Optimizing Your Shopping Cart Abandonment

According to Bronto Software and Magento, partnered with Ipsos, online shoppers cart abandonment rates range from 70-80%. The report says that much can be done to reduce abandonment, recapture sales from abandoned shopping carts, and provide a better shopping experience for consumers. In addition, says the report, the study results of U.S. consumers who made an online purchase within the past twelve months, can help retail marketers and advertisers better understand consumer attitudes and make improvements to the online shopping process.

Jim Davidson, Bronto’s manager of marketing research, says that “… providing options for shoppers to modify carted items… sizes, colors, or quantities… (can) increase the likelihood that they’ll buy rather than abandon… ”

Assuming that awareness of shopping cart functionality and related marketing strategies would vary based on frequency of online purchases, qualifying respondents were divided into three groups based on how often they buy online. The groups, Frequent, Occasional and Infrequent Shoppers, will be referenced throughout this report.

Shopper Frequency
Consumer Group Online Shopping Frequency  Percentage of Sample
Frequent Shoppers Daily or Weekly


Occasional Shoppers Every Couple Weeks / At Least Monthly


Infrequent Shoppers Less than Once per Month


Source: Bronto/Magento, October 2013

Frequent and Occasional shoppers own more (mobile) devices than Infrequent Shoppers, says the report. Smartphone ownership varied the most across the shopper categories, and only 38% of Infrequent Shoppers own one. 64% of Frequent Shoppers own a smartphone, and 54% own a tablet.

Many consumers are aware that, unlike shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, a shopping session does not end when exiting an online store. A consumer can have many reasons to want to wait to complete an order. Shopping anxiety, comparison shopping, wanting to watch product videos or read reviews is just a short list of reasons shoppers may want to save their carts before buying. 42% of Infrequent Shoppers will never store items in their cart for a later purchase, making efforts to complete the order within the shopping session even more essential.

While most Frequent and Occasional Shoppers  will only occasionally use the cart to store items, a significant percentage of these consumers use the shopping cart in this fashion each time they shop. 56% of consumers who purchase online at least once a month are using the cart to store items to buy later.

Frequency Of Using The Online Shopping Cart To Save Items To Buy Later  (% of Group)
Frequent Shoppers Occasional Shoppers Infrequent Shoppers 












Source: Bronto/Magento, October 2013

One strategy to help decrease abandonment once a cart is shown, costs are totaled and the checkout process begins, is to offer shoppers an option to save the items to a wish list. The shopping-cart-to-wish-list conversion is more likely to occur with Frequent Shoppers. 82% of Frequent Shoppers will always or occasionally build wish lists. 29% of Occasional Shoppers and 51% of Infrequent Shoppers will never use a wish list.

Frequency Of Using The Online Shopping Cart To Build A Wish List Of Items To Shop Later (% of Group)
Frequent Shoppers Occasional Shoppers Infrequent Shoppers 












Source: Bronto/Magento, October 2013:

19% of Frequent Shoppers will use a mobile device to view products stored in their carts, while 60% of Occasional Shoppers never view carts on mobile devices, meaning marketers could benefit from generating awareness about functionality and ease-of-use of mobile shopping and checkout.

Even Infrequent Shoppers, nearly all of which never exhibit this behavior, might potentially use online stores as a pre-shopping tool for their in-store purchases. While the majority of consumers may not channel and device hop at the same time, it is worth noting that 58% of Frequent Shoppers report always or occasionally taking online shopping information into a physical store location.

Frequency Of Using Online Shopping Cart To View Items On A Mobile Device While Shopping In A Store.(% of Group)
Frequent Shoppers Occasional Shoppers  Infrequent Shoppers












 Source: Bronto/Magento, October 2013:

Providing a wish list option in addition to just saving the shopping cart can help decrease shopping cart abandonment, says the report. When asked what they would do if their favorite brand offered a wish list in addition to a shopping cart, many consumers would use a wish list option instead of the shopping cart to store items for later. A larger population would use both the wish list and shopping cart in tandem.

  • 24% use the wish list instead of the shopping cart to save/store items for later
  • 47% use both the wish list and the shopping cart to save/store items for later
  • 29% not use the wish list

Abandoned shopping cart reminder emails are an essential part of any email marketing program, says the report. Marketers know that shopping cart abandonment rates continue to climb. Abandonment rates range from 70-80% and conversion rates from abandoned shopping cart reminder emails can easily exceed 20%.

Nearly half of all consumers find shopping cart abandonment reminder emails helpful. 74% of consumers either feeling neutral or disagreeing that the cart reminder emails are intrusive. Notifications reminding me about items in the shopping cart are thought to be…

Reminder Emails Are: Agree Neutral Disagree 












Source: Bronto/Magento, October 2013:

53% of consumers do not expect to receive an abandoned shopping cart reminder email after they have stepped away from a shopping session. Of the 46% who do expect an email, only 21% expect the shopping cart abandonment reminder email to include an incentive. 24% of consumers expect an abandoned shopping cart email to only serve as a reminder about items in the cart.

After abandoning a shopping cart, consumers expect to receive:

  • Reminder email   26%
  • Reminder email with a coupon/discount code   13%
  • Reminder email with a free shipping offer   8%
  • None of the above   53%

Upon reminding a consumer about items in the shopping cart, they are…

  • Likely to complete the order   32%
  • Likely to visit the site but not buy anything   29%
  • Likely to do nothing   39%

56% of online shoppers believe highlighting special saving or discounts was the strongest influencer of getting an abandoner back into the shopping cart. For 36% of consumers, including shipping costs within the abandoned cart reminder email is the second most influential content element.

Alternative purchasing methods was the most negative influencing content element. Including the cart expiration date, commonly included to evoke a sense of urgency to complete an order, was in the middle of the pack for the neutral group, though second among the negative influencers with 14% of consumers reporting that the expiration date would make them less likely to return to the cart

34% of Frequent Shoppers believe including the order total is the most influential. An assumption could be made that the original abandonment from Frequent Shoppers is likely from the reveal of the order total. Interestingly, Frequent Shoppers reported featuring discounts or savings as the least important of the positive content elements within an abandoned shopping cart email reminder.

Occasional Shoppers reported a broader mix of content element influence. While the majority of content elements were perceived as neutral, featuring special savings (47%) and product photos (44%) are the two content elements that should be targeted to the occasional shopper to get them back to the cart.  In contrast, all content elements will make Infrequent Shoppers less likely to return to the cart. Featuring an alternative way to complete an order is the content element (29%) that is most likely to get Infrequent Shoppers back to the cart.

The report concludes that by facilitating the process and enhancing the experience by encouraging consumers to use traditional computers and mobile devices interchangeably while shopping and buying online and in-store, providing ways to store carted products until it’s time to buy and offering tools like wish lists for gifts and aspirational items, will help you to decrease abandonment rates while providing a superior shopping experience.

“…Consumer Attitudes on Shopping Cart Abandonment,” is available for download here.


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