32 Ways to Solve Cart Abandonment (Without the Need for Discounts)

The average documented cart abandonment rate of 68.63% is no joke.

Companies as large as IBM experience consistently high abandonment rates, and it's interesting to see exactly what they do to counteract this.

As an ecommerce business owner, you must know what your average abandonment rate is. If you don't, that's your first bit of homework before moving onto this article.

Once you've established what your abandonment rate is, it's not a bad idea to look up some of the trends in your own market. After all, some industries have drastically different abandonment rates than others, so it's important to stay in your own market.

Even if you're leading the way in your industry, there's always room for improvement. Your next step is to think of a benchmark you would like to reach in the next year. This gives you enough time to make modifications in your strategy and to look back at the stats to see if you were successful.

For example, if you have a cart abandonment rate of 60% right now, you may want to improve that to 50% by the end of the year. Every year you can lower your benchmark and sprinkle some of the tips below into your plan.

Since cart abandonment has been studied quite a bit in the past, we're going to try and provide some actionable tips on how you can solve cart abandonment, mainly without constantly resorting to discounts.

1. Have a Sense of Urgency With Your Emails

Abandoned cart emails are all about how quick you send them out. After 24 hours, your chances of bringing a customer back diminish significantly.

A study suggests that when an email is sent out before that 24 hours mark, you boost ROI by over 2800%. For example, the MoonMail app (and many other abandoned cart tools) has a setting for changing around how long it takes to send out an email.

Whilst doing my Christmas shopping recently, I left a few items in a cart and planned to come back later. The company, which is in the fashion industry sent me an email with the following subject line.

email subject line

The immediacy of the word ‘steal' was very effective. It made it feel as if the items were mine and that, unfairly, they would be taken away from me. I duly went back and purchased the items.

Takeaways:

  • Send abandoned cart emails within the first 24 hours
  • Use evocative language, make the customer feel that these items may not be there much longer

2. Cut Out the Risk That People Fear

People fear quite a few things when purchasing items online. First, they may fear that the site isn't secure. Second, they may not know if they are ordering the right item, size, amount, etc.

Therefore, you need to minimize risk by understanding why customers leave. Use a tool like peek to record actions, and use exit surveys to see if people are leaving because of one of these fears.

Additionally, a tool such as Siteimprove allows you to add feedback boxes to your website. These can be used to gain insight on navigation issues, ideas for improvements or simply to ask if there was a product that they couldn't find.

siteimprove feedback form

Security can be a big issue for visitors to your website and there are ways you can combat that. Adding trust signals such as customer reviews, protected payment information or registering yourself as a Google Trusted Store.

Further reading: How to Become a Google Trusted Store- A Step by Step Guide

This can be done via your merchant centre and a quick signifier can be the difference between you getting a sale or not.

google customer reviews

Takeaways:

  • Use feedback forms to understand why people are leaving your website
  • Add security signifiers to your website such as reviews, trust store badges and payment protection

3. Be Super Specific About Products That Were Abandoned

specific_item

If a customer leaves your site with a certain item in their shopping cart, they're less likely to come back and buy if you don't remind them of what they were looking at.

Have a picture, description and price in the email, along with all of the other items that were listed in the shopping cart. Having a visible ‘add to cart' or ‘buy now' button can help speed up the process.

There are fantastic tools on the market such as Yotpo which allow you to generate reviews for your product.

Why not include those reviews in the email? Especially if they're positive! Another good idea in your email is to include a ‘questions' section. Your visitor might have had a specific question but then left the website.

An FAQ or customer generate questions may provide your visitor with the answer they were looking for.

yotpo email

Takeaways:

  • Include a clear ‘add to cart' button on your email to speed up the process
  • Use the reviews and FAQ's of a product in the email to answer a customers possible question

4. Complete Checkout Testing on a Consistent Basis

Some stores do best with a few steps in the checkout, while others are better off with the two-step process. For example, QuickSprout found that a three step checkout worked best for them, so you need to use an A/B testing tool to understand what's best for you.

