Make the most of each customer by ensuring that your buying experience isn’t inadvertently turning them off.
Cart and checkout abandonment account for up to a 70% loss in sales on average, based on 41 studies conducted between 2012 and 2019. Reducing and recapturing this lost revenue can greatly increase your conversions, allowing you to grow faster.
The essential difference is at which point in the process customers abandon, after adding an item to the cart or after starting checkout, so understanding the difference between cart and checkout abandonment is key.
To fully understand the impact checkout abandonment is having on your business, it’s important that you calculate the checkout abandonment rate accurately for a clear representation of how many customers are leaving checkout. This data point can then be used to draw meaningful insights about abandonment including volume, frequency, and reasons for drop-offs.
To help you understand why users are leaving and reduce the impact of abandonment, this post will cover the following:
Using the correct metrics, you can translate the strategies here into your own practices, testing what works for you most effectively. Over time, you can minimize the impact abandoned checkouts have on your bottom line, allowing you to increase sales and revenue.
The checkout abandonment rate is the percentage of customers that are leaving checkout after initiating the checkout process. It is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the number of initiated checkouts that are abandoned, subtracting this value from 1, and multiplying by 100.
A checkout abandonment rate is an indication of how well your checkout process is performing and how users are responding to it. A higher abandonment rate means there are problems with your checkout process while a lower abandonment rate means customers are enjoying the experience.
The checkout abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the conversion rate (the total number of completed transactions) by the number of initiated checkouts, subtracting it from 1, and multiplying it by 100. This gives you the inverse of the checkout conversion rate.
The checkout abandonment rate formula can be represented by the following:
Checkout Abandonment Rate = 1 – (# of orders completed / # of checkouts initiated) x 100
This gives you the percentage of customers that are abandoning purchase after initiating checkout. You can use this information to draw conclusions about the average order value lost, potential lost revenue due to abandonment, and how much ROI could be recaptured by reducing abandonment rates.
Use data segmentation to identify user personas, traffic sources, and device information. Identify struggling areas and develop strategies to reduce abandonment and lost revenue.
To get started calculating your abandonment rate, see the resources below. These calculators are accessible online, downloadable, or are templates that help you create your own checkout abandonment calculator. Some are the bare basics, and some are fully functioning calculators that let you input data and output results for you.
Use the tool of your choice to calculate checkout abandonment rates, and use that data to draw further insights into estimated lost revenue and the value of potentially recaptured revenue. View the examples below and develop a calculator that works for your needs.
|Resource||Type of tool||How it helps calculate abandonment rate|
|Google Sheets Abandonment Rate Calculator||Template||Provides instructions for creating a checkout abandonment calculator in Google Sheets that will calculate your checkout abandonment rate, estimated lost revenue, and potentially recovered or increased revenue.|
|Free Ecommerce Cart Abandonment Calculator||Downloadable Calculator||Lets you input your data and will calculate your checkout abandonment rate for you, and provide more detailed information. Compare the performance of your funnel to the eCommerce average and gain data on both lost customers and lost revenue.|
|Checkout Conversion Calculator||Online Calculator||Developed in connecting with PYMNTS.com, BlueSnap’s checkout conversion calculator helps you evaluate the rate of conversion on your service. Use this in reverse to determine abandonment rates.|
|ROI of Decreased Funnel or Cart Abandonment Rate||Online Calculator||Lets you input data to output information online so you can compare and analyze quickly. Rather than simply calculate abandonment rate, this calculator lets you input your abandonment rate before and after optimization efforts, so you can track the increase or decrease in abandonment rates as well as potential ROI captured.|
|Cart Abandonment: Calculating opportunity loss||Online Calculator||Lets you input data to get checkout abandonment and conversion rate information. Input the number of checkout visitors, how many initiated checkout, and how many completed sales.|
|How to calculate cart abandonment rate||Online Calculator||Input data in form fields for monthly site visitors, conversion rate, and average order value to get information on estimated lost revenue and the amount that could be recovered with checkout abandonment strategies.|
|How much revenue could you be recovering?||Online Calculator||Allows you to input data and output cart abandonment rates as well as potential ROI that could be recovered using email recovery tactics.|
|A Basket Abandonment Calculator||Downloadable Calculator||This basket abandonment calculator lets you input information about abandoned carts to gain insights into the cart abandonment rate and the average revenue lost.|
To gain an understanding of how checkout abandonment affects your business, you need more than just the checkout abandonment rate alone. The complete picture of checkout abandonment can be developed by looking at a number of checkout abandonment statistics that should be tracked and analyzed to draw meaningful, actionable insights.
