In 2017, It was estimated that merchants lost a whooping $4 trillion in 2017 from cart abandonment.

This figure is likely to be higher in 2018, and it’s likely to keep climbing year after year.

Current studies show over 70% of people abandoned their shopping carts in 2017, with some statistics showing over 80% cart abandonment.

More shopping cart abandonment happens on mobile devices. As more and more e-Commerce transactions continue to be completed on mobile devices, the rate of shopping cart abandonment is expected to keep climbing. One study found the following abandonment rates:

  • Desktop – 73.07%
  • Tablet – 80.74%
  • Mobile – 85.65%

Assuming you have an 80% cart abandonment, for every $100 you make, you lose $400 through abandoned carts.


Shopping cart abandonment is your worst enemy

Big time enemy.

Shopping cart abandonment is retailers’ biggest headache. Abandoned carts cause huge losses.

If you are really serious about maximizing your sales, shopping cart abandonment is something you need to address immediately.

What is an abandoned cart?

An abandoned cart occurs when a buyer adds an item or items to their shopping cart in your online store, but they do not complete their purchase.

And of course,

A cart abandoner is someone who places an item or items to their shopping cart, but they do not complete their purchase.

The rate of cart abandonment is the percentage of people who do not complete checkout in an online store.

This is calculated as follows:

Abandoned carts

An abandoned cart happens when someone lands on your online store, likes what they see, and they add that item to cart by clicking on Add to Cart” button:

Add to cart

Why do people abandon their shopping carts?

When a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, they want to buy. So what makes them decide they don’t want to buy any more?

A Baymard Institute study in 2017 showed people abandon their carts because of several main reasons:

  1. Extra costs too high – e.g. shipping, taxes, etc – 60%
  2. Sites requiring users to create accounts – 38%
  3. Long, complicated checkout – 28%
  4. Total order cost not disclosed upfront – 23%
  5. Website errors – 20%
  6. Can’t trust them with my credit card – 19%
  7. Slow delivery – 18%
  8. Return policy not good – 11%
  9. Payment methods not satisfactory – 8%
  10. Declined credit card – 4%
  11. Hard to contact company
Why people abandon shopping carts

These are the main reasons. There are a few more, which we’ll cover below.

How to avoid abandoned carts

So what should you do to avoid having people abandon their shopping carts?

1: Eliminate surprises

If you offer free shipping, you are likely to eliminate the biggest surprise cost after someone adds their item to cart.

Even if you don’t offer free shipping, you can still reduce the number of people that abandon their carts because you didn’t mention these charges before.

A Forrester study shows that 22% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts because of this.

Shoppers hate surprises. To eliminate this, make all additional costs clear before a shopper adds an item to their cart.

So how do you estimate the shipping costs before they add their item to cart?


1: Shipping cost estimator:

A shipping cost estimator comes in handy to fix this. It will calculate the estimated shipping cost before they add the item to their cart.

You can easily add an estimator on Shopify. You can similarly add one to Woocommerce using a Calculate Shipping Button or Shipping Calculator plugins.


2: Disclose additional costs up-front:

If you have any other costs such as taxes, handling or customization charges, make sure you disclose them upfront before they have to add their item to cart.


In summary:

  • Show shoppers shipping and additional costs on product pages
  • Offer free shipping when they spend a certain amount
  • Offer free shipping altogether – you can cover it in product cost
  • Eliminate additional costs – “processing fees”, “administration fees” etc

2: Lose the “Create Account” barrier

Lots of stores start with this question that annoys buyers – “Are you new here? Returning Customer? Don’t remember? Follow this link”

In other words you are asking them to register if they are new customers or register if they are returning customers.

There you have it above – this will cost you about 50% in lost sales.

To fix this, enable “guest checkout”.

With a few programming tricks, you can make your store an “open store” where they don’t have to register to buy from you.

Both Shopify and Woocommerce allow you to enable this option with a few clicks.

In Shopify and Woocommerce under “Settings > Checkout”, check “Accounts are optional”.

3: Make the checkout process short and easy

One of the best ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to reduce the number of steps they have to go through to check out.

Do they really have to go through 5 pages to complete checking out?

The more you simplify it, the fewer abandoned checkouts you’ll have.

Even though the checkout process in Shopify cannot be changed, they have made it easy where they identify previous customers by their phone number.

Once they enter their phone number all their information including payment information is auto-filled, drastically shortening the checkout process.

Baymard estimates that 260 billion can be recovered annually just by optimizing the checkout process.

4: Host your online store with a reputable company

If you use Shopify, you don’t have to worry about server speed and errors. If you use Woocommerce, then you must make sure you don’t have any server errors.

