Cart abandonment guide: Rate calculations and software solutions

We look at how to calculate various abandonment rates, reasons cart abandonment occurs, benchmarks and the most popular tools and techniques to prevent it or follow up.

A row of cartoon carts, ideally not to be abandoned by shoppers

Picture the scene: an online shopper sits at a table with their laptop, clicking around your site. They see something they like and add it to their basket. Their spouse, sprog or dog calls them into the other room, so they navigate their cursor to close the browser tab, thinking to themselves: “I’ll buy it another time” or “I ought not to, don’t really need it.” Cart: abandoned.

Now imagine they reached your site’s checkout process, only to be met with a lengthy form to fill in. “Can’t be bothered”, they sigh as they click away to Facebook to watch another cat-on-a-skateboard GIF.

You might be surprised that seemingly the majority of online shoppers that add something to their cart on an ecommerce site don’t complete their purchase.

Cart abandonment rates (CAR) tends to be over 65% for ecommerce sites—the Baynard Institute has calculated an average across multiple studies of 68.63% and lists a number of rates from over the last 10 years.

Barilliance—a supplier of tech solutions in this space—puts 2015 rates at a global average of 71.39% and breaks it out by device:

2015 cart abandonment rates, broken down by device

Cloud.IQ rounded up some further abandonment stats, including the finding that most people abandon carts between 8-9pm, mostly on a Thursday.

Abandonment rate calculations

There are a few things to unpick with abandonment rates. First, you may be looking at a single rate or combination of distinct rates.

Single rate

When a customer adds something to their ecommerce shopping cart or basket and then leaves your website without continuing on to purchase it, it is known as cart abandonment.

CAR is a percentage, calculated:

Number of abandoned carts / number of initiated shopping sessions = CAR

e.g. 1,360 abandoned carts / 2,000 sessions with one or more items in cart = 0.68 = 68% CAR

Alternatively:

1 – (total completed checkouts / number of initiated shopping sessions) =

e.g 640 completed checkouts / 2,000 sessions with one or more items in cart = 0.32
1 – 0.32 = 0.68 = 68% CAR

Separate rates, including checkout abandonment

Ecommerce data analysts might split out abandonment rates to include:

  • Site abandonment rate – the percentage of site visitors that haven’t added anything to their cart.
  • Cart abandonment rate – the percentage of shoppers who have added one or more items to their cart but not proceeded to checkout.
  • Checkout abandonment rate – the percentage of shoppers that have begun, but not completed, the checkout process

Why do shoppers abandon their carts?

Reasons for a high cart abandonment rate include:

  • a poorly designed, frustrating website and/or checkout procedure,
  • overlong forms requiring excessive detail,
  • unexpectedly high delivery costs or additional fees,
  • web page redirects where shoppers are whisked off to external websites they might not trust.

Based on a 2012 Worldpay survey, Statista presents various reasons for shoppers not completing transactions, ranging from the fixable (e.g. site bugs and UI problems) through to unknowable (the visitor was just browsing):

A Worldpay / Statista chart on why shoppers leave without paying

What are the software options to combat cart abandonment?

What is an ecommerce professional to do in such scenarios in order to win over a waverer and rescue a sale?

DIY solutions include simplifying forms, shortening the checkout process and being upfront about delivery charges, as rounded-up by eConsultancy.

eCommerce Insights also caught up with a co-founder of London-based ecommerce start-up Shoprocket to talk us through the reasons shoppers walk away, some cart abandonment solutions and other site tweaks to improve conversion rates.

In terms of software solutions—if you’ve already nailed everything within your control on your site—there are different aspects to the fight against cart abandonment, which can be roughly split into proactive and reactive approaches.

Proactive: Exit or pop-up offers (AKA exit intent technology, onsite remarketing or onsite retargeting)

“Exit offers” are when you deliberately programme discounts to pop-up on-page (rather than as a separate browser tab or window), triggered by a mouse cursor moving to click away or based on a specific link click. A specialist in this area Picreel refers to this as conversion rate optimisation, although it could also be seen as a different form of targeted advertising.

There has been some criticism over the passive aggressive, snarky wording of typical exit offer pop-ups, with the call to action painted as a path to virtue and the ‘no’ button an admission of unenlightened inferiority:

A snarky exit offer pop-up with the no button stating "I like it when visitors bounce"

A snarky pop-up from CNBC saying 'no thanks, I don't need today's most important stocks

Proactive: Customer insight surveys

Some cart abandonment specialists offer customisable survey pop-ups, the results of which are to help businesses optimise aspects of their site based on direct, in the moment feedback from site users.

Reactive: Email recovery campaigns (AKA email remarketing)

If a customer starts the checkout process and provides their email before abandoning the site, it gives the business an opportunity to email them posthumously with an offer based around what was in their cart.

