abandoned shopping cart gravy e-mail marketing

How to Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts

E-commerce industry averages for shopping cart abandonment range between 60% to 80% depending on a variety of factors. It is interesting to note that mobile phones also have much higher abandonment rates than desktop users. Shoppers looking from Friday to Sunday are also more likely to have incomplete carts vs shoppers during the week. So, generally you will see 2/3rds of your carts left behind. But just why is that?

So what really drives e-commerce cart abandonment then? Well, it appears to be a combination of thriftiness, impatience and human nature. Of course product and price are the initial factors in your e-commerce sales conversion rates. But after you have captured an interested buy, here are the top 3 reasons why shopping carts are abandoned.

Reason #1: COST

Everyone wants a good deal, and shoppers want to see the bottom line cost of their shopping. That includes purchase price, shipping and taxes. They are also looking for any extra costs for say, delivering to their specific area or postal/zip code. People often are skeptical of the Sticker Price being the Actual Price. Often customers also try out discount coupon codes to see if they actually work, and to do the final calculation on net price.

Shopify Dashboard Cart Statistics


OK, if you have your Shopify or e-commerce site settings require than customers setup an account before purchasing, then really rethink this. Asking someone who is already interested in buying to pick a username and password and then provide a raft of personal information is a real shopping buzz kill. Your abandoned cart rate will also go up 10 to 30%.


If your shopping cart process extends over multiple pages, asks for too much non-essential order information or is just complex, then you are leaving lots of customers out in the cold. Optimized and well formatted cart pages are easy to fix, and can make the difference between a 5% and a 1% conversion rate. Also, don’t underestimate the effect of consistent and clean design with lots of whitespace. If you include too much clutter, shoppers will leave.

So there you have it, these are the top 3 reasons shopping carts are abandoned and make up more than half of cart processing failures. Other reasons include an inability to see upfront costs, website errors, lack of trust (such as reputable payment provider logos/seals), insufficient social proof, poor choice of payment methods accepted (Paypal only is a big one!), delivery time is too long, or a lack of a good return or warranty policy. See below for a detailed cart abandonment study done in 2016.

And here’s another big one… did you know that on average 1 in 4 credit card transactions are declined due to user input errors (bad card#, expiry or security code, incorrect or non-matching address), expired card or credit limit issues. Using well optimized credit card processors with good error/warnings for each field can really help isolate this generally easy to fix issue.

Shopping Cart Recovery!

OK, so how do I recover all of these empty carts and convert these lost customers? Well, to start you should address the above mentioned issues that affect the buying process before they check out. Then you should look at what you can do after they abandon their cart so you can recapture these lost sales.

Did you know that even though 80% or more of carts are abandoned, you often have an e-mail address already, so use it! The best tried and true formale for e-mail marketing recovery of carts is as follows.

  • Send 3 e-mails after 1 hour, 10 hours and 1 day delay
  • Your first e-mail should include a link to the cart, and offer a time-limited coupon such as “Complete your cart in the next 24 hours and use the “10DOLLARSOFF” coupon code before it expires”.
  • Then, after 10 hours remind them with the same offer, with a reminder of “14 hours left to redeem $10 off”. You may want to also include some related products for an upsell
  • Then, after 23 hours, given them a last chance to save “Only 1 hour left before your cart and $10 coupon expires”

Creating a sense of urgency and using a coupon incentive over 24 hours can reduct cart abandonment by 50% or more! With this simple e-mail sequence, I guarantee you, you will close to double your cart recovery and add revenue that you thought you’d lost forever!

With our Gravy App, we can help you regain these lost sales from cart abandonment. In our experience, sending well written follow-up e-mails within 24 hours after the cart abandonment with a specific offer and urgency can convert on average 10% to 15% or more of these lost customers. Visit our support area to find out more.

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