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How to reduce checkout and cart abandonment

Every company that sells online knows the frustration when a customer abandons their cart before checkout, or leaves halfway during the checkout process. With a cart abandonment rate of 69% online and 85% rate on mobile devices, it’s safe to say checkout abandonment and cart abandonment is a common problem that many online companies have to deal with. In this article we will divulge into the reasons for checkout and cart abandonment, and the ways to improve your customers' online shopping experience to reduce your abandonment rates.

What is checkout abandonment?

Checkout abandonment

Checkout abandonment is when a customer has started the checkout process, but doesn't go through with the purchase. When a company's website has a high checkout abandonment rate, this can signify that there could be issues with the customer's online shopping experience during the payment process.

Checkout abandonment vs cart abandonment: What is the difference?

Checkout abandonment happens when the customer abandons the checkout process that has already started, whereas cart abandonment is when a customer adds an item or items to their shopping cart, and before they even begin the checkout process, they click off the website/app.

Reasons for checkout abandonment and cart abandonment

Slow loading time

Everyone hates using a website/app that takes forever to load, and your customers aren't exempt to this feeling. A customer has to have trust and confidence in the company they are purchasing from, and if clicking from one page to another takes 20 seconds to process, they might not even proceed to the cart abandonment stage. Make sure to test your website regularly, and if you have an app make sure to check its reviews and learn first hand, your customers shopping experience. This also goes for website crashes and errors. If customers can't even use your website/app properly and advance to the checkout process, this can really affect your cart abandonment rate.

Payment security

Payment security is vital when using online services to sell. Customers are only going to make purchases through websites, apps and systems they trust. In the US, the rate of credit card fraud is increasing, with reports of credit card fraud increasing by 44% from 2019 - 2020. Customers need to feel that the website, or app they are using, will protect their personal data.Your company has to have good fraud protection, but also, it needs to be evident how good your payment security is. Having a PCI DSS certification is an immediate advantage, and it will offer your customers more security and trust. Its key that you clearly display your security system in order to instill trust within your customers, which can help decrease your checkout and cart abandonment rate.

This is the number one reason for checkout abandonment. There is nothing more infuriating than finally getting to the last stages of your checkout, to then find that there are a billion charges that a company has tried to quietly slip in. Unexpected costs are a critical reason as to why customers abandon their cart during the checkout process. To be hit by a wall of extra costs, after already starting the checkout process is extremely frustrating, and many customers will feel tricked. Examples of unexpected costs are processing fees, automatic cross-selling, extra taxes, etc. This is a common theme with companies like UberEats. UberEats has a service fee, delivery fee, tax fee and another fee if your order is less than $10. Now normally there will be an explanation of the extra costs in the terms and conditions, but most customers won't check this before beginning their checkout process, and are surprised by the sudden rise in the price. Another solution is to include all the extra fees in the original price, so customers don't feel tricked or misled.

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If a customer is purchasing a physical product online, having to pay for shipping fees is a given. However, if a customer doesn’t value the product highly, then they certainly won’t want to spend a high shipping fee. This can affect not only your cart abandonment rate, but also your checkout abandonment rate too. Clearly state your different shipping fees and give accurate estimates for the shipping fees that change with different locations. Customers know which delivery partners are high-quality or not. If the delivery partner you’re working with is infamous for having delivery problems, your customers will not want to pay a shipping fee, or even purchase from your company, as they don’t have confidence in the delivery partner, and as a result, you. If it is possible, try and offer different shipping options for your customers to select. A good tip is to have different delivery options for customers to choose from. If you have the possibility to offer next day delivery for a higher price, or a reduced price for pick up,etc. definitely include this in your delivery options as this can be very popular with customers. For example, Target´s same day delivery or Best Buy´s buy online and store pickup. Making these features visible on your landing pages, and also further in the checkout process can reassure customers and lead to a decrease in your checkout and cart abandonment rates.

Account registration

We know that you want your customers to register, or create an account with your company in order to gain more customer data. And we know that adding it at the payment point might seem like a convenient tactic to increase account registration, but it actually can be a deterrent.  Making account registration mandatory is the number two reason for checkout abandonment. Interrupting a customer's payment process takes away the speed and ease of online shopping. It is important to allow the customer to register and create an account, or to simply proceed with guest checkout. A good tip could be to offer logging in with Google and Facebook, as customers don’t have to do too many extra steps to create an account. Another option is to only require a customer's email address, rather than having to create a password etc.