Here are some of the most impactful checkout abandonment metrics to track and measure across industries.
While the abandonment rate is extremely important, it does little to indicate the actual revenue lost. By measuring the average abandoned order value, you can gain insight into the true value lost with each customer that leaves your checkout.
How to apply this: Balancing the difference between lost customers and lost revenue can help you reduce the impact of abandonment on revenue, despite losing customers. Knowing the average value of abandoned checkouts gives you a greater idea of the impact it has on your bottom line as opposed to customer engagement.
The total time it takes a customer to complete a purchase helps you evaluate the effort it takes to convince a customer to buy. The less time it takes them to buy, the happier they are with the experience.
Why track it: Knowing how long the average customer takes to buy will help you find ways of decreasing this time. It also helps put into perspective how long the process takes. Remember what customers want, and try to provide the fastest, most efficient experience.
Apply this to your checkout: Use this data to identify technical problems by isolating spikes in trending data. You can also select areas for improvement in the purchase funnel that slow the customer down.
It is important to track the customer journey from the moment a customer lands on your site all the way through to a sale. Collect information on how many sessions it takes a customer to purchase, as well as how many pages or screens they visit before purchasing. You can even break it down to the number of clicks or taps.
Why track it: The number of sessions it takes a customer to complete a purchase can indicate how well you are converting potential customers. Understanding how many times a customer is likely to come back can help you reduce the friction that causes this.
Apply this to your checkout: If the average is relatively low, this is probably not as important as other metrics. However, a high average number of sessions to convert probably indicates a problem in your process. This information will help develop strategies to reduce the number of sessions they need to feel confident in completing a purchase.
This is the rate of emails captured from users who have initiated checkout to the total number of users visiting your store.
Why track it: The email capture rate represents the number of potential buyers you have the ability to connect with after they’ve abandoned payment. It’s also an indication of authentic user trust in your platform, as they are confident in your platform enough to input personal information.
Apply this to your checkout: A customer that leaves a good email address is giving you the ability to reconnect with them. Use these leads as a way to remarket and recapture lost sales. We’ll look at strategies for recovering abandoned carts a little later.
The load times for the checkout platform — from beginning to completion — are a key component of the user experience. How fast each page or step in the process loads dictates a customers willingness to use — and reuse — a payment system.
Why track it: The speed of your checkout process has a direct impact on customers continuing in the purchase funnel. The faster the load times are, the more likely customers will remain in your checkout process.
Apply this to your checkout: Improve checkout platform speeds to ensure that your checkout is as seamless and quick as possible. Optimize checkout speeds so customers can complete checkout without being slowed down or impeded.
Checkout abandonment can be measured as a statistic over periods of time. This includes yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly. It can also be measured to help with marketing campaigns or feature updates.
Why track it: The checkout abandonment rate over a period of time is essential for understanding the extent of the problem. Yearly, monthly, and weekly checkout abandonment rates are extremely valuable for identifying trends and getting a picture of how checkout abandonment has affected you over time.
Apply this to your checkout: This metric is an essential guideline for measuring the effectiveness of changes to the checkout process. Use this to understand the trends and measure adjustments against this KPI to evaluate the impact they are having on abandonment.
While statistics are often looked at over periods of time, the checkout abandonment can also be measured at a specific point in time. Real-time, detailed analytics can help you pivot on the spot, capture the most out of a trending ad campaign, or mitigate losses during a technical error.
Why track it: Being able to identify the abandonment rate at different points in time is not useful for understanding trends, but they help you identify acute problems that are having a severe impact on abandoned checkouts.
Apply this to your checkout: Technical issues, integration flaws, and more can be quickly identified and remedied, allowing customers to get back to buying.
Determine whether users are accessing checkout using desktop, mobile web, mobile app, or tablet. You will want to look at abandonment across all devices, but also separate them based on devices to gain further insight from your data.
Why track it: Each device will have a slightly unique checkout, as mobile, web, and tablet software versions function slightly differently. Tracking checkout abandonment based on device type can easily help you identify if a problem is across all devices or is unique to one specific checkout process.
