Don't Lose the Sale! Understanding Cart Abandonment and How to Prevent It

April 18, 2023
Michaela Barriga

Nearly 70% of shoppers abandon their cart without making a purchase—learn how to reduce abonnement rates and increase conversions.

You did it!

Despite rising CAC and other marketing expenses, your ideal customer just landed on your site. Your site is the perfect balance of attractive, persuasive, and personal. They navigate through your offers and – yes! They add several items to their cart. They go for the checkout…

And then – they’re gone.

You may call it a loss and move on, thinking this doesn’t happen very often. But a shocking nearly 70% of shoppers abandon their online carts without purchasing. It costs way too much to get a customer to your site just to lose them right at the sale. They’re already sold enough to add it to their cart, it’s time to push them all the way.

What can you do? 

Here’s what we’re about to cover:

What Triggers Abandonment?

Your ads may be intriguing enough for someone to enter your site, your site may be convincing enough to add something to their cart, but there is something holding this person back from committing to purchase. 

Why would someone leave their cart at the checkout line? 

1) Customers are Distracted

The problem:

Surfing the internet can feel like kayaking down a raging river that diverges every few hundred yards. Consumers are often the leisure kayaker letting the waters toss them down one split to another. They’re just enjoying the ride.

Getting their attention long enough to steer to your site is only step one. Holding their attention long enough to get them to pull over the kayak and finish checking out is your next priority.

How you can help:

Coming out on top against the waves of internet distractions can be challenging, but that’s what abandonment targeting is here to fight! Here is how to do it:

  • The Countdown Timer: Do you have a current sale? Did you give them a custom coupon? Displaying a timer at the top or side of their screen or as a lightbox can push that urgency enough to prevent customers from thinking “I’ll just come back later.”
  • Retargeting Ads: Retarget customers who left your site with ads that follow them elsewhere along the web. Show them the products in their cart and remind them to return and snatch them up.
  • Exit-intent lightbox: If someone is on the cart page and shows signs of leaving, time a lightbox to appear and hit them with a strong offer they can’t refuse.

2) Customers aren’t Convinced

The problem:

Maybe it’s not a problem of distraction. Maybe they’re just not convinced. Sometimes it’s hard to know why someone won’t commit – salespeople know this frustration well. A customer may be dealing with…

  • Sticker Shock: I didn’t expect the total to be that expensive. I can’t afford this right now…
  • Product (Mis) Function: Is this a waste of money? Will this product really work? 
  • Perfect Match Doubt: Will this make-up shade or dress be the exact right color I’m looking for? Maybe I should just find it in a store somewhere…
  • Shiny Competitors: I’ve heard of another store who makes a similar product, I wonder if theirs is better…

How you can help:

Overcoming objections is often a game you’ll need to play at every step of the customer journey – not just when they’re about to abandon their cart. Assuming you have other strategies along the way, here are a few abandonment solutions when experiencing a customer that still isn’t convinced:

  • Abandonment Emails: In this situation, your abandonment email campaign could include customer reviews, a letter from the company founder and their story and qualifications, frequently asked questions or “How we work” – the email flow opportunities are endless!
  • Retargeting Ads: We mentioned retargeting ads in the last situation, but showing customers their cart isn’t the only way to show them an ad. Target this “I’m not convinced” objection with a case study of how it worked for someone else, or get creative with a short video of a customer testimonial. 

3) Customers aren't ready to buy

The problem:

Even if you've managed to win a customer over, they may just not be ready to buy—and that's okay! There are lots of reasons that may be the case.

  • Research Phase: Just gathering information to help me determine what to purchase.
  • Waiting for pay-day: Excited to make the purchase and plan to come back Friday when I get paid!
  • Saving for a big purchase: It will take me a while to afford this, but I'm excited to save up for it!

How You can help:

Make shopping as convenient as possible by suggesting the right products for them, and make it easy to find those products when they are ready. Here are a ways you can help:

  • Product Recommendation Quizzes: If your customer is in the research phase, providing them with a questionnaire to help narrow down their choices is a great way to streamline their research and find exactly what they need.
  • On-Site Reminders: Show your visitors what products they were looking at last time they visited, or which items they've added to their cart.
  • Email Reminders: Follow up with a reminder later when the customer may be ready to place the order.
  • Make an Offer: Offering a discount, especially on a large ticket item might make the difference of whether or not it fits in your customers' budget now.

