What is cart abandonment?

One of the most common questions we get asked by our clients is: What is cart abandonment? In this blog, we'll be answering just that!
Published on
March 9, 2023

Cart abandonment is an eCommerce term used to describe the process in which a user leaves your website before making a purchase, despite having items in their basket. Sometimes a user will only abandon their cart temporarily in order to shop around, or because they are using the shopping cart as a wishlist until they have the necessary funds. Other times, the visitor has no intention of coming back. 

How to calculate Cart Abandonment

In eCommerce, there are two massively beneficial metrics that you can take away from abandoned carts.

  1. Your Cart Abandonment Rate: To calculate this, divide the total number of purchases by the total number of carts added and multiply the result by one hundred. 
  2. Your Cart Recovery Rate: This is calculated by dividing your total number of abandoned carts by the number of recovered carts and multiplying the result by 100.

Why is cart abandonment so important?

Cart or checkout abandonment is an essential metric to any eCommerce business because it can help you identify issues with your customer journey and help you recover potentially lost revenue. 

Abandoning carts is a common practice amongst consumers, in fact, it is believed that most eCommerce stores suffer from a near 70% cart abandonment rate. The cost of abandonment is huge and It is estimated that online shoppers in the UK alone abandon baskets worth 30GBP per month, potentially causing a 13 billion pound loss each year for online stores.

What causes basket abandonment?

If you’ve noticed that your abandonment rate is particularly high you will first need to identify what the problem is. The most common causes of abandonment are:

  • Hidden Costs: Fees that only show up at the checkout are one of the biggest causes. This could be tax such as VAT or the cost of shipping.
  • Complicated Process: If the checkout process is particularly long or has unnecessary steps like mandatory account creation or requires a lot of personal data, checkout abandonment will be much higher.
  • Security Concerns: Security is a major factor for any consumer. Whether your website is slow, doesn’t have an SSL certificate, or just has a lot of advertisements these are all red flags for a visitor.
  • Inadequate Shipping Or Payment Options: Online shoppers might want to use a specific courier or payment method and if you don’t have it they will leave! Double-check to make sure your site uses has the best checkout options.
  • The customer is shopping around: Another possibility is that your visitors are checking other sites to compare prices and are finding better deals elsewhere. You should check out your competitors and make sure that your products are fairly priced.

How to recover abandoned cart sales

You could potentially increase your revenue by 4-5% by recovering abandoned carts! Some of the most efficient and regularly used methods are:

  1. Follow-up emails: Set up an automatic email to send users a few hours after they abandon their cart. This is a common practice for larger eCommerce stores because it works!
  2. Popups: Create a timely and tasteful popup when a visitor signals that they are leaving the page.
  3. Offering a voucher: To improve your recovery rate you could try creating a voucher. The offer doesn’t have to be huge to work.

How to track cart abandonment

The best way to track your basket abandonment will depend on how your website was developed. 

  • WordPress: If you have a WordPress site there are plenty of easy to install plugins specifically for tracking. You could use a plugin like Abandoned Cart Lite.
  • Shopify: Shopify makes things easy and already has metric tracking built-in. You can view your cart’s statistics by selecting orders on your dashboard, followed by abandoned checkouts. 
  • Wix: Similar to Shopify, abandoned checkouts are automatically tracked. To view this statistic, go to your live site and select the abandoned cart tab in your dashboard. 
  • Customized or advanced solutions: If your website was custom developed then you will need to set up tracking yourself. You could do this through a third-party such as Google Analytics or if you are interested in a more advanced solution you could book a consultation with us.

Tracking cart abandonment with Google Analytics

No matter the backend of your website, you can always track your cart abandonment with Google Analytics. By creating a funnel on Google analytics, you can map out the entire customer journey and not only track cart abandonment but identify the core causes.  

Step 1: Create a new Goal

Login to your Google Analytics dashboard and select the “Admin” option on the left sidebar menu.  

Once you are in the admin dashboard, make sure that you have selected the appropriate account, property, and view by selecting the 'All Web Site Data' tab from the top menu.

In the admin dashboard, you will see three main sections: ‘Account’, ‘Property’, and ‘view’. From the 'View' section, select ‘Goals’.

A goal, in Google Analytics, is a specific objective that you can customise and track. In this case, you will be creating a goal that is triggered when a successful purchase is made on your website. 

Click the 'New Goal' button.

You will be presented with various goal templates to choose from, but in this case, you should select 'Custom' from the menu.

Step 2: Describing the Goal

For simplicity, name your goal, 'Checkout Completed'. 

In the “Type” section, choose “Destination”. This will allow your goal to be triggered when the user visits a particular URL. 

When you click continue, you will be asked to enter the destination URL. Here you will need to copy and paste the link your visitors are brought to having completed the checkout process. For example

Step 3: Creating a funnel

In the ‘goal details’ section, you will also see an option titled ‘Funnel’. To track the entire customer journey and monitor your cart abandonment you will need to toggle this option on.

Once you have enabled the funnel setting, make sure that the 'required' option is switched on.

You can now begin entering all of the steps involved in a customer making a purchase on your website. The steps should be in order starting with adding a product to the basket, which could be named ‘Basket’ and the ‘Screen/Page’ field containing the appropriate link i.e. the link used when a customer adds a product to their cart.

Here is an example of the steps you might want to include in your Goals Funnel although yours may vary depending on the layout of your website and how it is set up.

Step 4: Viewing cart abandonment in Google Analytics

It’s easy to view your cart abandonment once you have set up tracking in Google Analytics. In the left sidebar select, “Conversions” > 'Goals' > 'Funnel Visualiations'

In the “Goal Funnel” section, choose “Checkout Completed” from the goal options dropdown menu and you will see a funnel with a detailed report on your customer journey and your cart abandonment rate. 

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