Apply this to your checkout: Quickly determine if a problem is affecting all device versions or just one to isolate where the issue is occuring. In some cases, this can help you focus on one checkout rather than all device options. Map out the checkout funnel on each device type and compare analytics across platforms.
Consider the traffic source for all different metrics examined including direct, email, search, social, organic search, paid search, display and referral site. This provides information on how customers were directed to your site and can give insight about the types of people that are abandoning their checkout.
Why track it: Looking at the metrics as a whole is important for the big picture, but having more detailed metrics regarding traffic source can help you better isolate areas where abandonment is more significantly impacted. You can also use this detailed information to develop user personas and identify checkout abandonment trends.
Apply this to your checkout: Using these insights, you can isolate the areas that need the most improvement. The more detailed the data, the more you can segment the data to assess where to focus your efforts for the greatest success.
The number of form fields that need to be filled out by a customer prior to purchase being completed has an impact on checkout abandonment. Break them down by what is necessary and optional, creating a picture of how many fields are required for each customer and mapping out the process flow.
Why track it: Required form fields for checkout directly impacts how long it takes to complete payment, and can deter customers from converting. Knowing how many fields are required and are optional helps you understand the obstacles and complexity of the checkout. It also lets you make adjustments to form fields to test how it impacts your checkout abandonment rate.
Apply this to your checkout: Limit the number of fields customers need to fill out to checkout to make it faster for them to get through the process. More than that, any added piece of information is a potential reason for the customer to drop off. Get the essentials only to get them through payment quickly.
A good checkout abandonment rate is lower than 40%. It is argued that the best optimized abandonment rate is approximately 20%, as it is unlikely that it will ever reach zero. Users will still drop off due to declined payment, research and browsing, and for reasons beyond the seller’s control.
The average checkout abandonment over the past ten years has fluctuated between 60 – 80%. If you are within this range, you should be trying to decrease the rate of abandoned checkouts. A bad checkout abandonment is anything higher than 90%. Even if you fall within the average, you should be trying to optimize for lower abandoned payments.
While these serve as basic guidelines for acceptable rates, it’s important to remember that rates are relative to your industry and other factors. Draw insights from the data you’ve collected and compare it to the trends you are seeing in your industry. Continue to customize the process over time to achieve improved results.
When analyzing your cart abandonment rate and determining which adjustments will achieve the greatest impact, it’s important to remember that each industry is unique. Not all strategies will work equally or apply as closely. Consider the average cart abandonment rate for various industries when determining where you stand and how you can improve. In general, your cart abandonment rate will be higher than your checkout abandonment rate, as more people add items to cart than those who proceed to payment.
|Industry / Product Type||Abandonment Rate|
(Information sourced from OptinMonster.com)
This list can help you gauge how you are performing in your industry or product area. Anything over the average is a high checkout abandonment rate and should be addressed immediately. Regardless of what your checkout abandonment rate is now, you should always aim to reduce it. Doing this at the checkout stage can help you not only improve your conversion rate, but recapture revenue based on false positives using fraud detection.
The metrics you collect are only relevant within context, and will need to be compared to your own company data as well as industry and ecommerce platform averages. The following metrics should be measured and compared with your own performance.
Analyze checkout abandonment data with your on-site engagement metrics, including average pages per session, average session duration, average bounce rate, average page load time, average server response time, and more. You will also want to compare your performance to annual ecommerce averages and growth rates that serve as benchmarks for your own performance.
Compare your performance to leaders in your industry, close competitors, and others to ensure that you are growing adequately and achieving realistic but substantial goals.
Reasons for checkout abandonment vary across services, platforms, and even industries. Consider what is relevant and most related to your goals and objectives, as some reasons will have a greater impact depending on your business needs.
Two companies that have very similar checkout abandonment rates may be experiencing them for very different reasons. Common reasons for checkout abandonment include:
These are just a few of the main reasons why customers abandon their checkout. Customers can also abandon checkout due to missing payment options, browsing and researching the product due to lack of information, failed coupon or discount codes, and declined credit cards. From this list, consider which are most relevant and impactful to your business, developing your own list of reasons for abandonment.
Regardless of where your checkout abandonment rate is, it represents lost revenue and marketing efforts. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to get customers interested in a product and through to the payment process. The later customers drop off, the more of your efforts have been expended with no payoff.
