26 Marketers on the Things That Work for Reducing Cart Abandonment

Author's avatar Marketing UPDATED Oct 20, 2023 PUBLISHED Aug 29, 2018 11 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    31% of digital marketers say that shoppers abandon their cart due to friction in the checkout process.

    Another 27% say that shoppers abandon due to issues involving price.

    According to a recent study conducted here at Databox, the reasons for shoppers abandoning their carts (according to marketers) varies.

    As you can see from the graphic below, reasons can span from issues with price to shipping speed to having to create an account to actually check out:

    Some of these reasons carry a straightforward solution. For example, ~15% of abandoned carts could have been prevented by simply offering a guest checkout (more on that in a moment.)

    For other reasons, the solutions are more nuanced.

    To get to the heart of these issues, and to find real solutions for addressing them, we asked a bunch of marketers to share their strategies for reducing cart abandonment. Here’s what we learned…


    Send email reminders

    Over 42% of marketers told us that cart abandonment emails were the most effective way of reducing abandoned carts.

    Joe Sloan, marketing and communications manager at Jurassic Sands, gives this recommendation:

    • Send a follow-up 24 hours after the abandonment
    • Send another follow-up three days after abandonment with a 10% discount code

    “From these emails, we have recovered $2,436.74 sales in 2018 alone,” said Sloan.

    Growth Hackers co-founder Jonathan Aufray recommends a similar sequence: “The first email could be sent one day after the cart is abandoned and would just be a friendly reminder. Two days after, another reminder could be sent. Two days after that, I recommend you to send a time-limited discount.”

    Aufray gives a 5% off coupon as a potential incentive for encouraging customers to buy.

    You can also use a more specific sequence, says Shelby Heath, marketing strategist at Campaign Creators.

    The first email “is to remind the shopper that they forgot something in their cart.” You can offer a small discount, but Heath says that the reminder is often enough to get a solid amount of people to return and buy.

    “Most shoppers just need a simple reminder or a slight promotion to turn them into a customer,” said Heath.

    The second email is all about creating urgency. Offer a limited-time discount or highlight the low stock or availability of a product, Heath adds.

    Don’t have a marketing automation solution that will send these emails for you? Use Jilt, says Brian Jackson, inbound marketing director at Kinsta. “I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but was blown away by how well it worked.”

    The app sends an automatically generated email and discount code to anyone who doesn’t complete the checkout process. It’s worked for Jackson.

    “I implemented it with one of my stores and saw a 42.9% recovery rate,” said Jackson. “I was astonished at how many people it could bring back. It’s also a good indicator that perhaps something is wrong with your checkout process and you might need to do more A/B testing.”

    Use good email practices

    It should go without saying that, in order for your cart abandonment emails to be effective, they need to be great emails.

    “Any email, including abandoned cart emails, are more likely to get a response or reaction if you’re able to get the customer to laugh or smile,” says Damon Inlow, co-founder of Vaporizers.ca. “It puts them in a good mood, and consequently, in a buying mood.”

    Not sure how to get people to open and read your emails? Be sure to check out our roundup of the best 10 ways to write click-worthy subject lines.

    Content writer Natalie Hornyak goes beyond just a good subject line in her work for The Content Factory. “You’ll get the best results if you optimize your subject lines, personalization, incentives (maybe a 10% code changes a prospect into a sale) and CTAs.”

    Hornyak also points out that cart abandonment isn’t always a bad thing.

    “When you notice your abandonment rates going up or down, you can look at the data—what changed?—to identify the cause, and make adjustments accordingly,” said Hornyak. “Maybe that means dropping the price on an item, providing more shipping options, or even tweaking website copy or user experience to optimize the buyer journey.”

    Get email addresses early in the checkout process

    For cart abandonment emails to work, you need to get the user’s email address early. If they don’t have to enter it until the very end of the checkout process, you won’t have the chance to follow up with abandoned shoppers.

