Drive to Reimagine

Cart abandonment: Save yourself from your worst nightmare

Jeremy DSouza
Jan 4
10-11 mins

Table of contents

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Cart Abandonment

If you’re an eCommerce operator, your greatest fear is probably not a zombie apocalypse or an evil, murderous clown. It’s more likely that your greatest fear is cart abandonment.

You squirm in pain when you see people filling their carts up and then simply dropping them and walking away. Thankfully, that’s not a pain you have to just live with anymore. You can fix it.

What causes cart abandonment?

Causes of cart abandonment
Causes of cart abandonment


Surprise costs

We all hate it when we pick a product, proceed to the billing page, and get greeted with a hiked-up price. Then, out of sheer spite, we decide against making the purchase. 

Why are carts abandoned during checkout?
The reasons for cart abandonment during checkout

It’s annoying. We’ve finally convinced ourselves to pay one price and now you’re asking us to shell out even more? Why would you do this?

Here’s the only way to win us back:

Be transparent

If you’re going to charge for shipping anyway, at least let us know. rust me, we’d appreciate it. Stop shocking us with shipping costs, surcharges, and other random fees, just show us the total cost the first time. Would also be great if you added in eco-friendly shipping options!


Money, money, money

We’re humans. We’re rational beings (or at least, we try acting that way). Sometimes, we just want to find the most economical option.

We want a better deal, and it’s up to you to show us why yours is the best possible one. Here’s how you go about doing it.

Guarantee with pop-ups

When we’re leaving, send us a pop-up notification. Tell us you’re offering us a discount or are ready to match/ do better than the best price we could get from your competitors, maybe just offer us free shipping. Now we’re hooked and you’ll have less cart abandoners.

Exit popup to recover carts
Exit pop-up

Remind us with a bot

A notification from your ai chatbot could be all we need in order to get around to attending to our carts. Especially from a Facebook Messenger chatbot, which us sends eye-catching notifications when we’re not using the app. It makes sure we notice your message (and very possibly, take action).

Ask us why we’re left our shopping carts and if we mention price as a factor, offer us a discount.


Painful process

If you render us frustrated while trying to checkout, trust me, we won’t bother checking out.

Don’t annoy us into ditching our cart (and you). If you force us to deal with complicated checkout processes, we won’t just abandon our cart, we’ll abandon you too. You can’t blame us for assuming that your process is going to be equally annoying for every single purchase that we try to make.

Don’t worry though, here’s how to make us feel better about your checkout process.

Guest checkout

Unless you’re even remotely close to the size of Amazon, there’s no way you can force us to create an account on your E-Commerce portal. Even Amazon wouldn’t be justified trying to force us into creating an account if they didn’t have Amazon Prime (What? We love our streaming services).

Some of us just don’t want to hand our contact information over to you. And if you have any intention to keep on making money, you need to learn to be fine with that.

Allow us to make purchases without making an account and we’ll thank you. And if we like your service enough, we may actually consider creating an account.

Request only necessary information

Now if you’re considering a guest checkout option, more power to you. But only ask us for the information that you absolutely need. If we catch you asking us about our nicknames or our sun-signs, you'll witness checkout dropoff!

Show some progress

We want to know where we’ve reached in the checkout process, and how much further we need to go. Give us an indicator.

Ain’t stepping no more

Stop making us hop to a million different pages for each step (and wait for each page to load...ARGHH).

We have no intention of navigating 700000 pages with a million steps just to make a single purchase. Even 9 is too many. Make it easy for us and we’ll go through with it. Make it hard, and we’re leaving. 2-6 six steps is the sweet spot, with 2 being the best (of course).

What am I buying again? Remind me, please.

If we're losing our minds in your hyper-complicated checkout process, we may very well forget what we're trying to buy. Know what that leads to? Cart Abandonment. (C’mon, could it be more obvious?)

At the very least, show us a thumbnail image of the product we're buying, and keep it present throughout the checkout process.

Make it linear

If we’ve reached Step 5 and you’re sending us back to Step 1, we're leaving. Walmart used to have a non-linear checkout process. They’ve seen the light and have since transitioned towards a linear one. Good for them. Now it’s your chance. Make it flow; take us through the steps and make sure we don’t need to come running back.

With a linear process, we know that we’re making progress and are getting close to actually checking out. We’re feeling good about getting done with all the steps we passed. Don’t kill our buzz by sending us back to a prior step.


There’s no choice

If we can’t choose how we want to pay, we're bound to get a bit annoyed. Sometimes we want to pay by using something like Apple Pay. Or maybe, we feel safer about a Cash-On-Delivery option. If you’re forcing us to pay by credit card, we may just leave.

If we don’t have cash on us, we’d really like it if you accepted a card payment. Keep our options open and we're more likely to make a purchase. Allow us to choose from all the commonly used payment methods (and please include a COD option) and we'll feel much better.


The point of no return

If we don’t see a good return policy, we're assuming that you’re running a shady operation, trying to stick substandard products on us. Experiment with one, see if it’s profitable to you, and then when you’re sure that it is, scale it further.

If you do create an amazing return policy, make it known. Let us know all about it. Make it very obvious.

amazing eCommerce return Policy
Have a great return policy…and make it known



This could go either way. Either you’re so strict that we don’t want to take the effort to answer every single question or you’re so relaxed that we don’t trust you. Neither works out too well for you.