Refund and return policy

When purchasing online, 66% of customers check the company's refund and return policy before completing the process. Having an unclear and ambiguous return and refund policy can make customers rethink going through with the purchase process.  Customers want to know exactly what the company's refund and return policies are, and how they apply to them. If not, this can cause an increase in cart abandonment.  Customers need assurance that if anything goes wrong with the product/service they have purchased, the refund and return process is simple and accommodating. We can’t tell you how to run your business, but offering a clear refund and return process can really influence your cart abandonment rate. Your policy needs to explain whether or not refunds are available, in what form are they available, how the return is processed etc. If your company sells products by commission, or made to order, it may not be feasible to allow refunds or returns, so in this case, having this policy highlighted is extremely important.

A 2018 survey showed that 87% of customers will abandon their cart if their checkout process is too long

Ways to reduce checkout abandonment and cart abandonment

Easy checkout process

No one wants to spend more than 5 minutes purchasing an item. You’ve already spent 45 minutes going back and forth, making sure that this laptop is the best value for money, and now you just want to click two buttons, wait for confirmation, then sit back and finish the rest of your HBO show. A 2018 survey showed that 87% of customers will abandon their cart if their checkout process is too long. As a company, you need to ensure that your checkout process is not only simple, but fast. This is one of the top tips to help reduce checkout and cart abandonment.  It can be extremely frustrating for customers to spend a tedious amount of time checking out, and this doesn’t create a good online shopping experience for them. Create a checkout process with a  maximum of 5 steps, but make sure that each step is simple to complete. If it’s feasible, offering a one-click checkout is very popular with both customers and companies. Allowing your customers to easily edit their shopping cart, can also help reduce your cart abandonment rate. Another popular feature with companies is “address finder”, which customers find very convenient to use. Regularly test your checkout and payment processes, pay attention to steps or fields that aren’t unnecessary and focus on ensuring that your customers have an easy and fast checkout experience.

Payment options

Customers want to be able to pay in whatever way they want. Providing multiple payment options gives customers the freedom to choose their preferred payment method, which makes the percentage of checkout and cart abandonment decrease and even attract other customers. The most popular payment methods in the US right now are Google Pay, PayPal and Apple Pay. Another new payment method that is becoming more and more popular is Klarna, an application that allows the buyer to pay in installments. The debit card is still a preferred payment method, but it doesn’t provide the convenience that these other payment methods do. At Uelz, we offer our clients the option to offer their customers multiple payment methods, which makes the customers payment process more accessible. It is also important to clearly highlight the different payment options you have on your landing pages etc. to encourage customers to follow through with their transactions.  

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Product page

Many of us will quickly look through the product thumbnails on the search page, and add items to our carts to have a look at them later. Before starting the checkout process, customers will have visited the landing page of the product or service they are purchasing. Having an interesting product page doesn’t necessarily mean adding lots of frills and creating funky infographics. If the product page is too chaotic, this can put customers off and lead to an increase of cart abandonment. Your product page has to be simple and engaging. Asos for example, has clear images of the product and includes lots of details about the sizing and material etc. What is an extremely attractive feature at the moment, is stating the models sizes, so customers can have more of an idea of what the item would look like on them and what size would best be for them. Asos also has a gentle approach to up-selling, and displays other items they “might also like”. Another example is Class Pass, when booking a service the product page provides reviews for the service. Make sure that not only does your product page not only look good online, but also on mobile devices. Many customers will purchase through an app, so the software needs to have the same, if not, similar features and functionality.

Abandoned cart email

If you’re too late, and a customer has already abandoned their cart, or hasn’t completed the checkout process, don’t worry, here is a popular way to recover and re-engage your customers. If your customer hasn’t completed their purchase, send them an abandoned cart email. An abandoned cart email is an email that asks the customer if they want to return to their cart and pick up where they left off. This can help recover cart and checkout abandonment, as it can re-engage the customer, and make the process of picking up where they left off easier. You can also offer your customers a small checkout discount. HubSpot gives you great tips and examples of how to write a good abandoned cart

Checkout abandonment and cart abandonment is an issue that every online company has had and still has now. To ensure a successful and completed purchase, highlight the reasons why your customers might abandon their cart or checkout, and how to reduce your checkout and cart abandonment rate for the future.

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