlock free shipping right from the product page:
3) Create a rewards program and offer discount codes
Rewards, timely discount codes, and other incentives can push customers over the edge to make a purchase.
Parade, a DTC underwear brand known for its referral programs, uses a refer-a-friend program to get discount codes into the hands of people who haven’t yet shopped at your store. This is particularly smart because first-time shoppers tend to be the most hesitant (and therefore abandon the most carts). But the discount code and social proof from the referring friend work together to push shoppers toward a purchase:
Discount codes and referral programs available to everyone will likely reduce cart abandonment but you should target customers with items in their cart (or customers who recently abandoned a cart) for the greatest impact. Live chat can help you target customers still shopping while exit-intent pop-ups and follow-up SMS or email can help with customers who already left your site. We’ll cover both strategies below.
4) Use proactive live chat to guide customers through checkout
Incorporate live chat, including proactive chat campaigns, as a way to help your customers during the checkout process and boost sales. A whopping 79% of stores that have live chat enabled report its positive impact on their sales and customer experience.
Every store should enable live chat for support because it’s such a fast, appealing option for customers, especially when they’re actively considering a purchase. Say that a customer isn’t placing an order because they’re not sure whether a small or medium size would fit. If you have a visible (but not intrusive) live chat option in your ecommerce store, the customer can quickly type in their question and ideally have a resolution from your support team or chatbot in minutes:
With certain live chat apps, you can also take a more proactive approach to drive sales through your live chat widget. You can automatically reach out to certain customers (like shoppers hovering on the checkout page for more than a minute, or shoppers with a certain amount of merchandise in their cart) to ask if they have questions, offer discount codes, or remind them that you offer free shipping if they reach a certain amount (to drive upsells).
With Gorgias’ live chat campaigns feature, you can customize your greetings — the below example gives a friendly welcome to people who visit a specific product page:
5) Offer as many payment options as possible
One simple way to reduce cart abandonment is to offer as many payment options as possible. If customers make it to your checkout page only to find they have limited options to pay — especially if those options require them to divulge personal information — they are more likely to abandon the purchase.
If you have a Shopify store, you can use Shopify Payments to easily accept a wide variety of payment options like credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay without any third-party fees. If you don’t have Shopify Payments enabled, you’ll still be able to use major payment providers (like Paypal) to accept payments, but you may be stuck with limited payment options and fees.
6) Simplify your checkout process
Reducing friction throughout your checkout process is another way to reduce abandoned checkouts. Get rid of unnecessary forms, fields, and questions that may turn your customers away from your store. Likewise, create large checkout buttons that make it obvious how to complete a purchase with the fewer clicks possible. If you’re still creating your store, you may want to try finding a Shopify theme with a streamlined checkout page.
One tip to optimize your checkout process is to include a Buy Now button on the product page itself. This streamlines the buying process and gives shoppers fewer off-ramps away from your website. Check out CROSSNET’s clear button guiding users to make a purchase — not just add items to a cart that will later get abandoned:
7) Ditch the mandatory account registration form
This is technically an additional tip to simplify your checkout process, but it’s impactful enough to warrant its own section. While you want customers to create an account for future marketing opportunities, forcing shoppers to create an account in order to place an order halts momentum during the checkout process and turns people off from your store.
Instead, offer a guest checkout option with the choice to make an account for easier purchases next time they come to your store. Or, to make checkout even easier, consider adding one of Shopify’s dynamic checkout buttons. With an express checkout option like Amazon Pay, customers can complete a purchase without even typing out their billing and shipping information by retrieving that information from another service.
Check out CROSSNET’s store, which offers multiple express checkout options:
8) Use exit-intent pop-ups to catch shoppers before they leave
Making your checkout experience simple is a great start, but some customers may need one final push to place an order. Exit-intent pop-ups, or pop-ups that appear when a customer attempts to leave your store, can be the last-minute nudge (or discount code) that convinces customers to place an order.
