3 No-fail Strategies to Lower Shopping Cart Abandonment on your eCommerce Site

Tony Sologubov
Tony Sologubov
, Module developer at X‑Cart
eCommerce Tips

Each and every day store owners lose their money. Tons of money. Why? Just because more than two-thirds of their potential customers fail to complete their purchases. For merchants, this equates to nearly $4 trillion worth of lost sales.

And there’s nothing to be surprised about. If I were looking for a red genuine leather notebook and had 10 shops to choose from, I would rather purchase from the one offering the lowest price and the best quality.

But all’s not lost. Although we cannot totally eliminate the problem of cart abandonment, there’s still a chance that your customers would be more loyal to your brand.

We prepared a few handy tactics, which would help you to minimize your cart abandonment rate and boost sales.

Let’s start with numbers — they mean the whole world

To find the most appropriate method for combating shopping cart abandonment, you need to figure out how many shoppers leave your store before buying.

It can be done in a number of ways with the use of this simple formula: (A -B) / A

The letter A will stand for the number of customers who reach your checkout page (or the cart page if they should visit it before they are redirected to your checkout page). Letter B will stand for the number of people opening your ‘Thankyou page’.

Use one of these tools to get these numbers:

Set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics. It is the easiest way of gathering meaningful data about your customers’ behavior. Moreover, it’s absolutely free.

Google Analytics Conversion Funnel

Add a Google Analytics event, a more sophisticated tool to gather this kind of information. It will allow you to track all ‘Add to cart’ events and get A even earlier.

Add to cart Google Analytics event

Use other reporting tools like MixPanel or RJMetrics.

Mixpanel Funnel

Once you collect data for at least a month, calculate your current cart abandonment rate. If it is hovering around 68%, while this seems like a lot, you’re on a level with most other eCommerce stores. If it’s less, then congratulations — you are doing better than average!

In any case, there is always room for improvement. Let’s see what you can do to make more sales.

1. Set up ‘Where did you go’ reminders

The very first thing you can do to improve your conversion rate is set up an abandoned cart reminder module. It will automatically email registered and “guest” customers to remind them of items pending in their shopping carts. Some modules include advanced options, like attaching discount coupons and special offers in a reminder. They will motivate your customers to finalize the checkout process and, thus, boost your sales.

There is a number of X-Cart modules tailored for that purpose.

For X-Cart 4:

Abandoned Cart Reminder 


For X-Cart 5:

Abandoned Cart ReminderAbandoned Orders Recovering


It’s important to note, that the whole process is essentially risk-free for you because with these extensions you will never lose a sale.

Watch this short video to learn how it works:

2. Choose the right message

Once your module is installed, there comes time to configure your preferences — сhoose the time period between abandonment and the reminder email, set the frequency and the number of reminders you want to send, include a discount on the next purchase and, finally, specify the text.

Now, when you are all set, slow down for a moment to figure out which reminders work best for you. Remember, what is good for guys buying X-Men comics from online booksellers would not necessarily be appropriate for those engaged in real estate investments and financing.

Your choice should be based on what you feel is the right message. Write text that inspires you, give it a chance and then measure the results.

How well did this email convert abandoned items into real orders? Rather well? That’s great. But even if you’ve managed to increase your revenue and started getting additional sales, don’t stop at that.

Try another message. Attach an image to your text, then delete it. Vibrant eye-catching photos of your products may convert a bit better than plain ones. Test it.

Here is a real-world example from Kevin Moore to prove this statement. He tried to add thumbnails to his emails and that worked:

I would like to give an update on the results of this mod.

For the month of November, we recovered 12 orders worth about US $1000. That’s pretty nice if you multiply it by 12 months. So mark me down as a convert to this mod!

I see 14 abandoned carts which were not recovered, so this is nearly half. I’m not completely sure this is correct, the statistics only show recovered carts and not a percentage. I believe the upgrade with the thumbnail was a significant improvement, more carts were recovered since it’s inception.

This is a mod that takes some tweaking to get it set right. One email is really all you need, make sure the emails are sent out through cron properly.

Kevin Moore, O-Cha.com

When the image is chosen, try to give your customers a discount, cancel it and compare the results. Just for your information, messages with discounts are a powerful tool, but you should take it into account that your total revenue may drop.

Yes, it will take time and dedication to find the right message, but the potential extra income worth the potential extra work.

3. Pick an idea, test it, cut it off

However, setting up reminders is not the holy grail and certainly not the only thing you can do to optimize your conversion funnel, especially when you are focused on increasing your revenue levels. That is fine, think about other ways to do the trick.

Maybe you can improve your store’s checkout form by making it more attractive and user-friendly; or redesign your landing page and impress customers with your fantastic copywriting skills.

Pick an idea, try to prove or deny it.

Minor changes bring about inconspicuous results. But combined together they deliver real benefits. 100% increase in revenue is superb, but 170% is a way better.

Final thoughts

You can get a lot more shoppers to complete your checkout process by implementing the techniques and tools you’ve learned about in this article.

Still not sure? Have a look 3 more real-life cases of fighting shopping cart abandonment:

We knew abandoned carts was always a problem for all ecommerce websites, and customers would even register, go to checkout but still change their mind and not complete the purchase. This could be for many reasons – the price, just changed their mind on the item, delivery time or problems, they do not have enough money in their bank, etc. To encourage these customers to come back and shop, an automatic email is sent with a discount code.So, on our store if a customer enters their personal details but does not complete the checkout process then 2 days later they would be emailed with an offer to come back to the website and purchase the products using a discount code. Many customers have loved being contacted and given a chance to buy again at a reduced price

Roger Martin, Stand-Out.net

If anyone has any doubts whether this is a good mod or not, let me give you our abandoned cart statistics for the last three months in US Dollars:

November: $980
December: $740
January (so far!): $1,150

So in the last three months, so far we’ve recouped US $2,870. I am amazed that there is that significant amount of abandoned carts, I had no idea! Granted, this is our peak season but I imagine after one year this will really be a significant amount of money to the bottom line.

Note that we only send out ONE email a few hours after the cart has been abandoned – it’s all you need. I have noticed that if they don’t bite for that first email, it’s highly unlikely they will go for it after a second email.

Kevin Moore, O-Cha.com


I have had this module installed over the last several months and have recovered 4 orders totaling around $6,000.00.

So the module has paid for itself.

I have implemented the sending out of emails automatically feature.

Steve J Racicot, MicroDAQ.com, Ltd.

So, stop leaving money on the table.

Go ahead and make it happen.

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