040 696 39 10 30 info@uptain.de
Shopping cart abandoners: Comprehensive guide for online shops
11.03.20, Haydar Yüce

Why do my customers cancel the shopping cart? How can I reduce the abandonment rate? And how can I recover shopping cart abandoners? You are by far not the online merchant who asks himself these questions. Online shops of all sizes and in all sectors are struggling with the phenomenon of shopping cart abandoners.

Online shoppers abandon approx. 70% of filled shopping carts for various reasons. This high abandonment rate means missed sales and in many cases even dissatisfied customers who do not return.

Especially annoying for online shops: In order to direct customers to the website, online shops spend significant marketing budgets on campaigns. If they now stop shortly before the purchase is complete, the investments become inefficient.

Doesn’t sound good? No reason for resignation!

Because once you understand the people who abandon a purchase and consistently address their needs, you can reduce the abandonment rate and restore abandoned shopping carts. This way you avoid loss of sales!

So get on the trail of those who abandoned their purchases and increase your sales!


Learn more about …


Potentials of shopping cart abandoners


convert shopping cart abandoners
shopping cart abandoners abandoned carts
shopping cart abandoners loss of sales


Like so many things in life, the phenomenon of shopping cart abandonment is a matter of observation. What worries one person, inspires another. Because: Shopping cart abandoners are annoying. But on the other hand, they hold a huge sales potential that is just waiting to be tapped.

Our recovery data show how great the sales potential of shopping cart abandoners actually is: 

uptain alone, as a software for recovering cart abandoners, saves lost shopping carts worth more than € 1.5 million every month.



Where are the potentials of shopping cart abandoners?

  • The segment of shopping cart abandoners shows an increased probability of purchase. They visit an online shop, spend some time on the website, browse and even show interest in specific products that they place in the shopping cart.

  • Convincing shopping cart abandoners to buy is much cheaper and less time-consuming than acquiring new customers. They are already in an advanced phase of the Customer Journey and just want to be convinced to buy.

What effects does the recovery of shopping cart abandoners have on an online shop?

  • Increase of sales,
  • Establishment of existing customers,
  • Branding,
  • Customer loyalty,
  • Conversion Rate Optimization,
  • New customer acquisition,
  • Increase of customer value (Customer Lifetime Value)



Reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Don’t make the mistake to think that cart abandonment is a phenomenon that is outside of a merchant’s control. At such an advanced stage of the customer journey, the probability of a purchase being completed is extremely high.

And yet there is a abandonment rate of about 70%…

The shop visitor who finally decides to abandon the shopping cart has a reason for that. If in doubt even several. Otherwise he would not leave the buying process.

And it is exactly these problems of the shopping cart abandoners that merchants have to recognize in order to provide suitable solutions and satisfy the customers. Consequently, a basic understanding of the reasons for cart abandonment is required in order to subsequently reduce the abandonment rate.

The good news: Shopping cart abandonment is not a black box. The reasons for abandonment are manifold and complex. Nevertheless, they are predictable. Consequently, they can also be categorized into their causes.

Why do customers leave the shopping cart? Reasons for shopping cart abandonment are technical problems, poor user experience design and last but not least personal motives of the cart abandoner.



1. Technical problems

Technical problems are often the cause of shopping cart abandonments, which can occur both before and during checkout.

  • Faulty pages appear
  • The loading times are too long
  • The voucher does not work
  • The login fails
  • Problems arise with payment


2. Poor user experience design (UX design)

The UX design refers to the structure of the online shop and the expectations of the shop visitor.

  • Important information is missing or appears too late
  • Once entered customer data disappears
  • The checkout process is too complicated
  • There is a lack of payment methods
  • Product reviews are missing or are negative
  • It is not possible to order as a guest
  • The shopping cart functions as a replacement for the missing watch list


3. Personal motives

However, the cause of a shopping cart abandonment can also lie with the shop visitor himself. Personal motives of the shopping cart abandoners are basically subjective and depend on the respective customer.


  • Product or total price is too high
  • Missing products
  • Shipping and returns costs too high
  • Lack of service
  • Delivery times too long
  • Distraction of the visitor
  • Lack of time

Reduce shopping cart abandoners

With the knowledge of the reasons for abandonments, you will understand your cart abandoners a lot better. Based on this knowledge, solutions for the reduction of shopping cart abandonments are developed.

