12 Proven & Powerful Strategies to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate in DTC

We’ve all done it. At one point or another, every one of us has abandoned our carts while shopping online. Whether we changed our minds last-minute, or something just felt off about the checkout page — as consumers, abandoned carts aren’t often given a second thought. Unless we had a very clear reason for abandoning.

As an eCommerce store owner, however, abandoned carts can be a signal that parts of your brand’s user experience and checkout flow need reworking.

  • Key takeaway: Cart abandonment, while impossible to reduce to 0%, is often an indicator that there are roadblocks along your checkout flow. By cutting down the number of steps a user has to take, form fields they have to fill out, adding more payment options, and enhancing your checkout UX, you can create a checkout process customers will both complete and enjoy.

Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment

The Baymard Institute, (one of the leading user experience research organizations in the world), has calculated the average cart abandonment rate in 2023 at 69.99%. Included in their research, Baymard found that 58.6% of consumers in the U.S. over any given 3-month period were cart abandoners simply because they were “just browsing.”

But what exactly is shopping cart abandonment? Besides customers who are “just browsing,” why does it happen at all?

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is when a shopper leaves a website without completing their purchase after they’ve added items to their online cart. Cart abandonment can happen at any point in the checkout process. Even after the shopper enters their payment and shipping information.

Shopping cart abandonment is a unique challenge for DTC businesses. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, where shoppers are more likely to purchase a product once they’ve physically picked the item up, online shoppers often browse multiple websites before committing to a purchase. This means that despite a shopper adding items to their cart, there is no guarantee that they will ultimately complete their purchase with your brand.

Cart abandonment can also fluctuate depending on a customer’s location, your product market, or across the entire eCommerce industry during certain times of the year.

For example:

  • Across sectors, XP2 has reported that the Beauty & Personal Care industry has the highest cart abandon rate as of March 2023 at 82.48%.

  • According to data from SaleCycle, the lowest cart abandonment rates for 2022 were in November and December at 77%, while January saw the highest cart abandonment rate at 81%.

Why do Shoppers Abandon Their Carts?

Think back to the times you’ve abandoned your own shopping cart. What was the reason? If you were 100% sold on an item in one moment, and then in another moment, you were “unsold,” where did the change take place?

Were you interrupted by a phone call or an email while you were browsing with your smartphone? Did you see the total cost for an item and decide to save your money instead? Or maybe the website forced you to create an account to finish the checkout process.

The reality of shopping online means that there can be any number of reasons, at any given moment, that a customer abandons their online shopping cart. Carrying a customer through a customer journey can often be a delicate balancing act — any interruptions or inconveniences along the way, (no matter how minor these interruptions might seem), give a customer more than enough reason to change their mind.

Leaning on the insights from the Baymard Institute, here are the most common reasons a customer will abandon their cart, ranked by their frequency:

  1. Shipping costs, taxes, and/or fees were too high: Price is one of, if not the most important detail a customer considers before buying a product. Whether they’re shopping online or in-store. If the extra costs associated with completing their order are simply much higher than they were planning to spend, a customer is likely to abandon. In 2021, Jungle Scout reported that 80% of U.S. consumers expect free shipping on orders if they spend a certain amount with a brand, while 66% of consumers expect free shipping on every order they place.

  1. Forced account creation: Forcing someone to create an account with your brand or website in order to complete their purchase is a huge deterrent for users. When possible, always avoid forcing a user to create an account. Doing so adds time to their checkout experience and increases the chance a customer abandons.

  1. Shipping not fast enough: With Amazon offering Same-Day and Two-Day shipping options, consumers today expect extremely fast delivery times. According to Ware2Go’s 2021 consumer survey, 42% of U.S. eCommerce shoppers expected 2-day shipping for their online orders.

  1. Distrust of the site: Users can be hesitant to share their personal payment information with a site they haven’t purchased from before. Especially if your site doesn’t appear professional or has technical issues.

  1. Complex checkout flow: The more steps a user must take before clicking that final “Order Now” button creates more opportunities for a user to bounce.

  1. Unexpected price increase: A user will often abandon if your product price is too far off from the total order price. For customers, high shipping costs and taxes can be a make or break. Especially if these extra costs aren’t revealed until the very last step in your checkout flow. Whether or not it’s intentional, not displaying your total price clearly from the beginning, or not including information about additional costs upfront, will often feel as if you were withholding information. This means you don’t just get more abandoned shopping carts — you also lose consumer trust.

