AI in Retail

Shopping Cart Abandonment In Ecommerce And Strategies To Reduce It8 min read

December 19, 2018 7 min read

Shopping Cart Abandonment In Ecommerce And Strategies To Reduce It8 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Consider this scenario. A shopper voluntarily looks up your website to check out what you have to offer. She spends a fair bit of time browsing the entire site to narrow down on a maxi dress, a matching handbag, and a pair of stilettos to go with it.

You’d expect her to go through with the purchase. Yet, after she moves everything to the shopping cart, she decides to abandon it and leave your site.

This is the fate of fashion retailers, big and small, more often than you’d think. Cart abandonment, as it happens, is a fairly huge problem in ecommerce. According to a  Statista report 40 percent of internet users abandoned online fashion orders.

But, what is responsible for this? We delve into a few of the reasons for shoppers abandoning their carts on a fashion retailer’s website

A Lengthy Sign-Up Process

The whole point of shoppers choosing to purchase online is that it’s quick and easy. Facing the ordeal of several sign-up steps after having spent time browsing on a fashion retailer’s website is bound to frustrate them.

Sure, having access to customer data is vital for marketing. But pushing a customer to share that data with compulsory sign-ups or a loyalty program they don’t need could have a detrimental effect.

Expensive Shipping

Customers almost always decide to buy something they like on a fashion brand’s online store after carefully considering the price. But, on heading to checkout, they often find that the final invoice includes several additional charges like shipping and taxes that increase the cost of their purchase considerably.

This naturally frustrates them, causing them to abandon their shopping carts. In 2017, 63% of online shoppers in the US were found to have abandoned their carts because of expensive shipping.

A Drawn-Out, Complicated Checkout Process

Even if shoppers have spent a fair bit of time picking out what they want to buy, a long or cumbersome checkout process is bound to throw them off and make them want to abandon their shopping carts.

Payment solutions provider Splitit recently conducted a survey, which revealed that as many as 87% online shoppers will ditch their carts at checkout if the process ends up being too long or complicated. Not just that, 55% of such shoppers would not even come back to the retailer’s site after abandoning their carts. This obviously means huge losses in revenues!

Poor usability because of a clunky UI or long, unnecessary forms for customer info is often responsible for this. Even something as basic as filling an address form can seem complicated because it offers a challenge in the form of too many boxes underneath each other.

The act of moving them around a bit to make them look less daunting alone can help increase your conversion rates. A good example is the checkout page on ASOS. Instead of offering all the forms in one go, the customer is led step-by-step to filling out information.

Source: asos

Also, while ads are great for your business, having too many of them – especially on the checkout page – could bother customers enough to abandon their shopping carts.

Insufficient Payment Options And Security

Every customer prefers certain payment options over others. If they don’t find these listed on a fashion retailer’s website while buying something, they’re likely to ditch their shopping carts and move to a competitor’s site simply because their preferred and trusted payment options are available there.

Also, websites that process payments directly without a safe payment gateway may run the risk of security issues.

Failing to keep Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates up-to-date and not displaying industry-standard trust logos can also leave shoppers feeling that a fashion retailer’s website isn’t safe. A survey revealed that 84% of shoppers would not buy anything if they noticed data was being transmitted over an unsafe connection.

Strategies To Reduce Cart Abandonment

While the issues mentioned above are commonplace and often plague online fashion retailers, it is possible to resolve them and prevent shopping cart abandonment with the strategies below.

  1. Transparent Pricing Information Across The Site

No customer wants to be shocked by exorbitant prices at the end of their shopping experience. While it is not always possible to waive shipping and other charges for customers, it bodes well for you to ensure transparency at every stage. Even if you do intend to charge customers for shipping, mentioning a potential shipping charge on the product page or as a standard message across your website can go a long way in preventing cart abandonment because of expensive shipping.

