An abandoned cart occurs when a potential customer adds items to their shopping cart and then leaves the website without completing the checkout process.

Cart abandonment is a common occurrence for every eCommerce site, with the average abandonment rate at 69%, according to a survey conducted by Baymard.

Note: You can calculate your shopping cart abandonment rate “by dividing the number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created by customers. Then subtract this value from one and multiply by 100 to get the percentage”. For example, 100 successful purchases / 300 carts created = 0.33. Then 1 - 0.33 = 0.66. Finally, we multiply 0.66 * 100 = 66%.

However, high abandonment rates can be the result of friction during the buying process. These factors include UX design, trust, overly-complicated processes, and more.

The good news is that most of these users abandoning their carts have buying intent and just need a little push to convert. This high level of intent makes this a great area to attack when trying to increase the overall conversion rate of your site.

Abandoned cart recovery: 10 Strategies to Convert Abandoned Carts Into Sales [Plus Examples]

Before jumping into the strategies, it’s important to understand that there’s no real way to make your cart abandonment rate zero. It’s normal for an eCommerce site to have abandoned carts.

The goal here is to make this rate as low as possible by analyzing and optimizing the buyer’s journey. It’s all about taking a closer look at exactly what point your customers are leaving and taking some actions to prevent it.

Without further ado, here are 10 creative ways to fix your abandoned carts problem:

1. Create a Cart Abandonment SMS Drip Campaign

A drip campaign is basically a series of automated interactions that nurture a user through their journey into becoming a customer.

Although you might have heard about email drip campaigns, there’s a far more effective way: SMS marketing.

When compared to email, SMS has the highest open and reply rate. According to a survey conducted by Mobile Monkey:

  • SMS messages have a 98% open rate compared to only 20% of emails

  • The response rate of SMS text message marketing is 45% vs email response rates at 6%

  • 19% of links in text messages are clicked vs 2% of links in emails

  • SMS produces engagement rates six to eight times higher than retailers normally achieve via email marketing

With those numbers, creating an SMS campaign should be your first tactic to reduce cart abandonment.

You can create automated SMS conversations using the Emotive platform and reach those users that have abandoned their carts.

Although the rule of thumb is testing your workflow and optimizing it until you find the best combination, here are a few SMS strategies you need to consider implementing:

  1. A text reminding them about the products they were looking at.

  2. An incentive like a promo code or gift.

  3. Some additional product recommendations, based on the item they left in their carts.

Most importantly, every text message should sound genuine and personal. Conversational SMS is about human connection - which is why consumers prefer text messages in the first place - so make sure every text is pushing your relationship further. This is the approach Bikini Crush Swimwear used to increase its sales to $126K.

2. Retargeting Potential Buyers using Google Ads and Facebook

While our first strategy is about direct communication, retargeting the users that visited your site is all about keeping your brand and products at the forefront of their minds.

In essence, by adding a pixel to your pages, you can trigger specific ad campaigns that “follow” your potential customers. You can do this using Google Ads or Facebook retargeting, depending on where your customer is spending the most time (social media or browsing websites).

Of course, you’ll need to plan the campaign ahead of time and really understand your audience to build an optimized flow that’ll bring the ideal traffic back to your site.

The power behind this is timing. After a user has left your site, your retargeting campaign will kick in and convince your potential customer to return and finish the checkout process. It is highly scalable and if you’re already using PPC, this strategy alone can highly increase ROI.

Here are five retargeting strategies you can implement in a few minutes.

3. Offer Real-Time Customer Support

When people shop in-store, they can interact with the staff or owner and feel the product in their hands. That’s something missing in the digital shopping experience that makes it harder for consumers to fully trust your products.

Having real-time conversations so they can ask questions and get a reply within seconds is crucial to increase your conversion rate.

Something invaluable when using SMS drip campaigns is that users can reply to your text right away, eliminating the time friction that email or other channels usually have.

Further, giving the customer fast support will strengthen trust and ease their concerns, thus making it easier for them to make a buying decision on the spot.

Quirks used real-time texting to connect with collectors looking for unique items, hitting a 23x ROI after the first month and a 62% response rate since implementation. This strategy works because Kendra, Quirk’s owner, uses SMS to clear any concern or doubt customers have while they’re exploring her catalog of products, eliminating any friction there could be during the checkout process.

4. Make the Checkout Process Easier

Optimizing your checkout process could be one of the most important tasks on this list. If site data shows that a lot of drop-offs are happening at one of the checkout stages it’s even more crucial to take a closer look.

Although you’ll have to A/B test your checkout pages to determine the best solution, here are a few things to consider:

  • Eliminate any external links from your checkout pages. Users can easily get distracted and if they click away, it could be pretty hard to get them to return to the process.

  • Offer several payment methods customers can choose from.

  • Clearly state all the fees the customer will need to pay like taxes, shipping, etc.

  • Related to the previous tip, set clear expectations. The worst thing to do is to make the consumer go through the entire process to then realize they’ll receive their products a month later.

  • Make the process as short as possible. In a lot of cases, one page for billing and another for shipping will be more than enough, but if you need more information, try to keep it at no more than three pages.

  • Allows users to make a purchase without creating an account. Just think about how many times you just closed a site after being asked to create an account. Pretty often, right? Now imagine how that could impact your own site visitors.

Here’s a great example from Verve Coffee - built on Shopify. It has multiple payment options, shows the total cost of the item, provides a recommendation that fits the buyer cart, and displays the process (steps) on the top of the page.

5. Keep Your Product Top of Mind Throughout the Checkout Process

Another off-putting factor when buying online is that you can’t really hold the product while purchasing it. In many cases, once you’ve chosen your items, the website sends the consumer to a blank and almost unrelated checkout form.