One company which I particuarly like is MyProtein. They offer a ‘quick buy' option on each of their products when you are just viewing their range.

myprotein quick buy

Rather than having to click in to the product which would add another step to the journey for the visitor you can click this button and it opens up a pop-up, which ensures it loads quicker than a whole new page load.

MyProtein page load

As you can see from this it gives you the option to view more information but you can simply complete the purchase by toggling a few buttons.

Takeaways:

  • A/B test your checkout process
  • Use pop-ups so visitors can add products more swiftly to their cart

5. Drop the Bait and Switch Tactics

flowers_for_sale

When customers go through your checkout process, there shouldn't be hidden costs that reveal themselves as they move along.

For example, I've been on a few sites where they try to tag on some extras or include some sort of processing fee at the end. The point is, the first price the customer sees should be what they pay at the end (besides shipping and handling).

This is particularly the case in B2B businesses which tend to show prices before VAT. When the user gets to the checkout they can get a nasty surprise.

There are tools from OpenCart and WooCommerce which can help prevent this whether they off a tax/vat toggle for your store.

opencart tax toggle

What works well as well is adding a freebie to their cart that they may not have been expecting.

add to cart extras

This is a fantastic example, I particularly like the use of the term ‘you have qualified' which makes you feel important. People love a freebie and something small can go a long way.

Takeaways:

  • Avoid hidden costs! People expect shipping costs, but nothing else should be added
  • Add freebies into your cart for a nice surprise

6. Cut Out the Cuteness and Focus on Clarity

clear_email

Including humor and fun content in your abandoned cart email may work with some audiences, but in general, your best bet is to get right to the point.

That means to have a blunt one-liner as the email subject, a quick mention of the products still in the cart and a button so they can complete the purchase.

Even a plain text email works fine for this.

I received this one below regarding an abandoned cart, where they offered me a further 10% to complete the purchase. However, it's not obviously clear that this email is regarding an abandoned cart.

quirky email subject line

You can't always assume that people left their cart without purchasing because they had an issue. They may have been busy, or called away to do something else, so just remind them plainly that it's still there.

Takeaways:

  • Use plain language, someone might have genuinely forgot about their cart and this is a good reminder
  • Don't be scared to send plain text emails

7. Use the Best Tools for Bringing Back Users

Many online businesses think that using a newsletter tool like MailChimp is enough for abandoned cart emails. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

You need an automated email software with support for storing data, sending out on time, linking to the right products and maybe even storing payment information. Rejoiner isn't a bad choice, however, there are many options are out there on the market.

rejoiner

Manually sending emails to abandoned cart users can be a hugely time-sapping task so using a tool is vital. A tool like Rejoiner helps you segment in many different ways such as:

  • Order value
  • Days since purchase/items left in the basket
  • Previous purchases
  • Specific products

Takeaways:

  • Use software to send your abandoned cart emails
  • Segmenting by order value is important. Offer a discount to high value orders?
  • Have a high mark up on a certain product? Offer a discount on this

8. Offer Live Chat on Your Ecommerce Site

live_chat

People have questions when buying on your website, and if they go unanswered, they may just leave without buying anything. Install one of the best live chat apps to ensure that customers don't have to rely on product descriptions and specs.

Studies have shown that in particular live chat is popular with millennials. 71% of 16-24 year olds demand a quick response from an ecommerce store and they want that response via live chat.

In fact, live chat usage on websites has risen from 67% to 81% over a 3 year period.

Takeaways:

  • Use live chat to solve customer issues
  • Are your target market millennials? Then it's imperative to have live chat

9. Let Customers Edit Their Shopping Carts When They Return

Nothing is more annoying for a customer than when they are locked into what they were looking at before. Give your customers the opportunity to edit their shopping cart upon return.

Shopify and Bigcommerce have tools available within their software which allow for this.

items in basket

You should be giving your customers the option to remove that item with a simple cross displayed above.

However, it's also a good idea to add a minus and plus sign to encourage customers to add more items than they originally intended.

