8 Ways to Reduce Your E-commerce Cart Abandonment Rate

Cart abandonment is an inevitable issue that any online retailer is sure to face at some point in their journey. Here’s how your business can tackle it head-on…

Shopping cart abandonment has essentially developed into the e-commerce version of ghosting. It’s when your customers add items to their basket and then fall off the face of the earth.

Customers abandon their carts for many reasons, some of which will be within your control, but others that will be out of your hands. To ultimately understand why your customers aren’t completing their purchases, you’ll need to dig deep into different aspects of your e-commerce offering.

If your online retail business is struggling to reduce its cart abandonment rate, we’re here to help with this essential guide.

Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem for retailers?

Apart from the obvious loss of sales, a high cart abandonment rate can signal other issues for retailers. As a result of the loss of sales, retailers might see a downturn in revenue and profit, which ultimately stifles growth and performance.

It can also result in a steady decline in customers, which may be due to factors like a slow site or a complicated checkout process. Competition is a huge aspect of cart abandonment since many customers shop around to find the best deals, and if they find something cheaper elsewhere, you’re more likely to lose their custom.

Calculating your shopping cart abandonment rate

Gnatta e-commerce cart abandonment rate

Work out your cart abandonment rate by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the number of initiated sales (how many times people added items to their basket) and then subtracting the total from one. Finally, multiply it by 100 to find your abandonment rate.

A lower number indicates that you’re doing something right. However, a higher percentage means you likely have room to improve.

For example, if you had 20 completed sales from 50 initiated sales, your calculation would look something like this:

20÷50 = 0.4

1-0.4 = 0.6

0.6×100 = 60% abandonment rate

What are the most common reasons for cart abandonment?

The most common reasons for cart abandonment can be split into three categories…


Value is important to customers – especially as we’re currently going through a cost-of-living crisis. Requiring customers to spend more than expected on shipping costs, not having enough desirable payment options and having no available discounts or promotions can impact whether a customer decides to follow through with their purchase.

piggy bank with coins


Ease of navigation can make or break the customer experience, and if your site isn’t simple to use, this can massively increase your cart abandonment rate.

Mandatory account creation, long or confusing processes and equally as difficult-to-understand returns or refund policies are all turn-offs for your customers. And one of the biggest usability concerns for customers right now is the security of a site – if they can’t trust a retailer with their personal information, then there’s a slim chance of them risking it.

Retail Messages

Customer Care

Poor customer service or a lack of readily available information can quickly put customers off at the checkout. Not being able to find out key information regarding orders, products, sales, or anything they should be able to find is often a dealbreaker since it suggests to customers that the business doesn’t care as much about its customers.

customer service

How to Reduce Basket Abandonment

Here are our top 8 ways to lower your cart abandonment rate.

1. Offer a variety of payment options

Your customers want choice, and more specifically, they want to pay with the method that works best for them.

Ensure you’re allowing customers to use as many different card types as possible, while offering alternative flexible payment options too. Buy now, pay later or fixed payment instalments are popular options with many customers, meaning they might switch to another retailer if these aren’t available on your site.

Featuring within our top six customer frustrations during the purchasing process was a lack of buy now, pay later, which just shows how popular this type of transaction has become in a relatively short amount of time.

2. Offer pop-up web chat services

If you’ve encountered the problem of customers dwelling too long on a page, customer care can come in and bump up your sales.

Implement a pop-up offering for customers contemplating high-value transactions that have been looking at their basket or the checkout page for more than ten minutes. The pop-up should direct customers to a customer service agent who will be able to guide the customer through their purchase, relieving any worries or answering any questions along the way.

Offering live chat support will ensure you provide the best quality service online, and should provide the speed and accuracy that customers are now searching for.

3. Provide free (or cheaper) shipping

Perhaps as a result of the ‘Amazon effect’, the reality is that customers now expect more for less – and that extends to free or heavily discounted shipping. If you charge more than the industry average for delivery, you’re going to see this reflected in a higher cart abandonment rate.

If possible, you should aim to provide free shipping as part of your e-commerce strategy. If that’s not feasible, you should at least try to offer cheaper or equivalent shipping costs to your competitors.

Premium subscriptions that give customers free delivery when they pay a flat annual fee are a great way to cover some of the business fees for shipping while still helping customers. Retailers such as ASOS have seen a lot of success with their subscription model offering free delivery for one year for £9.95.

Providing the best shipping cost options to rival the competition will help your business while simultaneously combatting high abandonment rates.

Single Customer View graphic

4. Collect customer feedback

The best way to find out why people abandon their carts is to ask them. If they have an account with you, send an email asking for feedback. This should target the key reasons why people abandon their carts to see if they were responsible for them ditching their basket, or if it was simply out of your control.

Knowing what your customers want is key to ensuring all areas of your business are running smoothly – but especially regarding why people aren’t following through with purchases.

5. Have a robust returns and refunds policy

Understanding your e-commerce return rate can help you get to grips with your e-commerce cart abandonment rate.

Before and after making a purchase, customers will look at the returns and refunds policy. So, ensuring both are informative, fit for purpose and easy to understand is vital.

6. Provide guest checkout options

Some customers don’t want to go through a lengthy process of creating an account just to go through with their purchase – it needs to be a choice. If your site doesn’t allow guest checkouts, you’re more likely to see cart abandonment.

Show you value their time and give them the option of checking out as a guest. After their purchase, you can provide a call to action for them to sign up for an account, sharing potential benefits and notifying them about order tracking options.

7. Show total savings at the checkout

If a customer is receiving a discount, make sure to highlight this prominently during the checkout process. Show them exactly how much they’re saving from promo codes or first-time buyer deals, and they’ll be more likely to feel good about the total cost of purchase and thus continue to checkout.

8. Include thumbnail images of products throughout the checkout process

Prevent your products from catfishing customers or save them from buying something they didn’t mean to add to their cart by including a thumbnail image for each product throughout the entire checkout process.

Looking for customer service that speaks to your contacts? Gnatta makes interactions matter, delivering quality exchanges and quicker responses that meet your customers’ expectations. To find out more, check out our innovative product offering or head to the blog for more help and insights.

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