Resources for Small Business

How to Minimize Abandoned Carts on your Online Store

You’d almost never walk into a super market, pile stuff onto a cart and walk out without making a purchase. But things change when you shop online. Customers often browse through an online store, select items they like, add them to their shopping cart, and then simply stop midway without completing the transaction. At times they return much later to finish shopping, or simply forget all about it.

However, there are plenty of ways to deter customers from abandoning their online shopping carts. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons that cause abandoned carts, and find viable solutions.

Reason #1: “That costs way more than I expected!”

A lot of times people reach the payment stage of the shopping process only to realize that their total bill is more than they expected. This happens when hidden costs like taxes, delivery charges or conveyance fees are added to their total amount.

Solution: Here is how to make sure that you do not shoo the customer away in such a situation.

a) No hidden costs: Try and include taxes in the marked priced, so they aren’t intimidated by a lump sum on their bill. Use banners which say “Shipping free only within Mumbai” or “Free shipping over Rs. 500” as is relevant to your store. If you surprise customers with these costs just before they pay, they are more likely to turn away.

b) Easy edit options for cart: A lot of people shop on a budget, and like to reduce a few items from their carts just before checkout. Make sure your website gives them a chance to easily add and subtract items from their cart just before paying. A customer who has removed an item for his cart is likely to feel like he/she has ‘saved’ a little money, which makes him feel a little better about spending.

Reason #2: “I had to fill out too many details!”

While it may benefit you to know the gender and birthday of your customer, some buyers simply don’t have the patience to fill out a long form. They probably chose an online shopping mode because they have time constraints. Asking them for too many details may simply lead to more abandoned carts.

Solution: To avoid such a scenario, make sure you follow these guidelines.

a) Allow Guest Checkouts: Always give customers the chance to “Check out as guests”, which allows them to quickly enter a delivery address and complete the payment. You can encourage them to sign up with your website by providing incentives like discounts & loyalty points, but certainly do not make it mandatory.

b) Easier Checkout Process: On a related note, customers turn away if the check-out process is too confusing, so stream-line your process. Offer customers a range of different of payment options, so that they don’t have to turn away for lack of choice.

Reason #3: “I can always come back later and finish shopping.”

A lot of times customers are distracted by a phone call or a knock at the door, and they stop shopping midway. They prioritize other activities because they feel like items in their cart will wait for them indefinitely.

Solution: Completing a transaction often just requires a little sense of urgency, which you can introduce using a few of the following methods.

a) Limited period offers: One of the easiest ways to ensure customers complete their transaction is to reinforce the idea that sale items and offers aren’t valid forever! For example, a grocery store can remind customers that certain fruits are sold at a “daily price” which is likely to change.

b) Countdown timer: Introduce a countdown timer once customers confirm their order and begin the payment process. You can allow them unlimited time to shop of course, but allow them only 8 to 12 minutes, for instance, to actually fill in credit card or net banking details. Customers are more likely to finish the transaction quickly, before they are distracted by something else.

 Lastly, if you lose them, attempt to win them back!

As a store owner, you may follow all the preceding steps and still be left with an abandoned cart every once in a while. Don’t fret, there is hope yet! If a customer has entered in their email address before abandoning their cart, you have a way of getting in touch with them.

It would be nice to send them a message to remind your customers that their shopping cart is waiting for them, or ask why the left midway. You could also inform them when a certain item in their cart is almost out of stock, or remind them that an offer is about to end. But don’t bombard their inbox with too many reminders, just one or two well-timed messages should do.

In the future, you could send them newsletters or notifications about offers on products which they might like. Go a step ahead and send a personal email, letting them know what exactly makes your shop so special.

Hopefully, this will be enough to woo them back to their abandoned cart & to your e-store sometime in the future.


Looking to sell online and make good sales by making use of the pointers above? Give Zepo a try and start your online store in the next 5 mins.


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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil

Salonee’s prowess as a writer is displayed in her versatile portfolio. She has an adaptive style which lends itself well to a variety of different communication applications – from corporate branding to editorial essays. Besides writing for various online and print media, Salonee works as a photographer and tutors middle-schoolers. She is passionate about travel, food, fitness and dance. You can check out her work on her blog.