  1. Involuntary cart abandonment: Today, a customer journey isn’t straightforward. For example, while some customers may browse products on their phones — and even add those products to their carts — they may not complete their purchase on their mobile device. They may wait until later on to complete their journey when they’re on their desktop. So, sometimes, cart abandonment isn’t necessarily a voluntary action. However, involuntary cart abandonment can also translate to site issues or errors. Meaning that if your brand’s store unexpectedly crashes and causes a user to abandon, they may be less likely to return to complete their purchase.

  1. Unsatisfying Returns policy: According to research from ReturnsLogic, 90% of U.S. shoppers consider convenient return options as important when they’re making a purchase online.

  1. Not enough payment options: Third-party payment options or a Buy Now Pay Later option is the go-to choice for a number of consumers today. Not offering these options means you can count on higher abandon rates.

  1. Credit card got declined: While you can’t control if a customer has insufficient funds or if their card is flagged for fraud, you can improve your store’s user experience with clear pricing on your product pages.

The Baymard Institute has found that eCommerce buyers abandon their carts most often for these 10 reasons.
The Baymard Institute has found that eCommerce buyers abandon their carts most often for these 10 reasons.

In DTC, you can’t always convert a customer who’s “just browsing” around your online store (the top reason for consumer cart abandonment mentioned earlier). But you can make it easier for customers who are in the process of checking out actually complete their transactions. And doing so is in the best interest of your growth.

The total impact of cart abandonment on eCommerce stores due to usability alone is estimated to be around $260 billion (data from Baymard Institute).

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment in DTC with 12 Data-backed UX Changes

a shopping cart overflowing with items, with a few items falling out, hand-drawn abstract illustration for a company blog, in style of corporate memphis, faded colors, white background, professional, minimalist, clean lines

Shopping cart abandonment is often a frustrating challenge for any online business. However, with the right strategies in place, it is possible to reduce the number of abandoned carts and increase your sales.

Here are 12 proven strategies to help reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate and bolster your conversions.

1. Modernize & Stabilize Your Tech

While “Website had errors/crashed” isn’t at the top of the list for cart abandonment, your DTC brand needs a high-performing, modernized eCommerce site if you want to be competitive. Especially a high-performing mobile site. Your store’s underlying tech is the backbone of success in DTC eCommerce.

After reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate, investing in a tech partner to enhance page load speeds and responsiveness across desktop and mobile devices can deliver ROI for years.

For example:

  • According to ThinkWithGoogle, each second a page load is delayed on mobile can translate to a 20% decrease in conversion rate.

  • In 2018, Google also found that, as page load speeds increased from 1-second to 10-seconds, the likelihood of a site visitor bouncing also increased — up to 123%.

In short, the performance of your site doesn’t just impact shopping cart abandonment. It impacts the whole shopping experience for your online customers and makes growing in DTC an uphill battle.

2. Simplify Your Checkout Process

A complicated checkout process is a primary reason shoppers abandon their carts. Excessive form fields, too many “Next Step” buttons, and distracting cross-sell content alike can quickly become roadblocks to customer conversion. To remedy all of this, consider ways to streamline your checkout process, paying extra attention to how you can minimize the number of steps a customer has to take to checkout.

Should you go for a one-page checkout?

If reducing the number of steps and form fields a customer has to complete will simplify your checkout process, should you reduce the number of steps to just one step? Or one page?

Believe it or not, while reducing the amount of form fields is important for conversion rate, according to Baymard Institute:

While sounding slightly counterintuitive, what we consistently observe during end user testing and checkout benchmarking is that the number of steps isn’t the most important or impactful aspect of the user’s checkout experience.

Rather, it is what the user has to do at each of those steps that’s important.

In addition, Baymard has also found that a user’s experience on your site is less impacted by the number of steps a user has to take, and more so by the number of fields a user has to fill out. The more form fields, the less likely your customers are to convert.

For example:

  • Baymard has found that, by just including an option to make Billing Address the same as Shipping Address and selecting it automatically for a user, you can reduce the number of form fields by 37%.
Mack Weldon, a partner of Anatta, lets users automatically select "Same as shipping address" for their billing address form.
Mack Weldon, a partner of Anatta, lets users automatically select “Same as shipping address” for their billing address form.

Do cross-sells Belong in Your Checkout Flow?

Cross-sells, while they can be a great opportunity to increase AOV when the offer is personalized for a user, can be distracting during a checkout process when included in the final “Order Review” step.

At the very last step of your checkout process, a customer should be able to quickly skim their entered content, make edits if necessary, and finally, “Place Order.” All without a single distraction. Including cross-sells on the last page of your checkout can slow a user down and increase your chances of shopping cart abandonment.

