Tips to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment & Recover Lost Sales
18 November 2014

Shopping Cart Abandonment – 5 Excellent Strategies to Recover Lost Sales

Shopping Cart Abandonment – 5 Excellent Strategies to Recover Lost Sales
By Joy


Is your ecommerce website not generating sales as per your expectations? Are you noticing high shopping cart abandonment rate? Do your customers leave without paying?   If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.According to an independent UK based research company Baymard Institute, on an average, 67.75% online shopping carts are abandoned by the shoppers. What’s more depressing to know is 99% visitors don’t take the buying decision on their first visit (as per a report from SeeWhy). On top of all, a recent research report put forth by Econsultancy reveals that the estimated loss of revenue to global online retailers due to abandoned shopping carts touches around $3 Trillion dollars every year. However, the good news is – according to BI Intelligence estimates, about 63% of these abandoned shopping carts are potentially recoverable if online retailers hire online marketers who adopt rigorous marketing strategies to cash the huge opportunity and recover lost sales with intelligent tactics.

So, in this article, we’ll first peep into some of the biggest reasons due to which online shoppers abandon shopping carts. And next, we’ll look at 5 excellent strategies that can help you recover lost sales quickly.

Why customers drop out their shopping carts?

When a potential buyer visits your online store, browses products for a considerable amount of time, puts one or more items to his shopping cart but ends up leaving the store without making a purchase; it is called shopping cart abandonment. In the whole buying cycle, this is probably the biggest problem for the global online retailers to tackle. But did anyone wonder why does this happen? What is the reason that shoppers come on the site with the intent of buying but leave without paying?  Let’s have a look at this infographic from Seewhy.


Clearly, the study from Forrester Research shows that 36% consumers don’t buy from an ecommerce website that adds shipping charges to deliver products while 47% buyers expect a promotional offer when they arrive on an online store. Overall the biggest reasons were – high shipping and handling cost(44%), customers not ready to purchase the product(41%), customers wanted to compare prices(27%), Prices higher than budget(25%) and buyers wanted to save for later(24%).

Also, when I analysed another shopping cart abandonment report (from Statista), these 14 main reasons came out to be the biggest reasons why online shoppers abandon their carts –

  1. Presented with Unexpected Costs – 56%
  2. I was just browsing – 37%
  3. Found a better price elsewhere – 36%
  4. Overall price too expensive – 32%
  5. Decided against buying – 26%
  6. Website navigation too complicated – 25%
  7. Website crashed – 24%
  8. Process was taking too long – 21%
  9. Excessive Payment security Checks – 18%
  10. Concerns about payment Security – 17%
  11. Delivery options unsuitable – 16%
  12. Website Timeout – 15%
  13. Price presented in a foreign currency – 13%
  14. My payment was declined – 11%

How to avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment – 4 Do’s for the Online Retailers

Since “Price”, “Timing” & “Website Design Issues” constitute highest percentage amongst the reasons for shopping cart abandonment; online retailers should customize their ecommerce sites while simultaneously implementing a marketing plan to tap all the selling points. Reducing shopping cart abandonment rate is much easier than bringing back the lost customers.

1.Make your checkout as effective as possible – Reduce the “time” & “pain” for customers

Checkout Stage is when the customer is genuinely interested in buying from you. Any mistake here will not only cost you sales but can give your customers a red flag to never come to you again. Make your checkout as simple as possible by split-testing one page checkout vs. multi page checkout on your site. Reduce the no. of steps involved. Offer “guest checkout” as the biggest turnoff for customers is forced registration on site to complete the purchase (45% buyers leave due to this). If possible, show thumbnails (small images) of the actual items in the cart. Also, don’t forget to display security logos to gain trust. This is important because as per the finding from Statista report that I explained above, 17% customers are concerned about security issues when they furnish their credentials online. Also, replace your “Proceed to Checkout” call to action with “Proceed to Secure Checkout”. Display a security badge (lock along with secured payment gateway-SSL encryption) and offer popular payment processing solutions like Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal to increase sales by as much as 15% more from your website.

On checkout page, Offer Free Shipping – The biggest reason why customers purchase online. According to Deloitte, 69% shoppers shop with online retailers who offer free shipping. While ComScore says that 61% buyers quit their order if free shipping isn’t offered to them. So, if you don’t want to lose customers, offering “Free Shipping” is a pre-requisite.

Here’s a screengrab of one page checkout from Macy’s online store to tell you the “critical selling points” shoppers look for.




2.Add “Product Reviews”, “Star Ratings” and “Testimonials” on landing pages

Shoppers are likely to leave your ecommerce website if they don’t find positive product reviews, product ratings and customer testimonials. Including these things will not only improve brand credibility but will answer many questions that they have in mind.

3.Tag products with a competitive price and put a “refund policy” in place for easy returns

Price comparison also being the biggest issue in the minds of online shoppers while buying, 36% carts are abandoned. So, before you put a price tag on your product, look around what your competitors are offering and put a decent price to win the confidence of shoppers. Include call to actions like “Best Deal only for you”,”Get 30% off only on our store”, “Sale on selected items” etc on your product landing pages to psychologically prompt your customers to complete the purchase. Also, include clear refund policy to further enhance the shopping experience & remove any qualms about purchasing from your site.

