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Cart abandonment

What is Cart Abandonment?

Please note, There is an updated version of this article here

What is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment is when customers add items to their online shopping cart but exit the website without making a purchase.

To illustrate, imagine the following scenario:

you are at the mall waiting for your friend to arrive. While you are waiting, you look around in the shops and find some items you like, so you pick them up and continue browsing.

Your phone rings, your friend has arrived and is waiting for you at the nearby coffee shop. You hang up the phone put down the items (or ask the shopkeeper to keep them for you for some time) and go meet your friend. Regardless of the exact reason, you have decided to leave those items for now and perhaps come back to them later.

Free Cart Abandonment Audit: Get a complete audit on your checkout process, with screenshots and next actions to take. Request Here. 

Cart Abandonment Meaning

Cart abandonment rate shows how many of the items that are added to the shopping cart are abandoned. 

It is calculated with the formula: added to cart/(added to cart+made conversions), (referring to the number of people). Alternatively, you can generate your cart abandonment rate via Google Analytics.

Sample Cart Abandonment Data

We've put together a comprehensive overview of email marketing statistics here

Barilliance computes these stats and displays them in a custom dashboard. Below is an example screenshot.

Why should you care?

If your cart abandonment rate is high it means that many of your customers begin their purchase process but do not go through with it. The abandoned items are potential revenue that you are not obtaining as the transactions are not completed, which impedes your goal of maximizing profit.

Indeed, this phenomenon is quite a commonplace, with 65% of retailers having rates higher than 50% according to e-tailing, which means they have the potential to earn double their current profit.

It is a major issue, contributing to approximately $18 billion lost revenue per year according to CPC strategy, and a worsening issue, with the average U.S. rates rising from an average of 70.5% to 76.3% in only 3 years, as shown below.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts?

We've written an extensive article covering the top reasons for cart abandonment


Probability Rank

Impact Rank

Unexpected Shipping Costs



Having to create a new account



Was just conducting research 



Concerns about payment security



Long and Confusing Checkout



Couldn't find a coupon code



No express shipping



I couldn't calculate payment upfront



Website had errors/crashes



Return policy wasn't satisfactory



Credit Card was declined



This shows that shoppers consider full transparency of the costs, coupon codes, security in transactions, variety in shipping options and a clear and short checkout process as prerequisites for online stores and necessities to make a purchase.

Other reasons for cart abandonment include return policies and customer service, not intending on purchasing now or being distracted during the process.

Advanced Triggered Emails: Don't use basic cart abandonment emails.  Click here to see how Barilliance uses in-session behavior to maximize profits.

So what can you do about it?

  • Become knowledgeable of the common reasons for cart abandonment, as some may be prevalent in your online shop and of the most effective solutions.
  • Review your website, search for the said reasons in your website and make changes to prevent those features (or lack thereof) from affecting your conversions. For example, offer users a guest checkout option if they currently must make a new user account. You must remember to always measure and track your cart abandonment rates to review changes and strategies. However, those changes are not bullet-proof and are mostly not suitable to motivate customers who do not intend to make a purchase in the first place.
  • Optimize your customers’ shopping and checkout experience to reduce cart abandonment rates.
  • Implement multi-stage email remarketing campaign to recover abandoned carts. Barilliance provides innovative remarketing email software, with personalized templates and recommendations, which has proven to efficiently reduce cart abandonment by 10%-30%.

How to recover abandoned carts?

You can implement an email campaign to motivate customers to return to the site and complete their purchases, thereby recovering the abandoned carts and retrieving much of the lost potential revenue.

First of all, there are prerequisites to this strategy that must be met.

  • The visitor has added items to their cart and abandoned it
  • You have the visitor’s email address

Browse Abandonment: If you want to learn about how to increase conversion rates without customers adding a product, check out our guide on Multi-Channel Browse Abandonment.

You can capture the visitor’s email address when they enter it in the checkout form. However, there are many strategies you can implement to capture more email addresses, such as improving the checkout form, using exit intent pop ups and using the triggered email booster feature.

Once these prerequisites are met, you can begin your remarketing campaign.

The emails sent can contain many different (and combinations of) messages, such as the cart content, product recommendations and discounts. The messages should be personalized and generated in real-time.

A Barilliance study found that the most effective email campaign is as follows:

– Email 1: after 1 hour, the message: cart contents.

– Email 2: after 24 hours (because customers usually shop at the same time of the day), the message: customer service and helping with issues.

– Email 3: after 72 hours, the message: monetary incentive (a discount or free shipping). This is your last chance of converting the customer, at which point you should increase the sense of urgency.

Furthermore, here are some points you must take into consideration during the campaign:

Tone: the tone used in the email should sound as customer service – helpful and concerned, such as “how can we help”.

Clarity: the emails’ purpose should be clear and to the point. Use clear calls for actions to come back to the site.

Consistent analysis: you should be constantly monitoring your performance throughout this campaign and using A/B testing to find out the best approaches for your customers. You should survey and monitor reasons for abandonment and persisting trends of abandonment in order to tackle them quickly.

You can learn more about cart abandonment best practices here

Cart Abandonment FAQ:

What is an abandoned shopping cart?
An abandoned shopping cart is an online cart that a customer added items to, but exited the website without purchasing those items.

What is a cart abandonment rate?
A cart abandonment rate is the ratio of the number of abandoned shopping carts to the number of shopping carts that were converted. It is calculated with the formula: added to cart/(added to cart+made conversions), or by generating a Google Analytics report for cart abandonment, which uses the same formula.

What is the average shopping cart abandonment rate?
The average shopping cart abandonment rate was 76.3% in 2015.

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