Shopping cart abandonment: Ultimate guide

Sourabh Upreti
Sourabh Upreti
December 22, 2022

The phrase “abandoned cart” has kept most D2C brand owners and marketers up at night since the time horses pulled carts and Pluto was still considered a planet.

Yes, this is a common problem that has been affecting D2C stores for years. It’s estimated that as many as 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is finalized.

That’s an awful lot of lost sales, but it doesn’t have to be this way. 

With this ultimate guide, you can minimize the number of customers who abandon their carts and increase your conversion rate.

And yes, need quick answers? Jump to the most needed subheads with these quick links 😉

What is an Abandonment Cart?

Abandonment cart is the term used to describe when a shopper adds an item or multiple items to their online shopping cart but then leaves the site without completing their purchase.

Maybe your users think like this, 

Users may abandon their shopping cart because they don't feel a sense of urgency to buy. Instead, they use their carts as wish lists while comparing prices elsewhere. This makes them more likely to leave their carts than complete a purchase.

Difference between Cart abandonment vs. browse abandonment

The main difference between Cart abandonment and Browse abandonment is that browse abandonment involves only visiting the website, while cart abandonment involves adding items to the cart but not completing the purchase.

Cart abandonment is when a user adds an item to their shopping cart and leaves the site without checking out. Browse abandonment is when a user visits a site but doesn't even add any products to their cart. The user may have spent time looking through the website but made no purchases.

(Maybe they are enjoying the feel of your website 😉)

Cart and browse abandonment both result in revenue loss for businesses. Understanding why this happens and what can be done to stop it from happening is important for increasing revenue.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room!

Why do shoppers abandon browsing?

  • They don’t find the product they are looking for.
  • The site is too slow to load.
  • The site has a poor user experience (UX).
  • They can find the same product elsewhere at a lower price.

Why do shoppers abandon carts?

  • They are not sure about their purchase.
  • The website requires too many steps to complete the checkout process.
  • They need help with something before they can finish checking out.
  • The shipping is too expensive.
  • The site does not accept their payment method.

Whatever the reasons, you have several recovery strategies to handle them.

Hold on; we will explain them later in the article.

But how do you even know how many people are leaving their shopping carts? That's where the cart abandonment rate comes in.

How to calculate the cart abandonment rate?

Cart abandonment rate is the percentage of users who added a product to their cart but did not complete their purchase.

The easiest way to calculate your cart abandonment rate is by dividing the number of customers who finished their purchases by the total number of carts created. This gives you a percentage that can be used to determine how many shoppers are leaving their carts behind.

Abandoned rate = Completed purchase/shopping carts created. 

For example, if you have 100 visitors on your website and 20 carts were created, your cart abandonment rate is 20%.

It is a lot of work. Isn't it?

Yes, you have an automated way too. Google Analytics can do the leg work for you, and you can get the percentage at a glance. 

Wait, we also have that: Ways to calculate your cart abandonment rate. 

Common Reasons for Cart abandonment

The reasons for cart abandonment and browse abandonment vary from user to user. Some people may simply be too busy, while others might have forgotten about their shopping session after leaving the site. Still, others may have found a better deal elsewhere and decided to wait to complete their purchase.

Here are the most common reasons that people abandon their shopping carts:

1. Demands more effort.

Businesses often require consumers to create accounts to retarget them with emails and boost lead generation. However, consumers might not see this extra effort's point unless they make several purchases over time.

For many customers, creating an account may be unnecessary because they don’t plan to buy anything else from the company. Additionally, some first-time customers may object to providing their email addresses or credit card information.

And who else wants to remember another password?

2. Unexpected additional charges.

In Baymard Institute’s latest research, around 48% of shoppers abandoned their online purchases during checkout because they were charged extra shipping or taxes.

