Make the most of each customer by ensuring that your buying experience isn’t inadvertently turning them off.
Running an online store means spending a lot of money and resources to draw customers to your site, optimizing their user experience, collecting data analytics on key metrics, and marketing to drive engagement and boost sales.
After all this investment, customers dropping off at the last minute hurts your bottom line. Make the most of each customer by ensuring that your buying experience isn’t inadvertently turning them off. If you aren’t already, you should be studying checkout abandonment and working towards reducing its impact on your business.
A 2018 study by Baymard Institute looking at the reasons for abandonments during checkout took data from 41 separate studies, and concluded that the majority of checkout abandonment occurs because extra costs are too high (shipping, taxes, and other fees), account creation is required, and the checkout process is unnecessarily complicated.
Knowing this can help us understand where users stop along the checkout process and identify areas for improvement. Before we move on to practical applications, we’ll cover the basics. Keep reading to learn the following:
It’s important to point out that you will never be able to get checkout abandonment all the way to zero. However, you can reduce it and improve checkout recovery to help mitigate the impact checkout abandonment has on your conversions. Learn how to improve checkout abandonment rates and find out how you can capture up to 20% of your abandoned checkouts with the right adjustments.
Checkout abandonment is when a customer that has initiated the checkout does not complete the purchase. The checkout abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of initiated transactions. High rates typically signal issues with the user experience in the payment process.
Cart abandonment is when a shopper adds an item for purchase to their cart during browsing, but then drops off the site or app without purchasing. The cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of opened carts.
While checkout abandonment and cart abandonment are very similar, the distinction is in when the drop-off happens. Checkout and payment are a step further than creating a cart and adding items; knowing the difference can help you more clearly identify at what stage your users are abandoning the process.
Checkout abandonment statistics aside, the most important thing is to first understand why your customers are leaving. Use behavioral analytics and purchase funnel analysis to determine checkout abandonment reasons and address them directly with solutions.
These are the 11 main reasons for checkout abandonment across all industries:
According to a 2018 study by Baymard Institute, additional charges — like taxes, shipping costs, and other additional fees — are the single biggest cause of cart abandonment. Customers like to know what they will pay prior to initiating purchase. Adding fees at this stage commonly deters people as they are now being asked to pay more than expected.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Critical
A customer may decide to return to make the purchase after thinking about the additional charges, but additional charges at the checkout stage are often enough to turn the customer away.
Solution: Be upfront with customers. Give them the total price they should expect to pay at the checkout step, including full pricing, shipping charges, and any other potential fees they will incur. It’s best to show these charges on the cart page where the user gets to review their order before proceeding. In general, avoid surprising customers with charges at the checkout stage to reduce drop-offs.
Pro Tip: Offer free shipping on all purchases over $50, and make free shipping the default option. See how Amazon dominated online conversions by offering free 2-day shipping so customers were not wary of additional shipping fees.
Requiring customers to register or create an account at the point of payment often drives checkout abandonment. Adding an account registration — while potentially increasing subscribers and users — interrupts and slows down the customers’ payment process. This removes the convenience and speed of online shopping, which is partly why customers are buying from the site or app in the first place.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Critical
If they didn’t want to register the first time, they aren’t likely to change their minds in the future to make this purchase.
Solution: Set up call to actions outside of the checkout process where customers will still be motivated to create an account. Consider sending a follow up email post-purchase that invites the user to sign-up for your service by creating an account or registering; this way, you don’t lose them during the sale. Enable a guest checkout option, where the customer can proceed with checking out by just giving their email. An email to create an account can be triggered post-sale as well as an incentive to track their orders if they sign up. Often, companies also offer incentives and discounts for signing up.
Shipping options and fees are an essential part of online shopping, affecting the purchases that people make and from where they buy. Delivery options, including carriers, delivery times, and shipping costs all affect whether a customer proceeds through to checkout. Having long delivery times, additional shipping charges, and other shipping issues at checkout is likely to cause drop-offs.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: High
Once a customer decides a product is not worth the delivery costs, they are unlikely to come back to complete the purchase.
Solution: Use a high-quality delivery partner that provides reasonable delivery times for the products for sale and offers decent prices. This will keep customers from dropping off during checkout. Changes to the product page can be made so entering just a zip code can give the customer an estimated delivery date. This sets the right expectations when the customer is viewing the product.
