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How to Reduce Cart Abandonment In Ecommerce

Reduce cart abandonment


Shopping cart abandonment is a natural part of the online buying process. Consumers bail on purchases for a number of reasons, ranging from cold feet to cumbersome checkout design. However, high cart abandonment rates might signal issues that are leading your ecommerce business to lose out on potential sales — issues that can be fixed with the right strategies.  

While it's not possible to convert every single customer who adds items to their cart, it is possible to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate with some strategic changes. This article will review what ecommerce cart abandonment is, why it happens, and most importantly, what can be done to maximize customers’ chances of completing the checkout journey. 

What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment? 

Shopping cart abandonment refers to the act of a customer adding items to their online shopping cart, and then leaving the ecommerce website without completing the purchase. The actual rate of shopping cart abandonment is measured through the percentage of completed transactions versus abandoned carts.

Why Shopping Cart Abandonment Matters

On the simplest level, abandoned carts represent lost sales opportunities. While some shopping cart abandonment is a natural part of the online buying experience, a high cart abandonment rate usually indicates problems with your ecommerce website or buying process. 

While what counts as an ‘average’ ecommerce shopping cart abandonment rate varies depending on the product category and customer base being analyzed, a broad analysis of data by the Baymard Institute estimates that the ecommerce industry currently has a cart abandonment rate of 70.19%. It’s worth doing research into your specific industry to get a better idea of what the average cart abandonment rate for your specific market is. 

While a low-as-possible cart abandonment rate is favorable, cart abandonments in general have the potential to be an invaluable resource for growing ecommerce businesses. The data provided by cart abandonments can give you a clear picture of what kind of consumer is most frequently abandoning your checkout and at what point, and sales funnels can be adjusted accordingly. You might also utilize the available user data from cart abandonments, like demographics and email addresses, to segment important audiences for future marketing initiatives and retargeting campaigns. 

How to Calculate Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

The shopping cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed purchases by the total number of online shopping carts created during the same period, subtracting the result from one, then multiplying by 100. This calculation provides the percentage of shopping carts that were created but not converted into purchases, indicating what proportion of potential customers leave before completing the checkout process.

Here's the full equation:

Abandonment Rate = (1 - (Total Number of Completed Purchases / Total Number of Shopping Carts Created)) x 100

What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?

There are any number of reasons an online shopper might abandon their cart, but below are some of the most common issues that contribute to shopping cart abandonment – some of which might be present on your ecommerce website. 

Complex Check-Out Process

User Experience (UX) plays an immense role in ecommerce sites' conversion rates, product SEO discoverability, and brand perception. It can also influence cart abandonment metrics. 

When the checkout process is hard to navigate - for example, laid out in a mobile-unfriendly way without clear directions - users are more likely to leave the page in search of a simpler solution that gives them more confidence and control. In fact, Gitnux reports that as many as 27% of ecommerce shoppers abandon their cart when the return process is unclear.

High Product Prices

Most consumers consider price a top factor when choosing which products to buy. When customers add items to their shopping cart, they might still be in the decision-making phase, comparing prices across different platforms or considering their budget. Upon reaching the checkout and seeing the total cost, shoppers might reassess the value of their potential purchase. If the total cost exceeds their expectations or perceived value, they may decide to abandon their cart in search of more affordable alternatives or simply defer the purchase.

High Shipping Costs

Shipping costs can affect shopping cart abandonment rates just as much as product pricing. While buyers are used to having to pay some sort of shipping fee, higher-than-expected costs can disincentivize customers from completing their purchases. In fact, according to data from Statista, 63% of online shoppers abandon carts because of unexpected shipping costs. These unexpected fees can lower the perceived value of the items being ordered when compared to the total cost – and prompt a customer’s reassessment of the necessity of the items in their cart.

Slow Shipping Timelines

Slow shipping timelines can significantly impact cart abandonment rates – yes, even when free shipping is offered! This is especially true for everyday consumables like shampoo and beauty items. As products with fast turnover rates, customers expect their replacements quickly. If it seems like an order will take too long, customers may opt for a brick-and-mortar store or another online retailer that offers faster ecommerce shipping.

