How to Reclaim Revenue by Reducing Customer Cart Abandonment

7 Min Read
One of the quietest killers of profit lurks on your e-commerce site. We're talking about the infamous practice of customer cart abandonment.

There are many ways a company can bleed money. From poor customer retention to wasted paper clips, many of the daily activities in the workplace can involve inefficiencies that result in lost revenue. One of the quietest killers of potential profit is an item that often sits, out of sight and out of mind, on your e-commerce site. We’re talking about the infamous practice of customer cart abandonment.

How Abandoned Carts Undermine Potential Revenue

Abandoned carts are precisely what they sound like.

They’re the digital equivalent of filling your cart with items at a store, changing your mind about buying your cart’s contents, and walking out without making a purchase.

It’s worth pointing out that, in this case, it’s even worse. It’s much easier to add items to a digital cart, close out a window, and never look back.

It should come as no surprise that abandoned carts are a common issue for online retailers. This is easiest to explain via a retailer’s “abandonment rate.”

Customer Cart Abandonment Rate in Simple Terms

Your abandonment rate reflects the number of carts visitors generate on your site. The abandonment rate compares that to the number of purchases they complete.

For instance, consider if 100 people visit your Etsy site on a given day and create a shopping cart. If 36 of those people complete their purchases, your abandonment rate is 100 – 36 = 64%.

That number may sound high, but Baymard Institute begs to differ. The research organization reports that the average documented abandonment rate for online shopping carts as of August 2022 was 69.99%.

Steering Clear of Making Hasty Assumptions

The good news is that this number doesn’t represent potential customers who have definitively decided not to patronize your brand. On the contrary, there are many reasons for people to abandon carts while online shopping.

Statista lists things like slow delivery, excessive extra costs (like shipping), and the need to create an account as the primary reasons people didn’t cash out in 2022. It isn’t until the fourth reason on the list (just 18% didn’t trust a site with their credit card information) that the issue becomes more connected to specific failures on the part of the retailer.

In other words, in most cases an abandoned cart isn’t a burned bridge. It’s simply a failure to complete a purchase. This naturally implies that, if handled correctly, following up on abandoned carts can be a legitimate (and profitable) source of revenue for an e-commerce company. The question is, how?

Reclaiming Cart Abandonment Income

With so many abandoned carts out there, it’s important to consider multiple ways to reclaim that unrealized cash. Here are some different strategies to consider heading into 2023.

Send abandoned cart emails.

This is one of the most tried and true ways to follow up on an abandoned cart. If a potential customer gives you enough information (including an email address), you can send them an email reminding them about an abandoned cart.

When a shopper is a repeat buyer or an older customer with an account or purchase history with your brand, you can even personalize the message. points out that there are also ways to engage with anonymous cart abandoners. On-site software can collect first-party cookies, allowing you to reach out to unknown website visitors who filled a cart and left it behind.

Fire off a text message.

E-commerce website giant Shopify reports that nearly a third of all U.S. internet users used mobile devices to purchase something every week in 2021. The significant number of mobile shoppers makes text messages a solid alternative to an abandoned cart email.

When a mobile shopper leaves items in their cart in your app or mobile site, sending an SMS notification can be a perfect way to draw them back in. These are quick, subtle messages — and they aren’t seen as spam, either.

Try exit popups.

Abandoned carts are a time-sensitive issue. If someone leaves your site, there’s a good chance that they’re still shopping and want to find a better deal or an easier checkout process. This sense of urgency means the sooner you connect with a customer after they leave a cart, the better.

Exit intent popups allow you to do exactly that — before they even leave your site. These popups trigger when a user is about to leave a website. Hubspot explains that these should include offers or information that can draw potential customers back to their carts, such as a discount or free shipping.

Reclaiming Abandoned Cart Revenue in 2023

Customer cart abandonment revenue should never be an afterthought. It’s a significant source of potential revenue growth for most businesses.

Remember, a consumer who has gone as far as putting an item in a cart is close to being sold. They are much closer to the point of purchase than a new lead. They are far closer even than someone at the beginning of the customer journey.

Make sure to keep this dormant income in mind. Leverage it as you create and adjust your e-commerce strategies for the year ahead.

Share This Article
Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for and many more major media outlets.