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Increase ecommerce sales with abandoned shopping cart recovery

Written by Russell Cragun on May 18, 2016 in Strategies & Tips
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Over weeks, months, and years of hard work on your ecommerce store you finally start driving traffic. People start buying your merchandise, leaving reviews, and your customer database starts to grow everyday. All those late nights, frustrating moments, countless disappointments, and hard work have resulted in positive growth. As you look at your ecommerce dashboard you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.

But there’s something nagging at you, and has been for awhile now: your abandoned shopping cart statistics. You’ve always said you would improve the shopping cart later on down the road, but when ROI starts to take a hard hit, it is better to improve sooner than later.

If you struggle with abandoned carts, you’re not alone. According to KISSmetrics, the average store will lose approximately 28% of all their shoppers. The reasons range from unexpected shipping costs to bad prices. Even the giants like Amazon and Walmart have shoppers who abandon their carts, and are constantly battling lower prices to compete with competitors.

There are many things you can do to improve your site and shopping cart experience, and we look forward to helping you on your abandoned shopping cart recovery journey.

Where are they going?

There are six leading causes for abandoned carts on the average eCommerce store. These statistics come from VWO survey conducted in 2014.

  1. Unexpected shipping cost
  2. Had to create a new user account
  3. Was just conducting research
  4. Payment security concerns
  5. Confusing checkout process
  6. Couldn’t find promotion codes.

If you have the ability to address these six concerns you’ll be able to lower your bounce rates and abandoned cart rates. You may have people who abandon their cart for other unseen circumstances, but focus on improving one aspect of your site at a time.

Unexpected shipping cost

This is a big factor that forces a lot of people to shop elsewhere. The shopper finds an item (or multiple) they want at a reasonable price and places it in their cart. As they proceed to checkout, they are shocked by an overwhelming shipping cost, and promptly leave your site for another that offers free shipping or other discounts. 

There are many ways to go about improving how you portray shipping costs such as:

  • Display shipping prices on product pages
  • Offer discounts on shipping for certain sales
  • Offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount of GMV
  • Be accurate and honest in your shipping times 

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Many new stores may not be able to offer free shipping due to competitive prices and restrictions from suppliers. In this case, it’s up to you to decide how much you’d have to make in order to offer discounted or free shipping. Customers love seeing the free shipping or discounted shipping banners on stores, and may even expect it. Nevertheless, don’t try and trick your customers into believing something that isn’t possible. Not only will it hurt your reputation, but you’ll have a lower rate of return customers.

Having to create a user account

This has to be one of the biggest problems many stores face today. Many ecommerce shops will ask customers to create an account to better serve them. This allows them to send email promotions and coupons, or even build reward points for returning customers. The problem is people are reluctant to create an account for every site out there, especially for a one-time purchase.

To get around this, many ecommerce and other online services offer a “guest” checkout option. This is a great option for those who do not want to share their information.

 If you do decide that you want customers to create an account on your site, ensure that it’s as painless as possible. Think about giving customers the option to create a profile by signing up through Facebook, Google, or other social networks. Having a one-click log in service will really encourage people to check out, and complete their order.

If customers still don’t create an account, create some incentives to encourage them to create one, such as offering a promo code or free shipping when they sign up Everyone loves a good deal, and if you’re willing to help customers save money, they may be more willing to return to your site for future purchases.

Payment security issues and concerns

We’ve all been on a website before that has raised some red flags. These sites might be poorly designed, slow to load, foreign looking, or even just a new website. When you come across sites like this people are generally cautious about entering their credit card information to make a purchase. A lot of people will take comfort in going to a trusted ecommerce store and spending a couple extra dollars to ensure their information remain safe and secure.

The most you can do to combat these site issues is to put in hefty amounts of time and resources to improve. You may need to hire a website designer, or employee a marketing manager to manage your site and to make it look as friendly and legitimate as possible. By making your site look professional, and by developing an online social presence, you will be able to convince unbelievers and close out on some sales.

Confusing checkout processes

Simplify your checkout process. If your shoppers don’t know what credit cards, or other online payments you accept they might give up and shop elsewhere. You need to make it clear as possible what you accept for the customer.