Full List of Abandonment Solutions

Note: Often there is much you can do to avoid cart abandonment even before a customer adds items to their cart. Your marketing impacts customer behavior from the beginning. But cart abandonment can happen even with the best marketing and sales tactics. Here is a list of all the solutions we recommend to get your customer hooked on that “Finalize Checkout” button.

Cart Reminder: Displayed as a banner that stays at the top of the screen, a sidebar that glides in, or a lightbox that pops up at just the right time, the cart reminder is one way to seal the deal. It tells customers “Don’t forget about this awesome stuff you found!” and “Ready to check out? Here’s a coupon for your order!” and even “This item is in limited stock, buy it and don’t miss out!”

example of dynamic cart abandonment pop-up with a reminder that the user has 3 items in their cart and a button to checkout now

“Almost There!” Free Shipping / Offer: Many of these solutions, like this one, can be strategized with a banner, sidebar, or lightbox as mentioned above. This solution is a fun one! And not used as often as it should be. In contrast to offering a discount to every site visitor just to push the sale, the “Almost There!” reminder offers a reward for spending a chosen amount.

example of free shipping pop-up that says "Almost there! $7 away from free shipping" that suggests other products
Entice customers to checkout by showing them just how close they are to getting free shipping!

For example, “Get free shipping when you spend $50!” or “Get a free product when you spend $100!” With this offer, you can place a banner at the top of the shopper’s screen that follows them across the site. Even a bar that moves closer and closer to the end as they add items to the cart. This makes the experience feel like a game or a reward, which is enough to push some customers to finalize their purchase just to “Redeem their Reward.”

Countdown Timer: The countdown timer is most effective in a banner format, but can be used within a sidebar or lightbox as well. The idea is simple: if you gave the customer a discount offer, put a time limit on that offer to increase urgency. But just that isn’t enough, as customers will quickly forget when that offer is supposed to end. A countdown timer creates excitement and pushes urgency further to buy up their cart before the clock rings midnight.

example of a countdown timer pop-up with a timed offer
Firstleaf presents a strong offer using Exit Intent and a countdown timer to visitors who are thinking about leaving the site.

Abandonment Email: If you successfully acquired a customer’s email through a lightbox or other form, use it in an automated email campaign! Nurture that customer. We mentioned a few of these before, but here are some ways to nurture a customer via email after cart abandonment: 

example of cart abandonment email that shows 2 products previously left in their cart
  • Show them their abandoned items: Evoke that nostalgia and excitement they had when they first clicked “Add to Cart” – mix it up and add one of the below strategies as well.
  • Include a note from your founder or employee: Share your company’s story, how you got started, what you stand for, the difference you make, and how you compare.
  • Show customer stories and reviews: FOMO is real. Flood your email with a huge collage or video compilation of people loving your product. Including 5-star ratings and glowing testimonials, of course!
  • Teach them about the products they’ve chosen: Create videos or blogs that explain a particular product and drive home how awesome it is. Show the problem it solves, how it works if it’s something new on the market, and even pop in the opportunity to upsell another product or better version of the one in their cart. In other words: show them why they can’t live without it.

(Psssst. Our customer Andie used their Digioh quiz to acquire email addresses and increase their automated email revenue by 55%!)

example of a personalized email with product recommendation quiz results

Retargeting: You can retarget both off- and on-site. One way to do this is to bring up a picture of the item in their cart. They wanted it enough to add it, seeing it again might be the last push they needed to commit. You can also retarget with other marketing messages about your company or products.

example of retargeting campaigns both on-site and through ads.

Adding Abandonment Targeting to Your Site

An abandonment targeting strategy is a powerful tool to increase revenue, make new customers, and build loyalty. These are just a few tools to lead customers to the sale after they abandon items in their cart. Hopefully, in addition to these abandonment strategies, you also work to overcome objections and build a relationship with your customer every step of the way. 

Michaela Barriga
Content & Partner Marketing Manager
Michaela is Digioh’s Content & Partner Marketing Manager and oversees all things content and partner connection. With a passion for helping businesses grow stronger through organization and authentic connection, Michaela has worked with small and large businesses in copywriting, content creation, and project organization. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and their 2 black lab mixes.

Continue reading

How to Create Marketing Efficiency For Your Shopify Store in 2024 | DTC on Easy Mode Part 1

Branded Quizzes Done Right: Creating a Custom Product Recommendation Quiz

How to Optimize Your Ad Spend with a Quiz

Turn More Visitors into Customers

Schedule a session with our conversion experts to discover how you can drive more revenue with consumer-consented data.
Get a Demo