A bar chart representation of reasons for abandonments during cart & checkout (2022 data)

And it's no surprise! This is because the consumer believes​ high shipping charges inflate product costs. And your customers will be like, 

Trust me, buyers already know about multiple websites that offer free shipping! So, watch out.

3. They wanted to price-compare across other sites first

In many cases, shoppers weren't ready to buy because they wanted to compare prices with other online retailers first. This is a common tactic consumers use when shopping online—they compare prices across multiple sites before deciding which offers the best value. And if your product isn't priced competitively, users won’t become customers. 

4. Long checkout process.

An ideal checkout process is as simple as three to five steps. The longer it takes to complete, the more likely shoppers will abandon their carts.

So make it simple as possible without sacrificing security or personal information. If you have a complex checkout process, try to break it into multiple steps.

5. Lack of desired payment option.

You have fixed everything, but your conversion rate is still not increasing! The reason?

You don’t have a convenient payment option. Your customers might be looking for a certain way to pay, such as PayPal or credit cards. They may not buy from you if you don’t offer these options.

Impact of shopping cart abandonment on your Business

Shopping cart abandonment is not exactly your friend, is it? It will do more harm than good!

If you don’t fix the problem, it could worsen and affect other areas of your business, such as customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Let's look at seven ways in which cart abandonment can affect your business,

1. Lost customer lifetime value.

Customer lifetime value takes into account the amount of revenue a company will receive from customers throughout its relationship with that brand.

Cart abandonment can lead to lost customer lifetime value. If customers abandon their cart, you don’t make any money.

In fact, the average D2C store loses 75% of its potential sales because customers abandon their shopping carts. You lose out on the revenue from selling additional products or services and future sales because you couldn’t build a relationship with this customer.

2. Higher customer acquisition rate.

When it comes to marketing, most D2C teams spend a significant portion of their budgets on building brand awareness and acquiring new customers through content marketing, paid acquisition channels like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, social media, and influencer campaigns.

The issue is that just because an ad campaign drives clicks or content generates many shares doesn’t mean it's driving sales. If customers make their way through the entire sales process but don't buy anything from you, you've wasted all your money on ads and spending seeds!

If you don't stop, it will demand more acquisition, and you'll be left with a never-ending cycle of spending money on acquisition and getting little to no sales from it.

3. Inventory management and availability issues.

If a customer adds the product to their online shopping cart, it is reserved for that shopper. This creates an artificial constraint on inventory; thousands of items can't be sold while stuck in people's carts.

The unavailability of products is a significant issue for D2C stores, resulting in lost sales when real customers (who are ready to convert) can't purchase their favourite items.

4. Manipulated ad click-through rates.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to get your shopping cart abandonment rate to zero (eliminate abandoned carts), it will never be possible.

Most of your online shoppers will visit the store with little or no intention of purchasing anything—they may just be checking prices or researching product features before going elsewhere.

When this occurs, it creates a history that can mislead ad targeting. The platform—like Facebook does for its users—identifies those people as similar to the ones who have already been identified and delivers ads to more of them.

These abandoned carts create clutter in your target audience data. This can hurt your ad results and the clickthrough rate of future campaigns targeting those users.

5. Lowers your website speed.

If your site has high traffic levels, thousands of items added to shopping carts can take up server bandwidth and slow down the entire site.

As a result, customers are left with a frustrating, sluggish experience, likely driving them away from your brand in favor of competitors who offer better user experiences.

How to decrease the abandonment cart rate?

You can use a variety of strategies to reduce cart abandonment rates. Some of the most effective include:

1. Offer free shipping.

About 79% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase goods with free shipping. Imagine how much more you could make if you could get back the customers who abandoned their shopping carts and failed to make a purchase 💰.

But how can you notify your users about the free shipping offer, especially after they leave your website?

Let BiteSpeed do the legwork for you. The advantage is you can create an automated flow that sends a WhatsApp message when the user abandons the cart. This way, you can recover your abandoned carts in less time.