But server speed aside, you also need to make sure your web pages load fast.

Especially your product pages.

  • Check your pages for speed. Pingdom is a good tool.
  • Optimize your store for speed. Fast loading websites offer good customer experience and better conversions. Follow these tips to improve your speed.

5: Show security badges

Most people today are internet savvy, and they know they can lose their money online. If they don’t trust your store, they won’t buy from you.

Including security badges in your store re-assures potential buyers that your website is secure. This can be something as simple as this:


Secure checkout


This graph from Baymard Institute should help you choose the badges to use on your store.


Security badges

6: Improve product delivery speed

In the US, people are used to getting their online purchases delivered fast. With Amazon these days, they even expect delivery the same day.

What do you do if you drop-ship goods from China?

If you ship to Epacket countries, it takes an average of 2 weeks to deliver to most parts of the world.

  • Disclose the shipping times up-front before they buy. I’ve found that most people don’t have a problem waiting as long as they are aware
  • Keep them updated about their order and shipping process constantly
  • If you have a winning product that you sell a lot, consider ordering in bulk from suppliers in China (such as Alibaba) and shipping them to fulfillment centers for faster delivery

7: Give a solid return policy

Your return policy needs to be friendly – such as “30 day return”.

Customers need to be comfortable that if the product does not work for them, they can return it for a refund.

8: Include secure payment methods familiar with your buyers

Most people trust big brands such as Paypal, Apple Pay, Amazon and so on.

Even if you have your own merchant account, including these payment types will increase confidence in your buyers resulting to fewer abandoned carts.

9: Make it easy for customers to contact you

Inevitably, shoppers have questions during checkout. Addressing their questions will resolve most abandoned carts.

Install live chat on your store. Then you can easily answer questions instantly right when they need that information.

Even if they don’t contact you, just knowing it’s easy to reach you and get help when they need it compels them to buy.

PoaCart offers a chat widget through Facebook Messenger.

Live chat

10: Save their shopping cart

99% of first time visitors will not buy.

However, 75% will abandon their cart with the intention to buy.

In other words, they add their items to cart to complete their purchase later, or to compare with other providers as they make up their mind.

According to this study, the average delay between the first visit and purchase is 19 hours – even though they may not add the items to cart.

After they “Add to Cart”,

  • Approximately 50% of the people will buy within 1 hour
  • 72% within 24 hours
  • 80% within 7 days
  • 100% within 2 weeks

Assuming these people are leaving their products in their cart as they shop for better deals, how do you make sure they buy from you?


1) Keep their shopping cart clearly visible

A good example is Amazon (below). You can easily implement this in most shopping carts.

Abandoned cart

2) Save their cart across devices

Most people use multiple devices across their purchase journey. Whether they move from their computer to their tablet or phone, you want to make sure they will find their shopping cart saved in all devices.

PoaCart saves your shopping cart this way so your customer can continue their purchase right where they left off.

11: Use scarcity

Most people use multiple devices across their purchase journey.

Whether they move from their computer to their tablet or phone, you want to make sure they will find their shopping cart saved in all devices.

PoaCart saves your shopping cart this way so your customer can continue their purchase right where they left off.

12: How to fix “I was just browsing” issue

As noted above, customers intentionally add their items to cart to complete their purchase later.

Others do so to compare prices with other providers as they make up their mind.

Of course if they find a better price they are not coming back!

And you’ll lose that sale.

So how do you win these people back?


1: Retarget them with savings coupons or free shipping

Run retargeting ads on Facebook, Instagram, and on the web (using Google or other retargeting platforms) to reach these people with your ads.

Of course use email in your retargeting campaigns.

And certainly use Facebook Messenger and Push notifications to recover these abandoned carts.

PoaCart provides the tools necessary to accomplish this.

Offer them a reason to come back – such as free shipping, or a savings coupon.

These two work like magic.


2: Offer a royalty program to cart abandoners

A royalty program offers its members extra savings because of the membership.  Forrester recently found users on a royalty program spend up to 13% more and increase shopper annual visits up to 20%.

Of course, existing customers are most likely to buy again if you give them incentives to do to – such as membership discounts.


Try It On Shopify.




In this article, we’ve covered how to avoid shopping cart abandonment in your online store.

By fixing the issues discussed here, you’ll see an increase in sales and fewer abandoned carts.

Next we’ll look at how to recover abandoned carts – i.e. what to do after people abandon their shopping carts.

Your Take:

What do you do to avoid shopping cart abandonment? Any comments you’d like to make?

Please do so below.

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