Turning Cart Abandonment Around

People who experience a sense of anxiety when abandoned aren’t alone. Some marketers react the same way over abandoned carts. In eight years that data’s been kept, the average online abandonment rate for shopping carts is nearly 70% based on data collected by the Baynard Institute. This can be frustrating for marketers who invest funds to drive traffic to a site, only to have consumers browse, select, and place items in a cart, and then leave without ever returning.


It’s important to break out the numbers by those who abandon before placing items in a shopping cart versus the latter. It’s far more normal for people searching to abandon a site once they get there and discover that what they’re seeking isn’t there. Baynard reports that this is about 58% of visitors. It’s another thing to see consumers place items in a shopping cart and then leave.

According to Baynard’s research, 21% left because the checkout process took too long or was complicated. Another 10% gave up because they weren’t satisfied with the brand’s return policy, while 6% said they weren’t content with the payment options, and 4% reported that their credit card was declined. While there isn’t much that can be done with the latter, there are ways to deal with some of the rest and possibly complete the sale.


Including the form fields that buyers need to complete, Baynard discovered that the average checkout field presented potential buyers with more than 23 form fields. Reducing the form elements to 12–14 would greatly reduce buyer impatience and enhance sales. What this means is gathering just the necessary information on the first sale to make it as easy as possible for the customer to finish. This is not the time to require a new shopper to register. A follow-up thank you accompanied by a reward or bonus asking for more information would be wiser.

In nine years of tests, Baynard concluded that shopping cart conversion rates could increase by 35.26% with improved and streamlined checkout procedures. The firm then analyzed $738 billion in combined e-commerce sales in the U.S. and E.U. and concluded that the potential value of closing these abandoned sales was a staggering $260 billion. Better checkouts and design could remedy most of this.

Transparency is another important factor. If an item is out of stock, that should be declared right away with an offer to send an alert to the customer when it’s available. Learning about this on the order page or in the shopping cart after completing all the information beforehand will not only drive customers away but likely discourage them from returning. Similarly, if there are other charges like state taxes, shipping, etc., that should be noted when the consumer views the product, not later.

Easy website navigation may seem like a given, but Omnichannel marketing company Wiser reports that 25% of shoppers drop out because of difficulty there. Ensure that it’s simple, understandable, and easy to navigate. The same is true for load times, especially with more shoppers using mobile devices. Flexibility in delivery and payment options also enhances the customer experience.

Finally, don’t give up just yet on consumers who abandon their carts. Wiser reports that if an email is sent to that consumer within three hours of abandonment, it averages a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“