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Reversing your Cart Abandonment Rate: 5 Steps to Success

Reversing your Cart Abandonment Rate
Written By Louise
On Oct, 15 2019
4 minute read

Lost conversions are a big issue in e-commerce. The majority of all shopping carts wind up being abandoned and business owners of all experience levels count it as one of their biggest headaches. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to turn your Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) around.

Here are the five steps you should follow to optimize your e-commerce store and improve your conversions.

Step 1: Work out your cart abandonment rate

First things first, you need to know your numbers. If your online store doesn’t automatically calculate your CAR, you can do it manually.

Here’s the CAR formula:

  • Choose a time period to measure your CAR
  • Divide the total number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created
  • To get the rate as a percentage, minus the subtotal from one and multiply by 100

If you have 100 purchases from 200 shopping carts in September, you would calculate your CAR like this:

100/200 = 0.5

1 - 0.5 = 0.5

0.5 x 100 = 50

50% CAR September

Once you have this benchmark, you can start to track your numbers and optimize your store with the aim of decreasing your CAR each month.

Step 2: Fix the big issues

There are lots of reasons why people might be filling up their shopping carts and leaving your store without paying. The main culprits, however, tend to be poor product descriptions, a complex payment process, and hidden costs.

Before payment

Your product descriptions and returns policy need to be transparent. Aim to answer your prospective clients’ questions and doubts, and be sure to make all costs clear, including; shipping, taxes, and product price. Any hidden costs - or lingering doubts - will likely result in an abandoned cart later on down the line.

During payment

When it comes to your shopping cart payment page, it should be easy to navigate and use. It should also be very easy for the customer to apply any discount codes they have.

If you have your own payment system, be sure to get real user feedback and look at your analytics. If people consistently abandon the process at a certain point, you’ll know there is something that needs fixing.

Check-out (1)

Step 3: Follow up with a cart abandonment email, SMS or Facebook Message

A quick message can get a customer back after they’ve abandoned their shopping cart - just make sure to send it within an hour for the best results. These emails can act as reminders, offer additional information, and even give incentives (like discounts or free shipping) to return and complete the purchase.

It’s important your email reads like it was written by a real human being. Corporate-sounding emails and those that sound overly familiar are often a big turn off.

Here are some tips for writing a successful abandoned cart email:

  • When possible, use the client’s name (but don’t overuse it), thank them for visiting your store and remind them that they still have items in their shopping basket.
  • Mention the name of the items and include an image, to show the customer of what they left behind.
  • Allay any doubts the customer may have about the product quality or your returns guarantee.
  • Include an easy way to contact you: This will increase the chance of a sale.
  • Include a clear call to action, with a sense of urgency.
  • Make sure that there are clear and obvious links back to the shopping cart so the customer can continue their buying journey.

Here’s an example abandoned cart email:

Subject: John, did you forget your shopping? Now it comes with free shipping!

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 14.43.02

Step 4: Re-target using discount codes

Using a multi-channel retargeting tool (such as Carts Guru) increases your chances of converting abandoned carts by up to 20%. Aside from retargeting via email, you can set up text message retargeting, Facebook messenger retargeting, and Facebook ads retargeting on our platform.

We’ve found that adding discount codes to your retargeting efforts can lead to less cart abandonment, higher website traffic, more conversions, and higher average order value (AOV).

There’s other research that backs this up: Perfect Search reports that using discount codes can lead to a 16% higher AOV and a near doubling of conversion rates.

Step 5: Look at other “low hanging fruit”

Improving your CAR doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a few simple tweaks can make a big difference to your bottom line.

While updating your User Interface (UI) may seem intimidating, it’s a good place to start - and there are a few clear design rules that you can follow.

Calls to action

These include making the buttons for a call to action like “Proceed to check-out” bigger and more noticeable, meaning there is no confusion when it is time to buy.



Photos are often the only way for customers to get to know what their purchase looks like before it arrives at their door. You should, therefore, invest in professional, well-composed photos - that show all the important angles of your products.

Mobile-friendly design

By 2021, 53.9% of e-commerce sales will be generated on mobile, so make sure your e-commerce store is optimized for mobile. And on a related note, make sure you have enough space between your page elements, so that they are clear and easy to see, and the calls to action stand out.

Follow these 5 simple steps and reinvigorate your e-commerce store. We’re sure you’ll see those conversions coming in, in no time at all! And if you are in the process of setting up an e-commerce business, check out our post on six simple steps to setting up a six-figure e-commerce website.

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