Abandoned Cart Recovery: 10 Strategies for Ecommerce Success

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Shoppers abandoning their carts on your site? Firstly, don’t worry – you’re not alone. For every 10 online shopping carts assembled, only around seven are ever taken to the checkout. Abandoned carts are an unavoidable part of managing an ecommerce site, but there’s plenty you can do to reduce them, and to recover those carts still getting abandoned.

Below, we’ve pulled together our top 10 abandoned cart recovery strategies, and we’ll be answering your most pressing questions.

What is abandoned cart recovery? Why does it matter? And what can your online business do to make abandoned cart recovery a priority?

Let’s explore.

What is an Abandoned Cart?

In ecommerce parlance, an abandoned cart is when a customer visits your online store, selects items they wish to buy (adding these items to their shopping “cart”), but fails to follow through with the purchase.

Abandoned carts can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including:

  • Unexpected shipping costs
  • Too much “friction” during the checkout process
  • A simple change of mind on the customer’s part

That, in brief, is what an abandoned cart is. So why do they matter?

Why Do Abandoned Carts Matter?

Abandoned carts equal lost sales and revenue – impacting the bottom line of your ecommerce business.

The exact numbers are contestable, but statistics put the industry’s average cart abandonment rates at around 70%. To put that into context, that means – out of every 10 people to place items in their online shopping carts – only three of them actually go on to make a purchase.

Abandoned carts matter because, as an ecommerce business, you can be doing almost everything right – well-priced products, an attractive store, a slick website user experience (UX) – but still not make the sale.

Which all begs the question…how can you stop it from happening?

Let’s take a look.

Strategies for Abandoned Carts

When it comes to reducing the likelihood of your site’s visitors abandoning their carts, there are two sets of strategies you can use.

The first? Preventing abandoned carts from happening in the first place. Well…preventing might not be quite the right word. Abandoned carts are an inevitable reality of ecommerce life – so you’ll never be completely shut of them. But this approach focuses on reducing the chances that your customers will abandon their cart before hitting that “Buy” button.

The second group of strategies accepts the unavoidable nature of abandoned carts. Instead, it attempts not to prevent them from happening, but to re-engage that customer when they do ditch their cart.

Below, we cover all bases – outlining our top 10 abandoned cart recovery techniques.

Let’s dig in!

#1. Speed Up Your Website

These days, your online audience has less time than ever. So it’s no surprise that the slower your website is, the less likely they are to buy.

Statistics show that a site loading in one second converts at triple the rate of a site that takes five seconds to load – so speed is of the essence!

Your first port of call when attempting to reduce your site’s abandoned cart recovery rate, then, is to speed up your website. Audit it, reduce the number of plugins, optimize your images, and – if necessary – strip back your site’s design. Your fancy theme may look nice. But chances are it contains a lot of superfluous code bogging your site down – and you don’t want to prioritize style over sales.

Want to know more about why speed matters? We’ve got you.

#2. Leverage Abandoned Cart Emails

When a cart is abandoned, you have to act quickly to re-engage that customer – and emails are one of the quickest, most effective ways of doing so.

The data backs this up, too – the average click-through rate of abandoned cart emails is 21%. Better still? A whopping 10% of the users who do click through will convert.

The strategy here is simple – after your customer ditches their cart, reach out with an email reminding them of the items or services they’d liked enough to click on. If you’re feeling extra persuasive, you can even throw in some juicy deals and discounts – on the very products they’d expressed an interest in – to get them over the line.

Virgin abandoned cart recovery email screenshot
Didn’t finish upgrading your seats? Virgin knows…and they’re coming for you!

#3. Optimize for Mobile

Cart abandonment rates are high. And, on mobile, they’re even higher.

On mobile devices, abandoned cart rates are almost 86% – and, considering most of your site’s visitors are checking you out on their smartphones and tablets (rather than desktop computers), it’s something you need to address.

We could wax lyrical, all day, about how to make your website more mobile-friendly – but we think the comprehensive guide we’ve already put together does that just fine!

#4. Use Remarketing

Targeting those who’ve abandoned their carts while browsing your website – whether it’s with emails or ads – is called “remarketing”.

However you choose to remarket to your customers, one thing’s a must – customizing your comms to the shopper. That means highlighting the specific products they added to their basket and using other data – such as which parts of your website they’ve spent the most time on – to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

#5. Lower Steps to Purchase

One way of tackling cart abandonment before it occurs? Limiting the number of steps required for your customer to make a purchase.

You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy. It means offering the ability to checkout as a guest (providing a minimal amount of details to buy, rather than having to create an account to do so), and taking all the hassle out of the process.

