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How to Reduce Basket Abandonment?

September 13, 2016

Basket abandonment is a real problem in eCommerce, here’s how you can entice more customers to complete the checkout process.

Basket abandonment accounts for over 77% of all shopping online and many retail giants are scratching their heads as they try to implement strategies to combat this digital problem.

In the bricks and mortar stores, basket abandonment figures are much lower but they do exist. People don’t leave their purchases in the middle of aisles but they will put individual items back on the shelf. Offline, this can usually be solved by hiring a sales person on the floor and reducing queue times, online, the solution isn’t so simple.


Why Do Online Shoppers Abandon Baskets and How Can You Combat This?

In order to tackle the basket abandonment problem, we must first identify why so many shoppers leave a website with a full basket. There are many reasons a shopper may decide against a purchase and when solving the problem for your own eCommerce store you should choose which problems you aim to solve for the consumer, of course you can tackle them all, although some may be out of your control.

Here are the main reasons a shopper will leave without checking out:

  1. Distraction

This can be out of your control. The shopper is happily wandering down your virtual aisles and has every intention of checking out until an outside influence poses a distraction. The distraction could be:

An offline distraction (the phone ringing, a knock at the door, a bid for attention from a child)

An online distraction (a new email notification, an instant message, a pop up from another brand)

The Solution

Although you can’t do much to stop them being distracted in this way you can go some way to solving the problem. If you’ve managed to collect their email address while they shopped, you can send them a reminder email to bring them back to the abandoned basket.

You can also invest in PPC and remarketing and hope the ads follow them as they follow the online distraction, reminding the shopper to return to their basket.

  1. Too Much Information

Another reason shoppers abandon is due to an overload of information. They believe there’s too much to process in order to make an informed decision about a purchase.

The Solution

You can solve this problem by ensuring your copy is clear and succinct. Cut the waffle and show rather than tell through innovative design and words that resonate.

  1. Unanswered Questions

In contradiction to the Too Much Information problem, there’s also the Too Little Information setback that can leave a shopper with unanswered questions. If they feel they’ve not received the answers to the questions they need, they will postpone the checkout until they’ve researched the answer themselves or until they’ve magically come across the answer while completing other tasks (which means they’ll never checkout).

The Solution

Make sure you do have all the information a buyer needs before checkout. This includes the price of delivery. Some brands still hide their delivery prices until the end which makes little sense as it usually frustrates the customer and makes them feel manipulated. If your product has a lot of specifications, consider tabbing your product descriptions so the boring information is readily available without interrupting your sales copy. You can also introduce a Live Chat to ensure questions are answered in an instant but if funding isn’t available, offer a telephone number or email and reassure the customer that you’ll respond to queries as quick as possible.

  1. The Clunky Checkout

A lot of new businesses become excited by the idea of the sharing of information at checkout. There’s a customer willing to share their data and willing to purchase and new brands see this as an opportunity to make the customer jump through many hoops until they complete the transaction. This can be a mistake. Of course, it would be fantastic if the customer bought more or signed up to the newsletter but there are other ways to do this. Every time you add another step to the checkout process you increase the chances of the basket becoming abandoned.

The Solution

Make the checkout process as seamless and quick as possible. Allow customers to checkout as a guest and remove any un-necessary pop ups or pages. No shopper enjoys the checkout process and will appreciate any company who makes it quicker and painless. If you want to sign a shopper up to a newsletter, ask when they verify an account, or use a pop up on a blog. If you’d like to upsell, use techniques when they’re still shopping not when they’re about to checkout.

  1. Misdirection

It is amazing how we use the internet. We’ve become so used to convenience that we’re actually very lazy. If you were to introduce a heat map to your site, you’d be surprised at the areas customers miss that are right in front of their face. To you it’s obvious, to a customer it’s shrouded in mystery. From a psychology perspective a customer reads a website like this:

  • Top Right Corner
  • Middle
  • Top Left
  • Right Side Bar
  • Right Bottom Corner

That’s it. If you have a link on the bottom left or even on the left, they’re likely to miss it. People will abandon their shopping if they can’t see the next steps immediately.

The Solution

Use beta testers to make sure the checkout process is a clear as possible. Install a heat map to see where your customers linger the most and make sure you have clear directions, along with clear buttons for how to navigate to the next page. This sounds so simple, but many new companies find that by making the process clearer, basket abandonment figures are reduced.


Basket abandonment will always be a problem as long as we shop in a faceless manner behind a screen. Eliminating 100% of basket abandonment is impossible but we can certainly reduce the numbers with a little psychology and some intuitive marketing.

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