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Abandoned shopping carts: what are they and how can they be recovered? – 4 effective methods

Abandoned shopping carts are defined as a situation where a customer adds products to the shopping cart but, for some reason, fails to pay for the purchase and leaves the website.

Aleksandra Stankowska
Aleksandra Stankowska

One of the challenges facing the eCommerce industry are unfinished transactions. The Baymard Institute estimated that as many as 68.8% of users abandon their shopping carts. Read this article to discover the definition of abandoned shopping carts, learn the top reasons for cart abandonment and find out about cart recovery methods.

What is cart abandonment?

The loss of customer interest and potential profit are the main consequences of abandoned carts for eCommerce businesses. Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem for retailers?

An unhappy customer is likely to spread the news about a malfunctioning website, the lack of suitable payment options or excessive delivery costs. We may also have to contend with a negative online review our business has received. All this may persuade our customers to steer clear of our shop and instead buy from our competition.

Why do customers abandon their shopping carts?

The reasons for cart abandonment can be divided into three categories:

1. Personal reasons

  • lack of time
  • need to rethink the purchase
  • lack of trust in the brand
  • shift of focus onto something else
  • using the shopping cart as a shopping list
  • not having sufficient funds in the account

2. Mismatched offer

  • excessive price
  • unsatisfactory product
  • high shipping costs
  • unexpected shipping costs in the era of free shipping
  • long shipping time
  • inability to exchange or return the product

3. Complicated purchasing process

  • compulsory registration
  • protracted purchasing process
  • no progress bar
  • unintuitive website
  • lack of information about the total cost
  • lack of suitable payment options
  • rejected payment card

Read more about the reasons for shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce.

The most popular reasons for shopping cart abandonment – Statista

How do you find out who abandoned the shopping cart?

You yourself can eliminate many of the reasons for cart abandonment that are listed above – abolish the need to register an account, add a progress bar, introduce various payment options, and cut down shipping costs, to mention a few examples. By putting in the effort, you can easily minimize the number of abandoned shopping carts. To help you, there are various methods that can monitor the cart abandonment rate in your online store.

HotJar and Heatmap

The HotJar tool will help you analyze customer behavior on your site and even identify the source of the problem. HotJar also allows you to scrutinize the heatmap, which shows you where users click most often.

Heatmap visually represents where users click most often – HotJar

UX/UI research

Another solution is to commission UX/UI research to help you determine the degree of intuitiveness of your store's shopping process and optimize the relevant elements.

Discover why UX is a critical feature for online stores.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to identify the transaction stage at which the customer decided to pull out of the purchase. The tool lets you analyze cart abandonment statistics in specific areas of your eCommerce enterprise. Find out more about how you can track abandoned shopping carts with Google Analytics.

Shopping behavior analysis at the transaction stage and the cart abandonment rate – Google Analytics 

How to reduce cart abandonment?

It is plain to see that there is a great variety of reasons for cart abandonment. Some customers plan to finish their shopping at a later date, treating the abandoned cart as their shopping list. Remember to provide your customers with the ability to return to their active cart – once the cart expires, they are much less likely to complete the transaction. Keep the cart active for about 7 days after it is abandoned.

Other customers, in turn, fail to finish their purchases as a result of various obstacles and uncertainties. Fortunately, there are also many ways to effectively encourage customers to complete the purchasing process. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

Send an email reminding the customer of the abandoned shopping cart

According to the Baymard Institute, on average one out of four customers abandons their shopping cart. As you already know, the reasons can be wide-ranging. Some simply give up, while others may do so because of carelessness, lack of time or slow Internet connection. For this reason, sending abandoned shopping cart notifications may be a profitable move. Give it another try to convert some of these people into your customers.

An email reminding the customer about products abandoned in the cart – New Balance

One of the more effective methods of recovering abandoned shopping carts is sending a reminder email. The message should contain:

  • Subject – it should be catchy and convincing
  • Greeting – addressing the customer by name
  • Content – an engaging message reminding the customer of the abandoned shopping cart
  • CTA button – allowing the customer to directly access the abandoned products
  • Benefits – resulting from the purchase of a particular product.