The point of online shopping is to be fast, efficient, and convenient. The longer it takes, the less convenient and appealing it is to the customer. If the checkout process is complicated and tedious, it won’t save customers time or hassle and they will no longer see the value.
Account creation or registration is a good example of an additional, time-consuming process that turns potential buyers away. In fact, Baymard Institute recently found that very strict password requirements contributed to a nearly 19% abandonment rate.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: High
While they may decide later it’s worth the hassle, if they decide the product is not worth the process, they likely won’t return.
Solution: Streamline the checkout and payment process, removing any unneeded steps or clicks. Make it as simple as possible for the user to get from seeing the product they want to ordering it. Consider ways of removing additional steps here and provide users with this information earlier in the process, during user onboarding or earlier in a conversion funnel.
Optimize the number of checkout fields when taking user information. It is possible to input the zip code first and auto populate the city and state/province fields. In the case of digital product purchases, customer shipping address fields can be removed. This reduces input for the user, making the process faster.
Website errors and crashes are a major problem for checkout abandonment, as they can actually impede the customer’s ability to make the purchase. Even if users are able to make the purchase, slow speeds or errors instill a lack of confidence in the payment process.
More than that, it affects their perception of the company’s overall ability to carry out the order, from sourcing, to packaging, to delivery. If customers see errors early in the process, they are not confident and won’t bother proceeding. Instead, they will likely go somewhere else to buy the product.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Medium
Even though errors and crashes deter users from making purchases and cause customers to lose trust in service quality, they do occur, and customers may return to make the purchase later. If this is a consistent problem, then users are very unlikely to return.
Solution: Technology issues have no real catch-all solution, but perfecting the performance of the website so that these types of errors don’t recur is an essential way to combat checkout abandonment. Regularly test the website and monitor analytics to identify issues as they happen and keep the app or website operating smoothly.
Payment security is paramount when running an online service, as customers are only willing to make purchases and input financial information through systems they trust. People are wary of inputting personal information online – especially banking details. Payment processes should have some element of fraud protection to ensure users’ data is protected.
It doesn’t always matter how good security is, as many services have good security; it’s more about conveying the appearance of high-quality security. Even if the service is secure, you need to make sure it feels secure to the user. Convey security features to users so they feel confident that they won’t be wasting their money if they decide to make a purchase.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Critical
Users are understandably cautious about inputting personal and banking information online; if they don’t think the payment process is secure they are not likely to change their mind and take the risk.
Solution: Provide high-quality security throughout the user journey, especially the payment process. Make sure that the platform is performing well and the security available is directly conveyed to the user so they know the system provides the security necessary to protect their information. It helps to put payment secure stickers on the cart and payment pages. This builds user confidence to make a purchase. It also helps make integrations with trusted and well known payment gateways and solutions clear (ex. PayPal), as their logos are familiar.
Depending on how much information customers have, they are compelled to initiate the cart or checkout process to get those details – such as after-tax pricing, shipping fees, and any other additional costs. Return policies or warranty options are sometimes hard to find, and are often not included until the checkout phase. If they aren’t up to customer standards, they may decide not to proceed.
Funneling users towards purchase can be a good strategy, but funneling them without complete information will increase the chances that users will abandon their checkout or cart. Pushing users to the purchase stage without a full picture of costs and shipping dates can actually increase checkout abandonment. It’s important to remember if a funnel is set up this way when considering the impact on drop-offs.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Medium
Of all the checkout abandonment issues, this may be one of the least serious as it doesn’t turn away users quite like other problems. However, users that don’t have enough information prior to the purchase process could be driven to check details by initiating the payment process. This will boost and inflate your checkout abandonment rates.
Solution: You likely won’t ever ‘solve’ this problem, but you can reduce checkout abandonment due to browsing and research by providing information to users upfront. This will limit their need to initiate checkout to find pricing details, and reduce the abandonment rate.
A slow-moving, low performing website or mobile app fails to build trust or confidence in the user. When the user experience is poor, users don’t have the confidence to complete a purchase.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: High
The quality of the website and app people are using – especially the payment process – is extremely important for getting users to convert.
Solution: Regular end to end testing of the website from homepage to checkout is important to ensure users are confident, comfortable, and safe when making purchases. In general, the load times, site or app speeds, and overall technology performance should be good to instill trust and reliability in customers.
