What is Cart Abandonment Rate and How Much is too Much?

🕒 6 min.

If your site visitors are adding items to their cart but not checking out, you have a problem.

Revenue is being left on the table.

Cart abandonment is always going to be a fact of life for ecommerce brands, as you can’t convince everyone that your product is right for them.

But you can take clear actions to help more customers convert, and reduce your cart abandonment rate.

In this article, I’ll walk you through:

  • What is cart abandonment?
  • What’s the average cart abandonment rate?
  • How to calculate it
  • How to increase revenue by reducing abandoned carts

By the end, you’ll be ready to start recovering revenue that was previously lost.

Let’s jump straight in.

What is Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment happens when someone adds a product to their basket, goes to checkout to complete their purchase, but leaves somewhere during that checkout process.

The end result for your business? 

No sale.

You might get lucky, and they’ll return after payday and complete their purchase. Unfortunately, most of the time, those customers will decide they simply don’t need your product and will never be seen again.

There are lots of reasons for cart abandonment, and I’ll get to them shortly.

The Average Cart Abandonment Rate? Too High!

Even the most successful ecommerce brands lose money to abandoned carts.

If you’ve just started gathering data on your online checkout performance, it’s always helpful to know industry benchmarks so you can compare your performance against the average (and then optimize, so you’re above average).

The average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%.

This may change based on variables like:

  • Device used (mobile vs. desktop)
  • Location
  • Time of year

All of these will affect the purchase intent someone has when they’re on your site.

That’s not to say you’re not in control, though.

If you learn why people abandon their carts on your site, you can make changes to help more people successfully complete their purchase.

Why Do People Abandon Their Carts?

There is a wide range of reasons for cart abandonment.

Rather than guess why your visitors aren’t converting, let’s look at the data.

Baynard found that the number one reason people abandon their carts is that the extra added costs are too high – almost 50% of people leave the checkout process due to those extra costs.

Reasons for cart abandonments during checkout

After that, there is a range of reasons, including:

  • Not wanting to create an account
  • Complicated UX
  • Trust issues with your payment gateway

Only 4% of people abandon because their own credit card was declined, so you can’t blame your site visitors if you have a high abandonment rate, either.

How to Calculate Your Cart Abandonment Rate

If you want to make changes to your checkout flow to help more people convert, you’ll need to know your cart abandonment rate.

The formula is simple.

1 – Transactions Initiated / Transactions Completed x 100

Formula to calculate your cart abandonment rate

Once you have that data, you can start to regularly measure it and assess how changes affect your conversion rate.

You could also set up conversion goals within Google Analytics and see how your checkout conversion rate changes.

3 Actionable Ways to Improve Your Cart Abandonment Rate

So, you know what your cart abandonment rate is.

But how do you actually improve it?

Let’s take a look at 3 ways you can increase your cart conversion rate.

1. Follow up with Text and Email Marketing

Some customers simply forget to complete their purchase.

Sending an email or text message can be the reminder they need to finish the process.

In fact, the average return from a single cart recovery email is $10.25.

Setting up trigger emails based on abandoned carts is relatively simple. If you’re on Shopify, there are lots of apps available that will help you get set up in no time at all.

If you’re looking for inspiration into the types of emails and subject lines you should be using, check out our recent guide here.

You can also use SMS to help recover abandoned carts.

The open and click-through rate for text messages is exceptionally high. 98% of texts are opened, and 90% of those are opened within three minutes.

Considering just how much we all use our phones (when was the last time you didn’t read a text?), you’re leaving money on the table if you’re not using SMS to recover your abandoned carts.

2. Offer Free Shipping

As we’ve seen, 50% of abandoned carts come from the extra costs added at the checkout.

The first thing you can do to improve your cart abandonment rate is to eliminate any added costs.

Amazon Prime has spoiled us all with free delivery – and that’s reflected in your cart abandonment rate.

Consumers are more likely to abandon a purchase if they have to pay for shipping.

Even if you don’t technically offer free shipping, covering the cost in your initial pricing structure will lead to more people converting at the checkout. Even if it’s just a psychological difference, the fact is, more people will convert.

3. Offer Mobile Friendly Payment Methods

Adults in the US spend over 3 hours per day on their smartphones. If you check your audience data in your analytics tools, you’ll likely see a significant percentage of visitors are on a mobile device.

The growth of mobile ecommerce means that you need to be offering mobile-friendly payment options, like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Mobile payments are on track to be the most popular payment method of all for shoppers by 2030, and they’re already a preferred way to pay among young people.

Chart mobile payment revenue through the years

Your customers don’t want to take their credit card out on the train or in a coffee shop – they want to complete their purchase in a hassle-free way, wherever they are.

Offering a seamless payment method will help encourage your visitors to take that final step and complete their purchase.

Wrapping Up

Abandoned carts are a source of lost revenue for all ecommerce sites, big or small.

Calculating your abandoned cart rate is simple, and you can easily track it manually or in tools like Google Analytics.

There is a range of ways to improve your checkout conversion rate, such as reducing unexpected costs, and improving the checkout UX, and following up with customers via text or email.

Improving your abandoned cart rate will pay dividends in the long run. You’ll be generating more revenue from the same amount of site visitors, and be able to leverage that new revenue into growth.

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