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Abandoned Cart: How To Return Customers To Your Website

Digital Marketing
December 6, 2019
9 min

More than 80% of customers leave their online shopping carts abandoned, and 87% of them are ready to finish their order later. Of course, “later” sounds good, but this doesn’t mean that they will return and finish their shopping.

retail abandonment rates

What is an abandoned shopping cart

“Abandoned” or forgotten is considered a shopping cart in which the user had added goods, but never actually bought them. This is part of the lost profit for any online retailer. According to Barilliance, online retail stores receive only 25% of their possible sales. This is quite an impressive figure as well as a potential opportunity for growth.

Why do customers leave their shopping carts abandoned?

There are many reasons why users don’t finish their purchases. For example, at some stage, a customer may not complete the order due to high delivery cost, a complicated registration form or absence of adaptive layout.

Half of the “refusers” use their online shopping carts just as a wish list. They visit the website, browse goods, compare prices, but continue to hesitate and do not rush to complete their orders. However, they are interested enough in certain goods to add them to the shopping cart. In this case, our goal is to get these customers back.

Often, the decision to abandon a shopping cart is influenced by several factors. In addition to those mentioned in the chart, there are also reasons related to the checkout page. These can be both functional and interface issues:

  • Complicated ordering process: you need to fill in a few pages with detailed information (especially inconvenient for smartphone users);
  • Wrong position of the CTA button;
  • Information deficit regarding the cost and time of delivery;
  • No information on the return policy;
  • The online shopping cart doesn’t process (save) the added goods.

Mobile traffic estimates more than half of all flow in eCommerce. And have the highest shopping cart abandonment rates. More than 85% of transactions from smartphones do not end with actual sales.

Before you decide to invest in returning your customers, try to understand exactly when and why they stopped the order process. Identifying problem areas, you will be able to fix them and remove the barrier to complete the order. Also, don’t forget to ensure the effectiveness of any changes made with A/B testing.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the possible problems:  

Complicated checkout process

If you want to increase sales, make sure that the ordering process is as simple and clear. First of all, reduce the number of fields to a significant minimum. Your customers do not wish to fill in a large amount of information, especially while using their smartphones. Use autocomplete services: save passwords, address and other personal data, but with the ability to edit this information. Provide customers with the opportunity to buy using a guest account.

An awry positioned CTA button

Your CTA button should look like a button. Don’t forget, while browsing with mobile devices, a customer uses a fingertip to scroll and tap. They should be able to do this comfortably, do not reduce the significance of this button. Your button should differ from other elements of the page and attract attention. Place the button where you expect it to be seen. For example, right next to the total price in an online shopping cart. Don’t make your customers search for it. Low click rate – low conversion.

Lack of delivery time and cost information

Such unexpectedness like additional costs while placing an order provides a bad customer experience. Indicate the final cost on the product card, try to place additional delivery cost information next to it. The same rule can be applied to the indication of delivery time. Provide a person with an opportunity to find out about delivery time without any difficulties.

Lack of information regarding refund terms

Inspire trust among your customers. Be sure to post information about the possibility of returning the goods. It’s a great idea to have it briefly replicated on the shopping cart page.  There is such a thing as buyer’s remorse syndrome. This means that the client regrets the money they spent or may not be confident about their choice after a while. The ability to return an item reduces the level of anxiety.

The online shopping cart doesn’t save added items

Remember, half of the “refusers” use the online shopping cart as a wish list for future purchases. When the buyer comes back and does not find the selected products, the purchase is most likely to fail. It is important to keep the goods until the client returns. Otherwise, you will lose sales, even though you have everything to increase them.

The large-scale testing conducted by the Beimard Institute showed us that improving the usability of an online shopping cart can increase the conversion rate by 35.26%. Let’s calculate: total eCommerce sales in the US and EU is about $ 738 billion. A 35.26% gain in conversion means that they could earn an additional $260 billion just by improving the checkout page.


It is useful to switch places with your customers sometimes and evaluate their path before placing an order. Try to place a test order in your online store. Start with the moment you type a product name in the search field. Add the goods to an online shopping cart, enter all the necessary data, select the payment method and the relevant delivery option, re-read the text on the thank you page. Then repeat these actions from your smartphone.

Google Analytics will help you see the bigger picture. It is easier to track abandoned purchases using an enhanced eCommerce Tracking plugin. Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to Conversions> Ecommerce> Shopping Behavior.

The chart of purchase refusals (or abandoned online shopping carts) visualises the behaviour of customers at different stages of shopping. It would also be useful to study users’ segments. You will see the difference in the behaviour of new customers and the ones who have already ordered something from your website.

The reasons why clients leave their online shopping cart without final purchases can also be determined by creating a sales funnel in Google Analytics. To set this up, you need to set tracking goals. The service allows you to set up to 20 goals — pages or actions. The goal includes such actions as making a purchase, choosing a delivery method, choosing a payment method, etc.

Before setting goals, make sure that all your pages have the right name (“shopping cart”, “delivery method”, “payment method”). As a result, you will receive a full report with data at what point most of your visitors stop their purchase process.


How to deal: there are three ways to return the buyer + case studies

We want to remind you that 87% of buyers with an abandoned online shopping cart are ready to return to complete their purchase later. There is a segment of customers who simply forget about pending goods. Also there people who were distracted at the moment of placing their order. Return of these users will be possible with both a simple reminder and a special offer.

We will share 3 ways to return the user to complete an unfinished order.

Method 1. Reminder  

Despite the increase in numbers of different communication channels (chats, instant messengers, social networks), email is still among the most popular Internet marketing tools.

Reminder about an abandoned online shopping cart is an automated message that is sent when a trigger is activated by the “abandoned shopping cart” event.

Almost half of the trigger emails are opened by recipients, and a third of clicks lead to a final purchase (the numbers largely depend on a niche). You can limit yourself to one email, or you can set a chain of triggered emails that will be sent at certain time intervals.

cart abandonment email

It is important to understand that the activation of a trigger chain, like any other marketing tool, must be tested. The effectiveness of each method depends on the product group, niche, and the specifics of your audience.

Method 2. Remarketing

In case you don’t have a potential customer’s email address, you can try to get them back to your website using remarketing settings. With the help of the data left on the online shopping carts, you can automatically create ads that will catch up with users who have left your website.

How to increase motivation to return to your website:

  • Inform the customer that the selected product is almost out of stock;
  • Add a special discount for finishing a purchase;
  • Offer free shipping.

Take into consideration that 70% of users targeted with these types of ads are most likely to complete the purchase.

Method 3. Webpush notifications

You can quickly return your customer to the web site using personalised push notifications too. You can do this a few minutes later after the customer has left the online shopping cart without completing a purchase. If the script has not been completed, it is possible to set reminders with special discount information to motivate the customer to finish their shopping.


Often, web pushes are used as an additional digital marketing channel. Users receive more comprehensive information with a list of all bonuses by email or in instant messengers, and a push notification works as a reminder, which often attracts the customer’s attention.

Written by
Nataliia Raskopa

PR & Marketing Manager at Promodo

I am a former journalist and an ardent follower of the "Cut to the chase" principle.

Together with Promodo's marketing team, I tell about the most interesting things in the world of Ukrainian digital. No stories of successful success – only tips, figures, and working case studies from the leading performance marketing agency. By the way, I talk about our failures as well.

December 6, 2019
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