Ecommerce Abandonment Statistics in 2021: Recovering Customers in a Competitive Landscape

One of the biggest challenges ecommerce businesses face is the dreaded cart abandonment. For various reasons — from indecision to inconvenience — online visitors sometimes opt out of buying a product they’ve already added to their shopping cart. How can online retailers overcome this challenge, especially in 2021 when digital competition is at its highest? Although it isn’t possible to completely eliminate cart abandonment, there are tactics every business should be aware of to help circumvent higher cart abandonment rates and re-engage shoppers back to checkout.

Causes of Cart Abandonment: What Makes a Consumer Jump Ship?

Throughout the shopping process, online customers can find a lot of things they don’t like on a website that impacts their decision to buy.

However, one surprising aspect of online shopping is that many consumers land on a website with either:

  • Little-to-no intent to purchase during their first visit: It typically takes between 3-5 visits for a customers to buy)
  • Little-to-no intent to purchase at all: 59% of US online shoppers stick to browsing a site with no plans to buy at all. These are just the shoppers who haven’t committed to making a purchase. What happens to those who are ready and willing to buy but don’t quite make it over the line?

The graph below illustrates the top reasons for cart abandonment during the checkout process:

The main culprit for abandoned carts: extra costs that aren’t revealed until the very end of an interaction. It’s easy to suggest that brands simply avoid having zero hidden or additional expenses, but that’s not always possible.

Many online shops simply need to include extra charges such as shipping, taxes, etc. If this is the case, then the most important thing would be to be as transparent as possible by displaying these extra costs upfront.

The last thing any customer wants is to finally decide on a product and then learn they need to pay more than they planned for to have it. Therefore, all additional charges should be displayed next to (or below) the price for the product(s).

Not including extra costs in the online purchase process?

Then show it off! This can be a positive incentive for retaining customers as free shipping/no extra costs are perceived as freebies that can boost brand perception.

A good example of a straightforward checkout process is Apple’s checkout page. Below, you can see how they clearly stated that there are no additional costs for the product in the cart. By showcasing the “free shipping” message in green, Apple made it easier for customers to notice it and move forward with checkout easily:

Ecommerce Abandonment Rates by Industry

2020 saw a lot of changes in the online retail world, particularly around how consumers interact with brands. With more consumers shopping online, some online retailers generated record-breaking numbers while others saw a decline.

The chart below looks at abandonment rates by vertical as of March 2020, when retailers around the world began to see a shift in sales and traffic due to the global pandemic:

Shopping Cart Abandonment on Mobile

While the desktop experience usually comes to mind when thinking of shopping cart abandonment, mobile actually generates higher abandonment rates. Nearly 4 in 10 shoppers leave products behind when browsing a site on mobile.

For starters, customers browsing on mobile have limited screen real estate, which can limit product discovery. In addition to having less space to browse, how a brand uses the space they do have makes all the difference between a conversion and a higher bounce rate. This touches everything from the quality of the site’s navigation right down to the placement of images, text and ‘add to cart’ buttons.

Finally, a site visitor can be looking for a product one minute and then distracted into doing something else. The on-the-go nature of a mobile device makes it hard to keep a shopper engaged enough to make it past the Checkout page.

Eliminating Barriers in the Checkout Process

While abandoned shopping cards can’t be avoided completely, there are some ways brands can create an experience (on both desktop and mobile) that can catch a shopper’s attention and guide them back on the path to checkout.

5 steps to transform the checkout experience

  1. A seamless site navigation
  2. Fully optimized product pages
  3. Optional account creation before checkout
  4. A variety of payment methods
  5. Recovery emails to drive customers back onsite

Ecommerce site navigation is a make or break in a quality customer experience. Shoppers who visit your site with a clear goal in mind don’t care to jump down a rabbit hole of products to find what they need. At the same time, visitors who aren’t quite sure what (or if) they want to buy something will be difficult to convert if they’re met with inconvenient navigation.

Because of this, displaying the most critical elements in a clean and concise way is key to avoiding cart abandonment.

When optimizing navigation specifically on mobile, accordion menus can significantly reduce cart abandonment rate. Accordions are elements of mobile design which expand to show additional information that is otherwise invisible.

This is a very useful design element because it creates a more decluttered page that only displays the most valuable information. When customers are not overwhelmed with unnecessary content, they can focus on what’s important and proceed with the shopping process more easily.

Ecommerce Navigation 101

Learn the fundamentals of engaging and converting shoppers with fail-proof ecommerce navigation.

2. Optimized Product Pages

Customers often leave cart contents behind due to a lack of knowledge about the product. Because of this, Product pages should contain as much relevant information as possible about the product to reassure a shopper that they’re making the right decision.

  • User-generated content that illustrate how products are used by other customers
  • Product details around product size, material, color, ingredients (ideal for beauty and skincare brands)
  • Information around shipping and delivery that tells a shopper how quickly they can expect the product to arrive once they checkout

How does one of beauty retail’s biggest players master customer experience?

Our retail masterclass offers an inside look at Sephora’s personalization and loyalty strategies.

3. Optional Account Creation

Cart abandonment rate can rise significantly if customers are required to create an account immediately. So how can retailers avoid losing customers this way?

The best practice would be to do what the brand Crate&Barrel did for their Checkout page. They offer two options for customers who reach this point.

It’s very important to keep in mind that the checkout process is a sensitive one; even the slightest of details can cause a customer to back out.

This is a good example of how a website leaves a choice to every customer; they can continue as a guest and create an account later, or register right away as a returning customer. This is beneficial for two reasons:

  • It gives customers a sense of choice It helps increase the volume of returning customers
  • It helps increase the volume of returning customers

4. A Variety of Payment Options

More than half of online shoppers expect a brand to offer a variety of payment options once they’ve reached checkout.

While supporting various payment methods can serve as a hygiene factor for most online stores, there are also real implications to dynamically showing or hiding certain payment methods based on the specific actions your prospective shoppers take on your site.

Here’s an example: Two shoppers are browsing an electronics retailer’s website and are looking for two items that are on opposite ends of the pricing spectrum.

  • Shopper A is looking for a new 50-inch television priced at $1,000
  • Shopper B is interested in a pack of batteries priced at $2.50

While Shopper B’s transaction can be done rather quickly, the first shopper will likely need more convincing before they are ready to purchase. Offering a different payment method to each of these shoppers that is more in line with the type of product they’re purchasing helps reassure them that they have options.

How do successful brands offer payment experiences that convert?

Follow our 5 steps to automatically adjust payment methods using personalized content.

5. Abandoned Cart Emails

59% of consumers say that marketing emails influence their decision to purchase.

With that said, how can a brand leverage the influence of email marketing to lure indecisive shoppers back onto their site and complete their purchases?

Cue: the abandoned cart email.

Abandoned cart emails are messages that contain products left behind by a shopper. These emails can be programmed to trigger automatically when a shopper leaves a website, re-engaging these shoppers with reminders of the products they were just about to buy and encouraging them to complete their purchase.

Tu&Co‘s abandoned cart emails aim to re-engage shoppers with a message that lets them know the item they were considering is still available – including a 5€ discount towards their purchase and a CTA button that leads them back to their shopping cart. This tactic contributed to the brand’s 28% increase in conversion: