5 Reasons to Start a Shopping Cart Abandonment Programme

One of the advantages of online stores is that abandoned shopping carts aren’t quite the same lost cause that they are in brick and mortar stores. In fact you can turn those abandoned carts into even bigger sales by offering a special discount or free shipping.

In a June 2009 PayPal survey46% of respondents cited high shipping costs as the primary reason for abandoning a web purchase, 37% cited a desire to compare prices and 36% a lack of money. Displaying shipping costs early on can help prevent abandonment, PayPal says.

According to the survey, other reasons for shopping cart abandonment included:

  • Wanted to look for a coupon, 27%
  • Wanted to shop offline, 26%
  • Couldn’t find preferred payment option, 24%
  • Item was unavailable at checkout, 23%
  • Couldn’t find customer support, 22%
  • Concerned about security of credit card data, 21%

Here are five reasons to have a shopping cart abandonment programme in place for your online store.

1. Remind forgetful customers

Some online retailers have found that up to 83 percent of all visitors who place items in their online shopping carts never complete the transaction. You won’t always know why. Sometimes all it takes is an email reminder of the uncompleted transaction with a helpful link to get the customer to return and complete the transaction, earning you a sale you would have otherwise lost. Don’t let this incredible number of visitors who have an obvious interest in your products get away!

2. Optimise performance of email campaigns

If you’ve been selling online for a while, you’ve probably tried email campaigns. If you haven’t, you should. They are quite profitable! But you can increase that profitability dramatically by adding shopping cart abandonment emails to the mix. With a well-structured set of emails, a shopping cart abandonment program can create 10 times the sales that your regular mailings will attract. Not only that, but those sales have been shown to be up to 28 percent larger than regular orders.

3. Close the deal with an offer or related items

An abandoned shopping card is a lost sale. But what if you emailed those fleeing prospects giving them a coupon for a discount on something in that cart they abandoned, or perhaps a related item? Studies have shown that these types of discounts drove not only more transactions to be completed, but those completed sales ended up having more products ordered than were in the original abandoned cart!

As stated above, one of the biggest reasons given for shopping cart abandonment is the shipping cost was too high. Try offering free shipping to get them to come back and finish the order. It works!

If your return customers are catching on and intentionally abandoning carts to wait for the discount, try randomizing it. Offer it only to some abandoned carts, but not all. You might also make it available only once per customer or per certain time period. You will have those customers on your regular mailing list, so they will be the first to receive whatever other specials you offer.

4. Remind customers when product is in stock again

Sometimes shoppers abandon carts because the product they want is out of stock or on backorder. With a shopping cart abandonment program, you can actually recover these sales by informing the customer when the item they wanted becomes available. By providing a link to their abandoned cart in the email, you’ll find a great percentage of them coming back to finish that transaction. Add a discount to make up for the inconvenience, and you’ll be amazed at the amount of sales you’ll recover with this simple email.

5. It’s easy to start-up and maintain

Shopping cart abandonment programmes aren’t difficult to start up or maintain. In fact, once you buy it and have it installed, it will run automatically in the background without any additional manual work on your part. The cost isn’t prohibitive, and depending on your online sales volume and amount of abandoned carts, you can easily recoup it in less than a month.

Shopping cart abandonment programmes are easy to use, and they generate regular income for you without much extra effort. It’s truly one of the best types of email marketing campaigns in which you can invest, as it will bring you more sales and more repeat customers.

Here’s a list of some e-commerce solutions  suppliers that offer such programmes:

Over to you

Have you checked your shopping cart abandonment rates lately?  Do you have a programme in place to ensure that you’re not losing sales?  Share your views…

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.


  1. […] People who’re less familiar with e-commerce sites will naturally make mistakes that lead to shopping cart abandonment. Avoid long forms, offer multiple payment options, and offer visitors the option to checkout […]

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