Cart Abandonment Rates in 2021 and What You Can Do About Them

by Kathleen Booth, on Aug 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Being able to pull customers all the way through your sales funnel, from awareness to conversion, is the real trick when it comes to online retail. And your checkout cart happens to be where the data shows you will lose most of your customers.

In fact, surveys estimate that on average about 70-75% of shoppers who make it to checkout will abandon their purchase.

Customers who have loaded their cart with products have high purchasing intent, and are reaching for their wallets. But the slightest frustration and they will slip through your fingers.

Here we’ve compiled the most common causes for cart abandonment, along with solutions to keep customers engaged and help pull them through towards the final step of conversion.


Reasons Shoppers Abandon Their Carts

There are a number of factors that contribute to cart abandonment, and just as many ways to solve for them. 


1) Unexpected Extra Charges

High additional costs (shipping rates, taxes, tips, etc.) that appear at the end of the checkout process are by far the number one reason for cart abandonment.

Customers making it all the way through the sales process, only to see the checkout cart marked up by additional fees, may not only result in the cancellation of a possible sale, but the sudden frustration may cause the customer to lose faith in your brand.


Tickets with unexpected expensive service fees


Solution: Brand equity is all about trust, and building trust with your customers starts with setting - and then meeting - their expectations. When a customer adds a product to their shopping cart, they do so based on the pricing they saw on your product page. 

Adding last minute fees at checkout can result in shoppers feeling fooled, and that’s a good way to destroy the trust you’ve built up with them.

Be upfront with your customers, and tell them the final price before they start reaching for their credit card. 

This can be tricky because many checkout carts need the user's address before they can calculate shipping costs. But an easy solution for this is to include a delivery calculator on your product pages so customers can get an estimate by entering their zip code before checkout.

Similarly you can use geotagging to find where your users are and automatically add shipping rates to their cart before they begin their checkout. 


2) Having To Create A User Account

Forcing users to create an account in order to check out is another major source of frustration for shoppers. Capturing information is certainly important, but giving your customers no choice but to create an account is a great way to turn them away.

Steam requires a account to make a purchase


Most shoppers are already overloaded with notifications and email, and aren’t coming to your site so they can sign up for more, especially if you're a brand they are still getting familiar with.

Solution: If you are looking to capture information, ask users for their email address during the checkout process. Then ask them if they’d like updates on shipping or to sign up for your newsletter.

If you want to have users create accounts, make sure you have a “guest checkout” option as well. Make sure this option is made clear so that shoppers don’t assume they must make an account to checkout.

Lego offers multiple checkout methods



3) Website Functionality

Poor site performance and frustrating/confusing functionality can quickly send shoppers away from your online store. 

Slow page load times, a complicated or lengthy checkout process, or a non-mobile friendly website are all factors that can frustrate buyers and cause them to abandon their cart to find the product somewhere else.

Solution: Keep your checkout process simple and convenient. The more steps you add, the more likely a shopper is to abandon their cart.

Under Armors Simple checkout


If you have not optimized your site for mobile yet, now is the time. Mobile shopping has been on the rise for years, and jumped up 20% during COVID lockdowns, now making up more than 50% of checkouts.

And if your site is having performance issues with site speed, load times, errors, and crashes, putting the time in to fix those issues and upgrade site performance will not only reduce user friction, it will also improve your organic search engine rankings and reduce cart abandonment.


4) Return Policy Not Satisfactory

The one disadvantage to shopping online is not being able to try on, test out, or measure the products you are shopping for. Because of this, many shoppers expect generous return policies from online businesses, in the likely event that the product is not what they hoped for when it eventually arrives to them.

Payless requires you to Paymore with return fees


Charging customers for returns, or giving them a tight deadline are both common reasons why shoppers may not follow through with their intended purchase

Solution: The first step is prioritizing a simple and easy customer service system to help facilitate shipping and returns. 

The next step is to find out what kind of return policy will please users, without unnecessarily eroding your profit margins. If you offer a free 30-day return policy, make sure you measure what kind of boost the policy has on your customer feedback and overall revenue.


5) Delivery Too Slow

It cannot be understated how important quick and reliable shipping is when it comes to ecommerce. Free, next day delivery is the cornerstone that the Amazon empire was built around, and buyers have now adjusted their expectations accordingly to expect immediate delivery across the web.

This may seem like a lofty goal, and certainly beyond the budgets of most ecommerce retailers, but there are still a number of things you can do to satisfy your customers.

Solution: Make sure you have a variety of shipping options for customers to choose from. If you are on Shopify, or a similar platform, there are a handful of apps and services that partner with shipping companies for discounted rates. 

Multiple Delivery Options


You can also offer users discounts on shipping once they reach a certain cart value. This way, the boosted cart value can help fund the shipping costs while also helping to drive the sale.


Use CRM Platforms and Customer Data to Retarget Shoppers More Effectively 

In addition to optimizing your website, using a customer relationship management platform can open a new world of customer targeting for your business. Collecting data and properly analyzing it can be tricky, but retargeting users with items they abandoned or ones similar to them is one of the most basic features of most CRM platforms.

Set up recurring emails to customers with abandoned carts. First remind them of the item they recently abandoned, and then offer them a discount or similar promotion to re-ignite their interest and bring them back to make a purchase.

If this fails, send them regular emails promoting new and similar products with deals and testimonials.

In this case, personalization is key. Customers notice and appreciate when brands remember them and their interests, and are 60% more likely to convert when targeted correctly.

And while this kind of multi-layered retargeting works to gently nudge customers back to your site, it can be a slow process. Bombarding users with promotions and deals after they have left your website can frustrate them and tarnish their perception of you.

Having the patience and respect for your customer will help you build a more trustworthy relationship, increasing your chances of winning their business in the future.



Those last moments before a customer completes a purchase can make or break your ecommerce business. Slight frustrations or confusions can turn off a customer ready to make a purchase.

Making the most of the final moments means having a smooth, simple, and convenient checkout process, with no speed bumps that push shoppers off the road to conversion.


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