Lack of payment options is a physical impediment to purchase completion. By not having the payment methods available to the customer, the chances increase that they won’t proceed.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Medium
Customers are likely to have a few different methods of payment available, and will likely use the most convenient one. As long as common methods of payments are provided, this likely won’t affect checkout abandonment solutions as much as other factors.
Solution: Having as many payment options as possible is the best way to combat this. However, as payment methods are costly to provide, focusing on providing the most popular payment methods will solve this problem for most people, while only losing out on some conversions.
Incomplete payments include payments not processed due to an actual transaction error, commonly on the customers’ side in the form of an NSF charge or incorrect card information. These aren’t checkout errors so much as they are customer errors, and are therefore harder to avoid and reduce.
This is a great example of why it’s important to consider all potential reasons for checkout drop-offs, as some factors can skew checkout abandonment rates. Declined credit cards and NSF charges, for example, are because of the customer, and might need to be subtracted from the total checkout abandonment analytics to get a clear picture of where improvements would be most effective in combating checkout abandonment rates.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Low
An incomplete purchase caused by a declined transaction is not a major deterrent for customers returning. They are likely to come back to complete the purchase when they can.
Solution: Make the sections for information to input clear, direct, and simple to reduce typos and small errors. Ensure that credit card chargebacks aren’t occurring on your end by flagging transactions as fraud when they aren’t. These falsely rejected payments result in one of the largest streams of lost revenue and often go unseen by companies. It is important to regularly test the website and payment flow to make sure website integrations with the payment solution are working fine and that the payment solution is operational.
There are worse problems than people returning to add another item to their purchase. As long as users come back and follow through on the next purchase, this is actually a positive. It shows that the additional-purchase funnel is working, driving up conversions, increasing the cart value on already converting customers and increasing their lifetime value.
It’s important to remember that this is only a positive if they actually come back and buy the additional product. If they return to add another item to the cart, and then drop-off, that is actually negatively impacting checkout abandonment as sending them back has caused them to drop the initial purchase.
Impact to Checkout Abandonment: Low
Unlike performance and security issues, customers don’t lose trust in the service from this funnel. Whether users make an additional purchase or not, they are likely to return to complete their purchase.
Solution: Account for abandonments due to this, and consider reworking the funnel if it’s causing more drop-offs than additional sales. If this funnel causes more people to drop off, consider removing it. In general, be aware of this reason for abandonment and consider it when calculating abandonment and making adjustments.
A way to increase cart value is by providing “impulse buy” products at the cart level, similar to the way a customer in retail would pick up items right before they check out. Upselling products should ideally be easy to add to cart without having the user navigate back to see the product detail and losing focus on the initial purchase. For example, when a customer is purchasing a skirt, offer an accessory like earrings which aren’t very expensive and pair with the initial purchase.
In summary, try to do the following 11 things to help address reasons for checkout abandonment.
These eleven strategies will mitigate checkout abandonment rates and help to capture lost revenue from potential customers. Learn where you rank below and how to apply these directly for success.
The checkout abandonment rate represents the percent of customers not completing the checkout process. It is calculated by dividing the total completed transactions by the number of initiated checkouts abandoned. A low checkout abandonment rate indicates a seamless user experience from browsing to sale.
When determining what a good or bad checkout abandonment rate is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The average abandoned checkout rate changes based on industry, and it is important to consider this when calculating. For example, the food and drink services industry has a significantly lower checkout abandonment rate than other industries.
Based on a range of studies, the average cart abandonment rate as of March 2019 is essentially 69%. That being said, a little higher or lower is still within the average range. While this study refers directly to cart abandonment rate, we can assume checkout rate is slightly less as it is one step further in the purchase process. Since there is bound to be some checkout abandonment, an optimal checkout abandonment rate is not as low as zero.
This grading system is your basic guide to where your checkout abandonment rate should be:
In general, the range of 60 – 80% is still within the average; if you are in this range, you should be aiming to reduce your checkout abandonment rate. A very bad checkout abandonment would be higher than 90% and a good checkout abandonment would be lower than 40%. It is speculated that the best optimized cart abandonment rate would be close to 20%, as users drop off because of payment failure, after browsing, and for other reasons outside of the sellers’ control.
However, it’s important to remember that there is some difference based on industry and other variables. Rather than focusing on a specific number, consider what the data is indicating, evaluate ways of reducing checkout abandonment, and continue to fine-tune to get the best results you can achieve.
