What You Need to Know About Cart Abandonment: A Complete Guide

On average, about three out of every four online shoppers add items to their virtual cart but don’t buy them. So to say cart abandonment is an issue worth addressing is a bit of an understatement. Are you sitting down? Because the mobile shopping rate is even higher (Over 80%!) If 75-80% of customers are doing anything undesirable, and you’re not doing anything to fix that, you’re hurting your business.

Reaching those customers and converting those sales with liverecover is essential to maintaining both the bottom line and brand loyalty you’re after. Ignoring such an issue first and foremost leaves potential earnings on the table and out of your pocket, and that’s never the play for smart, savvy business owners. If you can reach your customers who abandon their carts via a human vs. a bot like you can with LiveRecover, your conversion rate against abandoned carts will be higher. It’s that simple. 

Abandonment Issues

There are lots of reasons online shoppers choose not to make purchases after filling their carts. Understanding those reasons and making sure your site is optimized to prevent them can go a long way toward helping your business. Here are some of the top reasons, according to an extensive study conducted recently by Baymard. Once you understand them, you’ll have a better chance at converting those sales.

Unexpected Cost

When a customer encounters higher-than-expected shipping costs or handling fees at checkout, that surprise can make them bail before putting their payment through. In fact, this is the leading reason for cart abandonment, accounting for nearly half of all of those that were reported.

Making an Account

Requiring account creation to make a purchase is a big turn-off for online shoppers. Even if you have a “Checkout as Guest” option, that is sometimes overlooked. At checkout, your shopper is noting they are at a certain point in the process. Your site derails that idea by bringing up an account set up, membership sign up, or whatever you like to call it. 

Customers are thinking (correctly) that the checkout process is about them. To be suddenly asked to create an account makes it about you, the seller. That’s not going to sit right with many online shoppers who are just trying to make a purchase and get back to their day.

Unanswered Questions

If a shopper adds an item to the cart, it’s safe to say their questions about the product itself have been answered. But what about your return policy? Credit card security? Shipping cost calculation? Delivery schedule? If answers to these questions are not clear, satisfactory, and easily accessible, you’re risking cart abandonment every time.

UI Problems

We’ve all been there, and there’s nothing that’s more frustrating to an online shopper than the button that won’t click or the page that won’t refresh. Do you have a coupon or promo code? It’s best to make sure it works and applies the claimed discount. In addition, sometimes, the checkout process is just too long or confusing. All of these problems are things your customer takes away and remembers about your brand. And that’s not good.  

Saving for Later

It’s fair to say some online shoppers use their virtual cart as a “save for later” storage space, even if your site offers that function separately. Doing this creates an easy way for them to avoid having to search and find the desired item again when they return to the site. These cart savers are still deciding. Maybe they’re checking with their spouse or roommate for consensus before buying. It doesn’t really matter what their reason is. As an e-commerce retailer, you have no real way of knowing any of this. For you, it’s just another abandoned cart that should not be ignored.

How to Prevent Cart Abandonment

As we’ve already established, cart abandonment is a real, prevalent issue, and there’s virtually no way to eliminate it entirely. You can, however, lessen occurrences now that you know the info above regarding why people abandon their carts. In short, there are some key considerations to consider when building your site.

  1. Make sure shipping and delivery information are clear and upfront. Nobody likes surprises, and surprises often mean cart abandonment.
  2. It’s great to have customers create accounts on your site but keep in mind the “while I have their attention” mentality could backfire on you, resulting in abandoned carts. Let the checkout process flow unhindered. Such an experience can actually help make a site account attractive to a customer.
  3. This goes without saying, but always make sure your site is running smoothly and free of glitches. Buttons should take customers where they say, and pages/images should load quickly.     

How to Reach Cart Abandoners

When you have an abandoned cart, it’s imperative that you connect with that customer as soon as possible, while their interest in your product is still top of mind. For obvious reasons, this approach greatly increases your chance of converting the sale. There are a few ways you can reach those customers, and you should understand what’s effective and ineffective about each one.

Whichever format you choose, your message should be respectful of your customer. In other words, make your communication short, friendly, and direct. To further incentivize your customer, keep in mind this cart abandonment reach-out message provides a great opportunity to offer a small discount to entice them back into your checkout process. 


Although this is a direct communication to your customer, being present in someone’s over-cluttered inbox is not going to provide the connection you want. And then there’s the junk folder, too. Studies show that emails have an open rate of about 20% and a response rate of only 6%. Those aren’t numbers you want driving your business strategy. 

Truth be told, email is great for things like transaction confirmation and product inquiries (so customers have the written record) but addressing and potentially converting cart abandonment is a more time-sensitive, small-window issue. 

Retargeting Ads

Your customers are online a lot when they’re not on your site. Having your brand and even their abandoned items show up in Google or Facebook ads is a great way to remind them of their interest. The process of setting up ads like this and making them operational is relatively easy. Most businesses already have retargeting ads as part of their marketing strategy. If yours does not, it’s definitely something you would want to look into it. 

Showing Up at Their Door

We’re kidding. Don’t do that. No one does that.


Text is a more immediate format, and people are far more likely to read a text than they are an email. In fact, the same report has open text rates at nearly 98% and response rates at upwards of 45%. And reaching out to your cart abandoners via text message makes it three times more likely to end in recovery than it would be if your message arrived by an automated email. By partnering with an experienced, specialized company like LiveRecover, you can take your text outreach to the next level by having your messages come from actual people instead of an automated bot.  

The Personal Touch

Automated response systems using bots can be helpful, and there are times when that is clearly the best choice. However, most online shoppers are savvy enough to know when they’re talking to a real person via email, chat, or text. So trying to “fake it” is probably not worth your time or effort. That said, there’s nothing wrong with AI advances making chatbots and automated texts sound more human, but nothing beats a real, live, one-on-one interaction. This fact matters because shoppers want to know that they’re important to your company, and they don’t just want a link to your site’s FAQ page. 

Having a system in place like that with LiveRecover, your company contacts customers through human beings who are specifically looking to resolve the cart abandonment issue. You can find out why they abandoned, and then go from there to convert their interest into a sale. Customers recognize the special, non-bot treatment, and that’s a plus for your brand. 

The Bottom Line

96% of online shoppers who visit your site don’t purchase anything. Up to 70% go as far as placing one or more items in their cart, a clear sign of purchase interest. When those carts are abandoned, it’s up to your business to take action and convert that interest into a sale. Of all the outreach options, having your customers engage in a text conversation with an actual person from LiveRecover gives you the best chance to finalize that sale.


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