Shopping Cart Abandoners: Comprehensive Guide for Online Shops

shopping cart abandonment in online shops
Author: Haydar Yuece // 14min

Shopping cart abandonment: Why do visitors leave my online shop without making a purchase? Why are they abandoning shopping carts? How do I get my customers back into my online shop after they’ve abandoned their purchases? How can I reduce my shopping cart abandonment rate? And how can aborted transactions be prevented? You are by no means the only shop operator asking yourself these questions. Online shops of all sizes and in all sectors have to deal with the phenomenon of people abandoning shopping carts.

For a variety of reasons, online shoppers abandon about 70% of shopping carts they fill. This high shopping cart abandonment rate means missed sales for online retailers and, in many cases, even dissatisfied customers who don’t come back. Particularly annoying: in order to attract customers into their shops, online shops spend significant marketing budgets on campaigns. If these customers abandon their purchase shortly before it’s concluded, these investments become inefficient.

Doesn’t sound good? Don’t despair! Because as soon as you start to understand these people with abandoned carts and consistently address their needs, you can reduce shopping cart abandonment and recover abandoned carts. This is how you avoid lost sales! So get on the trail of the purchasing abandoners and increase your sales! We will show you how to follow up on purchasing abandoners.

Potentials of shopping cart abandoners

The shopping cart abandonment segment has an increased likelihood of making a purchase. They visit an online shop, spend some time on its website, browse and even confirm their interest in specific products that they put in their shopping cart. Bringing back shopping cart abandoners is much cheaper and requires less effort compared to acquiring new customers. They are already in an advanced phase of the customer journey and only want to be convinced to make a purchase.

shopping cart abandoners incomplete order

What effects does winning back shopping cart abandoners have on an online shop?

uptain alone, as a shopping cart abandonment recovery software, rescues over € 1,500,000 worth of lost shopping carts every month.

Reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Abandoning shopping carts: It cannot be warned enough not to take shopping cart abandonment for granted. At such an advanced stage in the customer journey, the likelihood of completing a purchase is extremely high.
And yet there is a shopping cart abandonment rate of around 70%.

The shop visitor who tends to shopping cart abandonment ultimately has a problem. In case of doubt, even several. Otherwise they would not leave an abandoned cart. And it is precisely these problems of shopping cart abandoners that shop owners must recognise in order to subsequently provide suitable solutions and satisfy their customers.

Consequently, a basic understanding of the reasons for abandoned cart is needed in order to subsequently reduce digital shopping cart abandonments. The good news is: That shopping cart abandonments are not a black box. The reasons for abandoning shopping carts are varied and complex. Nevertheless, they are predictable. Consequently, they can also be categorised into their causes.

Why do customers tend to digital shopping cart abandonment? Reasons for shopping cart abandonment include technical problems, poor user experience design and, last but not least, personal motives of the abandoner. In the case of mobile shopping cart abandonment, other influencing factors also play an important role due to the changed situation.

1. Technical problems that lead to shopping cart abandonment

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


  • Faulty pages appear
  • Loading times are too long
  • Vouchers don’t work
  • The login fails
  • Problems occur during payment

2. Poor User Experience Design (UX Design) can improve shopping cart abandonment

UX design refers to the online shop’s design layout and the expectations of the visitor to the shop. How to reduce shopping cart abandonment:


  • Essential information is missing or appears too late
  • Customer data once entered disappears
  • The checkout process is too complicated
  • There is a lack of payment methods
  • Product reviews are missing or negative
  • It isn’t possible to place an order as a guest
  • The shopping cart acts as a substitute for a non-existent watch list

3. Personal motives as a reason for shopping cart abandonment

However, the reason for shopping cart abandonment can also lie with shop visitors themselves. Personal motives for abandoned carts are basically subjective and depend on the individual customer.


