How to Measure, Avoid, and Reduce High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

I’m always surprised when I meet a client with an online checkout process and how few of them have actually tried to make a purchase from their own site! One of our new clients had a site they invested a ton of money into and it’s 5 steps to go from the home page to the shopping cart. It’s a miracle that anyone is making it that far!

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

It may sound like an elementary question, but it’s important that you recognize that shopping cart abandonment is not every visitor to your ecommerce site. Shopping cart abandonment is only the visitors who added a product to the shopping cart and then did not complete the purchase in that session.

Shopping cart abandonment is when a potential customer starts a check out process for an online order but drops out of the process before completing the purchase.


Many shoppers will browse and add products to a shopping cart without any intent to purchase. They may wish to just see a subtotal for the products, an estimated shipping cost, or a delivery date… there are a ton of legitimate reasons why people abandon a shopping cart.

How to Calculate Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

The formula for Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate:

How to Measure Shopping Cart Abandonment in Analytics

If you’re using Google Analytics on your ecommerce site, you must set up ecommerce tracking on your site. You can find your shopping cart abandonment rate and details in Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior:

Note that there are two different metrics:

There’s another term in the industry as well:

What is the Average Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate?

Be careful with average rates on any type of statistic. Your consumers may differ in their technical abilities, or their connectivity, or your competition. While this is a great baseline, I would pay more attention to the trend of your shopping cart abandonment rate.

What are Average Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates by Industry?

This data is taken from more than 500 ecommerce sites and tracks abandonment rates across six key sectors from Salescycle.

Why Do People Abandon Shopping Carts?

Aside from the legitimate reasons, there are things that you can improve in your shopping cart experience to reduce the abandonment rate:

  1. Improve your page speed – 47% of shoppers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  2. High shipping costs – 44% of shoppers leave a cart due to high shipping costs.
  3. Time restraints – 27% of shoppers leave a cart due to time constraints.
  4. No shipping information – 22% of shoppers leave a cart due to no shipping information.
  5. Out of stock – 15% of shoppers won’t complete a purchase because an item is out of stock.
  6. Poor product presentation – 3% of shoppers won’t complete a purchase because of confusing product information.
  7. Payment processing issues – 2% of shoppers don’t complete a purchase due to payment processing issues.

I recommend my own strategy, called the 15 and 50 test… get a 15-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man to buy something from your site. Pay attention to how they did it as well as how frustrating it was. You’ll discover a ton just by watching them! You can’t avoid abandonment altogether, but you can reduce it.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Critical to reducing shopping cart abandonment is overcoming the performance, information, and trust issues above. Much of this is can be improved by improving your checkout page.

How to Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts

There are some incredible automation platforms out there that capture and email registered shoppers on your site. Sending a daily reminder out to your shopper with details on what’s in their cart is a great way to get them to return.

Sometimes, a shopper is simply waiting to get paid so they can complete the purchase. Abandoned shopping cart emails are not spam, they’re often helpful. And you can make a strong call to action in your email for your shopper to stop getting reminded for that cart. We recommend Klaviyo or Cart Guru for this type of automation. They even have browse abandonment and out-of-stock reminders in their automation processes!

This infographic from ShipBob illustrates the problem, how to calculate your abandonment rate, as well as what you can do to reduce it. Be sure to click through to their article, which has quite a bit of information as well.

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