Takeaways:

  • Give customers the ability to edit their basket
  • Allow them to add more items with a simple toggle button

10. Reveal How Far They Are Along in the Process

One study from Kissmetrics shows that when customer know where they are in the process, they are more likely to finish checking out. Sometimes it feels like you're stuck in the checkout line for quite some time.

When will it end? Therefore, take a hint from Amazon and reveal progress.

progress_bar

This ensures that there is an end in sight for the customer. Additionally, you can add a percentage mark to show how far along in the process they are.

Allowing them to click back on this process is important as well, as they have had to change shipping or billing information. Nothing is more annoying than having to click the company logo to go back to the first step.

Takeaways:

  • Show customers how far along the process they are via a numerical step or percentage mark
  • Allow users to back to a particular step of the checkout

11. Only Ask for Payment Information After Shipping Has Been Discussed

Imagine how frustrating it must be if you had to punch in your credit card information before learning about shipping costs. Some websites have this setup, so it's wise to evaluate the order in which people type in their information.

They should have the total price given to them prior to filling in credit card numbers.

shipping_before_paying

Additionally, you can also display how close they are to free delivery. This may prompt them to add an item they were looking at earlier to avoid a shipping charge.

free delivery

Having several different options for delivery is important as people may not want the items soon and may want to keep their costs low.

delivery options

Takeaways:

  • Only ask for payment when the shipping has been added
  • Display how close the customer is to free delivery in the checkout

12. Be Smart With Your Coupons

A significant amount of people suggest that they left an online store because they were searching for a coupon online but never found it.

This means that if you have a coupon for new or returning customers, it must be readily available and visible right from your website. Even explaining how to use a coupon in an email is smart.

coupon_in_email

Displaying the code at the top of your website is considered good practice as it will be right in the users eyeline.

boohooman

What could also work well is to use a countdown on your website for the discount. Like we touched on in point 1, this is a great way of creating urgency with a visitor to your site.

Takeaways:

  • Display your discount codes clearly on your site
  • Use a countdown to create urgency

13. Keep the Cart Visible at All Times

visible_shopping_cart

Is it possible that customers forget that they already put items in the shopping cart? You bet!

In fact, it's more common than you think. Therefore, it's important to have a little shopping cart icon towards the top of the website with a ticker of how many items are in there. Some stores even show the list of items.

view your basket

A good option is to allow the following happening when users hover over their cart:

  • Show total price
  • Display quantity of each product
  • Include a mini image of the products
  • Show individual product prices
  • Allow visitor to view basket to edit

Takeaways:

  • Allow users to see their basket
  • A hover option is more user-friendly, include a click through to view more information as well

14. Remove Items on Your Site and Checkout That Are Distracting

Some websites are so packed with bells and whistles that it's intimidating for the customers. Other times, they may get so distracted that they forget to checkout.

From the homepage to the checkout module, don't be a company with tons of banners, suggestions, widgets and products constantly popping up when the customer just wants to make a purchase.

complicated_website

The website above has messages for discounts, rewards, competitions as well as daily deals. Add a pop-up into the equation here and it can be very overpowering.

Takeaways:

  • Avoid pop-ups too early on your website
  • Use one message on your homepage, otherwise, users won't register any of it

15. Include Testimonials to Add Credibility

A testimonial tool, like the Testimonial Rotator plugin, is a sure fire way to build your credibility.

We've talked about how customers take risks with buying from your site, so if they see that others have done so without any problems, you're on the right track to decreasing abandonment rates.

customer reviews

As we touched on earlier, using a service such as Trustpilot is vital in turning visitors into customers. What some websites fail to do though is add these reviews in meaningful places.

Reviews tend to be just kept for below the fold content on the homepage or used in the website footer.

But what if nobody sees them?

You should have reviews hard corded on to your website so they can be easily identifiable. This is especially the case on important pages such as product pages, cart/basket pages and even on the checkout.