    Which means you’ll never be able to send out abandonment emails.

    “The number one thing I advise clients to change is to move the email form fill from the end of the buying process to the beginning,” says Agency Match‘s Nelson Jordan.

    Cart abandonment is such a lucrative area for Auto Accessories Garage that they actually had a developer create a module to get email addresses fast.

    Jim Milan, communications and organic search manager, explains: “Once the user has landed on a checkout screen, any exit intent (which might indicate opening a tab or closing the browser) is met with a pop-up that offers a discount code in exchange for the user’s e-mail address.”

    Make checkout easy

    If you’ve ever gone through a checkout process that seemed much longer than necessary, you know how frustrating it is.

    You want to buy something, not fill out an entire psychological profile, which is why 42% of our respondents recommended making the checkout process easier.

    “To reduce cart abandonment, I believe the most important aspect is reducing friction on the checkout page,” said Devin Stagg, marketing manager at Pupford. “This comes in formats like providing free shipping, having all the checkout information on one page, enabling simple re-ordering, and more.”

    Stagg also mentioned having as many payment options as possible.

    “Think of your checkout page as the final step (which it is) in closing a deal,” adds Stagg. “Make it as simple and effective as possible. Another way to optimize your checkout page is to provide as many payment options as possible, i.e.PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, etc.”

    Andrew McLoughlin of Colibri Digital Marketing, has only “[t]wo words: Guest. Checkout.”

    “It’s cumbersome, inconvenient, and off-putting for a customer to have to create an account, adding a whole new sub-process to the simple act of making a purchase,” said McLoughlin. “From a customer’s perspective, it should be as simple as selecting an item, providing a shipping address and a credit card number, and concluding the transaction.”

    “This is increasingly common, and it’s become the expectation for virtually every customer,” adds McLoughlin. “If your ecommerce site doesn’t offer a guest-checkout option, you need to implement one.”

    Straightforward shipping rates

    The fight against cart abandonment starts long before your user adds an item to their cart. Several marketers point out that being upfront about shipping costs can solve these problems before they come up.

    Codal digital marketing intern Arielle Kimbarovsky pointed out that 58% of cart abandoners bailed on transactions because shipping was more expensive than expected.

    “While you can’t always offer things like free shipping or unlimited product discounts, you can make sure you tell your customers the cost upfront,” said Kimbarovsky. “On the eCommerce websites we build, we make sure to include things like shipping calculators or different ecommerce plugins to help avoid these misaligned expectations.”

    One of Codal’s clients saw a 65% boost in sales after a redesign, and much of that was due to lower cart abandonment rates.

    Vitamedica CMO Stuart Ridge also emphasized price transparency. “When consumers think they have a great deal and then get hit with extra shipping costs and other fees at checkout, they feel deceived.”

    If you’re clear about all of your costs, Ridge says, you’ll see lower abandonment rates. (Offering discount shipping based on order value or specific items doesn’t hurt either, he notes.)

    “Don’t try to jack up your shipping costs or other fees to increase your margin,” warns Revenue River marketing strategist Casey LeBrun.

    “If you don’t have flat-fee or free shipping, give them a ballpark shipping cost up front,” adds LeBrun. “Let your customer know that there may be taxes. Your customer should add an item to their cart and not be surprised by the price they see when they’re checking out.”

    David Hoos, marketing manager at The Good, says consumers have gotten spoiled. “At this stage in the ecommerce industry, Amazon has effectively trained consumers to expect cheap or free shipping.”

    So what can you do? “[Y]ou are more likely to reduce cart abandonment if you offer inexpensive shipping options and make them visible early in the checkout process.”


    Instead of reminding your users that they abandoned their cart via email, you can also do this through retargeting. Abandoned shoppers could see an ad in their social feed or a banner on another website that brings your product back to top-of-mind.