Also look at abandonment trends over a period of time. A trend might show you a specific period when the rates shot up, helping you better analyse the problem. For example, it could go up after an update to the app or a price change done on certain products.
Tracking data in relation to checkout abandonment can seem complicated, but it’s important to capture data analytics to understand why users leave and what the recovery rate is of email campaigns. The following are essential metrics to track in relation to checkout abandonment rates:
These are great places to start measuring how your purchasing and recovery funnels are operating. Be sure to find metrics specific to your business that apply as well.
Form and field analytics need to be measured. Analytical tools like Google Analytics allow events to be triggered when users move from one field to another. These events can help understand where in the form the user is abandoning the checkout process.
You can reduce and overcome checkout abandonment by optimizing the checkout process for convenience and efficiency. Ensure that the purchasing process has performance and speed, guides users, does not demand user account creation, and provides all relevant purchasing details to the customers. Find ways of prompting the user to complete the purchase. Trigger notifications when carts are abandoned and send abandoned checkout email reminders to motivate users to return and complete their purchase.
Keep reading for more detailed advice about exactly how to reduce checkout abandonment and increase the recovery rate of abandoned carts. Here are our top strategies for keeping customers ready to buy.
One of the biggest ways to reduce checkout abandonment rates is to provide an optimized checkout experience. Customers greatly value a seamless, simple, and convenient user experience and user interface. Provide them a product that performs well, a UX that is convenient for the customer, and an optimized process to make their purchase fast and efficient.
There are a variety of ways to optimize for checkout abandonment, and you should likely be fixing a combination of these at differing levels as they impact your business. Below are ways to optimize the checkout process to prevent users from abandoning their purchase:
Overall, having a fast checkout process builds trust and credibility with customers. Once a user is in a purchase funnel, it’s important to do everything possible to make sure they follow through on the purchase. Having a streamlined process that is efficient and convenient mitigates the risk of checkout abandonment.
To effectively trigger customers during checkout, as they are abandoning checkout, or after they have abandoned checkout, you’ll want to understand your purchase funnel and the strategy behind it. Once that’s clearly defined, study the behavioral analytics of your purchase funnel to see where users are dropping off.
From here, determine where the leaks are, prioritize the biggest drop-offs, and isolate ways of improving checkout abandonment rates. Consider prompting users with a popup that asks about their exit intent to understand why they are leaving and apply the feedback in future iterations. Consider auto-saving carts when they are abandoned so users can return to where they left off.
If current strategies are failing without reason, connect users to customer support. This could solve the problem; at the very least, it could help bring to your attention a problem in the purchasing funnel. Sometimes, if customers are stuck in the funnel or are unable to make a purchase, they will reach out to customer support. Get this feedback from the team and fix the issues based on severeness.
This is where getting customer emails comes in handy – and again, their email is all you need.
Follow up with customers after checkout abandonment with an email. Ask them if they want to pick up their cart and return to where they left off, making it easy for them to get back into the checkout process. If you don’t want to seem pushy, ask them for feedback about why they abandoned their purchase. This can provide useful insight into how to adjust your purchase process to reduce checkout abandonment for the next customer.
Despite all these efforts, some customers will still abandon their checkout. If there is no other recourse, consider offering a checkout discount to customers to capture the sale. While you will take a small hit, it may be better than missing out. You should attempt email recovery efforts first, but if you’ve done all you can with no results, consider offering a discount to seal the deal.
This is also a place to prompt the user to create an account or register, potentially bringing them back and turning this offer into a transaction (i.e. offer them a small discount for registering with your service or creating an account).
Proceed with caution though. Users are smart, some knowing this tactic wait till a discount appears to continue the purchase. The automation used here must have rules in place, such as sending this discount only once per user.
Checkout abandonment remarketing involves emailing and messaging customers after they have abandoned the checkout process to recover the client and close the sale. Email remarketing campaigns are likely the easiest and most efficient method, but alternative messaging methods can be used if available.
A common, successful strategy is to send three automated emails to those that abandoned their checkout process:
To bring potential customers back, the email should have a subject line that draws the reader in and gets them to open the email, a list of items left in their cart for purchase, and a clear, distinct call to action linking them back to the checkout. Consider including a coupon or promo code in the second email that entices the customers to finish their purchase.
