Quick guide to reduce e-commerce website abandonment rate

Abandonment rate, a tricky yet beautiful metric! I call it beautiful because if you understand this metric, it would clarify some parts of the biggest mystery in e-commerce history- why are my visitors not converting to customers? How do I reduce my e-commerce website’s abandonment rate? And tricky because, well, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this metric and it truly requires a holistic understanding to be able to influence it in the right direction.

This helpful study by Baymard concludes that approximately 68 of 100 people abandon shopping carts during their purchase. Another study, this time by Statista calls out the reasons why customers are abandoning carts. Notice, how customers are abandoning cart or abandoning purchase at different sessions during the purchase journey. Some due to inconsistencies in the product page, some at checkout process and some while providing their credit card information.

This signifies that to reduce e-commerce shopping cart abandonment rate, it is essential to segment website abandonment rate to easily identify the problem points and quickly optimize pages.

We find it is much easier to get to the right data points by segmenting an e-commerce website abandonment into 3 sessions: Product abandonment, Cart abandonment and Checkout abandonment.

  1. Product abandonment: Product page abandonment is when the visitor reaches a product details page, then abandons the website without initiating the purchase. The Product Details page is the landing page for your products and should garner the maximum impact, since it could be the first impression that you create on a visitor. Improving product landing pages can result to the customer being sure of their purchase and hence have shorter purchase journeys, which would in turn reduce your e-commerce website’s abandonment rate considerably.

The reasons for product landing page abandonment could be varied:

  • Slow loading time
  • The product page did not deliver the expectation set in the ad/ promotional campaign
  • The images and/or the product description is confusing or does not give sufficient information on the product
  • Product pages are not optimized for mobile (This is becoming increasingly relevant)
  • Not easy for the visitor to compare prices
  • Not easy for the shopper to bookmark this product, say by adding to their wishlist
  • Pricing information isn’t clear – possibly not localized for currency
  • CTA (Call-to-action) isn’t intuitive or prominent

Quick fixes:

  • Optimize images and landing page content so that they load faster
  • Ensure that your marketing communications and promotions are in sync with the product landing pages. The product rates, discounts and offers should be carried through from the promotional links to the product page (even through the cart and checkout pages).
  • Give useful yet succinct information on the product, and back it up with the right images, videos and product reviews.
  • Use responsive themes, ensure that mobile shoppers are able to read the product description and scroll through the page without having to pinch and zoom. This is hugely important!
  • Integrate options that allows the customer to calculate currency as per the region of their choice/stay, calculate shipping costs and delivery schedule, right from the product page

Relevant read: 4 ways to optimize your e-commerce experience for mobile


  • Cart abandonment: So, the visitor has looked at the product and shown interest in it by adding to cart, making them a potential customer. Shopping cart abandonment is when they add the product to the cart but abandon the purchase at this point, and do not initiate the checkout process. Reasons such as ‘customer changed their mind’ may be beyond your control, but here are some other reasons why customers abandon their shopping carts and some suggestions for how you can optimize to reduce those pesky numbers:
  • Find that there are hidden costs
  • Added the product to cart with the intent of comparing prices
  • Got distracted forgot about the product and their interest in it
  • Just wanted to estimate shipping costs and delivery schedule
  • Added product to cart with the intent of making the purchase later – this happens more often than you’d expect.

Quick fixes:

  • Make it easy for your shoppers to pick up where they left off – Swym Relay can help, ask us how!
  • Explaining costs is tricky, but customers appreciate a simple and consistent pricing throughout the purchase process
  • Consider incorporating a module to compare products, a calculator for shipping costs and delivery schedule on the product page. The cart section should typically just confirm the product details and ask for the required shipping information. Note that you might have to handle this differently on desktop/tablet vs mobile devices considering the differences in real estate
  • Conduct subtle email retargeting campaigns and smart web push notifications on your website without being intrusive or spammy to re-engage lost customers and to re-ignite their interest in the product they had selected.
  1. Checkout abandonment: Google Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik strongly suggests this number should be zero. Although this number is never really zero, we agree that that’s an ideal goal to work towards. The checkout process suggests the customer is quite ready to buy the product and is trusting you with their money. Having a high bounce rate for this page at this stage suggests some level of friction in your checkout process that needs to be reduced, if not eliminated. Here are some reasons why customers abandon checkout pages:
  • Long checkout process, asking for information that is perceived unnecessary
  • Excessive number of forms and fields that need to be filled out – and this problem gets magnified on a mobile device with a touchscreen keyboard
  • Customer is unsure of the security offered and hesitate to provide their credit card information
  • Website offers only a limited number of payment options
  • Session timed out

Quick fixes:

  • Keep the checkout process short and simple filtering out details that are perceived unnecessary.
    • Provide functions such as ‘Check the box if your billing address is your shipping address’ or other smart features providing convenience to the customer.
    • Especially on mobile devices, minimize the need for the shopper to have to type in information that can be automatically derived – use zipcode to determine City/State, for instance.
  • Display security logo such ‘McAfee protected’, or a simple ‘your information is safe with us’ to assure the customer of a safe and secure payment transfer
  • Offer multiple options for payment such as Credit card, debit card, money transfer, PayPal, Google wallet, Pay with Amazon etc
  • Keep the average session time for the purchase process long enough for a customer to comfortably type in the details that you require

Some fundamental points to remember while deducing website abandonment rates also include – to keep your page loading time in check, to maintain a website that is easy-to-navigate, optimize for mobile devices, and do not forget to test test test your hypotheses.

Reducing website abandonment rate for your e-commerce website is a fairly involved effort – it involves thinking like the customer and understanding why has the customer abandoned the purchase. The key is to be able to measure in detail, examine the metrics that matter and perform a detailed analysis of those metrics that help you determine root cause and prioritize the set of solutions that will help. Segmenting the sessions to understand where have they abandoned the website during the purchase journey is pivotal to this analysis. Finding ways to eliminate friction and simplify the purchase journey for your customers can hugely impact conversion rates and sales – its really money you are leaving on the table today.

Did you find this article helpful? We would like to know which of the points above do you find helpful or have we missed something? We look forward to your comments in the section below.

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