  1. Provide Ease Of Navigation – Especially At Checkout

Fewer clicks and screens throughout the shopping process, while hard to achieve, is extremely important in preventing cart abandonment. Reducing the number of screens from the start to the end of a customer’s shopping experience on your website can do wonders for this. This means smooth navigation between product pages, a shopper’s wish list, and checkout.

Source: Shutterstock

Ensuring optimized number of form fields for customer info would enable keeping fatigue with respect to mandatory processes to a minimum. Collecting all the information in one critical section, such as billing and payment, minimizes customer drop-off at other points along the journey. Adding an option to ship to the billing address and allowing them to select existing addresses from their address book are now basic features of any retail checkout/payment process and need to be implemented.

Using a progress indicator, along the checkout process, can also work out well. As a shopper moves through each stage of the checkout process, highlight just that section while leaving the rest of the sections visible yet faded. This helps them move back to any stage at any point to make any corrections and to be aware of what other information they need to provide.

  1. Get Rid Of Compulsory Sign-Up Options

Eliminating mandatory sign-up and replacing it with a guest checkout can speed up shopping for a new user. Guest checkout options allow shoppers to complete their purchases after providing just their email addresses and names. A social media sign-up option also works well if users want to create an account on your website without having to manually enter details.

Both these options keeps customers from losing their patience at the time of purchase because they don’t have to deal with a drawn-out sign-up process. This, in turn, lowers shopping cart abandonment and hence increases conversions.

Also, subtly hinting at signing up for loyalty programs rather than forcing it on customers will get them to sign up eventually. To indicate to customers the value of creating their own account, based on features and benefits they will have access to, is more likely to have them sign-up.

  1. Give Customers Access To Popular Payment Options And Ensure Website Safety

Shoppers today don’t stop at choices just for the products they buy. They want choices in the ways they pay for them too. So, providing as many popular payment options as possible is extremely important.

While most customers in the US and UK use their credit cards to pay for purchases, the trend of using other payment options is on the rise. A 2018 study by PayPal has shown that providing PayPal as a payment option can increase conversion by 88.7%. Which retailer wouldn’t want to capitalize on such huge numbers and boost their revenues?

Source: Shutterstock

Websites and payment gateways also need to have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification to protect shoppers from identity theft. Customers are more informed today than ever before. And as many as 28.9% of them are going to look for that green lock in the search bar when they use your website for the first time.

Customers are also keen to know about all the security measures on a site. So, it’s important to ensure that your trust seals are noticeable on your website. You’d be surprised at how much SSL certificates and trust seals can do for your conversion. Displaying a relevant trust seal next to the call to action button not only relieves customers of their anxiety but also increases conversion rates drastically.

  1. Send Timely, Relevant Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment emails, which notify customers about products left in shopping carts, when sent at the right time can vastly improve a brand’s conversion rate. To work well, they need to remind shoppers about all the products in their abandoned carts, with an enticing call to action.

Take the ones sent by Men’s fashion brand Bonobos, for instance. It uses writing in its email like “Distracted? Confused?” that grabs the reader’s attention from the subject line. Ensuring that your cart abandonment emails are not from a “Do Not Reply” mailbox and instead encourage your customer to engage with you, if they want to, is another facilitator.

Sending cart abandonment emails has become more of a requirement than a choice. Given the sheer number of emails in any user’s mailbox, how can your brand stand out? Personalizing cart abandonment emails can help your brand get noticed in that huge pile of emails your customers get from multiple fashion retailers.


With increased AI intervention, it is now even possible to personalize emails with not just contextual data left behind by shoppers but based on their visual style preferences. This includes recommendations for products that are similar to the abandoned ones in colors, patterns, shapes, and styles. This also ensures that you never direct a shopper to an out-of-stock product, rather you provide them an alternative in keeping with their style choices.

It is important that brands and retailers are cognizant of shopping cart abandonment being an issue and constantly tackling it, especially with automation where possible. With these strategies, it is definitely possible to tackle cart abandonment through varied tactics, some of which are now imperative and others which are more innovation driven.

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