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Cart Abandonment Recovery: 5 Ways to Recover Abandoned Online Shopping Carts

Despite customers showing initial interest and engagement by adding items to their carts, a significant number hesitate to complete the purchase due to lack of confidence. It’s time for e-commerce retailers to find new ways to recover abandoned carts. 

The average cart abandonment rate in retail is over 70% on desktop and over 80% for mobile shoppers, meaning over two-thirds of online carts don’t result in a sale. It’s a costly and frustrating problem; annually, e-commerce retailers lose a total of $18 billion in sales to abandoned carts. But here’s the thing; cart abandonment isn’t merely a lost sale; its impact reverberates far and wide, driving up customer acquisition costs, diminishing the lifetime value of customers, and wreaking havoc on inventory management. It’s why understanding cart abandonment recovery strategies and harnessing techniques to convert customers before they abandon their carts is key to meeting the challenge head-on. 

5 cart abandonment recovery strategies  

To improve your abandoned cart recovery rate, there are a few subtle changes you can make to both the user experience and language that can make a world of a difference. And while many of these tactics will occur at or around checkout, the strongest cart abandonment recovery strategies inspire confidence, engagement, and action throughout the online customer journey. Each step and digital channel should inspire confidence in the brand and in the purchase, and this can be achieved through messaging that’s personalized and proven to perform, web pages that load quickly, and clear and accurate product descriptions and photos, for example. Now, let’s dive into some of the most effective cart abandonment recovery strategies.  

Add a “mini cart” functionality 

Studies have shown that physically holding products can create a sense of ownership; the longer a customer holds or touches an item, the more they feel like they already own it and the more likely they are to buy it. And while online shoppers can’t physically hold products, there are ways you can recreate this psychological phenomenon during the digital shopping experience – a simple add-on like a “mini cart” functionality, for example, to keep the online cart visible while browsing. This reminds online shoppers of the items they’re “holding,” which can trigger that same sense of ownership they feel when physically carrying an item around a store. A mini cart also has the advantage of enabling customers to easily add or review items in their online cart without being directed to a new page and can also minimize website loading issues.  

Personalize messaging in the online cart  

Countless retailers invest a ton of budget and resources in personalizing the digital shopping experience yet ignore the online cart, the very place where e-commerce sales take place. Persado Dynamic Motivation is a Generative AI solution for the online cart that delivers personalized language in real-time directly in the online cart. Dynamic Motivation takes the online shopping cart from a static and uninspiring experience to a dynamic and personalized element of the digital shopping journey. Using the brand’s session data alongside the Persado Motivation AI knowledge base, Persado delivers digital messaging that engages shoppers and motivates them to complete their purchase; while one customer will see “Excellent choices,” for example, another will see “Buy now” at checkout.  

The benefits are compelling. Enterprise retailers who personalize messaging in the online shopping cart see an impressive ROI in a matter of weeks in fewer abandoned carts, increased customer conversions, and higher purchase values. This typically results in a 3-5% increase in incremental revenue.   

Automate cart abandonment emails  

The best cart abandonment email strategy is to keep it simple. Timing is everything. If you send one too soon, and the customer is still browsing or considering their purchase, it can come off as desperate or poorly timed. And if your cart abandonment emails arrive too late, they may be irrelevant as the customer will already have moved on from considering that purchase. The optimum strategy? Send your first cart abandonment email 2-4 hours after cart abandonment. If customers don’t respond to the first email by completing their purchase, send another reminder email 24 hours later.  

We don’t recommend sending further emails as too many emails can annoy customers and deter them from purchasing. And while some experts recommend offering discounts or free shipping in cart abandonment emails, brands should think twice before sending these offers. They could cheapen the brand, cause customers to abandon their carts purposely in hopes of a discount or result in lower margins on products they were going to purchase anyway. If you’re going to offer a discount in cart abandonment emails, try offering them to only your most high-value customers. 

And keep in mind that cart abandonment emails should be fun and engaging! Here are some ways top brands make their cart abandonment campaigns more inspiring and enhance cart abandonment recovery:  

  • Feature the abandoned items in the body of the email.  
  • Prominently display your best product reviews, including images of real people using or wearing the items “in the wild”.  
  • Consider also utilizing SMS or MMS reminders.  
  • Implement generative AI to optimize cart abandonment email subject lines and email messaging. Persado Motivation AI customers typically see a 41% increase in average performance across all digital channels.  

Streamline the checkout process  

The problem of cart abandonment is largely self-inflicted. Over time, retailers have made the online checkout process more complex by adding extra steps or insisting that customers create an account, sign up for a newsletter, or join a loyalty program just to make a purchase. To address this, it is crucial to reconsider the checkout process by eliminating unnecessary steps and implementing guest checkout. The aim should be to reduce the number of steps and minimize the amount of information customers need to enter. Additionally, incorporating a progress bar at the top of the checkout pages can provide reassurance to customers that they’ve reached the finish line. 

To streamline the checkout process, it’s important to make some adjustments to the listing itself. Brands should prioritize transparency by clearly displaying any additional costs, fees, shipping windows, and other relevant details directly in the listing. If customers encounter these details for the first time during the checkout process, it can lead to them reconsidering their purchase.  

Include more payment options  

Today, consumers want more payment options at checkout. Digital wallets such as PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay are growing online payment methods, and almost half of US-based consumers will stop an online purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available. Bottom line? A range of payment options not only adds convenience to consumers looking to complete their purchase but also serves as a trust-building factor for brands. By collaborating with trusted payment options, reputable retailers can demonstrate their reliability and credibility.  

A final word  

Cart abandonment is a universal problem for almost every e-commerce retailer. However, by cultivating engagement and trust, brands can recover more abandoned carts and at the same time bring added value to customers. Consider even more ways to build the online shopping experience around the customer with more favorable return policies or by giving customers the option to ‘favorite’ items or create wish lists – trust us; they’ll thank you for it! So rather than viewing cart abandonment as a lost cause, brands should see it as an opportunity to further engage with customers who are on the verge of completing their purchase – a truly customer-centric approach that allows brands to strengthen connections and maximize conversions.

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Victoria Sullivan

Victoria Sullivan is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Persado and a guest contributor to the Optimove blog. Persado provides the only Generative AI platform that motivates every individual to engage and act. Prior to Persado, Victoria developed content and partnership strategies for technology companies in the CX and fintech spaces.