Tips and Best Practices to Reduce Abandoned Cart Issues

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Statistics share that almost 59% of customers abandon their shopping carts.  This means that customers search the site, select items to purchase, place these items in a cart and then fail to check out.

In a study by PayPal, researchers showed that 45% of customers had abandoned a purchase more than once.

These carts usually held purchases of over $100.  And with customers finding it easy to compare online prices, the chances of customers abandoning a shopping cart is only increasing.

Why do customers abandon their shopping carts?

With so many purchases left unfinished, we have to wonder why customers would abandon their carts.

It turns out that online shopping is not very different to real-life shopping.  Customers, therefore, abandon their carts out of:

Length of time

In an offline shopping experience, customers are often reluctant to spend a great deal of time waiting at the checkout.

Most customers want to pick the shortest queues.  This impatience extends to online purchases.  Clients who have to fill in a great many forms will often abandon their carts.

Spending more than a few minutes in front of the screen makes clients feel impatient.  Some clients will also feel buyers remorse if a purchase takes too long to go through.


If your clients don’t know how to make a purchase, or which steps to take in order to make a purchase.

If the process is too complex, clients often feel confused or frustrated.  Instead of working out what to do next, they will often abandon their carts.

Having an awesome website is cool, but if you don’t follow the design patterns that users know, you’ll confuse them.

Additional costs (such as shipping costs) will also often confuse (or irritate) customers, leading them to abandon their carts.

Caution about internet security

Clients are often reluctant to disclose their information online.  This is particularly true when it comes to credit card details.  Online fraud is a massive risk.

Clients become cautious when asked to supply too much information. This is often why methods such as PayPal feel safe and secure to use online.


Not every online customer is actually a true shopper.  Many are there to browse, to explore options, compare prices, find out if there are any additional charges and see where they can get the best deal.

These visitors will often place products in their carts, find out all the information they need and return to the best option.

Offer great deals, give coupons and remain exclusive

Understanding why customers abandon their carts assists site owners with coming up with solutions.  As a site owner, it is possible to create situations which will encourage clients to want to shop at your site.

Just like a high street store, you have the ability to attract customers by offering discounts, promotions or exclusive deals that they will not be able to get anywhere else.

When you offer a great deal, display this in a way your clients will be able to see. According to an E-tailing survey, almost two-thirds of customers believe that e-commerce sites should offer up vouchers or promotions.

Believing that an offer is limited and that they might ‘miss out’ is often a great motivation to make an online purchase.

Let customers register with your site after a purchase has been made

You probably have many online accounts and a great many passwords you need to remember.  When a site needs clients to register before enabling a purchase, clients often feel unhappy and frustrated.

Research shows that almost a third of customers studied dislike being presented with forms while trying to check out.

It is often more helpful to encourage clients to register with your site once a purchase has been made.

If you need client details before a purchase has been made, it is often more helpful to ask for an email address.

If users do choose to register an account, all subsequent details can be linked to this email address.

Email marketing

Once your customer has supplied you with an email address, you will be able to determine whether they have abandoned a shopping cart.

If they have, send them a voucher or coupon.  This will be an incentive for them to return and they may complete the sale.  Try not to wait too long, otherwise, your client may lose interest.

Share that the client has been onsite and has a purchase which is still on the trolley.  An email offering a voucher for 10% off your following purchase over  $100 will be a great surprise.

Search Engine Re-marketing

Google Adwords provides a great opportunity to remarket products your client has been interested in.

When your client reaches your site, selects a product but does not complete the sale, place a cookie on his computer.

You can then use Google Ads to target your customer’s interests with carefully placed ads.

As your customer explores the internet, blogs or email sites which have banner ads will show up on your client’s computer.

These ads will remind your clients of the products they nearly purchased.  This will reinforce the brand and encourage your client to return.

If the client has your brand or product on the top of his/her mind there is a greater likelihood of the client completing the purchase.

If your client is confused or unable to complete a sale, a chat widget is often helpful to guide the process along.  Widgets assist with answering questions.

They are also able to assist with technical issues a client might experience while in the buying process.  This way problems can be sorted out right away and you are more likely to complete the sale.

Some further tips

Use a minimal WooCommerce theme. Don’t buy a theme that has too many graphical elements. Your products are the ones you should put on the spotlight, not your site design.

Guarantee your prices and offer refunds if your client is able to find a product at a more affordable rate.  This shows clients that they have already found the best deal, making them less likely to shop around.

Make your refund policies clear.  You want your clients to know that if they are unhappy with a purchase they will be able to return it swiftly.  This will give clients peace of mind.

Optimize for mobile.  Mobile applications offer clients the ability to make sales while browsing, drinking coffee or waiting for an appointment.

Mobile devices are highly personal and clients keep them with them at all times.  Sales from mobile devices are constantly on the increase.  Apps or responsive sites are crucial in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Show product images as this helps a client to see what he is purchasing.  This is particularly helpful on the shopping cart page.

With no confusion about what is being bought, a client is more likely to make a purchase.

Show that your site is secure.  By showing security logos and compliance certificates, clients will not be fearful about submitting their data to your site.

Display your contact details online.  When you show your clients how to contact you (including phone numbers or email addresses)  they will feel more secure about making purchases with you.

Give your clients the means to undo or reverse a purchase easily should they need to before checking out.  Clients may mistakenly place two products in a cart, for instance.  If this process cannot be easily undone the client may abandon the cart.

Allow clients to choose from a range of payment methods. Options such as PayPal provide security because there is no need to submit a great deal of information online.


By offering support to your online clients to reduce confusion, leaving registration until a later date and allowing customers to check out quickly and efficiently, you are less likely to lose an online sale.

Keep all product information easily accessible to your customers as this will enable you to

Surprises at the check out may also irritate your clients, resulting in abandoned purchases.  Free shipping (even if this may have been included in the price) is a great motivation or enticement towards sales.

If free shipping is not included, be transparent about shipping costs from the start.  It is also important to be clear about shipping times.

If clients do not know how long it will take for a product to be delivered, they will often feel frustrated. To keep your clients feeling confident or safe on your site, it is often helpful to show reviews from past clients.

Happy past clients will assist with reducing any concerns your customers might have.  Clients may still experience buyers remorse or abandon their shopping carts.

However, by addressing common reasons for abandoned carts and making the purchasing process as smooth and efficient as possible, you’ll vastly reduce your risks.

Bogdan Sandu
Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He's reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

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