Problems may develop around this, as the new EU data protection framework—the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—has now been agreed and will come into force soon, likely H1 2018: it states that where personal data is processed for direct marketing, the subject of the data will have a right to object. This right will have to be explicitly brought to their attention.

eConsultancy rounded up some tips for improving remarketing emails.

Reactive: Advert retargeting

Provided you think your customers are comfortable with it (if they’re shopping for cyber-security software, perhaps not!), ad retargeting is an option whereby users of your website are tracked and can be served up an advert on sites they subsequently visit in order to bring them back.

Possibly the most mainstream example of this is when you browse Amazon before leaving the site and visiting Facebook, where you may see a relevant display ad:

An example of Amazon advert remarketing through Facebook

Popular solutions

Datanyze’s analysis of the top one million sites (according to Alexa) finds that Yieldify, PicReel and Optimonk are the market leaders by deployment of cart abandonment prevention technologies:
Cart abandonment solutions as analysed by Datanyze

Bounce Exchange (or BounceX)

A leader and pioneer in this area, New York-based Bounce Exchange bills itself as an enterprise-level behavioural automation service. The firm has patented its exit intent tech, something it is embroiled in a legal battle with upstart startup Yieldify over.

Bounce Exchange sells itself on being able to separate out website visitors based on intent, allowing a marketer to customise triggers and campaigns in response.

Search Engine Land published a review of Bounce Exchange in 2014:

Overall, Bounce Exchange is a strong service that offers some real benefits for a price. Bounce Exchange helped us:

– Reduce bounce rate by up to 60%

Increase time-on-site by more than 50%

Drive targeted site traffic to specific offers they wouldn’t have otherwise seen

Generate thousands of leads from visitors who would have otherwise bounced away

Pricing
Various sources put Bounce Exchange pricing as starting around the $4,000 per month mark, whilst the business itself recommends you try a free demo and receive a customer quote.

Yieldify

Founded in 2012, London-based Yieldify is focused on helping ecommerce stores increase conversions of people who might abandon, or have returned after abandoning your site. With behavioural analytics backing them up, it offers both exit intent pop-ups (which it calls “onsite remarketing” and email remarketing tools.

Yieldify touts its multichannel approach with a particular emphasis on smartphones and tablets.

yieldify screenshots

The startup is currently in hot water over alleged copyright infringement of code developed by competitor Bounce Exchange, although it is in turn suing Bounce Exchange for patent infringement.

Pricing
Yieldify is cagey about its pricing and with no dedicated pricing page, its website funnels visitors into requesting a demo to find out more. It offers free-to-download plug-ins for Magento 1 and 2, but they require a subscription to work.

Picreel

Picreel is a popular “exit intent” tool, tracking where your mouse was, is and where it is going. You can therefore customise different pop-ups with offers, surveys and the like, to encourage visitors not to go on their merry way.

A screenshot of Picreel showing an exit offer pop-up

A screenshot of Picreel showing an exit offer pop-up

Pricing
After a 30-day unlimited free trial, pricing starts at $14 per month for up to 3,000 monthly visitors or 30,000 page views—through to $299 per month for up to 300,000 monthly visitors.

Optimonk

Optimonk focuses on exit offer pop-ups (what it dubs onsite retargeting). It offers A/B testing of pop-ups, adjustable timing, real-time analytics and targeting options around specific audience segments.

Optimonk screenshots showing exit offer pop-up creation

It offers a wide range of integrations, including WordPress, Drupal, PrestaShop, Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento as well as integrations with marketing software such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and AWeber.

Optimonk screenshots showing exit offer pop-up creation

Pricing
Optimonk offers a 14-day free trial, whilst its plans range from $29 per month for up to 5,000 visitors to $399 per month for up to 1,000,000.

Exit Monitor

Exit Monitor also focuses on exit offer pop-ups, appealing not just to ecommerce businesses wishing to avoid site or cart abandonment, but to those wishing to boost their email lists and social following too.

Exit monitor screenshot

As well as real-time analytics, A/B testing, trigger options and campaign filters, Exit Monitors offers a number of integrations including those with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, HubSpot, Shopify and WordPress.

Pricing
Exit Monitor offers a 14-day free trial, with plans starting from $39 per month for up to 5,000 page views, through to $499 per month for up to 325,000 page views.

UpSellit

UpSellit is built in a slightly different way, in that it is more fully fleshed-out solutions, offering a combination of segment-targeted exit offer pop-ups, email remarketing and hybrid AI/customer service agent live chat.

upsellit screenshot

Pricing
UpSellit’s pricing is “pay-for-performance” with no startup costs or cancellation fees. The firm itself designs, develops, manages, and optimizes campaigns while the customer pays a percentage conversions recovered.

Further reading:

Thomas Quillfeldt

Thomas Quillfeldt

Editor, eCommerce Insights

July 19, 2016

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