Take Amazon’s one-button purchasing feature, for instance, which allows the customer – providing their details and shipping preferences are saved – to checkout in a click. By cutting down the amount of friction at the checkout, this feature minimizes the chance of buyer’s remorse striking before the customer has the chance to complete their purchase. Learn more about how to make the most of your add to cart buttons in our full guide!

#6. Develop Trust With Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful social proof – and they can be vital in converting a customer who’s “umming and ahhing” about following through with a purchase.

Reviews and testimonials build trust, and they add an extra veneer of authenticity to your business, brand, and products. But simply having testimonials isn’t enough. You’ll need to place them at key strategic touchpoints in the customer journey. A well-placed testimonial on the checkout page can boost levels of trust in what you’re selling – at just the right time.

Koala customer reviews and testimonials screenshot
Koala, a mattress provider, harnesses the power of five-star customer reviews and testimonials to keep its abandoned cart rates low.

#7. Offer Guarantees

One of the main sources of cart abandonment online is the consumer fear that, when the product arrives, it won’t be what they expected. After all, customers buying clothes or makeup online don’t have the chance to try it on or see how it looks before they purchase – what if it doesn’t look good?

It’s a common query, but – thanks to guarantees – it’s also a manageable one.

By offering guarantees, such as their money back if they’re not satisfied, you’ll relegate that pre-purchase anxiety to history – and watch your abandoned cart rates plummet!

#8. Provide Easy Shipping Options

If there are two words that cause a customer’s ears to prick up, it’s “free shipping”.

And why not? No one likes to make it all the way through to the checkout stage only to see that the $19.99 total they were expecting has ballooned to $32.99.

Offering free shipping is an excellent abandoned cart recovery strategy – but of course, it won’t suit all businesses. (Especially smaller ones on a shoestring budget!) But even if you can’t make shipping free, at least make it easy.

How? Allow customers to pick from multiple shipping options – such as standard, expedited, and overnight – and keep them informed about their order’s status via real-time tracking notifications and updates.

You can also offer flat-rate shipping (so customers always know how much they’ll pay, whatever they’re buying) or opt for real-time shipping rates. These take into account the package’s size and weight to offer a bespoke rate – and ensure the customer’s never overcharged. (Good for customer loyalty, too!)

#9. Offer Price Transparency

When it comes to selling online, clarity is vital. That’s clear product descriptions, clear product images, and – perhaps, most importantly – clear product prices.

If you aren’t transparent about how the cost of your items – at least until it’s time for the customer to pay – the chances are they’ll balk at the amount. That’ll lead them to abandon their cart… and you to pick up the pieces!

#10. Make Returns Easy

In today’s world of online shopping, returns are as much a part of ecommerce as purchases.

In fact, 20% to 30% of everything bought online is sent back – so a simple returns policy is crucial. Without one – or a policy that suggests to your online audience that returning their goods might be a difficult, or downright non-existent, process – you might as well set the crickets chirping and recruit a tumbleweed to go rolling through your carts.

Because they’ll be abandoned!

Summary

If there’s one thing you do for your business this year, it’s putting a strong abandoned cart recovery strategy at the top of your to-do list.

Daunted? Don’t be. Abandoned cart recovery goes hand in hand with providing a slick, sleek, and seamless user experience (UX). You’re making your site more transparent, your offerings more tailored to the user, and the whole thing more simple for your prospective customer.

So good luck, and let us know in the comments section which of our abandoned cart recovery strategies you’re going to implement in your ecommerce store. And for more insights, stick around – from our most incisive digital marketing tips to the best ecommerce website builders, there’s always something to learn!

FAQs

The main reasons for cart abandonment – according to our cart abandonment rate statistics – are:
  • Extra costs (shipping, taxes, fees) are too high
  • The site wanted the customer to create an account
  • Delivery was too slow
  • Lack of trust in the site to keep customer credit cards safe
  • A long or complicated checkout process

Get your card abandonment rates below 70%, and you’re beating the industry average. Drive it below 60%, and you’re doing well. Hit 50%, and you’re doing brilliantly.

Keep up the good work!

Written by:
I’ve written for brands and businesses all over the world – empowering everyone from solopreneurs and micro-businesses to enterprises to some of the ecommerce industry’s best-known brands: including Yahoo!, Ecwid, and Entrepreneur. My commitment for the future is to empower my audience to make better, more effective decisions: whether that’s helping you pick the right platform to build your website with, the best hosting provider for your needs, or offering recommendations as to what – and how – to sell.

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