How can we help?

Get in Touch


Get in Touch

Please get in touch using the form below.

Close form

8 minute read

On average, 69.80% of all shopping carts get abandoned – this is when a visitor adds an item to their basket, then leaves your site before finishing the transaction. It’s also an important business metric since it directly correlates with conversion rate and revenue.

While it’s impossible to mitigate this issue completely, it is possible to make several improvements to reduce the risk and improve your overall conversion rate, which we explore below.

Ten reasons why carts get abandoned

Further research from Baymard tells us that the top reasons for abandonment during checkout are:

  • 50% – extra costs are too high, for example, delivery
  • 28% – customers were required to create an account
  • 21% – the checkout process was too long or too complicated
  • 18% – customers couldn’t see or calculate the total order cost up-front
  • 18% – delivery was too slow
  • 17% – customers didn’t trust the site with their payment details
  • 13% – the website had errors or crashed
  • 10% – the returns policy wasn’t satisfactory
  • 6% – there weren’t enough payment methods
  • 4% – the customer’s payment was declined

Tips to reduce cart abandonment

With these top ten reasons in mind, we’ve collated ten ways to enhance the user experience and mitigate the risk of abandonment.

#1 Be clear about delivery

Unclear and high delivery costs are responsible for 50% of all cart abandonments. To avoid this, be sure to account for delivery from the first stage of the checkout process. If you need to calculate delivery based on distance, be sure to have a calculator at the first step.

The cost and speed of delivery can also be a significant blocker for customers. Therefore, you may want to consider offering free or upgraded delivery options as perks to members. Good examples of this are sites like Wiggle, who provide free next day delivery for their members, for a cost of £9.99 per year.

This benefit is known to increase loyalty and encourage repeat purchases and increase the average cart value significantly. We recommend offering multiple delivery options for your users, for example, standard delivery and next day delivery, to reduce the risk of users leaving due to long wait times.

#2 Streamline the checkout process

Checkout processes can be lengthy, so it’s worth considering how you might reduce the checkout on your website, or at least combine or rework steps to make the process easier. Do customers need to go to the basket first, or could they go straight through to the checkout, removing one step in the process? In some situations, you can even combine the product and checkout pages into one, making the process even simpler.

While reducing steps is important, sometimes it’s just as useful to split large sections into smaller, more manageable chunks. A long checkout with everything on one page can be overwhelming; so, breading it down into smaller pieces and using purchase process indicators to signal how far through the process a user is can help reduce the risk of potential customers abandoning the process altogether.

#3 Enable guest checkout and social sign-on

28% of users leave the checkout process because they don’t want to create an account. While for some purchases, it might be necessary for you to gather certain information about a user, it’s also worth considering how you can simplify the process. Social sign-on is becoming increasingly popular on eCommerce websites, as it speeds up the process while ensuring you still get the information you need.

Forcing users to create an account can be off-putting, especially as customers can have concerns over data protection and privacy, so we would always recommend enabling guest checkout wherever possible. This allows users to complete their purchase without creating an account, while still providing you with their email, delivery details and payment information. You could incentivise them to create an account as an option by offering them things like discounts, speedier delivery or easier repeat purchases in the future. Quite often, the process for creating an account only requires a few extra steps.

#4 Use multiple payments options

Another common reason for people abandoning their basket is a lack of payment options. As an online retailer, you’re asking customers to part with their money in exchange for an item from a company they may have never heard of before. Therefore, creating trust is vital, so giving customers the option to pay with a variety of established, well-known and trusted payment providers is a great way to mitigate this risk and build credibility.

#5 Use thumbnail images for basket items

A popular feature used by some of the biggest online retailers is the use of thumbnail images at checkout. These visual cues remind users of what’s in their basket and aids the process by enticing them to continue. It’s also a handy feature to include if you’ve got a lengthy checkout process or if you offer multiple payment and delivery options.

#6 Create a clear path to purchase

Reduce the friction on your site by regularly reviewing your user experience, including site speed, broken links and pages, page layout, the use of calls to action, and your navigation structure. Creating a seamless experience is critical in today’s online world, where it is all too easy to find a competitor. If you haven’t already invested in user experience testing, this is a significant first step.

#7 Make your policies clear

Not providing transparent and reasonable delivery or returns policies is no longer acceptable in today’s online climate. At the very least, we recommend linking all of your delivery, returns and data policies clearly in your website footer. You might also want to consider using a unique selling point (USP) bar to highlight some of your offers such as speed delivery, returns, or guarantees – which you can also highlight using badges as visual cues in the checkout process.

#8 Offer live chat support

Live chat is an increasingly popular feature for eCommerce businesses because it gives users the ability to talk directly to one of your sales team without leaving your website. Quite often, customers may have one small lingering question, so allowing them to quickly and easily talk to your team could be the difference between making the sale or losing the customer. Live chat is also an excellent opportunity to fix any problems in the customer journey, reducing ‘buyer’s remorse’, and providing a service that cultivates loyalty.

#9 Create a sense of urgency

A key challenge faced by eCommerce retailers is the need to overcome customer apathy by creating a sense of urgency to entice users to buy now rather than later.  You can achieve this through careful use of colour, visuals, and copy. However, you can take this a step further by using statistics around stock levels, basket time limits and how many other buyers the customer may be competing with. For example, ‘10 left in stock,’ ‘low in stock’, or even ‘15 people are also viewing this item’ and ‘6 bought in the last hour.’ These tactics are a great way of creating FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

#10 Use follow up marketing tactics

Your post-abandonment strategy (i.e., how you follow up with users once they’ve abandoned checkout) can also reclaim purchases. The following tactics can help with this:

  • Exit pop-ups – using a pop-up to confirm if the user is sure they want to leave their item, or even offer them a discount code to entice a purchase.
  • Re-targeting ads – using 3rd party websites to ‘follow’ your visitor after they’ve left your site, reminding them of what they were most recently browsing.
  • Personalised emails – to remind your users what items are in their basket, and to encourage them to come back and complete their purchase.

Analysing performance

While it’s crucial to always be looking to improve your website and the user experience, you also need to monitor this performance to determine what works and any potential pain points left in the journey. You can do this by:

  • Analysing customer behaviour using tools like Google Analytics or HotJar to identify drop-offs in the sales funnel and customer journey.
  • Using A/B or multivariate testing to trial new ideas, layouts and designs on key landing pages.
  • Collecting customer feedback through surveys, follow up emails, and on-site methods.

The key to success with eCommerce is continuous improvement. We’ve written a lot of content to support business owners with this journey which you can find here.

We hope you found this blog useful, and if so, we’d love to hear your feedback. Keep in the loop by registering for our weekly insights newsletter.

You Might Also Like

abstract coloured pattern abstract coloured pattern

Contact us today

Our friendly team of designers, developers and digital specialists are ready and waiting to help with your website project.