Takeaways:

  • Use a service such as Trustpilot to get user reviews, maybe by offering them a discount on their next order
  • Display reviews on important pages on the checkout journey

16. Forget About Making People Register for Your Site

If someone doesn't want to register for an account on your website, don't make them. Not everyone is ready to give away their information that easily.

Additionally, you can use a social media sign up so customers can sign up with their Facebook profile. This a two advantage as its quicker for the customer and you will receive all the requisite details from their Facebook profile.

Facebook login

Takeaways:

  • Don't push people to register an account as users see this as timely
  • Offer a social login/register to make the process quicker

17. Instead, Offer a Guest Account Option

The solution for those who are not willing to register with your website is the guest checkout option. It goes along with some of the many improved checkout principles.

guest_checkout

They don't have to give up their information, but at the same time, you can make a sale.

As they get towards the end of the checkout, however, it may be worth reminding them why they should register an account, aslong as it isn't overpowering.

Here's a good subtle example from The Home Depot which reminds people they can only track their order if their register an account. That way the user may feel they should then and in future, you can send them marketing materials.

register during checkout

Takeaways:

  • Offer a guest option to speed up the process
  • Show the advantages of registering an account once they go through the checkout

18. Provide Multiple Registration Options

As we've mentioned, some people would rather register an account without having to go through the whole process of typing in their information. That's where social networks come into play.

The example we showed in point 16 only had the option for Facebook, but it is a good idea to give them several options.

Since so many internet users already have their information punched into places like Facebook and Twitter, you can have a one-click registration right at the start of your website.

Shopify offers this with their tool in their app store called One Click Social Login. This also offers them to sign in via Twitter, Instagram and Amazon.

social_checkout

Takeaways:

  • Social media doesn't have to be the only login, you can also try PayPal and Amazon
  • Use a maximum of 4 options as you don't want to bamboozle them

19. Implement a User Review System

Similar to how testimonials work, you can have a user rating and review system on all of your product pages. Since people can see when other folks are satisfied with a product, they remove doubt when walking through the checkout module.

Yotpo is a solid option for including reviews and ratings on your site, but many other solutions exist. In addition, you can find WordPress themes with review tools built-in.

reviews

As you can see from the review above you should be as in-depth with your reviews as you can. Simply offering someone to offer a score between a 1-5 just isn't enough.

Let users enter in pros, cons and best uses for the product.

Offer a ‘was this review helpful' option on the reviews so that other users can vote for the best reviews, which does the hard work for you. Also, give them the option to sort their reviews by a particular star rating or the date it was created.

in depth reviews

Takeaways:

  • Add a ‘was this review helpful' voting system to reviews so the best are filtered to the top
  • Get creative, ask for additional information. 1-5 just isn't enough information

20. Include Comparison Tools on Your Website

A customer who feels uneducated about a product is less likely to buy. So, you should incorporate a comparison tool on your website so that people can place similar products next to each other.

There are some big companies such as JCPenney, Dell, HP and John Lewis which offer a specific page where you can add items and compare them.

jc penney product compare

Here is a study from Baymard which highlights some great examples of product comparisons.

This allows users to see a snapshot of several products that they've considered side by side. This tactic is particularly good if you sell expensive or high-end products. The process is much slower when it comes to conversions on sites like these and users want to ensure they are getting the best deal.

Takeaways:

  • Use product comparisons so visitors can see a snapshot
  • Product comparisons work well for stores with expensive items

21. Spice Up Your Return Policy

Since more than 60% of shoppers look at return policies before buying, it's clear that many of the people on your website are willing to leave if the return policy is not up to their standards.

That's why you must clearly state exactly what your return policy is. In addition, you need a quality policy, preferably with free returns and a simple process that gives them printable labels so they can drop it off at the post office the next day.

The returns policy is the blanket that shoppers need to carry out their purchase. Placing a graphic on product pages and near the add to cart button can help turn visitors into customers.

returns policy

Using a phrase such as “no quibble”, “no hassle” or “no questions asked” puts the customer at ease that it will be sorted if there is an issue or they change their mind.