    Alon Popilskis of Otter Lab says “Using retargeting, you can stay top-of-mind by reminding the customer of the product that they abandoned and creating copy to address potential pain points or hesitations in order to incentivize them to come back and make a purchase.”

    By addressing hesitations and offering an incentive (like a discount or free shipping), you can get a lot of customers to come back and finish their order.

    Hybrid marketing consultant Harris Schachter also recommends retargeting campaigns.

    Before you get into retargeting, though, he notes that you should make sure you’re getting the rest of your checkout process right with exit-intent popups, discounts, social proof plugins, and an emphasis on scarcity.

    Chatbots and live chat

    Chatbots are hot right now. A few of our respondents said that they can help reduce cart abandonment, too.

    Imagine buying something in a real store, says Abishek Murthy, head of product marketing at FreshChat.

    “Imagine a real store, if you have already picked up what you need to buy, a discount or an offer sign might urge you to pick up more but not to purchase,” said Murthy. “What the customer really needs is someone coming to provide assistance. So much can come from that conversation—discounts, returns, bad quality, earlier experience etc.”

    That interaction can lead to more confidence and an increased likelihood of a sale. The same can be done with chatbots or live chat.

    Kaye Chapman, learning and development manager at Comm100, recommends proactive chat. “By automatically sending an invite to chat to users who spend more than 5 minutes on their shopping cart page or to users who have more than $50 worth of items in their carts, companies can prompt visitors to engage with an agent and nudge them towards purchase.”

    (Author’s note: in an age of infinite chat pop-ups with unneeded and intrusive “How can I help you?” messages, I love this idea.)

    Send the right signals

    As marketers, we’re all about sending signals to our customers. But we usually stop that process at checkout. Once someone has decided to buy, we think our job is done. But it’s far from over.

    “Using trust signals can be a great way to prevent people from abandoning their shopping carts as well as prevent people from bouncing from your website before they add a product,” says Josh Brown of Sales & Orders.

    He recommends trust signals like using PayPal as a payment gateway, giving clear shipping information, and offering live chat. All of these methods help reassure customers and make them “feel comfortable that they’re spending their hard-earned money at a reputable place of business.”

    Wendy Troncone, director of marketing at 4Cite Marketing, recommends using social proof.

    “When the item is displayed, add real-time stats such as ’22 people are looking at this right now’ and/or ‘Purchased 14 times in the last few days.'” This helps shoppers feel confident that they’re making a good choice.

    James Pollard of The Advisor Coach offered similar advice:

    “[T]he biggest way to reduce cart abandonment is to include a list of bullet points explaining the benefits of ordering from you. If you offer free shipping, include that as a bullet point. If you have a competitive advantage, include that as a bullet point. The same goes for your money-back guarantee, your customer support, etc.”

    Again, it’s all about reassuring the customer that they’re making the right choice.

    Monitor and Improve Your Most Important Ecommerce Metric with Databox

    Have a clear picture of what is happening in the buying process of your customers and don’t leave any money on the table with high cart abandonment rates. Before you apply any discounts or remarketing activities to speed up sales, know the issue first. Regularly tracking performance in ecommerce reporting software can help you change your strategy early enough.


    Marketing doesn’t stop at the purchase decision

    Marketing doesn’t stop at the purchase decision.

    You’re still trying to convey to customers that they should continue the purchase process. You might be emphasizing benefits, encouraging engagement, promoting discounts, or using retargeting and automation to keep people moving through the funnel.

    In short, you’re marketing until your customer hits the “Complete Checkout” button. (And long after that as well, but that’s a post for another day.)

    How do you reduce cart abandonment on your ecommerce website? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    (And be sure to monitor your Shopify ecommerce data, including abandonment and other critical KPIs, with our Shopify dashboard.)

    Author's avatar
    Article by
    Dann Albright

    Dann is a freelance writer who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. With an emphasis on organic traffic and conversion, he takes big ideas and turns them into highly practical content that keeps readers hooked.

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