4.Ecommerce Website Optimization- Tweak your ecommerce site for more conversions and remove all the design flaws that obstruct buying cycle

Online retailers must look forward to tuning their websites for a conversion boost by availing ecommerce website customization services. Design flaws like complicated navigation, website crash and quick timeout eat up almost 50% of your online sales.   If you want to tweak your online store for holiday sales (Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturdays), you can take help from one of our blogs that explains 18 Ecommerce Optimization Tips to boost online sales for Christmas.

5 Excellent Strategies to Recover “Lost” Sales

So, the above points were all about reducing the shopping cart abandonment when customers are already surfing your site and putting items in their cart. But, no matter how hard you try, there will always be considerable no. of buyers who leave without paying. So, what online retailers can do if customers abandon shopping carts? How to recover lost sales? Here are 5 excellent strategies to help you.

1.“Retarget” Lost Customers & “Remarket” to them – Tap all selling points by offering attractive perks to cart abandoners

A Seewhy report says that abandoners spend 55% more when remarketed. Retargeting your customers with attractive perks is a great way to bring back the lost customers. Apart from including common selling points like –  Free Shipping”, Live Technical Support and Easy Returns etc in your sales strategy, you can retarget them via targeted advertisements based on their interests. To put together an effective remarketing campaign, you can consider using some industry popular Retargeting tools like – Google Adwords Remarketing, Adroll, Retargeter, Rocketfuel, Criteo, Ebay Enterprise (A retargeting platform formerly known as Fetchback), Vizury, Chango and Perfect Audience (For Facebook Retargeting).

2.Send “Recovery Emails” for a winning comeback

Research shows that the revenue generated through email retargeting is significantly higher than other email marketing programs. So, if you keep the “timing” object in mind, you’ll surely win sales at this point. Here are some points and examples to keep you going.

    • Timing – Send your first recovery email within 24 hours when shoppers abandon their cart. You’ll be surprised to know that 58.7% of Top 500 online retailers are already practicing this to cash on the lost opportunities. If no response comes after your first email, send your second email 23 hours later and a third email after 4 days. For this you can use tools like Salescycle, Vero, Abandonaid and Rejoiner.
    • Content – While designing your remarketing email, don’t forget to include the name and images (thumbnails) of the abandon items along with the final price tag that you wish to offer, “free shipping” and “easy return policy” call to actions, customer care number & live support icon on the top and an eye catchy subject line (e.g – “Did you forget something”, “Come Back and Save 20% Off Your Order”) etc. This will ensure 150% higher open rates and 200% higher conversion rates than standard promotional emails.
    • Price – Sometimes, price is the ultimate concern of shoppers that avoids them from making a purchase. In your recovery email, include amazing collective discounts & offers like – 30% Off on Your Final Cart just for you or Rs 500 off on your final purchase.

3.Offering Loyalty Programs & Welcome Programs can do the trick

Remember buying from brick and mortar stores where you become a Bluecard member and earn points? This is called a loyalty program. Forrester Research says that loyalty members spend an average of 13% more and also increase annual website visits by 20% more. Here, I’ve included this strategy for returning customers (customers who frequently purchase from your online shop). For this, you can use a pop-up to remind about the points earned by your customers once you see that they’re leaving your site without purchasing. It is likely that a cart abandoner after dropping out cart when gets a reminder from your site in the form of a pop-up, he/she will complete the purchase considering that the points will get him an extra off (may be around Rs 300 or Rs 500 or even more than that).

The other way is to introduce customer welcome programs. Just like the loyalty program this trick also plays well with both cart abandoners and your existing customers. This can increase your chance of getting a second sale by 300% more.

4.Support Buyers during their “Consideration cycle”

Supporting your buyers while they’re still considering can dramatically bring back the lost sales. Since Website Timeout is also one thing that pisses off 15% shopping cart abandoners, a huge opportunity to convert leads lies when customers are either lost as their sessions end or problems while checkout. If you capture customers in their “Consideration cycle”, there is 99% chance of closing sales.

5.Draw a “return revenue path” for your customers

Online retailers are now focusing on conversion optimization to optimize the buying cycles and make way for more sales. Yes, you guessed it right; I’m talking about the return revenue path – the process by which you can prompt new and returning visitors to consider purchasing. A typical path can be the one shown below.

Browse –> Abandon –> Consider –> Research –> Ask Friends -> Browse –> Purchase

Bottom Line

Selling products on an ecommerce site with 0% cart abandonment is ideally impossible. However, if you organize everything the right way even before shoppers abandon their carts, you’re already half way to success. Considering the huge online opportunity that lies in recovering lost sales, don’t give up if buyers drop out despite your best efforts. You can always recover 50% of the ‘lost sales’ with effective remarketing campaigns and a perfectly timed recovery email message. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please share your thoughts and comments below.


By Joy

Jyoti Mali is the Head of Digital Marketing at TIS India, a Digital Marketing agency in India focused on SEO, digital analytics, online advertising, CRO, web design & development. She leads strategy for multi-channel digital advertising for in-house accounts & agencies globally. Being a Google Analytics Certified (IQ) Professional & Ecommerce Analytics Qualified Consultant, she loves playing with Analytics & helping clients with actionable insights.

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