The world of eCommerce is seeing a lot of growth and change. Not only is the number of online retailers growing steadily, but there is a growing list of applications and services that make it easier for the average consumer to comparison shop.

With all the options available, it’s no surprise that only about 1 in 4 customers will actually finish a purchase. That applies to a large majority of online retailers – every business struggles with cart abandonment to some extent.

To put it into perspective, and offer direction on how you can recapture those lost customers, Thunder Bay Media has teamed up with EYStudios to create the following infographic compiling a wealth of data from recent studies.

Check your own data to see how your conversion, recapture and cart abandonment rates stack up. Be sure to share your findings with me in the comments.

Below the Infographic I’ve included simple tactics you can use to reduce cart abandonment and recapture more of those lost customers.



How to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Improve Conversions

One of the biggest misconceptions is that in order to improve conversions and reduce cart abandonment you need to make dramatic changes to your website and user experience (UX) but that’s not often the case.

In fact, some of the most impactful changes require little more than the time it takes to get them done. It can be beneficial to have a sleek and professionally designed eCommerce store that creates a compelling user experience but you should start with simple changes first to see what kind of an impact you can have.

I recommend starting with these.

1. Wow Your Visitors With Compelling Visuals

When you’re shopping in a brick and mortar store you can pick up a product and physically examine it to decide if it’s what you want. With an online store that experience is completely removed for the consumer.

They’re going to rely on the images as one of the main deciding factors for purchasing a product. Rather than posting an image or two to just get something in place, try some of these tips to help make a better connection with the consumer:

  • Use a quality camera for taking pictures or hire a professional
  • Get a light box kit for taking clean product photos
  • Take pictures from every angle so the customer can see it from all sides
  • Show the product in use and make it look natural, not like a stock photo
  • Upload customer photos showcasing/displaying the product

You can step it up a notch by also adding product videos and you don’t need to spend a ton of money to do it. A professional explainer video with high production value is great, but any video centered on your product will do. According to Treepodia, video provides a significant lift in engagement and conversions.

  • Source videos from your customers, especially testimonial videos showing off the products in use
  • Shoot videos of your team showing off the products
  • Go behind the scenes and upload videos that show the product being manufactured or packaged
  • Use a video that shows the product being slowly rotated

Whether you use images, videos, or both remember to highlight the benefits of your products and try to communicate your value proposition.

2. Write Awesome Product Descriptions

Your descriptions aren’t just a block of text to your customer. That copy builds on the story you tell with your visuals. It’s the most effective way to communicate what they get when they make a purchase and it sets their expectations. It answers the question “Why? What’s in it for me?”

A product by itself with just images tells the consumer absolutely nothing. Even if you list just the specification it doesn’t provide the value proposition. But a detailed product description provides value and information that helps them make that final purchase decision.

You can write better product descriptions by making them rich with information and benefits, and formatting them to make the content easily scannable.

If you’re struggling to find ways to turn features into powerful benefit statements you can always outsource to a freelance content writer who can produce that compelling copy for your products. That has the added benefit of freeing you up to focus on your business.

3. Adjust Your Shipping Costs

From the infographic you can see that unexpected costs, like shipping, is the number 1 reason people abandon carts. Consumers would rather spend the extra time searching a retailer with lower shipping costs, and are even willing to pay a bit more for the product as long they don’t have to pay for shipping.

Consider that 93% of consumers stated they would purchase more products if free shipping were available. Major brands are paying attention to this issue, which is why more than 50% of online retailers offer free shipping in some form.

The best approach here is to check your margins and see if you can provide 100% free shipping. If you can’t, or you’re not willing to offer it for free, then consider conditional shipping.

For example: both Amazon and JCPenny offer free shipping once a customer hits a preset dollar amount in the cart.

Whatever route you choose to go, make it obvious early on in the shopping experience so customers know what to expect when it comes time to check out. They’ll be more likely to convert if they see free or reduced shipping well in advance.

4. Leverage Customer Reviews

A study from Nielsen showed that 92% of consumers trust peer reviews over any other form of advertising, and more than 90% of consumers will base a purchase decision on the reviews they’ve read online.

Simply put – make sure reviews are visible on your product pages and are prominently featured.

You should also follow up with every customer after they receive their order, even if it’s through an automated email, asking them to come back and review the product. You’ll get far more reviews with this kind of follow up engagement.

While you’re moderating the submissions don’t delete low quality or negative reviews. You can’t make everyone happy and customers will feel like your reviews are fake if each one is a glowing 5 star review. Let those 1-3 star reviews slide. Negative reviews can improve conversions because they make the 4 and 5 star reviews look more authentic.

5. Trust Symbols Matter… A Lot

Customers will abandon your site and bail during checkout if they don’t feel like their information is secure. It’s extremely easy to put them at ease by adding a few trust symbols throughout your site. This includes:

  • Clear contact information (phone and email) in the header and footer
  • Extended contact information like a physical address on a “contact us” page
  • SSL/security certificate badges such as Verisign
  • Secure checkout badges, like PayPal and
  • Authentic testimonials
  • Logos for vendor partners and affiliates

6. Improve your Calls to Action

You can make navigation a lot easier for your customers by simplifying your navigation. Your product pages have a lot of information on them so make sure any “add to cart” or other call to action button is prominently featured. It should stand out from the page noticeably and use a color scheme different from the content around it to create a strong contrast.