3. Offer Multiple Payment Options

Preferred payment methods, like Shop Pay, PayPal Checkout, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, or Google Pay, all offer express checkout for customers who don’t want to enter information at all. Third-party payment options allow customers to store their payment, shipping, and contact information on their mobile device or desktop to use on eCommerce sites. Offering third-party payment methods can also help increase trust in your brand.

By 2026, Juniper Research projects that 60% of the global population will use e-wallets as their preferred payment method.

The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Opportunity for eCommerce Businesses

The BNPL model is on an upwards trend across budget-conscious consumers. BNPL options like AfterPay allow consumers to break down higher product price tags into smaller, more manageable payments. Interest-free. For both shoppers and eCommerce store owners, BNPL appears to be a win-win.

  • In 2021, PayPal found that 66% of BNPL consumers abandoned their carts after learning BNPL wasn’t an option on a site.

  • Likewise, Zip has reported that 91% of merchants saw an improvement in either revenue, AOV, or conversion rate after offering a BNPL payment process to customers.

Anatta partner, Cariuma, lets customers use AfterPay to break down a ~$100 order into four smaller, ~$20.00 payments.
Anatta partner, Cariuma, lets customers use AfterPay to break down a ~$100 order into four smaller, ~$20.00 payments.

4. Always Offer Guest Checkout Options

Forced account creation can be an egregious offense to users. It’s one more step a user has to take to complete their purchase, and it’s not often a quick step at that. In fact, forcing a customer to create an account at checkout doesn’t just account for 23% of cart abandons (as Baymard cites above) — it could very well harm your long-term brand reputation.

Incentivize account creation by highlighting the benefits

When a user has an account with your brand, however, you can learn more about your customer base and their preferences. Additionally, you can more effectively send personalized offers to customers who have accounts.

While you should always try to make guest checkout available, explaining the benefits of creating an account with your website can encourage more customers to register voluntarily.

Benefits that can help incentivize a user to create an account include:

  • Store rewards
  • Order tracking
  • Personalized discounts
  • Faster checkout process
  • Ability to create a wishlist
  • Ability to customize subscriptions
  • Quick updating of shipping or payment information

Anatta parnter, Four Sigmatic, highlights the benefits of logging into a user account on their account page.
Anatta parnter, Four Sigmatic, highlights the benefits of logging into a user account on their account page.

5. Provide Clear Shipping and Return Policies

Unexpected shipping costs and hidden return policies can deter shoppers from completing a purchase. To avoid this, businesses should make their shipping and return policies clear and transparent from the outset of the shopping experience.

Offering free shipping or free returns can also incentivize shoppers to complete their purchases. Additionally, providing tracking information and updates can help ease any concerns about the delivery process and increase customer satisfaction.

M.Gemi, partnered brand of Anatta, offers clear shipping information accessible at the footer of their checkout page.

6. Implement Visual Cues, Like Cart Drawer Features, for When Cart is Updated

In some cases, customers abandon your cart or bounce from your website when they don’t clearly see their items being added to the cart. You can reduce the risks of this happening by implementing a simple, clear interaction that illustrates a user’s cart has been updated after clicking the “Add to Cart” button.

Anatta's UX team helped build a Cart Draw feature for Freebird that pulls up a side window after a user adds an item to their cart.
Anatta’s UX team helped build a Cart Drawer feature for Freebird that pulls up a side panel after a user adds an item to their cart.
Throughout Freebird's site, users can also see a clear visual indicator that an item is currently in their cart. As they're still browsing.
Throughout Freebird’s site, users can also see a clear visual indicator that an item is currently in their cart. As they’re still browsing.

7. Personalize Product Recommendations or Implement Product Categories such as “Best Sellers”

To encourage shoppers to complete their purchases, it is essential to optimize the website’s user experience. This means designing an intuitive and visually appealing website that is easy to navigate, fast-loading, and mobile-friendly. Offering personalized product recommendations based on a shopper’s browsing history is one powerful way to improve the user experience and increase the chances of a sale.

One way to streamline your customer journey is by including a “Best Sellers” category on your website.

BPN, a partner brand of Anatta, helps create a seamless user journey with a "Best Sellers" category in their main navigation.
Anatta helped BPN created a Best Sellers category.

8. Offer Discounts & Promotions On-site

Offering discounts on first orders can be a powerful way to connect with new visitors, and turn potential customers into life-long buyers. In addition, first-order coupons can be a great way to encourage a customer to sign up for your loyalty program. Or start a subscription with your brand in the future.

BRUNT Workwear, Anatta partner since 2022, offers a discount for first orders.
BRUNT Workwear, Anatta partner since 2022, offers a discount for first orders.