Slow Site Loading Speeds

According to a 2022 survey conducted by Capterra, roughly two-thirds of potential customers expect the checkout process to be four minutes or less, and just over one quarter (28%) expect it to take less than two minutes. A lengthy checkout process - characterized by multiple pages, unnecessary form fields, or slow loading times - not only disrupts this expectation but also introduces friction at a critical decision-making point for the consumer. Ecommerce stores that fail to meet speed expectations are more likely to see abandoned carts as people lose patience and move on to other options.

Lack of Mobile-Friendliness

Black Friday 2023 marked a big turning point for ecommerce when smartphone-based users accounted for a majority of online sales, up 10.4% year over year, according to Adobe. Even outside of the holidays, over 60% of US consumers believe that mobile-friendliness is a necessity for the websites they shop on. 

Similar to being mobile-friendly, mobile responsive design refers to a website's ability to automatically adjust and adapt its layout and content to fit the screen size and resolution of various devices, including smartphones and tablets. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly might have difficult navigation or links and buttons that aren’t easy to click, and a non-responsive website will not adjust properly, leading to a poor user experience on mobile devices. 

As more consumers prefer to shop from smartphones and tablets, ecommerce businesses with websites equipped to handle mobile transactions are mathematically more likely to have a better conversion rate than those that aren't.

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment Rates

Cart abandonment can happen for many reasons, but luckily, there's an equal number of ways it can be addressed. The first step is assessing your store's checkout process to identify where and why people leave. For example, utilizing analytics tools to track the checkout flow can highlight specific stages where customers tend to drop off, such as during account creation, payment information entry, or at the final confirmation page. With those points of friction identified, it will be much easier to make meaningful changes that reduce cart abandonment rates.

The following sections provide guidance on how to address some of the most common contributing factors behind high cart abandonment.

You can also download our free, convenient checklist that lists all of our tips to reduce cart abandonment to easily ensure you're optimizing your ecommerce website.

Reduce Cart Abandonment Checklist

Think About the User Experience

Poor user experience in the checkout process can manifest in many ways, from excessive steps and pages to frustrating form fields. You'll want to find and fix as many of these points of friction as possible to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Add a Guest Checkout Option

Guest checkout is a simple but powerful way to streamline the purchasing process. It saves customers the time and commitment they'd otherwise have to give by creating an account. You can offer a guest checkout option by creating a "continue as guest" button on your checkout page. Many ecommerce platforms offer the ability to do this in site settings.

Importantly, providing a guest checkout option does not mean you'll miss out on opportunities for future engagement or lose valuable customer data. During the guest checkout process, you can still collect essential information such as email addresses for order confirmation and shipping updates. This approach respects the customer's preference for convenience and also opens the door for post-purchase communication.

Remove Unnecessary Form Fields

Think of every form field your customers have to complete during checkout as an ounce of their patience. The more that needs to be filled, the more the customers' patience will be tested. That's not to say you need to eliminate all form fields, of course, but take a hard look at each one and ask yourself if it is essential.

For example, do you need to collect a customer's phone number, or can it be optional? More often than not, a customer's billing address is the same as their shipping address. Why not create a button that allows them to skip filling out the same information twice with one click?

Consider implementing auto-fill options for common fields like name and address to save customers time and effort. Google now even allows buyers to autofill their credit card information with Google Pay. 

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Customers have varying preferences for payment methods.'s Digital Economy Payments Report showed that 33% of consumers prefer debit as their primary payment card, while 37% prefer credit. Other payment options like cryptocurrency and third-party financing like Afterpay or Klarna are becoming more commonplace as people diversify the ways they manage money.

By offering more than one payment method option, you are catering to a wider range of customers and making the shopping experience more convenient for them.

Optimize Your Website's Performance

With speed being so important to today's online shoppers, it's in every ecommerce brand's best interest to ensure their site loads as quickly as possible. This starts with an assessment of where things currently stand. Google's PageSpeed Insights tool will give you an overall score for your site's performance from 1 to 100.