No matter what your abandonment rate is, you should always be managing efforts to decrease the rate itself and the impact it has on your bottom line. Here are some strategies and techniques for reducing your checkout abandonment rate.
Impact on rate: High
The speed and performance of a website or app is a basic guage of whether customers will be interested. Customers often stop using services that lack speed and performance that meets their standards. A smooth and seamless website and checkout process are essential for building customer interest and loyalty.
Impact on rate: Critical
Never force account creation or user registration during checkout! This creates a direct impediment to payment, slowing your customers down and potentially deterring them from making a purchase. Instead, ask only for their email.
This is enough to follow up if they abandon their cart or checkout. You can always follow up with them after a sale and invite them back to register or make an account.
Impact on rate: Critical
Customers are wary of inputting personal information online, especially financial details. Providing a secure payment process for customers builds trust and confidence with your service as a whole. Users are unlikely to purchase from an ecommerce process they don’t think is secure or protected. Provide a secure checkout process from beginning to end for users to follow through on a purchase.
Display any security badges associated with the payment checkout you are operating such as credit card and technical security badges. These help build customer confidence in the platform that they are using is a safe, secure payment application.
Impact on rate: Critical
An overly complicated checkout process is one of the leading reasons customers abandon the checkout. Mitigate drop-offs by optimizing the checkout process to be as efficient and streamlined as possible. Shorten the funnel to purchase by removing any unnecessary steps. The shorter the process the better; keep it on as few pages or screens as possible and limit the number of clicks or taps required.
Lead the user along the purchase funnel, guiding them from browsing an item they are interested in through to purchase. The goal is to make it simple to follow through the process, bringing them closer to completing checkout.
Anything that slows your customer down during payment increases the likelihood that they will leave. Try to keep the number of fields you require limited and ensure that they are simple (almost foolproof) to fill out. Group optional fields separately so express checkout is available and those that want to input or register can do so but are not forced.
Impact on rate: Moderate
Additional costs and limited shipping options cause customers to abandon their purchase. Provide users with as much information as possible before checkout so that customers have all the information they need to decide on the purchase. This way, customers won’t be motivated to initiate checkout merely to get all the information they need.
Impact on rate: Moderate
Not having payment options available is a direct obstacle for customers to buy. Give users as many payment options as possible to increase the pool of customers that will complete a sale. Prioritize the most popular payments, as this will let you capture more sales. As you scale, expand the payment options available to customers to increase your customer base.
Impact on rate: Moderate
Use notifications at the point of abandonment to prompt customers to identify the reason for abandoning the cart. By collecting data on exit intent, you can better understand why customers are leaving the checkout after starting it. Identify areas for improvement and make the right adjustments to keep customers from leaving.
Impact on rate: Moderate
Consistently monitor your analytics, draw conclusions, and apply what the user behavior is telling you to your service, product, and user experience. Develop a process and get into a steady workflow — testing, analyzing, correcting, and repeating continuously — reducing abandonment marginally each time.
Impact on rate: Moderate
Give users a progress indicator that tracks the stages of the checkout process, including where they are along it. By showing the steps of the process, along with where the customer is, you make it convenient, accessible, and easily navigable.
Once customers have abandoned checkout, you can still recover this lost revenue. While that counts towards your checkout abandonment rate, recovery efforts can allow you to recapture the abandoned checkout and regain lost revenue. Although this doesn’t directly address checkout abandonment, it still reduces the impact abandonment has on your business as you recapture the lost sales.
Not all recovery methods will work for you, so experiment with what works best, fine-tuning as you go to get the best results. Here are common recovery methods and best practices for when and how to execute.
Delivery strategy: The first email should be a gentle reminder lightly inviting them to return to complete the sale. Best practices suggest that this email be sent within the first 4 hours after checkout is abandoned.
This is why collecting a valid customer email is so important; it’s all you need to connect with a customer after they’ve abandoned their checkout. Follow up with customers that have abandoned their checkout with a gentle email reminder that they’re items are still available for purchase. This should be a soft, polite reminder and should be handled with care.
Learn more about what metrics to track to measure the success of your email recovery efforts further on.
Delivery strategy: This second email should incentivize customers to return and complete their purchase by offering a discount or promotion. Best practices suggest that this type of reminder be sent within the first 2 days of the abandoned checkout.
