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How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment in E-commerce Stores

Shopping cart abandonment hurts. You put in all the work to get your customer to your site, to add the product to their cart, and then…nothing. In this article, we’ll go into the inner workings of ‘ecommerce ghosting’ and help you reduce your shopping cart abandonment.

Phil Forbes


Reducing shopping cart abandonment is a colossal motivator simply because it can have such an impact on the bottom line of a business. That’s why ecommerce giants spend so much time refining the buyer’s journey in the hope of eliminating abandoned carts altogether.

And while you might not have the resources of Amazon, eBay or Etsy, it does pay to periodically sit down and take steps to reduce shopping cart abandonment. 1. What is shopping cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment happens when a buyer adds a product to their shopping cart but doesn’t complete the purchase. 

There’s a plethora of reasons why a user may not follow through with a purchase, and many of them are out of your hands. But there’s just as much that you can do to get that sale. 

In fact, combatting cart abandonment is something that ecommerce brands, from single-product stores to behemoths like Amazon, dedicate significant time and resources to. 

2. Statistics on shopping cart abandonment

Data rules when it comes to growing your ecommerce business, and that’s evident when it comes to learning more about abandonment. 

Here are some interesting statistics about shopping carts that help explain why so many carts are abandoned and why it’s costing you money. 

The average cart abandonment rate ranges from 59.2% to 79.8%

That’s a variation of 20 percentage points, and it’s quite a lot. It’s important to note that these rates vary from industry to industry. For example, the travel industry has a cart abandonment rate of over 80%. Effective marketing for travel agents is crucial to succeed. This same study shows that the gaming industry ‘only’ has cart abandonment rates of 64%. It’s easy to see how a digital game has less commitment than a holiday, resulting in lower abandoned carts. 

READ ALSO:  Marketing for Travel Agents: 11 Markup Strategies for Better Profits

Shopping cart abandonment rates vary depending on the device. 

Statista claims mobile users show a higher cart abandonment rate than desktop shoppers. In Q3 2022, a staggering 81% of orders on mobile devices in the UK were not completed. 

Needing an account contributes to abandoned carts.

While it’s a great tactic for increasing customer loyalty and LTV, almost 1 in 4 people will abandon their cart if they need to make an account just to make their first purchase. Have users create an account to claim a reward, but only after their initial purchase is complete. 

Size uncertainty significantly contributes to abandoned clothing purchases

SaleCycle data shows that 35% of abandoned carts in the fashion industry happen because the user is unsure of sizing information. Ecommerce brands in the clothing industry can combat this by using both imagery and data to better explain sizes, but also the fit and cut of a clothing item. 

3. Cart abandonment discovery

To restate the obvious, cart abandonment happens for many reasons, and it varies from industry to industry but also business to business. 

While it can be argued that the colour of your ‘add to cart’ button has no impact on your conversion rates, what is true is that you’ll need to find out why carts are being abandoned in your store if you’re to truly combat the issue. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the industry standard for ecommerce traffic analysis, and there’s no doubt you already use it. 

In your GA account, it’s possible to find your overall cart abandonment rate. Navigate to Conversions » Ecommerce » Shopping Behavior in your Google Analytics report. Here you’ll be able to see the number of abandoned carts in each stage of your buying process. 

This report, while rudimentary, is a great place to start to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Session trackers 

Tools like Hotjar are plugins that can help you reduce shopping cart abandonment. One of the most potent tools they offer is screen recording. The tool will record one in every few sessions of your user. You’ll be able to see where they move the mouse, how they behave and how they move through your store.

You’ll also be able to see why they abandon their cart and don’t commit to a purchase. 

While it’s important not to make significant changes based on the actions of a single user, the summed insights of screen recordings can help you understand your shopping cart abandonment issues in greater detail. Broken links, confusing navigation, and slow loading - these are all issues that will contribute to an abandoned cart and issues that you’ll see in a screen recording. 

Customer surveys 

One of the biggest marketing issues is understanding your customers and their problems. Customer surveys are crucial in solving this, but they also help you understand the feelings and sentiments around your business and brand. 

Consider surveying some of your most loyal customers to learn more about them and also more about your own business. During these interviews, ask your customers about any pet peeves they may have when shopping online in general. Only after you’ve asked this question, ask if they’ve experienced any issues or friction when dealing when your own store. 

Sometimes, the most simple and straightforward solution is the best. Just ask!

4. Tips to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Here are some easy yet effective ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment in your ecommerce store. 

Quick contact for higher-value items

Statistics show that a 2-second load time will still incur a 10% bounce rate. That is to say that we have short attention spans and even less patience when it comes to our online browsing habits, let alone online shopping. 

