20 JULY 2019

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment Rates on e-Commerce Site

Iosi Pratama

Cart abandonment is a standard problem each e-commerce site encounters sooner or later. According to the Baymard Research Insitute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is as much as 68.63%, a value that's calculated based on 33 different studies. Paying attention to checkout UX, and designing for the specific needs of your target audience can decrease the number of customer who abandon their shopping at the last crucial moment, in midst checkout process. In this opportunity, I'm going to share an interesting post about how to reduce cart abandonment on an e-commerce site. The original post in here. We'll have a look at the reasons why cart abandonment happen, what designers can do about it, and how some notable e-commerce websites deal with the problem.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

It can be a frustrating task to figure out why your customer abandon your site during the checkout process. While e-commerce stores can specialize on many different niche markets and product types, there are some universal rules that can be applied for most online shopping environments. According to a report - based on the responses of more than 1000 online customer between the age of 18-65 there are 7 main reasons for cart abandonment (from the most to least frequent):

While #3 can be deemed as a normal customer behaviour, the rest implies existing user experience problems. [caption id="attachment_1460" align="aligncenter" width="700"]


Image: VWO Cart Abandonment Report 2016[/caption]

Understand Customer Psychology

To set up a succesful checkout process with low cart abandonment rates, it's important to understand how your audience "works", as in the psychology behind their behaviour. Standford University's

Persuasive Tech Lab

recommends a specific

behaviour model

that makes it possible to design core processes - such as the checkout process - in a way that in creases conversions. The

Fogg Behaviour Model

claims that user behavior depends on 3 key elements:




, and


. When a desired behavior doesn't happen, it's because

at least one of these elements is missing. 

[caption id="attachment_1461" align="aligncenter" width="512"]


Behaviormodel.org[/caption] To solve these pain points of your customers, it is a good strategy to

figure out which psychological element is lacking

. For instance, when you users don't understand how their shipping cost is calculated, they lose their motivation but you can gain that back by

increasing their ability to get quick information about shipping cost

. Of course, in real life the analysis is way more complicated, but it's always useful to approach user experience issues, such as cart abandonment, from a psychological aspect. Reduce Interaction Cost In order to keep your customers motivated, one of the most important thing that you have to do is reducing the interaction cost, which defined by the Nielsen Norman Group like

The interaction cost is the sum of efforts - mental and physical - that the user deploy in interacting with a site in order to reach their goals.

In terms of check UX, this mean you need to

simplify the checkout process as much as possible, 

such as

keeping fields to the minimum


letting customer pay easily

, and

making the checkout sequence simpler

. This way you can increase focus and reduce hassle, therefore g

iving the necessary ability to your customers to do their shopping

. For instance, take a loot at Ebay's checkout process. They only ask for the necessary data, and pre-fill many fields based on the registration data. As such, customer need to give their personal data, such as their shipping address, only once then in each shopping instance they just need to fill in the fields that my differ in each purchase: payment, postage, coupon code, and charity donation.


Give Visual Feedback

Customer may get lost in the checkout process easily, therefore giving them the right visual feedback at the right time can be a huge factor in checkout optimization. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer gives a comprehensive visual feedback at every part of the checkout process. Amazon uses a separate UI for the checkout process, that is easily distinguishable from other part of the sit, and doesn't contain distractions - not just the sidebar but the top navigation is also cleared off the screen. Checkout steps are visualized on top of each checkout screen, which gives an easy to understand visual feedback to customer about heir current stance in the checkout process. Diffrent kinds of information use diffrent colors as well, and the

button appears at both the top and bottom of the screen, making it clear for customer what the next task is. [caption id="attachment_1463" align="alignnone" width="700"]


Amazon checkout UI[/caption]

Give Customer Control

Making customers feel they have a say in their puchase process can increase their motivation for sure. However it's not always easy to decide when it's better to let them they have a choce, and when it's better to anticipate their needs. When speaing about e-commerce, of of the biggest customer deterrent is forcing them to register. "Having to create a new user account" has been the second most frequent reason for a cart abandonment in the aforementioned report. It's such a crucial question that Nielsen Norman Group researched the concept of guest checkout from the aspect of usability. They summarize their research the following way:

Guest checkout with optional registration on e-commerce sites simplifies the purchase process and invites users to register when they feel comfortable, rather than forcing unwanted registration.

Apple's online stores makes a good job in providing customer with a guest checkout, they display the two options, "Returning Customer" and "Guest Checkout" right next to each other, on the same level of visual hierachy. They also assure customers that they will still able to create an Apple ID at the end of the process if they choose the guest checkout. Guest checkout is only one example of giving customers control in the form of clearly explained options, there can be many different things to consider based on the type of your store such as shipping options, payment options, sending the product as a gift, coupons, etc.

Gain Customer Trust

Lack of of customer trust is the reason for "concerns about payment security", on of the biggest customer pain points that can cause cart abandonment. Baymard Institute's

survey results

show that

perceived security

is more important for most customer than actual security, as most of them don't understand technical terms, such as TLS/SSL encryption. This is why trust badges and labels can work well in gaining customer trust. For instance, Ebay uses both a "Money back guarantee" label and a Norton Security badge, and Apple also assures users about security by using the "

" label  on the top left of their Checkout login screen - they calm customer worries before the checkout process begins (see both examples on above screenshots) Debenhams, a popular British retailer uses a different design; they have integrated their trust label into a large orange

button. This way they combine the ability and trigger elements of the aforementioned Fogg Behaviour Model.


Other than trust badges and labels, it's also crucial to highlight customer-focused benefits wherever it's necessary, especially when you ask customer to make an extra effort. For instance, have a look at how Marks & Spencer recaps the advantages of registrations from the point of view of the customer:

Sign in to use our express checkout to benefit from saved delivery and payment details and easy order management.

[caption id="attachment_1465" align="aligncenter" width="700"]


look at the copy of registration section[/caption]

Summarizing the order

before the payment is ean easy to understand manner, with all

occurring cost detailed

is also a feature without which customer trust can be hardly be achieved, it's not a coincidence that most big e-Ecommerce sites implement it.

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