4 Steps to Fix Abandoned Cart Issues for E-Commerce [Actionable Guide]

4 Steps to Fix Abandoned Cart Issues for E-Commerce [Actionable Guide]

An abandoned cart is a big issue in e-commerce. If you run an online or e-commerce business you may be wondering why shopping cart abandonment is a problem.

After all, you’re likely already making sales, growing your business and achieving the goals and targets you set month on month.

The truth is shopping cart abandonment is a massive problem for businesses that sell online.

In this article, we discuss what the problem actually is, why you should care, and what you can do about it.

Let’s get started.

What is an Abandoned Cart?

An abandoned cart is when a customer adds an item to their cart but doesn’t follow through with a purchase.

what is an abandoned cart

Source: Webopedia

An example of an abandoned cart could be that the customer may have intended to buy but then got distracted by something else, which stopped them from following through.

This results in cart abandonment.

Reasons for an abandonment cart can be varied and many, and it can be difficult to identify what caused a particular person not to buy a specific product.

Reasons for abandoned cart

Source: Optimizely

As such, and as you can probably identify, it can be complex to identify how to address this issue for potential customers who visit but don’t buy from you.

Why Is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem?

The reason why shopping cart abandonment is a problem for online businesses is because of the lost value it represents.

Shopping cart abandonment globally accounts for an estimated $4.6 trillion in lost sales. Of this, $2.75 trillion is potentially recoverable as per the same study, in other words, deploying the correct strategies can recoup approximately 60% of lost value.

Shopping cart abandonment accounts for approximately $4.6 trillion (TRILLION) in lost sales Click To Tweet

This means if you are an e-commerce or online business, you will inevitably be losing sales from potential customers who had already got to cart, hence already had the intention to buy.

Statistics show that the global abandoned cart rate is 75.6%, meaning a staggering three-quarters of people who put something in your cart, end up not buying for some reason.

abandoned cart breakdown

Source: Yieldify

This rate is even higher for those shopping on mobile where it is 85.65%.

It is all the more concerning as a lot of the efforts for conversion rate optimization such as product descriptions, competitive pricing etc. that you may have got right, are all undone by an inability to close the sale.

The reason why abandoned carts are a problem is that it means you now have to start from the beginning again to bring in new customers through your funnel as opposed to converting those already in your funnel.

Consequently, in addition to the lost revenue from those that abandoned your cart, you now have to spend more money to acquire new customers, making your overall operation a lot less profitable.

What is customer acquisition

Source: BigCommerce

So lets identify what you can do today to reduce the abandoned cart rate for the success of your business.

1. Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads are the first thing most businesses will turn to in order to address abandoned cart issues in their business.

They are effective as they follow customers on the web to present customers with the exact product that they’ve just abandoned, in the hope of encouraging them to buy.

Retargeting ads are 76% more likely to be clicked on than a regular old display ad Click To Tweet

Retargeting ads work as there is typically a period of time over which they are active, the sooner the better, and the duration is usually fixed so as not to be out-dated in continuing to offer something to visitors months after they initially abandoned the cart.

In order to take advantage of retargeting ads, you will need to add a Facebook Pixel (for Facebook ads) or Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). Once done, retargeting ads will operate on autopilot and bring some people back to your site as customers.

2. Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails are very popular because of the overall impact email marketing can have if done correctly.

Abandoned cart emails are sent out to customers in a personalised manner to communicate with them about their previous intent to buy a product. Given the more personal approach of abandoned cart emails, they are one of the more effective means of addressing abandoned cart issues.

Having a strategy with abandoned cart emails is a good idea to make sure you can re-engage potentially lost customers Click To Tweet

In order to send out abandoned cart emails to have the greatest impact, there are a number of things you should focus on.


Different people will abandon your cart for different reasons. Someone who visits your site for the first time and abandons cart may have different reasons than a loyal customer who doesn’t go on to buy. Similarly, there may be others who repeatedly visit your site and repeatedly abandon cart.

You cannot treat all people equal when sending out abandoned cart emails.

By segmenting your email list when you get customer details into a few high-level categories, you can better identify what underlying issues actually are, and then define a proper response to address these.

abandoned cart - email list segmentation

Source: Zapier

Some categories you may wish to consider could be:

  • New visitors who abandoned cart
  • Repeat visitors who abandoned cart
  • Location of prospective customers who abandoned cart
  • Prospective customers who abandoned cart for high-value items

Getting location details of a prospective customer may help you may identify that shipping costs are a key barrier for visitors from certain countries. You could then easily address this if it was feasible by offering free shipping to visitors from that country.

Look for signals from those who abandon cart. Too many abandons from a particular country could point towards high shipping costs for example Click To Tweet

If you may see that some higher value items cause people to abandon cart more often, this could suggest product pricing could be too high for the average consumer, or pricing for those products is too high. This is very useful information you can use to review pricing vs. your competitors.

Subject Line

The subject line will be key to getting people’s attention.

Customers who have abandoned cart need to know who you are and why you are emailing. The chances are they may already have received emails from you in the past so will know who you are.

A succinct and brief subject line can be helpful in order to get peoples attention and to get them to open the email. In fact, 33% of email recipients open emails because of catchy subject lines.

Subject lines - key rules

Source: Walker Sands

A very common type of subject line is around the issue of a customer having ‘forgot something’.

forgot something

Source: Sumo

If you believe you know the reason for cart abandonment, it is reasonable to incentivize the customer to come back and buy with an ‘incentivized’ subject line.


Source: Sumo

Appealing to people’s ‘fear of missing out’ is another effective strategy in order to get them to buy.