However, when it comes to higher-value items, users do tend to be a little more patient. Whitegoods, jewellery, customised products and other products that are only purchased once every few years often come with a user that wants to do a little more research. 

Therefore, it pays to support these customers whenever they need it. A lead capture tool like Callpage can easily be placed on your product page to help connect your support staff to a customer that’s in the consideration phase of purchasing from your site. The widget asks a user to enter their details, and CallPage automatically connects the user with your team members in as little as 28 seconds. 

Simplification of UX

While the world of ecommerce isn’t always straightforward, the ecommerce buying process is well understood. Buyers add a product to a shopping cart, complete their information, and pay. 

While this is a borderline oversimplification, there are rarely any other steps. Customisation of a product may be included, but the point is this: with so many modern tools at our disposal, we often overcomplicate things. 

A case and point is the success of Amazon’s one-click checkout process. Buyers complete a purchase without having to ever leave the product page. There’s rarely ever any need to have a checkout or shopping cart page that consists of several pages or multiple steps. 

If you find that your carts are being abandoned during the checkout process, take a step back and begin by simplifying. 

More effective copy

No matter how many times you’ve made a purchase online, you’ve probably made one in recent times that wasn’t as straightforward as it could have been. Perhaps you missed something simple, perhaps the process was overcomplicated. But never underestimate the necessity of holding your customer’s hand. 

The best way to do this is with compelling copy. 

For example:

  • Communicate your returns policy right below the ‘complete purchase’ button
  • Explain the height of a model and the size they’re wearing in product photography
  • Display the total cart value, including fees and delivery, on all pages
  • Show shipping options next to the ‘add to cart’ button. 

5. Localised payment & delivery methods 

22% of brands sell cross-border, so it might not surprise you that common payment methods in the US might not be so common in Canada. Even though they’re right next door and share a similar language and culture, things aren’t always the same. This situation is only exacerbated when cross-border is also cross-planet. For example, Australia has its own preferred payment methods. What’s more, customers buying from the other side of the planet expect expensive and extended shipping times, but they may also expect their choice of courier company. 

To make the process even more complicated, cross-border commerce becomes even more complex when you’re selling in different languages. 

The main point is this - if you are making your products available to customers in other parts of the world, localise your store to their part of the world and their buying habits. You’ll significantly improve your conversion rates and lower abandoned carts, thus making it easier for your business to grow internationally. 

Social proof

This is less of a problem for medium ecommerce brands like yours, but fear of being ‘ripped off’ is an issue that you may see when launching new products, for example. Therefore, it’s also a big thing to tackle to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

A customer’s fear that the product they get won’t be as described is a real issue. In fact, there’s a subreddit that consists almost entirely of lousy ecommerce purchases that weren’t as described!

One way to combat that fear within your customer is with social proof. This can come from user reviews and star-based ratings, but it works most effectively with social media content. 

User-generated content is arguably the most potent way of showing social proof - that is, proof that your product exists in the wild and is being used (and appreciated) by real people. 

When launching a new product, consider having brand advocates use your product and give testimonials - both in written and video form - about a new product. Place this content on your product page, and you’ll see carts with your new product being abandoned less and less. 

Discounts on exit intent 

Users generally close a window for one reason - they’re done. 

And if they’re on an ecommerce store with the intent of closing a window, they’re done with your site. This isn’t good when there are products in their cart. 

Exit-intent popups are a great way to solve this problem and therefore reduce shopping cart abandonment. In essence, when a user shows signs of exiting, like moving a cursor to the extremities of a page, a popup will be triggered. 

It’s up to you, the business owner, to decide what to put in this popup and what CTA to use, but a financial incentive is most commonly used to keep the user from closing the window. It’s important to note that while financial incentives are the go-to content to put in popups, 10% off won’t solve issues like slow payments or a strict returns policy. 

6. To summarise

If you take only a few things away from this article, make it this:

  • Shopping cart abandonment seriously impacts the profitability of your business. 
  • It happens for many reasons, but the biggest problems are generally easily fixed.
  • Spend the time to find out the unique situation your store faces when it comes to abandoned carts
  • Understand that your abandoned cart rates can get lower, but they’ll never be 0. 


Your business exists to make a profit. You can increase your profits by earning more but also spending less. 

Abandoned carts impact your business because it results in you earning less but also spending more in the form of paid acquisition and other expenses. 

While your abandoned cart rate will never be 0, it can always be lower. Periodically make time to sit down and look at your abandoned carts and tighten up any obvious issues, but also fine-tune the little things that can make a big difference.

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