You can add a pop-up to your Shopify store through a Shopify app like Privy or Pop-Up Window. However, practice caution with any sort of pop-up. Some customers will get frustrated if pop-ups interrupt their browsing experience, so make sure you provide value with each pop-up and keep a close eye on your purchase data to ensure they don’t hurt your store’s performance.
9) Use push notifications, SMS, and abandoned cart emails to recover abandoned carts
Personalized push notifications can also be a helpful follow-up tool to help customers return to their carts. Push notifications give the customer a visual of the products still in the cart with clear calls to action. This helps remind customers that they still have unpurchased items waiting to be checked out.
SMS and email are other great options to reach customers even if they don’t return to your store. You can even create a full SMS or email campaign with an automated workflow that triggers emails to customers after a certain amount of time has passed, or after they revisit your website.
Check out this example of a cart recovery email from Braxley Bands, which is a great example of how you can recover carts with humor and attitude — or whatever your brand voice may be.
10) Consider retargeted ads to remind customers about what they left behind
Another technique you can consider to help bring customers back to their carts in your online store is retargeted ads. Retargeting allows you to get ads in front of customers who visited your website and gave you their information — but didn’t purchase an item.
Most retargeted ads appear in the shopper’s social media feeds in the days after the abandoned checkout. They typically feature an image of the abandoned product, a new-and-improved discount, and a clear call to action (CTA) to purchase the item.
Take a look at this example of a retargeted Facebook ad from Pact Apparel:
While retargeted ads work better than most ads, they still have a clickthrough rate of only .7%, so they may cost more than they provide in terms of recovered purchases.
8 tools that help decrease Shopify cart abandonment
To limit shopping cart abandonment and encourage customers to make their purchases, you might need the help of some additional apps and tools.
A better overall customer experience can significantly lower your business’s cart abandonment rate. Why? Customers depend on things like an FAQ page, clear returns policies, and customer support to gain the information and trust they need to make a purchase.
Gorgias is a customer service platform specifically designed to help ecommerce merchants boost revenue through customer experience. Some of the features that help Shopify stores reduce cart abandonment include:
- Live chat: For proactive chat campaigns and targeted discounts, when customers are hovering on a checkout page or have items in their cart for a certain number of minutes
- Shipping and returns integrations: Lets you offer free/easy shipping, and promise returns if the customer isn’t happy
- SMS and email: On top of being great support channels, you can use SMS and email marketing campaigns to remind and incentivize shoppers to complete an abandoned purchase
Sign up for a demo of Gorgias to see how we can help you reduce cart abandonment rates, improve customer experience, and drive revenue.
Recart is an app specifically designed to help you recover sales from cart abandonment. It uses Facebook Messenger to send out push notifications on social media to your customers. It can send out reminders for abandoned carts and order-related messages like shipping notifications and receipts, and has pre-written templates for messages to help you save time and optimize your ecommerce cart recovery processes.
LoyaltyLion is a loyalty-building tool that helps you stand out from your competitors and offer great benefits and rewards to your customers. When a customer is happy with your brand and knows that checking out leads to great rewards down the line, they are much less likely to abandon their carts and instead will return due to the positive experience and relationship you have established with them.
Smile is an app and platform that helps with customer retention. It gives points and rewards to customers that invite others to join them and sign up for your ecommerce rewards program. This helps to increase your customer retention rates and expand your ecommerce business’s customer lifetime value. You can also use Smile to nurture your customers and encourage them to engage with your rewards program.
5) Bulk Discount Code Generator
Bulk Discount Code Generator allows you to save time and effort while reducing coupon abuse. You can generate reliable discount codes and coupon codes to use with orders on your ecommerce site without difficulty. You can then use those codes in pop-ups, email sequences, win-back strategies, loyalty programs, and more.
PushOwl is a push notification app that directly sends push notifications to mobile devices or desktops. You can quickly get out short, punchy messages that readers can easily consume and respond to. PushOwl is also a great tool with functionality for gathering important data and information from users and is especially effective for mobile shoppers, which are responsible for the highest rate of abandonment per platform.
