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How to stop cart abandonment

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Last editedSep 20212 min read

Cart abandonment is a huge sore spot for ecommerce companies. Online sales are stronger than ever (due to a combination of the pandemic, IoT sales and mobile device sales). Nonetheless, most online retailers strive to improve their conversion rates and drive down cart abandonment. 

Online shoppers are much more likely to abandon shopping carts than they would in a physical store. According to a survey by Barclaycard, abandoned carts result in £18bn in lost sales in the UK alone each year. Last year, 41% of online shopping carts were abandoned, compared to 24% of shoppers who would have walked away from purchases in a physical store.

What is cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the great frustrations of the ecommerce sector. Prospective customers visit your online store, and load a basket full of goodies but leave your store before completing their purchase. 

While it can be frustrating, cart abandonment is an important business metric that can tell you a lot about the customer experience you offer.

Why do I have so many abandoned carts? 

There are a lot of reasons why customers abandon their carts. And it’s very rarely anything to do with the products themselves. Understanding the causes of cart abandonment can help you to optimise your website and product pages to drive down abandonment rates.

Common reasons for cart abandonment include:

  • Complexity – If the purchasing process is too complicated or time-consuming, shoppers will abandon their carts and seek out a quicker, easier experience. Simplifying the process can help to convert abandoned carts.

  • Price – A shopper may abandon their cart if they see the same product for sale elsewhere. Using retargeting tools, special offers and coupon codes can ensure customers that the best deal is the one right in front of them.

  •  Shipping costs – Customers will walk away from a sale if the cost of shipping bumps up the price tag. Try free shipping promotions to see how they affect abandonment rates.

  • Lack of trust in your brand – Customers are often wary of new brands. See if you can improve social proof by incentivising customers to leave positive reviews.

  • Technical issues – If a technical problem makes your page slow and unresponsive, customers are likely to abandon their carts. This is why A/B testing is so important in optimising conversion rates and targeting cart abandonment.

  • Lack of payment options – In the land of ecommerce, convenience is king. Failing to appeal to a customer’s payment preferences may result in rising cart abandonment. If they can pay with PayPal or their preferred e-wallet, the sale may be much faster and more convenient for them. 

How to recover abandoned carts?

Above, we’ve looked at the reasons why customers abandon their carts and how addressing them directly can help you to improve conversion rates. But is there any way to recover carts that have already been abandoned?

There are two techniques that may prove effective in luring customers back to complete their purchase:

Cart abandonment emails

Many retailers send shoppers who have abandoned their carts an email featuring the products they missed out on. This can give them a gentle nudge, and entice them back to your store. You may want to use a special discount code as a sweetener. But be wary of overusing this tactic. Otherwise, customers may routinely abandon their carts and wait for the discount email to drop into their inbox. 


Retargeting / remarketing helps your brand to stay with customers after they’ve left your page. Placing an ad pixel on your checkout page allows you to retarget customers on platforms like Google or Facebook. This can be effective in targeting prospects that have not yet provided you with their email address. 

We Can Help

If you’re interested in finding out more about targeting cart abandonment and driving conversion rates, then get in touch with our financial experts. Discover how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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