Building Trust with Your Customers

Developing trust with customers is critical to reducing cart abandonment rates. When customers trust a business, they are more likely to complete their purchases and return for future transactions. Below are some strategies you can use to build trust with your customers.

9. Display the SSL Padlock Icon

One of the most effective ways to enhance a business’s perceived legitimacy and security is to display trust seals and security badges on its website. In particular, the SSL padlock icon visible at the top of a browser URL communicates to users that their connection on an eCommerce site is safe and secure.

Security icons, like the padlock, can go a long way toward building trust with customers. Trust seals and security badges indicate that a website is secure and that the business takes the necessary steps to protect customer information.

Anatta partner, True Botanicals, has a secure site connection as communicated by Google's SSL padlock badge.
Anatta partner, True Botanicals, has a secure site connection as communicated by Google’s SSL padlock badge.

10. Offer Customer Support and Live Chat

Receiving timely and effective customer support can help customers feel more comfortable completing their purchases. Offering a live chat feature on the website can be an excellent way to provide this support. Live chat allows customers to ask questions and receive immediate assistance, which can be especially helpful for customers who are hesitant to make a purchase or have concerns about the product or service.

In addition to live chat, businesses should also offer other forms of customer support, such as email and phone support. Providing multiple channels of support instills confidence in your brand and demonstrates that you care about providing a great customer experience.

11. Showcase Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials can provide social proof that a business is legitimate and trustworthy. Displaying customer reviews and testimonials on your website can be an excellent way to build trust with potential customers. When customers see positive reviews from other customers, they are more likely to trust the business and make a purchase.

Businesses can showcase customer reviews and testimonials in a variety of ways. Some businesses choose to display reviews and testimonials on their homepage, while others create a dedicated page for reviews. It’s important to ensure that the reviews and testimonials are authentic and not fabricated. Customers can easily identify fake reviews, which can damage your brand’s reputation and credibility.

Thesis, a partner of Anatta since 2022, displays customer testimonials right on their homepage.
Thesis, a partner of Anatta since 2022, displays customer testimonials right on their homepage.

Retargeting and Remarketing Strategies

Retargeting and remarketing strategies are essential for businesses that want to increase their conversion rates and recover lost shoppers. By utilizing various retargeting and remarketing strategies, businesses can encourage customers to return to their website and complete their purchases.

12. Utilize Abandoned Cart Emails

Sending targeted and personalized email remarketing campaigns to customers who abandoned their carts can be an effective way to bring them back to the website. These emails can include a discount or other incentives to encourage customers to complete their purchase. Email remarketing campaigns are an excellent way to re-engage customers who have shown an interest in a product but have not yet made a purchase.

When creating email remarketing campaigns, it is essential to personalize the message to the customer. This can include addressing them by name and reminding them of the product they were interested in.

According to Klaviyo, the average open rate on abandoned cart emails in eCommerce is around 41.18%, with a click-through-rate of 9.50%.

Analyzing and Improving Your Conversion Rates

To ensure the long-term success of any DTC eCommerce business, it is crucial to analyze and improve conversion rates continually. Conversion rates refer to the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. Higher conversion rates mean more revenue and growth for your business.

One of the most critical metrics to track when it comes to conversion rates is the metric we’ve been discussing throughout this article: shopping cart abandonment rate. Regularly monitoring cart abandonment rates can help you identify potential issues with your website or checkout process. And help you understand if your UX changes and updates have had a positive impact on your brand’s customer experience.

There are several strategies you can use to improve conversion rates. One of the most effective is conducting A/B testing. A/B testing involves creating two versions of a webpage or checkout process and testing them with different groups of users. By analyzing the data, businesses can identify which version is more effective at reducing cart abandonment rates.

Conclusion: Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment for Long-Term Success

Reducing shopping cart abandonment is essential for the long-term success of any DTC eCommerce business. By optimizing the website’s user experience, offering multiple payment options, building trust with customers, retargeting lost shoppers, and continually analyzing and improving conversion rates, you can reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates, ultimately driving growth and success.

Partner Up with Anatta’s UX Team to Reduce Your Cart Abandonment Rate, and Empower Your Brand’s Growth

Anatta’s UX Team has helped mid-market DTC brands like True Botanicals, Mack Weldon, and Dollar Shave Club increase their conversion rates and achieve stronger brand loyalty.

Discover our UX Design services to learn how we can help your brand do the same.

  • avatar
    Nirav Sheth
  • Nirav is the CEO and founder of Anatta. Nirav received his engineering degree in 2006 from George Washington University. Prior to Anatta, he served as founder of Dharmaboost, a software company working with Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, and New Leaf Paper. He is also cofounder of Upscribe, a next-level subscription software for fast growing eCommerce brands.