Omnisend is a complete marketing app for Shopify. It offers advanced segmentation, pre-built automated emails and workflows, email templates, drag-and-drop editors, email list-building capabilities, and powerful analytics. In addition to all of this, Omnisend also has SMS marketing and push notification tools that you can use to create a sense of urgency for your abandoned carts with limited-time deals and time-sensitive rewards. You can also use A/B testing on your email subject lines and track open rates for your cart abandonment emails. Omnisend takes a lot of the work out of using Shopify and increases checkout purchases.
Privy is an ecommerce marketing platform that helps ecommerce store owners increase their store’s conversion rates. The platform offers SMS, email marketing, and pop-ups to stop customers before they leave without making a purchase (or draw them back if they’ve already left).
Must-know cart abandonment statistics
Cart abandonment is a major issue that affects most ecommerce businesses. As we mentioned above, nearly 70% of all carts are abandoned.
The type of device your customers are shopping on can play into your company’s cart abandonment rate. According to the study linked above, the average cart abandonment rate per device is:
- Desktop: 69.75%
- Smartphone: 85.65%
- Tablet: 80.74%
The time of year impacts cart abandonment as well. For example, the surge in people shopping online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday typically results in a higher cart abandonment rate due to the higher number of shoppers.
Some people who abandon their carts do eventually come back to buy the items. Statista’s 2021 study of U.K. shoppers uncovers the following interesting information about consumers’ post-abandonment behavior:
- 31% return at a later date to purchase on the same website
- 26% purchase the item online from a different retailer or ecommerce business
- 23% weren’t looking to purchase and didn't return to buy
- 8% go to a physical store for an item
In order to know where the majority of your customers fit into these numbers, it’s important for you to first understand why your customers are abandoning their carts and leaving your ecommerce site before they can checkout.
Top reasons shoppers leave items in their cart
Understanding why customers leave your checkout page in the first place is key to reducing your number of abandoned shopping carts. According to Baymard Institute, there are five top reasons why online shoppers abandon their carts without making a purchase:
- Extra costs too high (48%): Shipping costs can be a major turnoff to customers, along with other fees like taxes and handling charges. These types of extra fees can sometimes be almost as expensive as the item or items themselves. This can turn away customers and cause them to abandon their carts.
- An account is required (24%): Customers simply want to buy their items and avoid friction or irritation at checkout. Forcing people to create an account and give out their personal information can seem like too high a price to pay for the items in the cart.
- Delivery too slow (22%): Today’s customers expect expediency when it comes to deliveries. With so many huge ecommerce stores offering next-day or same-day delivery, you can expect to lose potential customers if your shipping takes longer than a few days.
- Don’t trust the site (18%): Customers today are rightly concerned about problems like digital theft and identity fraud. If a site appears untrustworthy, many customers will get cold feet and abandon their carts when credit card information or other personal information is required at checkout.
- The checkout process is too long or complicated (17%): Long forms with many different fields and requests for information are another turnoff for customers at checkout.
Gorgias helps you put a stop to cart abandonment by providing world-class customer support
Despite how frustrating cart abandonment is, there are solutions to help guide your customers to complete your checkout process and boost your bottom line. Take a look at how Gorgias customer, Lillie’s Q, was able to increase total sales by 166% with cart-saving support:
“Gorgias' chat allows us to respond to our customers in real time. We can answer customers' questions about a product and how to place an order without them leaving the site or abandoning their cart. We have seen a 75% increase in direct sales as a result of this quick communication.” - Nicole Mann, Marketing Director
Gorgias is an ecommerce helpdesk platform that turns your customer service team into a revenue-generating machine. With Gorgias, you can create an exceptional customer experience that not only encourages your customers to check out, but to come back to your ecommerce business for future purchases. To learn more, check out our case study of three businesses that increased sales with live chat or sign up for Gorgias today.