Have you ever watched a real time recording of an online visitor’s journey through your website?

 If you haven’t, I recommend you get a free version of Hotjar immediately!

It can be painful realising how many people visit your online store from Instagram or a google search, make their way to a product page, read through it, then click that beautiful ADD TO CART button and… then leave your website for no apparent reason!

You can almost hear the sound of money slipping through your hands, can’t you.

If you could, you may be tempted to check that person’s IP address, drive a few hundred miles to find their home, knock on the door just to ask ‘Why didn’t you buy from me???’

While I don’t recommend stalking your would-be online customers, I understand how frustrating it can be not understanding why someone went through the whole process of buying something from you and then changed their mind at the last moment. So, I gathered all the research I could find on the topic to talk you through the possible reasons someone might have to torture you like it.

But I didn’t stop there – I will also give you practical methods to deal with those non-buyers and help you reduce abandoned carts in your online store.

How to reduce abandoned carts in your online store shopify fashion store

What is a ‘good’ cart abandonment rate?

There is no universal figure that could be applied to tell you how well (or poorly) you’re doing when it comes to people not going through with their purchase. It depends on many factors, like for example your industry.

For beauty or fashion ecommerce brands, for example, people often user their baskets as a way to collect and compare items they’re considering buying.

The online average cart abandonment rate, as calculated by the Baymard Institute in 2021 is 69.80%. How does your online store compare? If you want to reduce abandoned carts in your online store, read on.

They weren’t going to buy anything to begin with

According to Baymard Institute’s research, when asked ‘why didn’t you proceed with buying this thing you put in your cart online’, 58.6% of US shoppers said ‘they were just browsing’ which means they had no intention to buy anything online that day.

Before you shout ‘well why did you add it to basket then???’ consider:

  • Have you ever added a number of dresses to basket as a way of ‘bookmarking’ outfits you liked from a store?
  • Or maybe you added something to basket to keep it there before you price compare with another store?

It’s not so unreasonable to use e-commerce stores ‘just for browsing’, same as we do it with brick-and-mortar shops. It also doesn’t mean that the shoppers who visit your site with no purchase intent, can’t be converted into customers.

Make it work for your store:

Instead of getting frustrated with this type of site visitor, make it easy for them to bookmark their favourite items and come back to them later. Use a Wishlist plugin, like this app (free, for Shopify) to encourage shoppers to save their favourite products online. You can request their email address at that stage and email them if any of the items goes on sale, or simply to remind them that the items are still available. A Wishlist is also easily shareable, which means they can forward the link to someone else who might be paying for their stuff.

The shipping costs were too high

Yes, I know delivery costs on your site are high because it costs you a lot to deliver your product. But Amazon changed the online retail space for everyone (for better or worse) and free shipping has become an expectation rather than a perk for most shoppers.

Research after research shows that customers would prefer a £12.38 product with free shipping over £10 product and £2.38 shipping fee. If you can incorporate the shipping fee into the product price, it’s likely to be a good move.

If you can’t, for example if the same product is available with other retailers and shoppers are likely to price compare, there’s still things you can do to avoid people bouncing off your website once they see your delivery charges.

shipping cost beyonce meme

One school of thought is to be as up front about your delivery cost as possible, meaning shoppers know what to expect before they reach the checkout stage. I actually disagree with this idea and believe (partly based on my own shopping experiences) that many times site visitors are more likely to get over additional shipping costs if they’ve already invested a lot of time and effort into choosing their items and adding them to basket.

The way to mitigate this hurdle is to advertise the trigger point for free delivery. So, for example if you offer free delivery on orders over £50, it’s good to remind shoppers how close they are to reaching this threshold. Bonus points if you can then also suggest products which will qualify them for free delivery without increasing the basket value drastically.

This free app for Shopify will do exactly that, encouraging your site visitors to add extra products to their basket, thus increasing their average order value.

The site wanted me to create an account

Hand up if you’ve ever abandoned your purchase because you would have to create an account to buy and suddenly it just seemed like too much hassle!

orange is the new black hands up

I’m not saying you shouldn’t encourage your shoppers to create an account with you. There are many benefits to them setting one up – most notably marketing and promotional permissions you gain access to.

But similarly as with shipping costs, it’s better to ask for it later than earlier. Ideally, once they’ve filled in their transactional info, (which they would have to do anyway), you can offer to convert this data into an account with one click. Lucky, with Shopify this is actually very easy to implement with their Shopify Pay option. Simply go into your Settings and select Payment Providers. You’ll see a section named Accelerated Checkouts that includes the Shop Pay or Shopify Pay option, which you want to enable and that’s it!

reduce abandoned checkouts with shopify accelerated checkout option

Or, if you want to generate loyalty and a feeling of community with your store (who doesn’t?), you can re-frame Customer Accounts as Regular Customer’s account and offer additional perks (discounts, free shipping etc) for those who sign up.

Here’s how Nike do it:

reduce abandoned checkout like nike - offer an incentive to join

I didn’t trust the site with my credit card information

Adding trust and credibility signals is a great way of mitigating those last-minute doubts shoppers sometimes get before parting with their credit card information.

Elements to add here are:

  • Refund policy
  • Ways of contacting you
  • Trust badges
  • Customer reviews

Don’t assume that the ‘selling part’ of your customer journey is done because the visitor reached the checkout. It’s not over until the credit card is confirmed and the Thank you page loads. Don’t be afraid to repeat your unique selling points here and reinforce them in the knowledge that they are making the right purchasing decision.

reduce abandoned checkouts by repeating your unique proposition at the checkout stage

There wasn’t enough payment methods / credit card got declined

I refuse to get up from my sofa and interrupt a good online shopping session to have to get my wallet and put my card information in and I’m sure I’m not the only one, as 7% of shoppers asked by the Baynard Institute also stated that as the reason why they didn’t complete their purchase.

Offering Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal is easy to do with Shopify and there is no reason why you shouldn’t include these in your store.

If your product is on the luxury side of life, it might also be worth offering credit, with services like Klarna. The possibility of spreading payments out in time (although it will most certainly encourage consumer debt and may be morally questionable) will also make it more accessible for many to purchase your products. Klarna claims that offering the payment in instalment option at checkout increases conversion rate by as much as 30%.

Even if your product may seem to you as priced so low, it’s not worth bothering with Klarna and the like, your customers may think differently. Fast fashion sites like Boohoo offer payment in instalments for products as cheap as £5:

reduce abandoned checkouts by offering payments in instalments with Klarna - like Boohoo


The research published by the Baymard Institute suggests that as much as $260 Billion could be recovered through optimising the checkout experience in the online retail space. How much do you think you could claim back for your own online store?

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