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8 myths about cart abandonment that are limiting your revenue

8 myths about cart abandonment that are limiting your revenue Headshot

By Simon Nooranvary, Account Manager

myths about cart abandonment

If you’re like most eCommerce marketers, you get bombarded by advice aimed at recovering revenue lost to cart abandonment. And you wonder if any of the advice is worthwhile.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the customer just didn’t like your product. Or that they found it cheaper with a competitor. If that were the case, spending time and effort to reduce cart abandonment would seem wasteful.

But it’s not. Marketers have multiple tools at their disposal to recover abandoned shopping carts.

But first let’s look at the numbers. Our research indicates that the cart abandonment rate currently stands at around 54%. More than half of shoppers who cart an item don’t go on to complete the purchase.


Figures from Fresh Relevance clients, Q4 2018


How to calculate your cart abandonment rate

But averages only tell part of the story. You need to understand the abandonment rate on your site.

To do that, divide the number of abandoned carts by the total number of carts created. Once you have this figure, you’ll have a better insight into how significant cart abandonment is specifically to you.

Then you can look at what factors may be contributing to abandoned carts on your site, and how you can prevent it.

As you start to tease out what's causing shoppers to leave their cart behind, you’re going to encounter some eCommerce fallacies.

Let’s get right down to debunking those myths. 



1.  Carts are abandoned because shoppers find a better deal elsewhere

Shoppers tell researchers that carts are abandoned for a host of reasons. A poor customer journey through checkout is a common reason, along with a lack of shipping or payment options. Problems buying from a mobile device are another oft-cited reason.

Increasingly, eCommerce merchants understand that enhancing how a customer interacts with a product online can make a big difference.

Shopping online without access to a tangible product means that consumers require a good level of detail before they can commit to making a purchase. They might pop the item in their cart and then have second thoughts.

If you offer fashion products, look at options like 360 degree videos and virtual dressing rooms to help customers understand how the product will look on them. In addition, be transparent about shipping and returns options. Or if you have bricks-and-mortar stores, highlight that deliveries and returns can be made to a store.

For products that might elicit questions from customers, make sure online browsers see the option to chat online or call to ask questions.

You can also use social proof, such as ratings and reviews, to build trust in your brand and products.

This works. We found that 61 percent of customers look for product reviews when making a purchase, while more than half (56 percent) find star ratings helpful.



2. Personalization isn’t worth the effort

Keeping customers engaged is one way to keep them from abandoning their cart. On your website, use personalization tools to make product suggestions that are relevant to the customer.

Customers more easily find what they’re looking for, reducing the frustration of the shopping experience. And shoppers who enjoy a seamless, relevant experience are more likely to convert and stay loyal to your brand.

You should also consider including dynamic features, such as countdown timers for shipping cut-off dates, to create a sense of urgency.



3. Emailing cart abandoners doesn’t work

If shoppers leave after putting products in their shopping carts, sending them recovery emails can give a sales uplift of 8%.

A common misconception about cart abandonment is that remarketing emails will annoy or alienate the customer, and drive them away from the brand.

However, this isn't the case. Research and success stories show that targeted remarketing emails drive sales and increase brand loyalty.

Highly personalized cart abandonment emails can be the difference between a consumer returning to make a purchase, and losing them.



4. Even if those emails work, isn’t GDPR a problem?

With the introduction of GDPR in the EU, many companies and marketers have also expressed concerns around the legality of email remarketing, and whether this is classed as spam.

However, as these are specific, personalized emails based on the content of an abandoned cart, they do not fall into this category.

They are also being sent to a person who has an existing relationship with your brand (after all, to send a cart recovery email, you need to have the shopper’s email address, right?), so this is a legitimate interest and well-practiced way of communicating with shoppers.



5. It doesn’t work (we tried) 

We’re going to guess that if cart abandonment emails didn’t work, one possible reason is that you sent generic messages to masses of shoppers. You need to learn how to craft an effective cart abandonment message. Here are some tips:


Pay attention to your email subject line.

Email subject lines are sometimes an afterthought.

But a good subject line can make a huge difference to your open rate, and your conversion rate. It's crucial that the shopper knows what the email is about from first glance. Personalization is a key part of this - for example, using the product name to draw the shopper back in.


Make it clear who you are.

It sounds obvious, but it's important that customers find it easy to quickly identify who the email is from.

If it's not immediately apparent that the email comes from (a) a trusted sender and (b) a brand they're interested in, they're unlikely to engage with the email.

Check the email address and display name that your emails are coming from. Does it provide a clear indication of the sender, and seem trustworthy and credible?


For real results, email in real-time.

Your email needs to be real time. If you are sending recovery emails to abandoners days after they visited your site, your chances of winning them back are minimal. For optimal results, aim to send cart abandonment recovery emails around 30 minutes after the shopper visited your site.


Personalize, personalize, personalize

Ensure that shoppers can identify with your email - and that it reminds them of why they visited your site in the first place - by personalizing it as much as possible.

Personalization can include using pictures of the carted products, complete with a description and links to make purchasing the item easy. You may wish to include the whole cart of items that were abandoned, or recommend alternative products in case the shopper couldn’t find what they were looking for.



6. Cart abandonment messages don’t work without discounts

Our research found that blanket incentivizing doesn’t offer the best return on investment.

For example, serial abandoners may respond just as well to a simple reminder email – so an incentive cannibalizes the value of an order that would have taken place anyway.

However, targeted incentive emails offered to one-time abandoners can have a real effect on the open rate of the email, as well as the number of sales.

Using incentives in a targeted fashion important for another reason: Blanket incentivizing can devalue your brand.

If consumers get an incentive offer every time they abandon their basket, they may become used to waiting for offers, and perceive buying at full price as bad value.



7. We don’t need a specialized cart abandonment solution

A lot of ESPs offer cart abandonment solutions either with their service, or for an extra fee. Before you decide to use those services, ask how well the solutions identify shoppers across channels ,and what personalized content is available.

Being able to identify your shoppers is crucial for any remarketing activity. You don’t want to lose track of a customer if they revisit the website from a different device.

You'll want to be able to capture data when people log in and create an account, but also capture an email address from anywhere else it can be inputted across a website - for example, a newsletter, pop-up, or transactional process.

Also look for a solution that integrates with all email service providers, and allows you to track customers who click through to your website from your cart recovery email.

Opt for a solution that offers dynamic content that updates in real-time, taking account of stock levels, and updating if the email hasn’t been opened by the time a deal ends.



8. We can develop a cart recovery solution in-house

When ramping up your efforts to win back abandoners, you might be tempted to build your own solutions -- especially if you have access to developer resources.

If you consider developing a solution in-house, there are some points you’ll need to consider. Read more about DIY cart abandonment emails on our blog.


Ditch the myths and start winning back revenue

If you couple cart abandonment solutions with an effort to understand other underlying reasons customers are leaving before checkout, you can definitely win back revenue.

MyOptique group, which includes Glasses Direct and Sunglasses Shop, alongside other leading brands, has increased revenue through cart and browse abandonment remarketing, which equates to 4.2% of total sales.

To find out how cart abandonment emails could benefit your business, get in touch with our team of experts:

8 myths about cart abandonment that are limiting your revenue Headshot

By Simon Nooranvary

Account Manager

As Account Manager at Fresh Relevance, Simon works with renowned brands in the eCommerce and travel space to ensure success with their content personalization programmes in email and online.