From the perspective of the customer journey, the abandonment rate can be reduced at three moments (touchpoints). For a maximum effect on abandonment rate, a combination of preventive, immediate and reactive approaches is recommended.

When can shopping cart abandonments be avoided?


  • Preventive before the shopping cart is canceled
  • Immediately at the time of the cart abandonment
  • Reactive after the purchase has been cancelled


First step: Preventive reduction of shopping cart abandonments

The preventive reduction of shopping cart abandonments primarily affects the UX design. Pay attention to an intuitive and understandable structure of your online shop. It is also important that the checkout process is as uncomplicated and transparent as possible. An important aspect here is trust in the online shop, which can also be increased in e-commerce.


reduce shopping cart abandoners preventive


General shop optimizations

  • Larger buttons on mobile devices
  • Product reviews (social proof)
  • Feedback when adding products to the shopping cart
  • Seal of quality
  • Fault-tolerant search function
  • Avoidance of error pages
  • SSL Encryption
  • Personalization


Checkout optimizations

  • Show product details and product images in shopping cart
  • Lean checkout process (max. 4-5 steps)
  • Extend payment and shipping options
  • Show shipping costs and delivery times at the beginning of the checkout
  • Enable ordering as guest
  • Prevent Autocorrection in Checkout
  • Secure customer information
  • Only request the customer data necessary for the purchase
  • Mark mandatory fields
  • Add meaningful buttons (“Checkout”, “Add more products”)
  • Do not place the input field for voucher codes too prominently


After these optimizations, the entire purchase process should be uncomplicated and meet the user’s expectations. Many shop visitors will now have a more pleasant shopping experience and therefore are more likely to complete the purchase.

As already mentioned: many visitors – but by far not all, because shop and checkout optimizations are not geared to the individual needs of individual customers.

Customers still leave the filled shopping cart without buying – what can you do?


Second Step: Immediately prevent shopping cart abandonments

This enables us to reach the next possible touchpoint to reduce shopping cart abandonments: immediately at the time of it.


Immediately prevent shopping cart abandoners


Exit Intent Popups

Exit intent popups allow online shops to contact the customers at an important moment. The Exit Intent technology recognizes, among other things, by the movement of the mouse pointer (mouse-out trigger) whether and when the visitor wants to leave the online shop with a filled shopping cart.

  • A popup appears shortly before the shop visitor leaves the website.
  • The shopping cart abandoner reads the message and thus stays longer in the online shop.
  • If the content is tailored to the individual needs of the shopping cart abandoner, he or she can quickly be convinced to continue shopping after all.
  • Situatively appropriate content (e.g. voucher code or service offer) makes this possible.


With this method you will be able to convince many people who want to abandon a purchase to continue it. Nevertheless, there are still visitors at this touchpoint who will abort the purchase process. This cannot be avoided completely, but rather reduced.

At this point, you as an online merchant should ask yourself the following question: How can I recover shopping cart abandoners after the cancellation?


Third Step: Reactive regain of shopping cart abandoners

Even now there is no reason for resignation, because you still have some aces up your sleeve!

With the help of various offsite solutions, there are good chances of getting cart abandoners back into the buying process even after the purchase has been cancelled. This includes classic and social media retargeting as well as e-mail retargeting.


cart abandoners reactive regain through individual retargeting


Classic Retargeting

Through classic retargeting you mark the visitors of your online shop and show them advertising banners on other websites after they have abandoned their shopping cart. In this way, the online shop remains present even outside your own website when the shopping cart is abandoned.

Advantages of Classic Retargeting
  • Extensive network of publishers
  • A lot of advertising presence outside the own website
Disadvantages of Classic Retargeting
  • Low effectiveness due to increasing disenchantment with advertising
  • Hiding with the help of Adblockers
  • No situationally appropriate communication moments



Social Media Retargeting

Social Media Retargeting works according to the same logic as classic retargeting, except that the display of the advertising banners is done on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. With a social media penetration of 46% (38 million users in Germany), social media retargeting is promising.