The text of your reminder message alone, informing the customer of the products left in the shopping cart, is not enough. Adding photos of the abandoned goods is an excellent idea. You can offer added value in the form of a discount on the order, free shipping or free complementary accessories. The message can also include opinions of other customers who have bought the product, its photographs, and a table comparing the product with others (perhaps the customer will be interested in a cheaper version). Here are some examples.

A message reminding the customer about the abandoned cart – bluemercury‌ ‌

A reminder message with a preview of abandoned products – Made

Because of the vast number of abandoned carts, sending messages to each individual customer would be time-consuming, complicated and sometimes even impossible. However, you can automate this process using the solutions available on the market. One of these is the Recover Abandoned Products scenario from edrone. With it, you can send up to 4 messages or reminder text messages to your customers.

12 proven strategies for saving abandoned carts.

A message template you can create in the edrone system

How soon do I send reminder messages?

The amount of time that should elapse between cart abandonment and the sending of the first message is dependent on your product portfolio. If your products can be easily found in other shops (clothing, shoes, groceries), it is best to stick to the schedule below:

  • First message – within 2–3 hours of abandoning the cart
  • Second message – within the first 24 hours
  • Third message – after 2–3 days.

If you sell high-priced items, you should give your clients more time. Waiting only a few hours may not produce the desired result. Send the first reminder a day after cart abandonment.

Determining the time when the subsequent reminder messages will be sent in the edrone system 

Make the most of remarketing

Remarketing is yet another method of reminding customers of their abandoned shopping carts. Although there is a risk that some recipients won't open your emails, they are sure to check their social media! The more times a customer sees your product online, the more likely they are to return to complete their purchase. Create a remarketing campaign to recover more abandoned shopping carts. You can put to use the ready-to-use campaigns from edrone, created with Facebook Ads in mind.

Also, don't forget to read about the 10 Facebook Ads campaigns that you have to try!

A Facebook ad inviting the customer to complete their purchase – Eton Shirts 

However, before you create a remarketing campaign, you should consider if all your products are suited to this type of advertising. Another important aspect to consider is how long and how often the ads should be displayed to your customers. Too many messages may irritate your potential customers and drive them away from your brand.

Offer a discount code or notify them of a promotion

As you already know, one of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is excessive price. By sending out a discount code, you encourage the customers to finalize their purchase. Consider this option carefully and don't be tempted to offer discount codes on every occasion. This may have the opposite effect and encourage your customers to intentionally abandon their shopping carts to receive a reduction in price.

A reminder email with a discount code – Furnilovers

Create pop-ups

If you wish to minimize cart abandonment in your eCommerce enterprise, you can also set up exit pop-ups triggered by a specific user action. On leaving the page, your customers will see a pop-up window that may convince them to complete their purchase. This easy-to-use solution allows you to recover more abandoned carts.

The form and content of the pop-up should not be intrusive but convincing. You can enhance your message with a discount code or information on free shipping. Offer something in return! Thanks to the Marketing Machine mechanism, your pop-up may display abandoned products or customer reviews. The edrone system lets you create tailor-made pop-ups that best suit your needs.

Here are some examples that you can use to create your pop-up:

  • Can't you stay a little longer? We have a 10% discount on your order.
  • Oops! Has something gone wrong? Receive free shipping, collect points and get a 10% discount on your next order.
  • Wait! This is a time-limited offer. Are you sure you don't need these items?
  • Leaving so soon? What do you say to an extra 5% off your first order?
An exit pop-up created in edrone – Molton

Abandoned shopping cart recovery is the most frequently used scenario among edrone customers. Only in the first quarter of 2021, for every 1,000 emails sent to its clients, Recman earned approximately PLN 8,875! This is an incredible result! The average Open Rate of reminder messages was as high as 41%. The Mosquito brand can also boast some excellent results. In the first half of 2021 – for every 1,000 emails sent, the company earned PLN 7,763.92, and the average Open Rate was 32.1%!

We hope that the advice we have given you on cart recovery will enable you to drastically improve your cart abandonment rate. You can try doing it yourself or contact us for assistance. We will be more than happy to help!

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Aleksandra Stankowska

She cares of good quality content. Believes that success in e-commerce depends on the right approach. She claims it is good to know something about everything, but specializes in modern marketing.