Reduce and Recover: Solving for Shopping Cart Abandons

The ecommerce economy grew enormously during 2020. Many new retailers
benefited, but growth in ecommerce shopping changed shopping behavior. For
several years prior to March 2020, ecommerce cart abandonment rates hovered
around 70%. While stuck indoors, many people passed the time by window
shopping and adding items to online carts that they never expected to buy.
After March 2020, average cart abandonment rates have jumped to 88% and
remain there this year. This higher rate of abandonment offers opportunities
for you to develop an edge over your competition by:
• Reducing initial ecommerce cart abandonment rates; and
• Bringing more cart abandoners back to complete a purchase
With the strategies outlined in this guide, you can drive more initial sales, bring
back more abandoners to complete purchases, and even make them long-term
returning customers.

Sources of Shopping Cart Abandonment

A high shopping cart abandonment rate should prompt an audit of your
cart and checkout flow. Negative experiences with your checkout process may account for a portion of abandoned shoppers, while shopper motivations
unrelated to your store can also cause cart abandonment. You can take steps
to reduce both, but the remedies differ slightly.

Eliminate Negative Experiences and Lower Friction

Removing negative experiences will increase conversion rate and revenue growth. The most common reasons shoppers abandon carts or checkout include: 

  • Hidden costs 
  • Poor mobile experience 
  • Frustrating checkout flow 
  • Price sensitivity

Understand Shopper Motivations for Abandonment

Personal shopper motivations that don’t relate to your website’s user experience may lead to cart abandonment. This type of abandonment is harder to prevent, but understanding the motivating factors can lead to strategies that increase the purchase rate. Some major reasons for shopping cart abandonment include:. 

  • Shopping cart as an organization tool or wishlist 
  • Shopping for entertainment 
  • Tracking price changes over time

Reduce Cart Abandonment With Psychological Cues


Increase purchase rate on the first visit

  • Induce “perceived ownership” to increase the likelihood of purchase
  • Use price guarantees to reduce hesitation and stop competitive research
  • Reiterate value with user ratings and recommendations on cart completion when entering the checkout

Increase purchases through return visits

  • Send scarcity messaging to shoppers that did not add items to cart
  • Offer price promotions to shoppers that abandoned after adding items to a cart

Leverage an Ecommerce Marketing Platform

Engagement across marketing channels and personalized shopping experiences improve the performance of abandoned cart retargeting campaigns.

  • Use multiple marketing channels with consistent aesthetic and timing
  • Segment shoppers that abandon carts for more relevant messages
  • Include email in your cart recovery campaign

Include Email in Your Cart Recovery Campaign

46.1% of people open cart abandonment emails. This represents a significantly higher open rate than typical branded emails. Best practices for cart recovery email campaigns include:

• Act quickly. Emails that arrive in a shopper’s inbox within an hour after they abandon a shopping cart produce the highest conversion rates. Your product and brand stay top-of-mind for a limited period of time, so use that time.

• Focus on the point. Create a persuasive message but keep it short and make your point quickly. Skip the brand story since they already visited your site. • Meet their Interest. Use the body of your email to feature the product shoppers showed interest in, or the products they added to their cart. Leverage the psychological lessons from this guide in your email body as well.

• Experiment with headlines. Iterate and test email headlines for open rate improvement. Target your tests at a single variable like word change, emotional message tone, or numbers. Identify winners and combine them for future tests.