  • Too high product or total price
  • Missing products
  • Too high shipping and return costs
  • Lack of service
  • Too long delivery times

Reduce shopping cart abandonment

With a knowledge of the reasons for digital shopping cart abandonment, you can understand purchasing abandoners a lot better. Building on this knowledge, solutions for reducing shopping cart abandonment can be developed. From a customer journey perspective, the digital shopping cart abandonment rate can be reduced at three points in time (touchpoints). For a maximum recovery rate of abandoned carts, a combination of preemptive, immediate and reactive solution approaches is recommended.


When can shopping cart abandonment be avoided?

  • Preemptively before shopping cart abandonment.
  • Immediately at the time of shopping cart abandonment
  • Reactively after the shopping cart has been abandoned

1. First Step: Preemptively reduce shopping cart abandonment

The preemptive reduction of shopping cart abandonment primarily concerns the UX design. Make sure that the design layout of your online shop is intuitive and easy to understand. It is also important that the checkout process is as uncomplicated and transparent as possible to avoid abandoned carts. A significant aspect here is trust in the online shop, which can also be increased in online retail.

reduce shopping cart abandoners

General Shop Optimizations

  • Larger buttons for mobile devices
  • Product ratings (social proof)
  • Feedback when adding products to the shopping cart
  • Quality seal
  • Error-tolerant search function
  • Avoidance of error pages
  • SSL encryption
  • Personalization


Checkout Optimization

  • Show product details and product images in the shopping cart
  • Lean checkout process (max. 4–5 steps)
  • Expand payment methods and shipping options
  • Specify shipping costs and delivery times at the beginning of the checkout process
  • Enable ordering as a visitor
  • Prevent autocorrect in the checkout
  • Secure customer information
  • Only ask for 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 straightforward and meet the user’s expectations. Many shop visitors will now have a more pleasant shopping experience and thus they are not abandoning shopping carts. As I said: many visitors – but by no means all, because shop and checkout optimizations are not geared to the individual needs of individual customers.

Customers are still abandoning shopping carts without making a purchase – what can be done against digital shopping cart abandonment?

2. Second Step: Prevent shopping cart abandonment immediately with Exit Intent Popups

This brings us to the next possible point in time to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment: immediately at the time of cart abandonment.

prevent shopping cart abandonment exit intent

Exit intent pop-ups enable online shops to make contact at an important time. This exit intent technology recognises, among other things, through the movement of the mouse pointer (mouse-out trigger) whether and when the visitor would like to leave the online shop with an abandoned cart.


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


Using this method, you will convince many purchasing abandoners immediately before they abandon to continue with their shopping after all. You will now have significantly fewer shopping cart abandonments. Nevertheless, there will still be visitors at this touchpoint who are abandoning shopping carts. This cannot be completely avoided, but it can be reduced.

At this point, you as an online retailer should ask yourself the following question: How can I win back shopping cart abandonments after they have abandoned?

Learn what you can use exit intent popups in your online shop.

3. Third step: Reactively retrieve shopping cart abandonment

Even now there is no reason to despair, because you still have a few aces up your sleeve! With the aid of various offsite solutions, there are good opportunities to bring digital shopping cart abandonments back into the purchasing process even after they’ve abandoned carts. These include traditional and social media retargeting as well as email retargeting (as part of email marketing).

shopping cart abandoner email

Traditional Retargeting

With traditional retargeting, you flag visitors to your online shop and display ad banners to them on other websites after they’ve abandoned their purchase. In this way, your online shop remains present to people who are abandoning shopping carts even outside of your own website. Online merchants can thus win back a percentage of the abandoned carts.

Social Media Retargeting

Social media retargeting works according to the same logic as traditional retargeting, except that the ad banners are displayed 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 to reduce the digital shopping cart abandonment rate.

Email Retargeting

Email retargeting describes the sending of abandoned cart emails that brings people who do shopping cart abandonments back into the purchasing process after they have abandoned carts. In contrast to other retargeting measures, online shops rely on direct communication (one-to-one marketing) with mailings to those abandoning shopping carts. In this way, you can reactivate up to 30% of shopping cart abandoners.