Here’s how to get around that.

Inspire trust

The best way to get us to trust you is to show us that you’re verified by organizations that we trust. Use Trust Logos. Show us that you’re ‘Secured by Norton’ or ‘McAfee Secure’ and we’ll feel better about making a payment. The Baymard Institute shows you which trust badge makes your customers feel the safest:

Graph of Most trusted badge for online payment
Trust Seals- ranked by

But please, don’t scare us off with a trust logo that we don’t recognize. If we see, ‘Secured by Random Local Organization’, you can expect some major cart abandonment.


A solid cash-back policy could be all we need to actually make a purchase. Assure us that you’re not just taking our money and making a great escape, leaving me with a substandard product. If we know that we could get our money back if there’s an issue with our products, we're going to trust you more.


Testimonials from your existing purchasers/ clients give us a sense of confidence that you’re not trying to scam us. Show us real people, who’ve actually used your product. Make it authentic. If we see that your products are working well for other people, we’ll consider trying it out ourselves.

Product reviews

As eCommerce retailers, you should never hide your reviews. Trust me, we're looking for them. If we see positive reviews, we’ll feel better about you and your product. But if there’re only positive product reviews, it might feel a bit fake. Don’t let that happen. Make the neutral ones visible too, but pin the positive reviews to the top of the page.


Unsupportive checkout

We might need some help during the checkout process. Make it easy for us to receive support. We're not very keen on calling your helping line and waiting for an average of 11 minutes to get in touch with a customer service agent; make the process simpler. 

Deploy a chatbot on your website, reply quickly and solve our doubts as soon as possible. We're definitely going to appreciate that. 75% of us online shoppers expect to be served in under 5 minutes. With a chatbot, you’d only have us waiting for an average of 45 seconds before addressing our doubts. Sounds like you’re not just satisfying us, you’re delighting us.

In case we do end up with a query that your chatbot can’t solve, give us the option to be redirected to a conversation with an actual human agent. You can set that up using the Live Chat feature.


Just browsing

A lot of us are just browsing through your website. Some of us are just curious about your product. Some are doing a bit of research on a product that we’re interested in purchasing in the near future. 

It shouldn’t be very surprising that we’d fill our cart and then just forget about it. It’s up to you to bring us back. Here’re a few ways to go about with that.

Re-marketing ads

Show us what we’re missing out on. Give us a slight reminder about your products and we might just dive back into the purchasing process.

Recovery emails

Don’t let us forget about our cart. Shoot an email towards us. Ideally, one that includes pictures of the products in our carts. Make it even more tempting by sending us an offer or discount.


We may not open your email. But if you’re sending us a cart recovery message over a Facebook chatbot, we’d probably check that out. Messenger sends very obvious notifications, regardless of whether we're using the app at that point or not. Sending us remarketing messages and personalized offers over a Facebook Messenger chatbot could be an extremely effective cart abandonment solution for you.

Pro tip:Autosave carts. Don’t force us to make any extra effort to save our carts. Make it easier, set it up so that it gets saved automatically.

Another tip:Use scarcity. Show us that there are limited products or give us a limited time offer. Essentially, give us FOMO.


Technical issues

This one is 100% in your hands. If your website or mobile app isn’t easy to use or keeps hanging, that’s a hole that a lot of potential sales will leak out of. If it’s slow to load, that’s a deal-breaker too.

Mobile optimize

Make it easier to access your website via mobile devices. The world has been steadily moving from desktop to mobile for a long time now. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re lagging far behind.

Speed optimize

There’s a real need for speed out here. Our attention spans have dropped to such a point that it’s 1 second less than that of a goldfish. Bore us and it’s going to be very hard to get our attention back.


Coupon codes that don’t work

A bargain hunter’s worst nightmare. If you do feel the need to provide coupons, at least make sure they work. Customers availing your offers through social media would be especially disappointed. It would be even better if you have an auto-apply feature set up so that we buyers don’t need to hunt for coupons.


Inaccessible carts

If we can’t access our carts with ease, it’s going to be a very frustrating process to make a purchase. Especially if we delayed a purchase and finally got around to doing it, but didn’t know where to find our carts. Cart abandonment will definitely be a natural phenomenon if we can't find our carts in the first place.

Make it omnipresent

Make sure your cart icon is visible on and accessible from every single one of your webpages. Your best bet for the location would be the upper right corner of your webpage.


Delivery time

We don’t want to keep waiting for weeks on end for our products to reach us. We might just avoid your online store if you take too long to deliver.

Express shipping

Offer express shipping options. We’re ready to pay.

Specify timelines

Make your delivery timelines clear. And then give us options. It would reduce shopping cart abandonment by stopping us from wondering when we’d get our products delivered.

Mobile has the highest cart abandonment rates, with 85.65% of all transactions ending without a sale.
- Barilliance Report on cart abandonment rate.


eCommerce cart Abandonment can be a total nightmare. But it’s time to wake up now. These tips could substantially decrease your cart abandonment rates and increase sales.

Try out our E-commerce chatbot and start getting your carts retrieved today.

Ready to get started? Register with Engati!

Jeremy DSouza

Jeremy is a marketer at Engati with an interest in marketing psychology and consumer neuroscience. Over the last year he has interviewed many of the world's brightest CX, AI, Marketing, and Tech thought leaders for Engati CX.

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