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Lauren Van Mullem4/16/15 9:00 AM4 min read

Cart Abandonment & The Art of Wooing Your Customer


Fear of Abandonment: The irrational belief that one is in imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded, or replaced.

At least for Ecommerce sites, this isn’t an “irrational belief” at all – you see it every day: Cart abandonment. Most online retailers experience high rates of cart abandonment and can’t understand why. “Why do you want to leave me?!” they plead, sounding a lot like the ex-boyfriend I had in college.

In fact, much like that ex-boyfriend, most retailers send you notes as if you didn’t leave, you just forgot about them. For a really long time. Is this effective? Well, as my ex-boyfriend could tell you, not one bit.

So what is? How do you woo your cart abandoner back to finalize their purchase?

Let’s start with the hard facts.

  • The definition of cart abandonment is when a shopper places an item in his or her cart, but doesn’t enter checkout, or doesn’t complete checkout.
  • The average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce sites is 55% to 75%.

Some people really do abandon their carts by accident, but for every customer who forgets to put in their credit card info, there's another customer who just didn't want to. The reason for their reluctance could very well be that your site design isn't conducive to the sales/conversion funnel. So, to reduce cart abandonment, you have to take a look at what happens before the shopping cart enters the picture.

How to Woo Back Your Cart Abandoner

Trust Issues: When Your Checkout Process Looks Sketchy

If your website looks unprofessional and your checkout process looks like a DIY effort from 1999, your customers won’t feel safe completing their purchase.

  • Wooing technique 1: Clean up your image and your checkout process so it looks sleek and professional. Also, be sure to display security logos, a satisfaction guarantee, and contact info for customer service.
  • Wooing technique 2: In addition to cleaning up your image, include customer testimonials and reviews. Some of the most successful ecommerce sites feature customer reviews for every product.

According to GrowthHacker stats, 57% of shoppers weren’t ready to purchase, but did want to get an estimate on shipping costs.

  • Wooing technique 1: Remove the shipping cost hurdle altogether like many online retailers do by offering FREE Shipping (or Free shipping with orders over a certain amount).
  • Wooing technique 2: Provide flat-rate shipping. A survey showed that 54% of abandoners left because shipping cost more than expected, so let them know about your flat-rate shipping policy up front!
  • Wooing technique 3: Give them an easy-to-use, centrally-placed shipping calculator. That way, the price checkers aren’t killing your stats on their path to finding information, and they’ll appreciate the transparency. The survey showed that 34% of online shoppers who abandoned their carts said that shipping costs were shared too late in the buying process.

GrowthHacker also says that 56% of shoppers aren’t ready to commit to purchasing, but want to save their selection for later.

  • Wooing technique 1: Include an option in your site to “Save to Favorites.” Give them a start to click, or a heart to add, and a section in their user profile that allows them to “bookmark” what they like for future reference. That way, when they’re “just looking” you won’t feel so rejected. They’re in the “I like you, but I’m not in like with you” phase of your relationship. (Learn how to woo your customers even more here!)
  • Wooing technique 2: Add to wish list! Don’t make your customer do all the shopping themselves – open it up to their friends and family by providing a wish list function! This not only allows your customer to “save” their favorite items, but also opens up the possibility of widening your reach.

Shoppers who add items to the cart are statistically more likely to make a purchase… at some point.

  • Wooing technique 1: Some people really do forget to click "purchase." Maybe the buyer was distracted in the middle of typing in her credit card number by an ex-boyfriend knocking on the door with flowers for the 3rd time that week (hey, it happens). But the good news is that she has shown a high level of interest in purchasing your products. Use display ads or email reminders to regain this buyer's attention.
  • Wooing technique 2: Perhaps the buyer changed her mind at the last minute, deciding that a particular product didn't exactly meet her needs. In this case, try sending your buyer recommendation emails based on her cart items. Maybe she didn’t find just the right item on first glance – and you can help her locate exactly what she wants.

If you'd like more tips on how to Woo your customers, call us for a consultation! When it comes to your website, we're the E-Commerce equivalent of Dr. Ruth.

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Lauren Van Mullem

Lauren Van Mullem, who captures your authentic voice in a way that meets the needs of your specific audience, and her solid knowledge of on-page SEO will get your web content noticed. In fact, she literally wrote the book on marketing using Pinterest for the twenty women’s travel bloggers she managed on Wanderlust and Lipstick. Her theory is that to be a successful writer – and a valuable asset to any business – you have to have a gift with words and a mind for marketing. She works daily to develop both.