Source: Sumo

These are some examples you could try but its worthwhile experimenting further to see what works to give you better conversion rates.


Emails that are personalised have a higher open rate than more general emails. In fact, more than 60% of consumers enjoy responding to personalised emails from their favoured retailers.

If you capture name details then you should be using recipients’ names in all emails. Beyond this, an image of the product the prospective customer was due to buy is important as this will again show more personalisation given the customer was viewing this product.

By having segmented the list as mentioned above, if you were able to also determine why the individual may have abandoned cart, you could also make an offer in the email in order to get them to buy.


Beyond the personalisation, the product image is key; it should be of high quality and should clearly represent the product the customer was going to buy.

Coupled with the image, the copy should be engaging and relevant for where the customer is currently at in their journey. They are no longer a new visitor to your site looking to buy the product for the first time. They have already done initial research on the product and so the copy should reflect that inherent familiarity.

Content in abandoned cart emails should be personal, with high quality images and a clear call to action to influence a purchase Click To Tweet

If you segmented your list for abandoned cart emails, there is a chance you will have a good idea as to why the customer abandoned cart.

Because your offer (i.e. free shipping, discount code, free returns etc.) is more likely to be specific to the individuals own reasons for not buying, this again adds personalisation and will engage the customer to interact with you again.

The call to action across your website is key to influencing consumers to take action. In your abandoned cart email, this is more important to convince them to return to your site and complete the purchase.

Having a low commitment call to action perhaps works best as you’re not pushing the customer to make the decision, rather asking them to reconsider buying.

Fabletics does this well in their wording for their call to action.

abandoned cart email - call to action

A clear call to action should be identified and displayed in the abandoned cart email to encourage this to happen.


In order to encourage people to act on abandoned cart emails, one email may not be enough.

As such, it is wise to put together a short series to get people to complete a purchase.

Up to three emails in total are fine. It may be you don’t get the customer at the right time with any of the earlier emails so a later email is worthwhile in order to ensure you can get them to engage with you.

abandoned cart email - illustrative email series

Source: Neil Patel

Cleary, if you are doing this, you need to be able to segment this email series as well to ensure it does not go to customers who were sent an earlier abandoned cart email, and then decided to buy.

Also, you need to be cautious about not annoying people too much so having the usual option on all email communications to allow people to unsubscribe from all communications is important.

3. Social Proof

Trust is a clear indicator of e-commerce success. This is especially true for new visitors to your site.

Using social proof strategically at the cart stage can help to convince anyone who is sitting on the fence to go ahead and buy.

Customers typically have reservations about a particular product or wider trust issues about a brand. Again, for new visitors to your site, their concern may be greater about your brand overall.

Allowing customers the opportunity to view reviews on a third-party, independent, platform such as Syntellio can work well to build trust and reduce cart abandonment Click To Tweet

Third-party customer feedback platforms such as Syntellio help address wider brand issues so customers find it easier to buy from you. The independence of our platform means there is likely to be less scepticism around the authenticity of our reviews.

Learn How We Can Help Reduce your Abandoned Cart's Using Social Proof

Showing relevant customer reviews on the cart page just at the point when people are considering whether or not to buy, can lead to higher conversion rates and lower cart abandonment.

Being able to show more reviews overall, especially if presented on a third-party site could be very powerful to overcome any final trust objections a prospective customer may have.

4. Transparent Checkout Process

One of the biggest reasons for abandoned carts is that extra costs are too high. These extra costs include things like shipping, taxes and other fees that customers are only likely to see after they have added their items to cart.

Consequently, one way in which you can reduce cart abandonment for your business is to show more transparency in the checkout process.

reasons for abandoned cart

Source: Yieldify

Progress bar

Greater transparency could be around the fees for purchase, but also wider visibility over the overall checkout process. This could include a progress bar that shows how long the process is and what information is requested so you can set expectations with customers.

progress bar

Guest account

Another thing customers complain about often that leads to abandoned carts is when they have to create a new account in order to buy. Having a guest account to capture key details and then to let the customer buy will materially reduce cart abandonment.

guest checkout

Source: Lego

Payment methods

Customers are much more likely to pay for products using payment gateways they already know and trust.

Allowing for payment with more well-known payment gateways builds trust and allows the transaction to continue.

Payment portals such as PayPal and Apple Pay are well known and most customers would not have an issue in making their purchase using these.

Trust badges

The checkout is the right place to reemphasise credentials that can foster trust.

Trust badges are great at doing this and most consumers are already familiar with trust badges having seen them on larger sites on the internet.

Badges that show site security, delivery guarantees, product returns policies and payment security, in particular, can work well to address some of the key concerns shoppers have that may lead them to bail on buying.

Making the checkout process more transparent can lead to an increase in sales conversions by 35% to what you may already be seeing Click To Tweet

Focusing on just the checkout process being more transparent and user friendly can result in an increase in the conversion rate of an e-commerce store by 35.26%. That means if your current conversion rate is 2.0% (vs. a global average of 2.86%), addressing checkout issues alone could increase this to 2.71%. This would have a massive impact on your monthly sales.


Abandoned carts are a real problem for online and e-commerce businesses and as e-commerce grows, this problem is only getting bigger and bigger.

Every business that operates and sells products online is losing money to cart abandonment and the effect this has on businesses can result in a lot of financial loss with significant amounts of money being left on the table.

Fortunately, there are practices and strategies you can use in order to combat abandoned carts from email marketing, retargeting, greater social proof and a transparent checkout process.

In adopting these tactics properly you can significantly increase your sales and continue to build a hugely successful online or e-commerce business.

Let us know in the comments how you are dealing with abandoned carts in your business and if you are using any of the tactics mentioned above.

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