The Evolution of the Abandoned Cart

In the world of e-commerce, is there anything worse than cart abandonment?

You work hard to get visitors to your site and then through the sales funnel—so it’s frustrating when you lose them at the last minute. Cart abandonment hurts your bottom line, results in wasted ad spend, and adds to your customer acquisition costs, too.

A small consolation: If you’re dealing with a high cart abandonment rate, you’re not alone. According to Baymard, the average cart abandonment rate is upwards of 70%.

In this post, we’ll look at the evolution of cart abandonment as well as some tips for fixing the issue and lowering your overall cart abandonment rate.

The Nuts and Bolts of Cart Abandonment

Before we get too far, let’s establish a foundation of understanding about what cart abandonment is and why it matters.

Cart abandonment, by definition, is when an online shopper adds items to their virtual shopping carts but doesn’t complete the purchase. The average cart abandonment rate varies by industry, but across the board, it hovers between 70-80% for online purchases.

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Why does cart abandonment happen? Why do shoppers take the time to put items in their carts, but don’t finish the checkout and complete the purchase?

Many factors contribute, including:

1.) Unanswered questions. If the product page doesn’t have enough information, product photos, or details about things like the company return/exchange policy, it may leave the customer with unanswered questions, which keeps them from finishing the purchase.

2.) Poor mobile UI/UX. Having a mobile-friendly website doesn’t automatically mean your checkout workflow is top-notch on mobile devices. If there are elements that are difficult to use on a small phone screen (like trying to use a live chat feature that’s not displaying correctly), customers will leave their carts behind out of pure frustration.

3.) Shipping costs more than expected. 23% of abandoned carts come from surprise costs (like a hefty shipping and handling fee) that the buyer didn’t know about upfront. Again, unanswered questions and unexpected fees are a huge problem when it comes to order completion.

This chart from Statista also illustrates reasons for cart abandonment with some added visual context:

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It’s clear that cart abandonment is caused by a multitude of reasons…but all of them eat away at a brand’s bottom line. There’s a common theme here, too: Uncertainty is the enemy of conversion.

When it comes to getting shoppers to follow through and buy, it’s essential for brands to help eliminate that uncertainty in any way they can.

How Cart Abandonment is Evolving

US cart abandonment has been on the rise, growing steadily alongside online sales. Since 2012 the average has hovered in the 70 percentile range but is up slightly in more recent years, as shown by Statista data.

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In recent years, however, the issue of cart abandonment has become even more complicated. As shoppers now research and buy products across multiple devices and platforms and as means for product discovery are impacted by things like social media advertising, marketers and brands have to work even harder to convert leads into sales.

The truth of the matter is: As online commerce continues to grow, so will cart abandonment rates. With so much competition in the market around price and product, shoppers have more options than ever before. That means that brands have to go above and beyond to win back attention and convert that initial interest into sales.

So how do they do that?

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment in 2019

1. Use retargeting

Retargeting (or remarketing) helps you stay top-of-mind with customers by reminding them of the products they’ve left behind in ads across platforms like Google and/or Facebook. These ads are easy to deploy and help bring back shoppers with the help of a simple pixel or RSLA that does all the heavy lifting for you.

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2. Promote elements of social proof

Social proof includes trust-building elements like case studies, social media praise, testimonials, ratings, and reviews that help other happy customers validate your brand and its products. And guess what? They help you close more sales. By promoting these assets in cart abandonment emails and other follow-up efforts, you harness the wisdom of the crowd and help convince your would-be customer you’re worth buying from.

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3. Leverage text recovery

You may not realize it, but recovery abandonment doesn’t happen only through email automation. In fact, text messaging has a 21% recovery rate compared to email’s mere 7%. With a tool like LiveRecover, you have access to a team that can quickly answer customer questions via direct contact on a mobile device and nudge shoppers to the final checkout phase. LiveRecover’s live sales team will quickly answer customers questions via text message and help to complete the sales recovery process.

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4. Follow up with drip campaigns

While text messaging may be more effective at recovering abandoned carts, there’s still a place in your strategy for drip campaigns that help win back customers who didn’t complete a purchase. In fact, Salesforce data shows that 60% of shoppers will return to a website after receiving a series of personalized follow-up emails after abandoning their carts. You can use an automated drip email campaign to educate, reinforce value, and maybe even offer a discount code to move the buyer down the sales funnel toward conversion.

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Demo LiveRecover today and see how two way text messaging can be an important part of your reduced cart abandonment strategy.

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