Best Practices: Convince shopping cart abandoners!

You now know what tools you can use to reduce your online shop’s shopping cart abandonment rate. We have compiled six best practices for successful implementation that are guaranteed to reduce your digital shopping cart abandonment rate.

shopping cart abandoners abandonment

1. Incentivize

Win over every person abandoning shopping carts with the right incentive! Depending on the reason for digital shopping cart abandonment, a different incentive will convince the purchasing abandoner. A customised incentive guarantees the best possible outcome in preventing shopping cart abandonment.


  • Vouchers
  • Exclusivity
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Service offer (email, Whatsapp, phone)
  • Shopping cart reminder

Learn how to use voucher codes profitably in your online shop.

2. Personalization

Show your appreciation to visitors to your shop by creating personalised communication! The basis for any personalisation is user behaviour, customer characteristics and the situational factor – to reduce digital shopping cart abandonment!


  • Situationally appropriate incentive
  • Language of the customer
  • Local currency
  • Appropriate tonality

3. Corporate Design

Adapt the recovery of those who are abandoning shopping carts to your corporate design for a coherent overall picture!


  • Ad banner layout
  • Colours and font of the exit intent popup

4. Service Orientation

Show that your customer’s needs are paramount with a service-oriented approach! This will strengthen customer loyalty, attract new customers and lower the digital shopping cart abandonment rate.


  • Unpretentious & respectable email template (as opposed to promotional emails).

5. Annoyance Factor Reduction

To reduce the digital shopping cart abandonment rate, make absolutely sure not to annoy your customers, because communication can quickly come across as intrusive. Learn how to calculate and reduce the annoyance factor in your communication in our e-book The Annoyance Factor in E-Commerce – to avoid customers are abandoning shopping carts.


  • Relevant text
  • Correct timing
  • Frequency of notifications
  • Appropriate communication type
  • Good UX

6. Mobile Responsiveness

57% of online shoppers buy with a smartphone, 29% with a tablet. Accordingly, digital shopping cart abandonment recovery solutions should be compatible on mobile devices.


  • Different sizes for ad banners
  • Responsive online shop web design
  • Adaptable exit intent pop-ups for mobile devices

Legally compliant-Mailings to shopping cart abandoners

Finally, we would like to name the existing legal regulations for the legally compliant sending of shopping cart abandonment emails. We go into more detail in our article GDPR: What to consider for abandonment emails regarding the legal principles. There are two central principles here, which are regulated by different laws.


A. The Unfair Competition Act (UWG) sets out the conditions for sending emails

Under the following conditions, online shops may send shopping cart abandonment emails without explicit consent (e.g. reminder emails):


  • The customer is already an existing customer within the meaning of Section 7 (3) UWG.
  • Only direct advertising for one’s own similar goods or services may be offered in the email.
  • The recipient must not have objected to the use of their email address for this purpose.
  • Each shopping cart abandonment email must be provided with an option to object.


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

If these requirements are not met, shop owners must obtain the consent of the persons concerned because email addresses are personal data. In this case, the following legal provisions must be observed for legally compliant mailings to purchasing abandoners:

  • Duty of proof of the controlling authority
  • Duty of the Controller to provide information
  • Data subject’s right to object
  • Legal authority for processing for data processors, but not for “third parties” within the meaning of the GDP

Learn more details about legally compliant abandoned cart emails.

Taking abandoned carts for granted has a negative impact on your online shop in the short and long term. If shop operators neglect their shopping cart abandoners, they have to reckon with lost sales, annoyed customers and a low conversion rate.

If, on the other hand, online shops target their shopping cart abandonments, they will be rewarded with higher sales, more satisfied customers and increased conversions. It has been shown that the digital shopping cart abandonment rate can be reduced and efficiently recovered.

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