A simple way to make the payment process more appealing is to showcase the list of products (and if possible thumbnails) throughout every page. This will keep the mind of the buyer on the products and not just on the uncomfortable process of adding their billing information.

6. Add Customer Reviews to Your Product Pages

Social proof is highly valuable for consumers, even more so for online shopping because consumers can’t really feel or see the quality of products for themselves.

To bridge this gap, ask your customers for feedback and add it to the page. If they can do it themselves even better. Transparency is the best policy when it comes to building trust.

You can even add the best reviews to other checkout pages to keep your customers in a positive mindset and brush away any second thoughts they might have.

7. Optimize Your Product Pages’ Loading Speed and Design

Your ecommerce product pages are your sales team. These pages can make or break your shop so you need to pay close attention to how they are performing and why.

Although copy is an integral part of your product page, the feel of it will be determined by the loading speed and design.

Modern product pages are dynamic and have a clear theme. Interactions sell the feeling of the product - otherwise lost by the digital experience.

Master Dynamic is a great example of good product page design. It uses high-resolution images and videos to showcase the product, allowing the user to pick the color of the headsets and preview how they would look from different angles.

All of this is done without compromising load speed. All images and videos load quickly, and nothing jumps around on the screen as you scroll down.

After conducting their own research, Bidnamic found that “for every second the site loads faster, the conversion rate improves by 17%”.

Site design also influences trust and user experience. When consumers enter a poorly designed website, they will rapidly bounce away as they might believe that it’s an untrustworthy site.

You wouldn’t buy your clothing at a typo-filled, scammy-looking store, would you?

Shopify has a really practical guide on how to optimize your product pages for conversions.

8. Let Users Save Items in a Wishlist

The reasoning behind implementing a wishlist is that a lot of consumers use shopping carts as their wishlists, adding a lot of noise to your metrics, or targeting people that are not quite ready to be marketed to. 

By having a wishlist feature in place you’ll successfully:

  • Clean your data from false abandoned carts

  • Provide a reason for users to create an account

  • Ease the buying experience

  • Segment your audience further by creating a list of engaged potential customers

Take note, while a wishlist will decrease your abandonment rate and clean up your data, it may not necessarily increase your sales. You’ll still gain valuable data in the process though - like which products are popular, but not driving actual revenue. 

9. Create Incentives to Close Deals and Build Loyalty

Customer loyalty it’s all about building trust. In the world of eCommerce, you need customers to buy from you so you have the opportunity to delight them and create a meaningful connection.

You can use your SMS lists to provide special discount coupons. These discounts will encourage your customers to take action - even more so if they have time limits.

There is a problem with this approach though. If you create a coupons-based culture around your sales, you face the challenge of having them waiting for the next round of discounts before buying anything else.

A creative solution for this is creating an SMS VIP list where you don’t only offer discounts but also provide unique/exclusive items only VIP customers have access to. Whether it is for a limited time or only VIP accessible forever, exclusivity can improve your relationship with customers.

Another incentive you can try is a reward system. This system rewards buying more, instead of waiting for discounts.

If you’re reading between the lines, all these incentives can be used to build a loyal community around your brand and products.

10. Provide Clear Return Policies

While this isn’t the most creative or original solution, the truth is that a lot of consumers care about return policies. This is especially true for new customers that aren’t sure of the quality of your goods yet.

Having your return policies explicitly displayed on the checkout or product page can take a lot of stress out of the mind of the customer, they know that if anything goes wrong with the product, they can still get their money back.

Just adding a few lines or a page with your return policy can save a lot of time and increase your conversion rate substantially.

If you need help writing, Customer Paradigm wrote a clear guide on writing return policies that increase sales that’s worth checking out.

Wrapping Up: Why Customers Abandon Their Shopping Carts

There are as many reasons for abandoned carts as there are consumers in the market. However, you can only focus on those that are under your control:

  1. High hidden costs. There’s nothing worse than getting the surprise of a higher price than expected - whether it’s shipping or sales tax or added platform fees. A simple fix is letting customers know the total price up front before moving to the checkout page.

  2. The checkout page is behind a wall. Forcing your customers to create an account can be a double-edged sword. There’s definitely a marketing advantage to having them create an account, but it can quickly hit your conversion rate by adding more friction for new buyers.

  3. Customers don’t feel safe. Billing information is very sensitive data and consumers, in most cases, won’t risk it if your site looks untrustworthy. Some quick fixes are adding trust badges (like Norton or BBB), buying an SSL certificate, and improving your overall site design.

  4. Limited payment options. If you don’t accept their payment method, they won’t be able to purchase. Very simple. The sad part is that even if you update your accepted payment methods, all those that couldn’t pay before won’t be back. Change this quickly to avoid losing more business.

  5. Excessive cross-selling and upselling. A lot of websites try to sell more products to those customers already buying. The problem is that you can easily overwhelm and distract your customers from finishing their main purchase. Keep the upsells and cross-sells at a minimum, or save them for later campaigns.

  6. Your site is not mobile-friendly. Most online traffic comes from mobile devices, so if your site isn’t optimized to provide the best experience for mobile visitors, then they will bounce away from your site. Test your site frequently on phones and tablets to ensure that everything is working properly. 

  7. Long checkout process. Online purchases are still stressful for a lot of consumers, especially when buying from new vendors. If your payment process has a lot of steps or requires a long time to complete, most consumers will look for a more friendly alternative. Consider Amazon’s one-click checkout process - you might not have the ability to offer that level of convenience, but keep the process as minimal as possible.

If you keep an eye on these factors and optimize your entire journey with the strategies shared above, you’ll see big improvements.

For those without a huge budget, we recommend starting with an SMS abandonment cart campaign and looking for areas to improve the checkout process. These two tactics will be more than enough to get some quick sales to fund further optimizations.