Advantages of Social Media Retargeting
  • High Social Media penetration
  • A wide variety of platforms
  • Users are online often and for a long time
Disadvantages of Social Media Retargeting
  • Low effectiveness due to increasing disenchantment with advertising
  • No situationally appropriate communication moments



E-mail Retargeting

E-mail Retargeting describes the sending of abandonment-mails, which bring the cart abandoner back into the purchasing process after the purchase has been cancelled. In contrast to other retargeting measures, online shops rely with mailings to cart abandoners on direct communication (one-to-one marketing). In this way, you reactivate up to 30% of those who abandoned their purchase. How an abandoned cart email should ideally look like, you can read in the blog article Email after cart abandonment: Examples & Templates.

Advantages of E-mail Retargeting
  • One-to-One-Marketing

  • Individual mailings are possible

  • Situationally appropriate communication moments

Disadvantages of E-mail Retargeting
  • Mailings only to existing customers



Best practices: Convince your shopping cart abandoners!

Now you know which levers you can use to reduce the number of cart abandoners in your online shop. We have compiled 6 Best Practices for successful implementation, with which you are guaranteed to reduce your abandonment rate.


reduce shopping cart abandoners with incentives


Convince every cart abandoner with the right incentive! Depending on the reason for abandonment, a different incentive will convince abandoners to continue the purchase.


  • Vouchers
  • Exclusivity
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Service offer (e-mail, whatsapp, telephone)
  • Shopping cart reminder
shopping cart abandoners personalization


Show your shop visitors appreciation by creating personalized communication! The basis for any personalization is user behavior, customer characteristics and the situational factor.


  • Situational appropriate incentive
  • Language of the customer
  • National currency
  • Appropriate tonality
less shopping cart abandoners best practice corporate design

Corporate Design

Adapt the recovery of cart abandoners for a coherent overall picture to your corporate design!


  • Layout of the advertising banners
  • Colors and font of the exit intent popups
reduce cart abandoners best practice service-orientation


Show with a service-oriented approach that the needs of the customer are at the forefront! This will strengthen the customer relationship.


  • Simple & serious e-mail template (in contrast to advertising e-mails)
less shopping cart abandoners annoying

Reduction of Annoyance factors

Make absolutely sure not to annoy your customers, because communication quickly becomes obtrusive. The e-book Annoyance factors in e-commerce explains how the annoyance factors in communication can be calculated and reduced.


  • Relevant text
  • Right timing
  • Frequency of notifications
  • Suitable communication (language & tonality)
  • Good UX
shopping cart abandoners best practice mobile responsivity

Mobile Responsivity

57% of online shoppers buy with a smartphone, 29% with a tablet. Accordingly, solutions for recovering shopping cart abandoners should be compatible on mobile devices.


  • Different sizes for advertising banners
  • Responsive web design of the online shop
  • Adaptable Exit Intent Popups for mobile devices

Legally compliant mailings to shopping cart abandoners

Finally, we would like to name the existing legal regulations for legally compliant dispatch of abandonment mails. In the article GDPR: What to keep in mind with abandonment-mails we go into more detail. There are two central principles, which are regulated by different laws.


A. The Law against unfair competition (UWG) defines the conditions for sending e-mails.

Under the following conditions, online shops are allowed to send abandonment mails without explicit consent:


  • The customer is already an existing customer within the meaning of §7 (3) UWG.
  • Only direct advertising for own similar goods or services may be offered in the email.
  • The recipient must not have objected to the use of the email address for this purpose.
  • Each abandonment mail must be provided with an opportunity to withdraw.


B. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates the collection and processing of personal data.

If these requirements are not met, merchants must obtain the consent of the persons concerned, because e-mail addresses are personal data. For legally compliant mailings to cart abandoners, the following legal provisions must be observed in this case:


  • Obligation of the responsible body to provide evidence
  • Obligation of the responsible body to provide information
  • Right of withdrawal of the person concerned
  • Statutory authority to process data for order processors but not for ‘third parties’ within the meaning of the GDPR



Taking shopping cart abandonments for granted has a negative effect on your online shop in the short and long term. If merchants neglect cart abandonments, they have to expect lost sales, angry customers and a low conversion rate.

On the other hand, if online shops specifically target shopping cart abandoners, they are rewarded with higher sales, more satisfied customers and increased conversions.





Now learn something about:


  • Influencing factors for shopping cart abandonments
  • Personalized solutions against shopping cart abandoners
  • Intelligent recovery of shopping cart abandoners

Further interesting posts:
Conversion Rates by Industry
Buzzwords – is that really necessary?
GDPR: What to keep in mind with abandonment-mails