No matter what, always create a direct link back to the cart or checkout process, so they can jump back to where they were; the goal is to get the customer back to the point of purchase. Creating a sense of urgency, making a promotional offer to give them a final offer, and using a catchy subject line can all help get the user to open the email, return to their cart, and complete their purchase.
The links that bring the user back to their cart must be trackable. Set them up with your analytics so you can track who has come back to their abandoned cart. If you use Google Analytics, a good way to do this is to use utm codes in the URL.
Don’t just focus on email remarketing, but try to message users in real-time to stop them from leaving the purchase process. Sending a notification after a cart is abandoned can help improve abandoned checkout recovery rates and the time to recovery as users come right back to finish their purchase. There are also onsite messaging tools available in the market that can be used to trigger pop-ups and messages, pushing the user to complete the purchase.
Getting customer emails is essential for being able to address checkout abandonment and remarket in any manageable way. By simply collecting a user email, you give yourself the ability to follow up with them and potentially recapture that purchase. Now that we have customer emails, here are ten resources for templates to write the perfect checkout abandonment recovery emails.
Provided By: Optinmonster
Follow along for 14 case studies of what leading industry companies do as part of their checkout abandonment email process. Learn what they did well, how their strategy impacted checkout abandonment, and what tactics need improvement.
Provided By: Teachable
Learn about checkout abandonment and ways to combat it, and get first-hand examples of leading industry abandonment emails. Take some of the work out of it and download a selection of templates by registering for an account.
Provided By: Shopify
Get a list of tips and strategies for designing emails that are meant to bring back customers that have abandoned their checkout process. Identify what should be included, what should be left out, and how they should be formatted for the greatest impact.
Provided By: Sleeknote
Taking abandoned checkout examples from industry performers, Sleeknote identifies the type of problem each has, the solution they utilize, and the impact it has. They also provide insights on why an action is a good idea or what they would have done differently.
Provided By: The Search Engine Shop
If you’re sick of finding checkout abandonment email templates that are too specific or complex, here is a simple, easily adjustable template example that can be adapted for your needs. With a simple introduction, a contact support link, the display of products that customers may want to purchase, and then a thank you, this can suit any situation. Simply take the template and edit for your needs and business specifics.
Provided By: Stripo
Stripo specializes in providing email templates that offer beautiful, interactive, and responsive email marketing content to make sure your followers hang on your every word. With template options available for checkout abandonment emails, this is a great resource to quickly get started and create stunning, high-quality emails.
Provided By: Big Commerce
Learn these 5 creative strategies for tackling the problem of checkout abandonment through email recovery, thinking outside the box to form new ways to solve this problem. Follow along with real-life examples of checkout abandonment emails by leading companies like Adidas.
Provided By: Push Crew
With picture examples of what different companies do for their own abandonment recovery campaigns, learn twelve strategies for creating flawless checkout abandonment recovery emails that are sure to bring your shoppers back. With a focus on notifications, this provides more than just email recovery techniques, and examines messaging strategies as well.
Provided By: Omnisend
Learn the best practices for creating checkout abandonment emails, cover the top abandoned checkout subject lines (based on statistics), and look at three unique examples of checkout abandonment recovery emails. Review the good and bad of each approach to build off the challenges others have faced.
Provided By: Klaviyo
Although this isn’t technically a template, this step-by-step guide to creating your own abandoned checkout template – and discount offer – is an essential resource to keep handy for creating checkout abandonment emails that aim to draw back customers through discounts.
Bolt is a full-stack, complete checkout abandonment service that can be integrated to work with your online store to create a seamless checkout that is fast and efficient for the customer. Using an intuitive and stylish overlay, Bolt provides a simple, one-stop payment process for all online payments that is familiar, fast, and secure.
Bolt aims to provide a modern payment solution that performs better, makes the process more enjoyable for the customer, and allows businesses to reduce checkout abandonment and gain lost revenue from customers.
What they can offer you: Capture sales that competitors aren’t by allowing more sales to go through with an advanced fraud detection system that examines more than 200 variables. A 100% guarantee on chargebacks means you can trust Bolt’s fraud protection completely and focus on what you do best – design and sell great products!
Get a fast, simple checkout process for customers that lowers the possibility of user error with few fields and specific fill requirements. Make sure customers can’t make a mistake when buying, provide security that can be trusted, and capture 10% – 20% more sales.