Improve Loading Speed

Follow the suggestions PageSpeed Insights provides to improve case-specific issues that may be slowing loading times. This often includes compressing images, reducing server response time, and minimizing JavaScript and CSS files. These seemingly small changes can make a significant impact on your site's speed and ultimately lead to lower cart abandonment rates.

Adjust for Mobile Devices

Mobile optimization is a multifaceted process involving everything from template layout and image size to mobile-specific payment options and streamlined checkout processes. Test your site's checkout page across different devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktops to get an idea of where you can improve. While many ecommerce platforms are built with responsive designs, there may still be room for customization and optimization.

Check for Technical Issues

It's possible that your cart abandonment rate is high because of a technical error or glitch. reCAPTCHA verifications, for example, are notorious for timing out right when customers are about to hit 'buy.' Test all the plug-ins and steps baked into your checkout process to ensure they aren't blocking sales. Shopify has a guide explaining how to place a test order on different types of devices using its platform, and Lightspeed provides a general walk-through that can apply to any other store setup.

Be Upfront and Transparent

Online purchases require extra trust from buyers since products usually aren’t seen or tested in person before buying. This makes transparency in the following areas a critical part of improving check-out rates. 

Clear Pricing

When most people see a price tag, they assume the number they see is what they'll pay at check-out. This understanding can turn into resentment when additional charges are added at the last minute. To avoid this, be upfront about all costs associated with the purchase, including shipping and handling fees. Clearly state these charges throughout the purchasing process so customers are aware of their total cost before reaching check-out.

For example, many online stores use banners and pop-ups to tell customers shipping is free for orders over a certain amount. This serves the dual function of setting expectations for checkout costs and incentivizing higher Average Order Values (AOVs). Shipping and handling fees are also worth addressing in the FAQ section of individual product pages, where customers may leave the website if uncertain about final costs. 

One way to ensure you’re being transparent about pricing is to configure your website to display costs based on the customer's region and local currency. You can also appeal to international customers by including the option to prepay for duties.

Easy-To-Read Return Policy

A clear and fair return policy can go a long way in both gaining consumer trust and increasing check-out rates. People feel more comfortable knowing that they can return a product if it doesn't meet their expectations. There’s a lower perceived risk of purchasing, which can be especially important for new customers or when selling high-value items.

Make sure your return policy is easy to find, ideally linked on every product page alongside other key elements like item description and size/configuration options, and written in clear language. It can also be beneficial to offer free returns to quell any hesitation buyers may have about extra costs before or after adding a product to their cart.

Secure Payment Options

With the rise of online fraud and identity theft, consumers are becoming increasingly cautious when it comes to making payments online. To ease any worries, make sure your website has secure payment options such as SSL encryption and trusted third-party payment services like PayPal. This will not only protect your customers' personal information but also give them peace of mind while making a purchase.

Offer Fast Fulfillment

Fulfillment is frequently overlooked as a key factor for ecommerce success. Taking place after someone makes a purchase, it doesn't inherently seem like it would impact the overall buyer experience. However, order fulfillment can make or break a customer's perception of your brand.

The best example of this is shipping speed. When 68% of shoppers say that fast shipping is crucial to their online purchasing decisions, it's clear that offering quick fulfillment can be a major differentiator for your business. An efficient process will not only make it easier to be upfront about shipping timelines but also serve as an incentive for customers to complete the checkout process rather than abandoning their cart.

Implementing a fast fulfillment process requires careful planning and execution. Working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can help streamline the process and ensure that orders are fulfilled promptly. By partnering with a 3PL, businesses can take advantage of their expertise in order fulfillment and logistics, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their operations.


Cart abandonment is just one of many critical metrics used to gauge ecommerce success. Yet, in today's competitive conditions, it stands as the most valuable place to put your focus. A low rate enabled by a slow checkout process will directly impact sales. Can you afford to leave that revenue on the table?

Shipfusion’s fulfillment solutions make it easier to offer customers a seamless buying experience from start to finish. As an industry-leading third-party logistics (3PL) provider, we're equipped with everything you need to streamline your shipping process and reduce cart abandonment rates. Contact us today.