How to Recover Missed Opportunities in Abandoned Shopping Carts

abandoned shopping carts

According to independent Web research, abandoned shopping carts are as high as 67.75%. Think about that for a second. All your effort spent after optimizing the landing pages, perfecting your informative style and pricing strategies are in vain as 7 out of every 10 people will definitely stop at the finish line.

Isn’t that quite depressing?

Consider a few facts:

  • 99% of first-time visitors will never make a purchase
  • 75% of visitors who abandon their carts actually make the purchase at the end.

The truth is, you can actually recover the loss if you are willing to develop the right strategies.

What Leads to Abandoned Shopping Carts?

It is not simply because customers change their mind at the last minute and then leave their shopping cart. There’s something more to it. Let’s explore those issues.

Customers Encounter Unexpected Costs

Imagine this: You have spent time at the grocery store picking up items for a party you’re hosting. When you approach the checkout, the assistant announces the total including taxes, bag fees, packaging fees and card processing fees. Would you continue your purchase at this particular grocery store or try another one?

These unexpected costs increase the risk of cart abandonment. When it comes to your online store, free shipping and transparent transactions are important to increase online spending.

The “Just Browsing” Attitude

Ecommerce research indicates that 99% of first time visitors won’t buy on their first visit and 75% who initially abandoned their shopping cart return to ultimately buy it.

The following is the complete breakdown of ‘time-to-purchase’ data:

  • 30 percent purchase in less than 20 minutes.
  • 50 percent purchase in 20 minutes to one hour.
  • 60 percent purchase in 1 to 3 hours.
  • 65 percent purchase in 3 to 12 hours.
  • 72 percent purchase in 12 to 24 hours.
  • 80 percent purchase in 3 to 7 days.
  • 95 percent purchase in 1 to 2 weeks.
  • 100 percent purchase in more than 2 weeks.

You need to be presentable as much as possible while they continue their search. More importantly, know that the more a person abandons their cart and the more they return to your site – the more likely they are to convert.

Customers Found a Better Price Elsewhere

Studies show that ‘time and price’ are the two important factors regarding why shoppers abandon their carts. If you want to understand the role of pricing in cart abandonment, you need to understand that all cart values are not created equally. Lower shopping carts contain higher amounts of product goods, therefore, visitors abandon their shopping cart specifically to find a better price elsewhere.

When a customer abandons their shopping cart, below are few important strategies you can utilize to recover and convert them:

Save Their Wishlists or Cart for Later

As we’ve discussed, research indicates that the majority of the online shoppers do not make a purchase the first time they visit your website.  But many do return to eventually purchase the product later.

Encourage them to return to the checkout process and allow them save their wishlists. Remind them of their saved items and make them believe that you are a trustworthy and helpful resource to buy from.

Retarget Them to Get Their Attention Back

The more frequently the shopper sees your ads and your marketing after abandoning their shopping cart, the more likely they are to return to buy from you. But pay special attention to recency.  Overdoing it can be annoying and can actually make them completely discard your site.

It is better to test and measure to find the ideal mix of frequency and recency to retarget them successfully and turn them into buyers.

Try To Be More Creative

Try out triggering certain types of messages and offers depending on what’s in the cart. For instance, high-priced items can absorb free-shipping rather than low-priced items. On the other hand, there are a few product categories that involve longer time frames to make the decision to purchase.

In such cases, instead of any discount offers, a reminder will be effective without knocking your profit. Most importantly, the more exclusive your products are, the less you need to entice your customers with discounts and other lucrative offers.

Integrate Images of Abandoned Items

If someone searchs for exercise pants then sets one in their shopping cart and abandons it to look for other designs, there’s a good chance that the shopper does not remember that exact pants they saw on your site earlier. They get overwhelmed with choices.

When you send an email with an image of the pants, you can include some reviews from other customers regarding that product, ratings and images of other similar pants. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action that leads the buyer back to their original cart.

If they have to start over from the beginning, there’s a chance that they’ll run away again.

Don’t Force Visitors to Register to Checkout

Do not make customers sign up for an account and fill out a form just to checkout. It has been estimated that 14% of shopping cart abandonment happens because visitors do not find a proper checkout option.

Give your guests the option to sign up for an account or continue on as a guest. If you want them to register, you have to let them know the benefits they receive from doing so.

Don’t Leave Tasks for Later

If people have questions regarding a product they want to buy from your site, have your company’s telephone numbers ready for them to call. If their questions are not answered as soon as possible, they are most likely to abandon their shopping cart. In addition to your company’s customer service phone number, an email address can also immensely help a customer.

Last but not the least, consider developing a retargeting email program and making use of abandoned shopping cart apps that can help you recover the loss through mobile push notifications to win back the customer by sending a customized notification with a reminder of what they have left behind their cart.

Learning more about how to recover abandoned shopping carts can help you drive revenue to enhance your bottom line.

Shopping Cart Photo via Shutterstock


William Johnson William Johnson belongs to the most creative field of digital media - web design. He is currently an Editor at Big Eye Deers and he is obsessed with the latest trends in ecommerce, SEO and social media analytics. He has been a regular contributor to leading online portals such as SEMrush, Small Business Trends and SocialMediaToday.

10 Reactions
  1. I have to admit that I do this most of the time when I shop online. Sometimes, I just want to know how much the shipping will cost. But am I planning to buy? Definitely! It is just that I am not ready at that moment.

  2. Wonderful post, stressing on the fact that abandoning customers can again get back to the retailers if they have the intensity & ways to get them back. Though with time the competition has stiffen up, but no means should be left out to impress the customer through positive means. Since creativity & innovations always find its actual likers.

    • I think following up can help. I remembered abandoning a cart and then I was surprised when they contacted me via e-mail. It seems that they tracked me and know that I have not finished my checkout. It makes me think twice and actually encourages me to complete my transaction.

  3. I know many people that use the shopping cart like a wishlist in that they are putting it in the cart so they don’t lose or forget it. They fully intend on purchasing, but maybe just not right now. To take the grocery store analogy another step, it’s like they need to go get something in their car so they leave the cart temporarily with their items. Keep the items in their cart, remind them to come back, and they’ll make the purchase.

  4. Good post, thanks. Out of interest, where can I find the “independent Web research” that gives these figures?

    • I am wondering about that as well Darryl. While the stats may seem reasonable, I still want to know the source so that I can see if it is reliable or not.

      • Hi Darryl and Aira,

        Actually i have gathered the result from cumulative research and figures are not based on an individual research. I have focused on the numbers to reflect on the trends about the consumer perception

  5. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing your advice.

    Whilst I think much of the advice you give is helpful/sensible, I’d advise people to be careful when interpreting research data. Stats like “99% of first-time visitors will never make a purchase” are incredibly misleading. It might hold true in specific circumstances, for specific product sets but it’s not a general trend in ecommerce. I work with many retailers who have conversion rates for first time visitors far higher than 1%. There is a strong influence of product/industry/customer on the conversion path, so you need to understand the data specific to your business instead of relying on generic research benchmarks.

    As with other comments, I’d like to know the sources of your data – who did it, who did they survey, how did they collect the data, what retailers, what products?


  6. Hi James.

    Thanks for your reply. Yes statistics are based on averages and probability. True, they do not always speak the truth. However they just provide an insight into the trends about consumer behaviour and perception . It allows the ecoomerce retailers to frame their future course of action.