You’ll also need to ensure that your backend is built out properly so there are no other checkout problems. It’s incredibly painful to sit there and enter all your personal, shipping and billing information just for an error to occur, and wipe out all their information. If this happens the shopper might get angry and just say “it’s not worth it” and leave. If you have the resources to cache their information you might be able to save some customers. Don’t forget to run some tests on your site early and often to avoid issues like this.

Lack of sales/promotions

With so many sites out there offering deals such as, 10% off for said products, free shipping on orders over $50, you may find yourself losing customers due to lack of promotions. There are just too many people and places to compete with to not offer any promotion or discount. These promotions could take the form of simple holiday promotions, birthday sales, clearance sales, etc.

Be conscious of what is going on with your site, and ensure there is always a sale or promotion running. Not only will this attract new and returning customers, you will be able to close on more sales. Next time you study your competitors, keep an eye out for special promotions and sales that they are promoting. Another good idea would be to register for their newsletters so you can get your competitor's coupons and offers first. This will allow you to create a competitive promotion quickly and easily to help increase your sales.

What more can you do?

There is always more you can do to improve the likelihood of one of your customers finishing the checkout process. However, you can’t and won’t win every battle. You’ll always have abandoned cart numbers, and lost sales. However, there are ways to try and lure those lost customers back to your site to place an order. 

Social Media

I’m sure you have seen retargeting ads in your Facebook feed or email platform for sites you’ve recently visited. Or, maybe you have seen a promoted tweet from a company selling similar products that you know of. These are business who are trying to reconnect with you, and get you to come back to their store to buy something.

This form of retargeting is a great method to get the attention of those lost customers who may have forgotten about you, or those who just simply never checked out. This is a second opportunity to retarget someone and offer them something worthwhile to come back to your site.

Related Content: why audience research is key... 

Email Marketing

If you have a email capture on your site for your customers you could later target them with an email promotion. A lot of places will offer their customers a deal like 10% off if you finish checking out. This gives you the opportunity to retarget to your lost customers, and also increase the joy of their experience. Those who click through the emails, and check out will have a higher likelihood of staying subscribed to your future email promotions and return to your site. You can use email services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Bronto to make this a possibility on your site.

What are others doing?

An important part of running an ecommerce store is finding out what your direct competitors are doing. Here are a couple tips from fellow retailers like yourself.

"We get notified anytime someone abandons their shopping cart. Someone in our marketing department will personally reach out to the potential customer through email just to make sure there are no additional questions they needed answered and that they were able to find everything they needed.... we feel our customers appreciate the personalized touch."  

Todd Damon, President -


“For abandoned carts we always send the customer and e-mail a day or two later to remind them about their order. Sometimes shoppers can leave a product in a cart and forget about a later. The e-mail serves as both a reminder and an easy way for them to purchase the product if they still want it. The system we use keeps all the customers information with the abandoned cart, so it is easy to get back to shopping”

Alex Reichmann, CEO -


Some other quick insights:

Thom O’Leary, President from Fixer Group Consulting likes to “make sure all my clients have set up a cart abandonment recovery.” He likes to use strategies like retargeting ads, email campaigns and even exit pop-up ads.

Jennifer Ping from recommends to “investigate for opportunities to improve UI/UX such as form simplification, steps reduction, multistep form/conversion, and adjustments/testings.”

Maria-Lola with Chicks Who Code likes to set up a reminder in the back end of their ecommerce sites that will automatically email someone an hour after the customer abandons their cart. She later follows up a day later to remind them again of their cart. However, she doesn’t recommend reminding someone more than three times.

And last of all Ryan Bauer from recommends creating a script “that presents a coupon code if the user attempts to exit the site before checking out. This can be as simple as a pop-up window that displays a 10% off code if the user checks out in the next 10 minutes.”

There are plenty of things you can try on your site to help your abandoned shopping cart recovery. We recommend going out and seeing what others are doing. Take screenshots of the retargeting ads you see, notice pop-ups other sites have, and subscribe to email promotions to see what a good (and bad) email campaign looks like. Overtime, you will better understand your demographic and what works for you, which will improve your abandoned cart statistics for the good.


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