To help you save money, we have added a feature that allows you to ask your customers about the reason for cart abandonment. If they choose something else, you can send the next message accordingly.

use bitespeed to recover abandoned carts

2. Add social proof to your site.

Users will not become customers until they feel they are making an informed decision. Social proof is one way to provide this reassurance. You could add reviews from users who have already purchased your product or service.

This way, you can show that others have been satisfied with their purchase and can be trusted. But how can you collect those ratings? 

And you know that it's not that easy to collect reviews and product images from your users.

This is where your best buddy BiteSpeed comes in. It helps you send messages to users who recently purchased your product and ask them to rate their experience and share some feedback. This way, you can collect those reviews from your users and make them available at your store with just a few clicks. 

The best thing? You can automate everything.



3. Send cart abandonment emails.

Cart abandonment emails are a great way to nudge customers back into their carts. According to Moosend, when they sent cart-retention emails, 45% of them were opened. Moreover, 50% of these opened emails received click-throughs.

This is especially true for online shoppers who have abandoned their cart due to lack of time or information—if you can provide them with answers, they’ll often return to complete the purchase.

Here’s how Timberland leverages email marketing to get their sales, 

timberland email marketing


4. Retargeting ads.

Retargeting Ads have been gaining immense popularity among consumers. 26% of people will return to a site by clicking on retargeted ads—what’s even more promising is that 3 out 4 consumers now notice these Ads!

You can leverage this strategy to show them a discount code or an additional product similar to one they have already purchased from your site. 

Though FB is good at giving ROI of 2-3X, WhatsApp as a revenue channel for Shopify stores generates 10X more returns. The reason is that WhatsApp is a closed group where you can directly message all your customers, and deliver a personal experience.

This will increase your conversion rate. You can also use WhatsApp to send coupon codes for your store, which will further improve the ROI by increasing the number of purchases.

5. Use pop-ups.

Although the steps mentioned above are effective when users submit their information, what about those who binge-watch the product without submitting personal data?

This is where the role of pop-ups comes in. 

Pop-ups are a great way to get the attention of these users and push them to submit their details. These pop-ups can show a discount coupon, an additional product, or a special offer. 

For example, if a store gets 100k visitors a month, we're able to convert roughly 10% of them into subscribers. If their existing subscribers are converting into new sales at roughly 10% at an average order value of $50, this is already 1000*$50 = $50,000. Now, at this pace, if they continue generating new subscribers for the next 12 months, they'll add 120,000 new subscribers. Using the same math, we'll drive 12,000 new orders per month for a total revenue of 12000*50 = $600,000.

Even in 2023, growing subscribers is heavily underrated, especially in a high-converting channel such as WhatsApp.

But remember, your pop-up mustn't annoy the user, and it should be easy for them to close it.

With BiteSpeed, you can create and customize a pop-up that will look great on any device. Moreover, you can use gamification to grab their information and plug them into your nurturing sequence. 

bitespeed pop-ups

As you know, it boils down to knowing your audience and how they interact with your site. If you have many binge-watching users and are not converting, it’s time to bring in pop-ups.

When you use BiteSpeed for your pup ups,

Want to know more actionable strategies you can implement immediately: You have to check this!


No matter what kind of website you have, there will always be users that don’t convert. If that’s the case, it’s time to adopt new strategies that will help you convert more of those users into customers. 

We’ve covered some of the most effective ways to get your users to convert faster. These strategies will help you increase your conversion rate and improve your bottom line.

With BiteSpeed, you can say goodbye to staggering conversion rates and hello to higher ROI. Through specifically crafted WhatsApp marketing features, we help you connect with your users directly and drive them to convert faster.

Want to boost your conversions, increase ROI and drive more sales? BiteSpeed is the answer. And the good news is it's free to use. So try it now and see how we can help you boost your conversion rate (for free). 

We hope we could change your mind, fingers crossed 🤞! 

View all blogs