How to combat basket abandonment: A guide for retailers

We’ve all done it – you find a product, add it to your shopping basket, go all through the checkout process and then, at the last step – you close the page! Latest stats show that for most retailers, shopping cart abandonment is as high as 70%. But why does this happen?

There are numerous reasons for shopping cart abandonment and it is not always related to user experience. The obvious reason for basket abandonment is that the user experience is poor – the page took too long to load; the delivery cost wasn’t clear up front, or the user has been asked to create an account and they just don’t want to.

However, more and more, user behaviours are changing, and we are now more often than not adding items to shopping carts before we are actually ready to purchase. Often, we start the purchase process by ‘window shopping’ – comparing prices, exploring options, reviewing different brands and product ranges. As part of this process we add the products we are viewing to the shopping basket – perhaps with a plan to come back later, so we don’t forget what we’ve looked at or so we can easily see the final cost.

So, what can retailers do to ensure that after customers have finished their ‘window shopping’, when they leave the site before purchasing, that they do come back and finish the checkout process?

There are several methods that can be utilised to get customers back on site and encourage them to complete the purchase. Here are some of our top tips.

Increase visibility when customers search again

Through utilising remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) you can create audiences for people who have visited each step of the checkout process but have not converted. These can then be overlaid across your search campaigns and upweighted based on how far the customer has gone through the checkout process – bidding most aggressively for those closest to converting.

Another option would be to utilise target and bid campaigns – appearing for generic terms that may otherwise be too costly to compete across – for users who you know have been as far as the checkout process previously so already have a good affinity with your brand. This can be taken one step further, and you could tailor your ads specifically for those people you know have been through the checkout process already – perhaps offering free delivery or further highlighting your USPs.

Remind customers of what they previously viewed

Dynamic remarketing ads are a really good way of doing this. They allow you to show ads containing products previously viewed on site. These can be a great reminder for the customer and are a way to bring people back to your site to look again and potentially convert this time. The key here is to review frequency and ensure you are reminding people what they viewed without annoying them.

Offer discounts or highlight USPs

Another option is to target people who you know were close to purchasing with a discount code or similar – maybe flag to them a free delivery offer or remind them of your free returns policy. Sometimes a small gesture is enough to encourage them to make the final decision and purchase.

Adjust your checkout process

The other area to review is the actual process the customer must go through. Ensure it isn’t too long and that there are no nasty surprises along the way, such as delivery costs or times that weren’t previously made clear. Simple works best in terms of a positive checkout process.

So there you have it – just some ideas to help draw customers back to your site once they have abandoned their basket. Shopping cart abandonment isn’t always a bad thing – it is increasing as we change the way we search for products and purchase; however so are the tactics we can use to re-engage with shoppers. The key thing to understand is why people are abandoning their cart on your site in the first place and from there you can then test tactics to bring them back.


Contact us if you’d like to find out more about how to address shopping cart abandonment, or need help implementing any of the measures outlined here.

by Vikki Peirson
1 February 2018



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