10 ways to reduce your cart abandonment rate

July 21, 2023
9 minutes
10 ways to reduce your cart abandonment rate

When consumers abandon their carts before checkout, it leaves e-commerce businesses with one less sale, one less customer, and one new priority: figuring out how to reduce cart abandonment rate.

While different industries see variable rates of abandonment, the global average sits at around 70% across all verticals. This translates to an alarming loss in revenue if you consider each instance to be a prospective sale — priced up to the tune of $18 billion per year.

But cart abandonment doesn’t just affect a business’ bottom line. As well as slowing down sales, e-commerce stores that fail to address how to reduce their cart abandonment rate are likely to suffer from inventory challenges, a reduction in return on ad spend, and a higher cost per new customer acquisition.

But the ways in which customers buy goods in person and over the internet are vastly different.

With the entire web at their fingertips, shoppers are free to add to, delete from, and entirely abandon their carts at high rates — and that’s if they even make it to the point of adding to their cart. In fact, just 2% of e-commerce website visits will translate to purchases, according to recent data. So long as store visitors have the choice between multiple outlets, there is no way to guarantee their sale.

Instead, online store owners should take an approach to reduce cart abandonment at every turn by prioritising a second-to-none user experience.

So, where do you begin? Let’s take a closer look at the causes and what can be done to reduce cart abandonment.

How to reduce cart abandonment rate

There are many circumstances in which a user might abandon their cart — and to design the shopping experience to beat, your business will need to understand the most problematic friction points your customers may be experiencing.

To help you on your way, we’ve written a full guide on the most commonly cited reasons for cart abandonment. As a quick overview, some of the top offenders include:

  • A lengthy checkout process
  • Having to set up an account to purchase
  • Limited payment options
  • Site performance issues
  • Inadequate delivery options
  • High shipping costs

So, to improve your store’s cart abandonment rate, you’ll need to iron out your user experience. This will demand a full-funnel approach that incorporates methods spanning design, development, and marketing.

These are the strategies we recommend.

1. Support multiple payment types

It’s vital to support multiple major payment options in order to prevent cart abandonment. Nowadays, customers want to use their preferred payment method at checkout — or else they’ll shop elsewhere. And between cards, digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal, or buy now, pay later schemes, there are more ways than ever to pay online.

According to Statista, the debit card still reigns supreme in 2023 — cited by 66% of respondents as the most common type of online payment. However, younger consumers are increasingly drawn to modern solutions, with 35% of online shoppers preferring digital wallets over traditional card transactions. Purchasing preferences tend to vary across different markets, so implementing a checkout system that facilitates many kinds of transaction types can help to reduce cart abandonment.

Let Customer Pay Thier Way

2. Streamline the checkout process

Lengthy checkout forms massively deter customers from completing their purchases. When the average checkout involves 22 distinct steps before a purchase is completed, it’s only natural that customers will begin to feel frustrated with the experience, having to repeatedly provide their details or register for an account on each new platform.

Instead, you should prioritise a minimal, no-fuss collection of essential billing and shipping data. This way, first-time users can easily complete their purchase by providing the essential details, while returning users will have their details and preferences auto-filled by the platform. According to Baymard Institute, improving your checkout flow could re-capture your conversions and recover up to 35.2% of lost sales.

For example, this is how Simpler one-click checkout presents itself to customers:

Comparison of first timers and returnees

Simpler’s platform allows your customers to complete their purchase using their preferred payment and shipping options in just one click. This removes the need to fill out tedious and lengthy forms, create a site account, or remember yet another username and password.


3. Design a trustworthy webpage

Users are less likely to convert if they don’t trust the site they’re providing with sensitive billing information. The trustworthiness of your e-commerce store is an especially important consideration to make if you’re growing your brand and you aren’t yet a ‘big name’ in the market.

As well as designing a modern, professional interface, you should consider acquiring and displaying strategically placed trust seals at checkout, in close proximity to your payment options. Showcasing your accreditation at this stage can help to build user confidence and minimise any concerns they might have regarding payment or data security. Examples that can help to reduce cart abandonment include:

If you aren't sure about what the above acronyms mean, then have a talk with the agency or in-house developers that are building your website. They should be able to explain them to you.

4. Direct the customer journey

One fundamental challenge for e-commerce sites is guiding the user’s path to conversion without overwhelming them with distracting on-page options and instructions. Implementing a simple, attention-grabbing call to action can help to direct shoppers that have added items to their cart to complete the transaction — but these need to be clear, accessible buttons that move guests straight to the purchasing page without friction.

Unless your e-commerce site visitors can easily find how to proceed to the next step of their purchase, they may become frustrated and navigate away to other merchant sites. So, you should analyse what is the most important action that you want visitors to each page of your site to perform in order to usher them closer to conversion.

For example, when users shop with Simpler, they can check out at any stage in their purchasing journey. Merchants can place the Simpler ‘Quick Buy’ button at four different stages during checkout: the product page, mini cart, shopping cart, and final checkout page, directing shoppers seamlessly towards completion.

