Beating Online Shopping Cart Abandonment… Stop Sales from Sliding Down the Drain


If you’re a business owner who sales things – goods or services – online, you’ve likely been frustrated by shopping cart abandonment at one time or another. And if you don’t know when your visitors are abandoning their shopping cart before completing the sale, you should. Whatever the case, shopping cart abandonment is not desirable and if it’s happening to you and your business, you want and need it to stop.

First, let’s talk about why shopping cart abandonment occurs.

Here are 5 common reasons people abandon their shopping cart before they make the purchase:

  1. Not sure if they really want the product or service
  2. Now sure if the product or service is priced right or is a good value
  3. Want to comparison shop
  4. They get busy and forget something is in the cart before leaving the site
  5. The customer simply changes their mind about the purchase or purchasing from you

It might seem like there is nothing you can do about some – or maybe, all – of these factors. However, if you think this, you might likely be wrong.

Below are 2 basic, yet impactful, tips for reducing shopping cart abandonment or recapturing sales that had the potential to be lost through shopping cart abandonment.

ONE: Address objections to your product or service in advance.

Considering – and addressing where possible – objections in advance can combat several of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment mentioned above.

What might your customers be thinking before they decide to make a purchase? Think about this. Do you think they might have questions or concerns about whether the purchase will do or accomplish what they desire? Whether “the price is right?”

Sit down and think about all these possible objections. The good and bad news is that these sales are happening online, when you can’t be right there in front of your customers. Or is that even true? Sure, you aren’t right there with them physically to address their concerns. However, if you have done the thinking in advance, you can combat those hesitations with information that is right there in front of them and sets their mind at ease.

This information can – and should – be on the product or service pages themselves AND on the cart page. For example, your description could say something like, “Wondering if this product will do what it promises? Here’s why you can trust that it will…” Then, include additional supporting bullet points and/or a testimonial from another client or customer (multiple testimonials are a bonus).

Similarly, if your product or service is the best-priced option or best value, show the comparison of yours and the competition. If it’s not the lowest price, then you can still show what you offer that the competition doesn’t (“upping the value”). Another bonus to this particular idea is that it keeps them on your site longer, rather than them leaving to do the comparison themselves. Most people will comparison shop today. Use that to your advantage instead of becoming a victim to this idea.

TWO: Have a system for knowing when shopping cart abandonment has happened and make sure to use that system to follow up with those potential customers who left their purchase hanging.

You can’t manage or influence what you don’t know is happening. Thus, first, you need to have a system in place so that you know when a customer has left their purchase in the cart without closing the sale.

Ideally, this means you are going to capture customer name and email early in the buyer-seller relationship and then place a cookie or pixel on the page so that whenever that customer is on your site, it’s recorded. That way, if they leave something in the cart without buying, your site “knows” this has happened.

When you have this system in place on your site, you can then also set it up so that when the shopping cart is abandoned, the customer is emailed with a reminder and frequently, with some incentive to come back and finalize the transaction (such as a discount or bonus offer).

If you don’t put this system in place yourself, you can still combat shopping cart abandonment with remarketing. This is when a pixel on your site records the shopper’s “computer address” (IP or other signature) and then you utilize Google Adwords or Facebook tools to “re-market” the abandoned products to the person when they are on the web elsewhere or are even just hanging out on social media. You’ve likely seen this yourself. You put a product in your cart on Amazon (or even just look at it, but that’s another story for another day) but don’t buy it. Later, you’re talking to a friend on Facebook and an ad for that product pops up. Or the same happens when you’re on some other random site that displays ads. Remarketing is one of the more powerful online marketing tools today and the reason is because it works to convert more sales.

To reiterate, you first need to prepare to help eliminate shopping cart abandonment upfront. But even then, if and when it happens anyway, can’t manage what you don’t measure. ASAP you must have a system in place to identify and track shopping cart abandonment and then a system for addressing those potential customers again, to attempt to convert them even after they’ve left. Many people just don’t buy the first time they think about it. Smart business owners understand that, plan for it, and beat it for the WIN.