When all else fails, you may stand to gain from offering the customer a discount for coming back and completing the purchase. Despite taking a small loss on this sale, you may develop a long-term customer. If a small discount leads to a recurring customer, loyalty, and even advocacy, then it may be worth the trade off.
Delivery strategy: As the user is attempting to leave the checkout process, prompt them with a notification or alert to remain in checkout and proceed to completion.
A push notification or similar prompt, this should be a soft push to remain in checkout and finalize their purchase. This won’t always keep them from leaving, but it can keep a user on checkout and help drive them through to a sale.
Delivery strategy: Funnel customers to an online support center or chat as they are attempting to leave the checkout, providing them the help they need at the point of sale.
Connecting users to customer support through a chat or directing them to a help center can be a great way of keeping a customer from leaving checkout. Often times, they are leaving because something did not meet their standards or there was a problem with the process. Providing customers an avenue for support at the moment they need it most can be the difference between a customer leaving checkout and staying to buy.
Delivery strategy: Any email reminders sent should provide a link that directly connects the customer back to their checkout, or as close as possible.
When prompting a customer to return, always connect them as close as possible to the final stages of checkout. The objective is to return the customer as close as possible to the finalized sale, ensuring they don’t have to reshop for the item.
Delivery strategy: Give customers the option to save their cart when they abandon checkout. If possible, autosave their cart for them. Hint: this can also be a great place to request an email!
Building off returning the customer as close as possible to the sale, allow customers the option of saving the cart, or alert the customer that you are saving their cart automatically for them. Knowing their items are easily accessible for purchase could give them more motivation to return.
Delivery strategy: When recovery email efforts are started, communicate to the user that their abandoned items are reserved for them if they would like to make a purchase. This courtesy ensures they will be able to make a sale and can help build your reputation in their eyes through good customer service efforts.
Not having inventory of the product customers are interested in can deter customers from buying and returning to make a purchase in the future. Even worse, if you’ve offered a customer a chance to return to their purchase and the item isn’t available, they will be less likely to consider your business in the future. Consider following up with the customer and letting them know you’ve reserved the item for them and this would be reserved for a particular period of time. This way, they won’t need to worry about inventory issues if they return within the specified reserve time.
Delivery strategy: Customers are likely to lose interest in a product over time, so this should be done close to when the checkout was abandoned. Best practices suggest that you should remarket targeted ads to customers within the first week of abandonment.
Remarketing to customers that have already shown an interest in your product is a targeted marketing strategy that can help you capture lost sales. Using Facebook pixel or Google RLSA on your ecommerce store allows you to track individual customers and the items that they have abandoned. Remarketing to these customers with targeted ads can prompt them to purchase the item at a later time.
To measure and study your email recovery efforts, you’ll need to track the following statistics, analyzing how your funnel is working. View each metric as a further step in the recovery process, representing how close you could bring them back to purchase.
If collecting a valid email from customers is step 1, you are 25% of the way to recapturing that customer. Customers that open the checkout abandonment email are 50% and customers that click through the email and back to your site are 75% of the way there. Analyze this funnel to see the effectiveness of your recovery email process at each step, adjusting and improving as the data dictates.
Your checkout abandonment rate is the percent of customers that are leaving checkout after starting it. Understanding what this rate indicates — missed conversions — helps you understand its importance to your business. Now that you know how to calculate it, use the examples and templates to develop your own calculator, keeping it simple or adding additional calculations as well, providing data on potentially lost revenue and more. In this way, you not only develop a calculator to determine your checkout abandonment rate, but also the impact this is having on other aspects and components of your business.
Learn how to choose the right metrics to track and measure, creating a list of KPIs that are most important for driving growth and conversions. With benchmarks and industry averages, you can determine where you should be in your respective industry and set realistic but challenging goals for yourself. Develop strategies to reduce abandonment as well as recover after abandonment has occurred, making the most of potential customers’ intention to buy. An integrated, full-stack checkout process that seamlessly overlays on your service can help improve the checkout experience and increase conversions.
We, the commerce enablers, have incredible responsibility. With commerce accelerating at lightspeed, if we don’t move fast enough, the monopolists will gain even more power, and independent brands will slowly get drowned out. This dire need is why we designed Bolt to democratize commerce and put choice and control back in the hands of retailers.
Join Bolt’s online checkout specialist, Loren Kelley, as he walks you through five ways to optimize the checkout experience on your ecommerce site.