Takeaways:

  • Put your returns policy on your product pages
  • Use language that will make customers feel confident

22. Use Mobile Everything

Several apps are available for you to improve the way you do business on the mobile front.

In short, mobile is the new way of doing business, so your company requires a mobile website, mobile checkout, mobile media items, mobile newsletters and mobile abandoned cart emails. If they can't open your communications on a phone, you're basically telling them to abandon their cart.

sketchers app

Mobile commerce is set to reach $700 billion in 2019, which is a huge rise from the $460 reported in 2018. Therefore if you have the budget you should be looking into building an app for your webstore.

There are some great companies on the market such as apptuse and appypie that can help you set up a mobile app for your website. Having an app offers the following advantages:

  • Customizable storefront
  • Push notifications to customers on offers
  • Offer loyalty cards to customers
  • Integration with social media

Takeaways:

  • Look to launch a mobile app for your store
  • Push notifications are big business

23. Personalize the Heck Out of Your Cart Abandonment Emails

Email personalization has a few different levels.

First of all, you need to address people by their names in both the email and email subject line. It's also essential to have a list of all the products they were looking at, as we talked a little bit about above.

personalization

Here is a good example that I received from Saltrock recently. It's a simple touch but I really liked the touch of the emojis in the email as well.

Personalisation is one thing but it's also important to be topical and timely. This is as an attractive subject line as you'll see.

saltrock subject line

Takeaways:

  • Import CSV to your email provider with the names included
  • Don't be scared to use emojis

24. Reveal Areas for Customers to Ask Questions and Talk to Each Other

The best example for this is where Amazon has a whole list of questions that past users have asked. The sellers can answer the questions, or other customers can chime in.

answers

Whether you're implementing an FAQ module or including a forum for people to chat with each other, consumers want answers, and they are less likely to abandon if those answers are clear.

You don't want to display this on the real estate of your pages, but perhaps a clickthrough that says “XXX questions answered”, when people click that then they are taken to the answer section.

Takeaways:

  • Use a tab system and have people click a “XXX questions answered” to go to the answer section
  • Allow upvotes similar to reviews so that the most popular questions are nearer the top

25. Pack Your Product Pages With Images and Videos

Shopping online has one big disadvantage, you can't touch and play around with the item.

That's why imagery is so crucial to keeping people around. Aim for ten or twenty photos for each item with real high-quality images. Ideally with the option to zoom in.

lots_of_videos_and_images

You should consider making short video clips that you can upload on to the product page. Here's a fantastic example from ASOS, where a model turns around for 14 seconds so that you can see every inch of the piece of clothing you're about to buy.

Statistics from StyleShoots show that 73% more visitors who watch videos of your products will buy them.

asos video

Takeaways:

  • Use 10 or more high-quality images with the ability to zoom
  • 15 second clips of your product will help people convert

26. Use Conversion Tools for Displaying Local Languages and Currencies

Unfortunately, this mainly depends on your theme, ecommerce platform or even your payment processor.

But the logic is simple. If someone comes to your site and puts items in their shopping cart, they are not going to checkout if they can't convert to their local currency.

Most of these are situated in the top right-hand corner need the account and basket area.

country

From this, your users can click on it and change it to their specific country. Of course it's worse noting at this point that it's only worthwhile putting the countries that you are able to ship to here.

shipping options

Offering the customers flexibility here is important as they may want to shop to a different country and may want a different language to their country they are in.

Takeaways:

  • Offer different languages and currencies near the account area
  • Be flexible, people may speak different languages to the country they are in

27. Follow Steps to Boost Your Site Speeds

If your site takes more than three seconds to load, 40% of the people are going to leave because of it.

Optimizing your site requires quite a few techniques, but your number one focus should be speed. Amazon actually performed some tests which showed that they would lose $1.6 billion a year if they slowed their website speed by just 1 second.

A good starting place is Google PageSpeed Insights which will give you some great suggestions on quick fixes to make your website quicker.

google page insights

You can click in to this and it will show you the specific URL's this applies to and what needs fixing as a priority.