Add to bag buttons

5. Optimise site performance

Research from Akamai shows that even a one-second delay in page responsiveness can cause conversion rates to drop by up to 26%. If your customers are unable to quickly and intuitively engage with your products on-site, these drop-offs may accumulate and contribute to masses of lost sales. Therefore, it pays to invest in efficient site infrastructure, particularly during peak shopping seasons that could put pressure on your loading speeds and uptime.

And this doesn’t just apply to pages like your homepage which receive high traffic. Your developers can support you in reaching high performance across your entire navigation, from product pages to checkout. A professional, well-performing site might require compressed images, browser caching or optimised server response time, but can ultimately lead to a reduction in cart abandonment.

For longevity, make sure to monitor, test and maintain performance using tools like PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest.

6. Provide free and transparent shipping

According to Oberlo, free delivery is the number-one reason that individuals opt to shop online. As such, providing a free shipping option, or a low threshold for eligibility, is one of the most effective ways to stop shoppers from abandoning their carts.

However, providing low-cost, fast delivery is not possible for every e-commerce outlet. If you can’t offer free shipping, your next best option is to be as transparent as possible with your costs and expected delivery times.

This is a problem for many e-commerce stores — as listing vague ‘standard’ or ‘express’ shipping options doesn’t provide any insight about when shoppers can expect their wares to actually arrive. To build trust and encourage time-sensitive purchases, you should be as explicit as possible in the turnaround times that customers can expect from each option.

No one likes to pay more or receive their goods late, but unexpected surprises at checkout can frustrate customers to the point of withdrawing from the purchase. So, it’s best to be upfront and manage customer expectations as early as possible to reduce your cart abandonment rate.

7. Offer multiple shipping options

Many customers withdraw from purchasing due to insufficient delivery options. As well as low-cost and transparent shipping, you’ll also need to offer multiple different channels for delivery so that your customers can receive their orders the way they want to.

The majority of online shoppers prefer home delivery for their convenience, but others may enjoy the flexibility of having deliveries sent to parcel lockers, or available for collection from a central location. Whatever their preference, providing an option that matches can influence whether a prospective customer will complete the purchase.

Provide as many delivery options as possible and advise customers that they can choose their delivery preference at checkout, depending on whether they want fast, convenient, or low-cost delivery. This way, you can reduce cart abandonment by appealing to different shopper priorities.

8. Present social proof

In the digital landscape, your reputation as a seller has never been more publicly accessible, and so proving your credibility to new customers is incredibly important. Optimise your product pages with testimonials and reviews to demonstrate the value of your products to customers and help them to convert.

Visible social proof doesn’t just emphasise the value of your products, but also your value as a seller. Embedding third-party trust signals like your Trustpilot rating or Google Reviews is one of the most effective methods that can get users to trust your brand. In fact, data shows that 95% of customers read online reviews before buying a product, while 58% are willing to pay more for goods that are rated highly.

Social proof justifies your price, product, and viability as a seller to prospective customers — and in doing so, can prevent cart abandonment from taking place.

Shopping cart with bags

9. Implement online support

When customers shop in person, they can relay their queries to the sales assistant working in the store. This helps to reduce any friction that could be blocking the transaction. However, when shopping online, these assistants aren’t present to procure the all-important face time. A great way to emulate this same social support and bolster your customer experience is to offer a chat popup.

Chat assistants can be on-hand 24/7 to assist shoppers with questions they may have about buying, billing, delivery or returns. Automated support tools have proven popular among large e-commerce brands like Amazon and ASOS, but these tools are more accessible than ever nowadays with the surging popularity of AI chatbots. Use services such as Ultimate, Enlighten XO or Intercom to add a customer support function to your purchasing page and help shoppers to address any last-minute obstacles that may be halting their conversion.

10. Promote your returns policy

As customers can’t see their purchases until they’ve been delivered, shopping online comes with a higher likelihood of needing to return goods. So, before they entrust your business with personal data like addresses and card details, shoppers want to know they can easily send back their purchases and get a refund.

Offering a transparent and helpful returns policy, including terms like a money-back guarantee or 30-day returns window, can help to provide the necessary assurance and push shoppers over the finish line to conversion. But it’s not enough to just have these policies, you’ll also need to promote them accordingly. Make your return or refund policies simple and well-signposted at checkout so that new customers know they’re in safe hands and are less likely to abandon their carts.

Reduce your cart abandonment rate with Simpler

Simpler’s one-click checkout platform can streamline the purchasing experience for your site guests, removing friction at the crucial moments of their transaction. If you’re seeing high rates of cart abandonment, our distraction-free checkout may be the solution — we integrate all major payment and shipping options and store your customers’ preferences and details for every time they shop.

When you add Simpler to your online store, new users can complete their transaction in half the time of traditional checkout — while returning users can purchase in as little as six seconds.

To learn more about how we’ve helped thousands of online businesses to turn their prospective shoppers into loyal customers, get to know Simpler today.

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