Be sure to use action verbs that focus on the user taking action. Instead of “buy now” use “add to my cart”.

7. Have a Plan for Cart Abandonment Recovery

You’ll always lose a percentage of customers in your checkout, but you should have a plan to recapture the ones who provide you with an email or have an account setup in your system. Even a small percentage of recaptures can lead to a significant lift in revenue. When setting up your abandoned cart email series:

  • Send an email immediately after a cart is abandoned.
  • Send another within a few hours, then the third email within 48 hours. Don’t send more than 3 to avoid being flagged for spam
  • Make sure the email shows off the items they abandoned. Most eCommerce platforms provide scripting for this or do it automatically for you
  • Use a coupon code in the second email to entice them to come back
  • Try to personalize the email so it sounds more genuine and less “automatic”

Another approach is to follow up manually with some of your abandoned carts. Make a real human connection and ask them why they didn’t complete the checkout process. You might just uncover an issue with your cart or processor that needs to be addressed.


Just because every business wrestles with cart abandonment doesn’t mean you have to settle with whatever rate you’re currently achieving. Use the information and tips above and start making small changes to your funnel to improve conversions. Remember to test everything and you’ll begin to see a decline in the number of abandoned carts.


Derek Cromwell is the founder of Thunder Bay Media, where he provides freelance writing, content marketing, website copywriting and conversion optimization. When he’s not typing furiously to meet deadlines he enjoys the art of pizza, the outdoors and being aggressively unfancy. Having given up video games his productivity has increased dramatically!


Cart Abandonment/Recapture Statistics

  • On average, 68.63% of shopping carts are abandoned (source)
  • Total estimated value of abandoned carts globally: $4.9 trillion (source)
  • 99% of people won’t buy on the first visit (source)
  • 25% of abandoned carts never return (source)
  • 75% of abandon carts leave with the intent to return (source)
  • Lower value carts (below $100) have higher abandoned rates than cart values from $100 – $400 (source)

Top reasons for cart abandonment:

  • 44% of carts are abandoned due to high shipping costs (source)
  • 22% of carts are abandoned due to no shipping information available (source)
  • 37% were just browsing (source)
  • 36% found a better price through a competitor (source)
  • 25% felt navigation was too complicated (source)
  • 17% were concerned about payment security (source)
  • 12% due to complicated checkout process (source)
  • 23% due to being forced to create an account (source)

Indirect Causes of Cart Abandonment

  • A 1 second delay in page load can result in a 7% drop in conversions (source)
  • Too many steps – the average number of steps in a checkout is 5.08 (ideal checkout steps is 3) (source)
  • 50% of websites ask for repeat information (source)
  • Of sites that provide postcode validation, only 12% allow manual override (source)
  • Poor mobile integration – only 4.6% add to cart on mobile compared to 8% on desktop. Mobile conversions average 2.1% compared to 2.8% on desktop. (source)
  • No reviews or reviews seem fake – 92% of consumers trust peer reviews over any other form of advertising (source)

When are carts abandoned

  • Most carts are abandoned in the evening, between 8 and 9PM
  • The days of the week with the highest cart abandonment are Wednesday (85%) and Thursday(89%). (source)

Optimization Problems That Kill Conversions

  • Insecure Checkout or lack of trust signals (verisign or security badges, SSL certifications)
  • Not allowing for “guest checkout”
  • Displaying navigation during the checkout process
  • Losing customer input when a submission causes an error
  • Page design and layout conflicts with eye flow
  • Multiple calls to action that conflict or poor calls to action
  • Not displaying visitor progress in the checkout process
  • Requiring unnecessary information or long forms
  • Using cross-sells and up-sells in the middle of the checkout process
  • Not displaying shipping until the end of the checkout


Capturing and Recapturing

  • 93% of shoppers say they’ll buy more products if they got free shipping (source)
  • 73% of online shoppers noted unconditional free shipping as “critical” to a purchase (source)
  • The average conversion rate for retailers is 3.48% – conversion optimization can as much as triple this rate. (source)
  • 55% of customers use testimonials and reviews as a deciding factor for a purchase be sure to leverage these (source)
  • 72% of millennials are open to retargeting ads (source)
  • The average click through rate of retargeted ads is 10x higher than traditional display ads (source)
  • On average, retargeting generates a 1046% lift in branded search, 726% lift in targeted site traffic and a 147% lift in conversions. (source)
  • On average, retargeting ads will bring back 26% of users who will complete the checkout process (source)
  • Shoppers are 70% more likely to convert when retargeted after cart abandonment (source)
  • 90% of leads go cold after an hour – send cart abandonment emails right away (source)
  • The average order value of carts recovered using abandonment emails is 58% higher than direct sales (source)
  • 48% of cart abandonment emails are opened. 33.3% of opened emails go on to make a purchase. (source)