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4 strategies for abandoned cart recovery and how to reclaim those sales

abandoned cart recovery tips

This article was last updated on July 31st, 2023

One of the harsh realities of eCommerce (across most types of businesses) is that your checkout process could be as smooth as possible, but a portion of shoppers will still abandon their carts.

It’s estimated that seven out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned today, and it’s not always clear why someone leaves. Perhaps they found a better price with a different brand, or maybe they were just browsing your site. Whatever the reason, shopping cart abandonment is a key concern for many online merchants—but there are ways you can recover those sales.

In this article, we’ll go over the most common reasons someone would abandon their cart on your website. Then we’ll discuss how you can chip away at cart abandonment using some tried-and-true eCommerce marketing tactics and thoughtful web design.

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The most common reasons people abandon their carts

Browsing a site without purchasing anything is a natural part of the shopping experience. Visitors who do this on your site are less likely in ‘buying mode’ and more likely window shopping. However, there are a handful of reasons why someone may abandon his or her cart that you could have more of an impact on.

Sticker shock after the costs add up

One of the most common reasons why people abandon their carts is due to costs being higher at checkout than they anticipated. Once taxes, shipping costs, and other fees are added up, some shoppers may get cold feet and go hunting for better deals.

Comparing your site to another

Recent research has found that people will visit around three sites before making a purchasing decision, and that number goes up depending on how expensive the item is. People aren’t just comparing prices, either. They’re browsing customer reviews, product details, and even the flexibility of payment options before making a decision.

Being a first-time buyer

It’s typically easier to get existing customers to buy from your site than first-time customers. When someone new visits your store, there’s always the chance that he or she will bounce to a more familiar brand. Therefore, while building brand trust and earning repeat customers can be difficult, it can be profitable in the long run.

Poor checkout experience

Once buyers decide that they want to purchase from your site, it’s crucial to make their experience as seamless as possible. Slow site speed, error messages, and kinks at the payment stage can turn customers off from finishing their purchase. Make your checkout process fast, simple, and secure.

Inflexible checkout process

Requiring customers to create an account with their email address just to finish their purchase can hurt your conversion rate at checkout. Mentioned earlier, not allowing flexible payment options like buy-now-pay-later or digital wallets can also lead to abandoned carts. Ease-of-use at checkout is vital.

4 ways to recover abandoned carts

Now that you’re familiar with the most common causes of cart abandonment, it’s time to look at ways to recover more of those sales. Strategic marketing—and even small improvements to your website—could mean more sales and repeat customers in your future.

01. Add a cart saver popup

When customers are second-guessing their purchases and about to leave your site, a cart saver popup can help reel them back in. These website popups typically appear on exit intent—a type of behavioral trigger that guesstimates when someone is leaving. More and more online retailers are adding cart savers to their sites because of how effective they are at getting someone over the hump to purchase.

example of a cart saver popup

There are a few ways you can target your cart savers. The cart saver example above is triggered based on the value someone has in the cart. The higher the dollar amount, the higher the discount percentage to incentivize a purchase. You can also use cart savers to:

  • Offer a limited-time discount at checkout, e.g., “Buy in the next 10 minutes and receive 15% off your purchase.”

  • Offer free shipping with an order after a value threshold is met.

  • Add a ‘Reveal coupon code’ CTA instead of requiring someone to sign up using an email address.

Cart savers may be exactly what your checkout needs to reduce sticker shock and to convert first-time buyers.

02. Send a cart abandonment email or text message

If you already have someone’s email address, you can go the route of sending abandoned cart emails. These emails can be automatically delivered to your contacts when they’ve left items in their carts. Below is an example of an email nudging the recipient to revisit a saved cart and complete the purchase. It’s not uncommon for these types of emails to contain discount codes as well.

example of a cart abandonment email

A modern approach to abandoned cart messages is cart abandonment text messages. We know more and more consumers are open to the idea of receiving texts from brands that they frequently shop with. In fact, nearly 82% of surveyed shoppers said that they’re currently opted-in to at least one brand’s SMS marketing program.

Text marketing has grown in popularity due to consumers being on their phones more often and for longer periods of time. Beyond serving as a great remarketing channel, SMS is steadily becoming a primary sales channel for eCommerce brands after they create an eCommerce website.

example of an abandoned cart text

In the example above, we can see that cart abandonment texts are essentially the same as emails, but more concise so that the customer isn’t overwhelmed by a long message. A direct link to the person’s saved cart is included to maximize checkout efficiency.

03. Improve your product page experience

We mentioned earlier how customers will visit at least three sites before making a purchasing decision. If you want them to end up going with your brand, make your product page experience informative, easy to understand, and authentic with reviews from other customers.

Make it informative

Tell everything you’d want customers to know about your product. Give them a detailed description, sizing charts, shipping information, product dimensions, and so on. The trick here is to be informative without overwhelming someone.

screenshot of sticky lemon's product page

Make it easy to understand

You’ll want to pair your informative text with enough pictures and videos so that a visitor has a better understanding of what they’re buying. If you don’t have professional product photography, you can always use a mockup generator to produce high-quality product photos for your site.

screenshot of sena runa's product page

Highlight customer reviews

Finally, to make your product page experience stand out, you should highlight reviews and testimonials from other customers. About 95% of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. If your site skips out on reviews, testimonials, and even social media UGC, what’s stopping them from shopping elsewhere?

Your product pages are the staple of your eCommerce site. A poor product page experience can have sitewide effects on your abandoned carts and overall conversion rates. Don’t overlook this step.

screenshot of the tea story's product page

04. Offer a variety of payment options

Today’s consumers aren’t just checking out with their credit or debit cards, they’re also using digital wallets such as Apple Pay and PayPal, plus buy-now-pay-later programs. In fact, over half of online shoppers used BNPL in 2021. Being able to spread out payments over months at a time makes your store more accessible to more customers.

Offering only the standard payment options could limit how many people finish their purchases. It could even be the difference between a sale and someone leaving for another website.

Start chipping away at cart abandonment today

While it’s not feasible to completely eliminate cart abandonment on your website, there are many ways to reduce it, as seen in this article. Imagine being able to recover 5% to 10% of your abandoned carts. This could mean a huge sales boost for your online store.

Provide timely discounts or free shipping to reduce sticker shock, make your product page experience enjoyable, retarget customers on their preferred channel (whether it’s email or SMS), and offer payment flexibility. Focusing on these core items will help you to chip away at cart abandonment.

Devin Pickell

Growth Marketing Manager, Privy

Devin Pickell is a growth marketing manager at Privy and former growth marketer at Nextiva, G2, and Sphere Consulting. In his free time, he enjoys drawing, reading, writing, and Tweeting about sports and business.

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