It's also important to look at your mobile page speed as we've touched on and you can also test this with Google.

mobile report

This also gives you an estimate on how many visitors you will lose, you can also have a report forwarded to your email addresses for more detail on how you can fix these issues.

Takeaways:

  • Use Google PageSpeed Insights for quick wins
  • Check your mobile speed and download the free report

28. Send People to the Right Landing Pages After an Ad

If a customer clicks on a Google Ad that markets men's basketball shoes, and they end up on a homepage, you can bet they leave your site quickly.

This might sound obvious but it's crazy how many times that I've clicked ads to be sent to something irrelevant.

google adwords

It's also good to include sitelinks in your Google Adword campaigns.

Let's say that someone types in something general such as “men's shoes” this can be quite vague and offering additional clicks such as shoes on offer, or clearance shoes can help you narrow down the choice for the visitor.

Another good example here would be to use different styles such as casual, formal, trainers, sandals, boots etc.

Takeaways:

  • Ensure your adwords are going through to a product page
  • Use sitelinks to use more granular choices

29. Reveal How Much Money Has Been Saved

Whether listing money savings on the homepage or in an email, it's never a bad idea to keep reminding people of how much they can or have saved with you.

Further, than that, it's a good idea to display how much they have saved in the checkout. Whether they have used a discount or bought items in the sale it's good to show what it would have cost and had the discount not been applied.

discount

This can help convert customers as it really emphasizes the saving they are making.

Takeaways:

  • Put your discount on the homepage as well as your emails
  • Display the savings on the items in the checkout process

30. Make Sure You Have Free Shipping

This one is simple, but having some sort of benchmark free shipping program is a sure way to calm the nerves of people who don't want to be spending more money on your site than they would be by walking into a retail store.

As we mentioned in point 11 its a good idea to include the amount they need to spend to get to that free delivery threshold.

In some cases, orders can increase by as much as 90% when you add free shipping. It's also worth looking at what your current average order is and setting your free delivery bar just above that.

In a few months time check your reports and see if its increased, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

free delivery bar

Using a stick menu to advertise your free delivery will help you meet that benchmark. Also looking at offering two free options can increase your order value even more. One free delivery which is delivered as a standard 3-5 days and one which is next day.

Takeaways:

  • Analyse your average order value and set your free delivery threshold higher than that
  • Use a sticky menu to advertise your free delivery

31. Utilize Micro Copy

What's micro copy? It's basically a little bit of text that sits in a field that your users have to fill out. The micro copy suggests what people might type in, and it guides the process along a little better.

For example, your checkout fields may include suggestions for what to type in or even little question boxes to explain why it's important to get their address and other personal information.

micro copy

This is particularly good for discount code and rewards points whilst in the checkout.

points

This can help differentiate between the two very quickly and makes it easier for the visitor to complete the purchase quickly.

Takeaways:

  • Use microcopy to highlight your range of products
  • Have a loyalty scheme? Use it to differentiate between loyalty points and discount codes

32. Start Remarketing and Retargeting

The idea behind retargeting and remarketing is fairly simple: You engage users after they have left your site or bought something in the past.

However, quite a few forms of retargeting and remarketing are available.  From seasonal marketing to post-conversion retargeting, the options are rather helpful in turning more of your visitors into customers.

One of the most powerful forms of retargeting is Facebook. After you've visited a site you will see the store you've just visited very close to the top of your feed.

facebook retargeting

The benefit of Facebook remarketing is that you can use a carousel to offer likeminded products that the visitor may not have seen previously.

The text above also allows you to add information about your current discount code, free delivery threshold or even your returns policy to push them over the line.

Takeaways:

  • Use Facebook retargeting carousel to offer likeminded products
  • Display your USPs in the text above to convince your visitors to become customers

Are You Ready to Fix Your Cart Abandonment Issues?

Now that you've had a chance to see some of the best ways to fix your cart abandonment issues, bookmark this page to reach your own benchmarks in the future. Also, let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comments below.

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.