Shopping Cart Abandonment

shopping cart abandonment

One of the best presentations I’ve sat through at Conversion Conference 2012 was the session about Shopping Cart Abandonment. In the past online marketing professionals always talked about shopping cart abandonment like it was a bad thing. It turns out recent studies have proven that cart abandonment =/= bad, it is actually a good thing as long as you know how to use it to your advantage.

shopping cart abandonment

  • Only 0.25% of new visitors will buy on the first visit
  • 46% of purchases above $100 were made after remarketing efforts
  • 72% of customers will abandon their cart
  • 26% can be recovered using shopping cart abandonment tools
  • 8 % will return and buy anyways
  • remarketing will increases 18% return purchases within 2 days
  • abandonment has grown recently due to mobile browsing


Bottom line is abandonment is now part of the online purchase process, so you can either ignore it like most people do, or embrace it and use it to your advantage.  Some of the basics in shopping cart abandonment are things like

sending automated emails to customer

Most eCommerce platforms have the ability to set up automated emails to trigger based on shopping cart behavior.  If your platform doesn’t come with this feature out-of-the-box then you can usually find an existing plug-in (open source platforms) or you can have your developers customize a shopping cart abandonment feature.  All it takes is identifying the item(s) that was recently added to a customers shopping cart then sending an automated email to that customer after they abandon their cart.  Some people believe in sending an email immediately after someone abandons their cart, others say wait a day or two, and some even send emails up to a week or two later.  Personally, I think sending one later the same day or the next day after the cart is abandoned is ideal because you want them to have your product still in the back of their mind but you don’t want to move so fast that you look like a stalker.  Ideally you should set up a cascading email campaign where one email is sent then based on the result of the first email a second email is then triggered.  So if the first email is opened then the cascade is finished and only one email was necessary.  However, if the first email is not opened then a second email should be sent out within a day or two as a reminder.  This email should show the original product but it may also include some recommended products.  If that email is opened then great, if not then a third email is sent the following week.  The third and last email should include some kind of a discount which gives an additional reason to purchase but not enough to the point where all customers will just wait a week to buy anything.  If you are using Magento Enterprise Edition (EE), Shopify, Bigcommerce or Volusion then this feature is out of the box.  For platforms like Magento Community Edition there are extensions.  For other platforms you can use third party services like

Surveys that open when cart is abandoned

Another cart abandonment strategy is having a customer service survey pop up when someone abandons your cart.  I personally don’t like this idea but I understand the logic behind it.  The person who recommended this hit on the point that when a customer is leaving it never hurts to ask a final question because you are losing that customer anyways.  I disagree with this logic because it goes against the fact that most customer leave but plan to return, so you run the risk of annoying those customers.  I also don’t like this idea because you end up skewing your customer service survey results by only selecting customers on their way out instead of getting in put from customers throughout the entire shopping experience.

Live Chat that opens when cart is abandoned

Like the survey idea, you can program your live chat window to pop up or light box when a customer leaves your shopping cart.  I agree more with this strategy than I do with the survey because live support is a great way to add the human element back into the online shopping experience.  Even if the customer doesn’t choose to use the live chat, it shows them that it is there in case they have any questions.

Derrick Chan