How to reduce dropout in your shopping cart

Imagine that your webshop is a gold mine and that the shopping cart represents the gold you’ve found and gathered. Wouldn’t you hate it, if two thirds of the gold were lost on the way from the mine to the bank?

Ok, goldmine analogy aside, that is, unfortunately, the situation for many webshops. According to the Baymard Institute, up to 70% of the products added to the shopping cart are never purchased. In this blog post, I’ll give you 5 tips to reduce dropout in the shopping cart, as well as, how to improve your conversion rate. That as a result will improve your profit.

First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that we will never reduce the dropout to 0%. Many users use the shopping basket as a kind of checklist. Not everyone is ready to buy just because they put an item in the basket. However, our experience shows that most webshops can significantly improve their conversion rate, by systematically working to reduce dropout in the shopping cart.

1) Track your data

Without knowing exactly where the dropout occurs, any solution will be just guesswork. That’s why it is crucial to setup the right tracking, so it becomes clear where the dropout occurs and where it is highest.

Below is a shopping cart where target tracking is set up correctly with a one page checkout. Here both delivery and payment is collected on the same page. The picture shows that the largest dropout occurs in step 1 in the basket (see the red mark). Here, it would be obvious to do an A/B split test, where you can test some of the suggestions from the following paragraphs.


2) Highlight shipping terms and your Unique Selling Points (USPs)

A survey from PayPal concludes that 43% of the dropouts in the shopping cart are due to the fact that shipping rates are too high. This means, that it is crucial to have a solid, and attractive shipping setup, and communicate it actively to the customers. In fact, it’s the communication of it, that many Danish webshops lack. 

Here is an example where Amazon highlights the shipping already on the product page. This may reduce dropout in the basket, as consumers are aware of the terms of trade from the start.

Amazon shipping

Below is another example we did for Sportmaster. We have here chosen to place the shipping information throughout the user journey, combined with other strong benefits for the customer (see red markings, such as discount code and customer service). This information is maintained all the way to the shopping cart, and has shown to have a positive effect on the conversion rate.

It’s important that you also think about the unique benefits you offer your customers and actively emphasize them. That way, you convey a clearer message to your customers exactly why they should shop with you.


3) Reduce load time on your solution

The speed of your website is a decisive factor in the extent to which customers leave your shopping cart. Studies from Walmarts online shop have shown that for each second they improve load time on the site, they experience a 2% improvement in conversion rate.

Walmarts online shop

Many webshops, generally, have enormous, untapped potential in the optimization of the load time on their solution. Start looking at your site’s load time in Google Analytics. Then, use the Google Pagespeed tool to find specific areas that can be improved. Improved load time will not only have a positive impact on conversion rate, but also have a good impact on both Adwords and SEO. 

4) Imitate the physical store service

Physical stores have a clear advantage. They can easily make the customer feel safe and secure in their purchase. This is done by using a nice and presentable store, as well as good service from the staff. When shopping online, it is often harder for the customer to get the same experience.

Fortunately, there are several options to imitate some of the services that the physical stores can offer at your webshop. For example, we have experience using chat as a strategic tool to reduce dropouts and service calls. This has shown to decrease the dropout in the basket.

Below is an example from the chat service Zopim. Here a company uses Facebook Messenger to create a more personal relationship with the customer, than what one can normally expect from a website. Actions like these can help reduce uncertainty and dropout in the shopping cart. 

5) User test your way to the core of the problem

Through user tests it is possible to observe your users closely. You can gain a deeper understanding of their online behavior and, not least, the reasons for the dropout. For instance, it can be decided whether the reason for withdrawal is a technical issue of a usability nature. It can even be revealed, whether it is due to a particular attitude of the customers. This means that they did not act as we had believed.
The reason for a high dropout in the shopping cart can be quite different from the actual structure of the basket. In this case, user tests help to look at the problem and the solution from a new angle.

Below is a video from Adapts UX Lab, where potential clients in TRYG's target group are given specific tasks. The results of their actions are documented systematically to find optimization areas on TRYG's solution. 

Getting started optimizing your shopping cart 

There is no doubt that too many web shops have great potential for systematically improving their shopping cart. However, the right solution for the individual webshop is often dependent on both industry and target groups, and an understanding of these. At Adapt, we can help you all the way - from the initial analysis to the preparation and execution of A/B tests. Do not hesitate to contact me, or one of my colleagues, for an initial analysis of your performance. After you will receive a series of suggestions to optimize dropout in your shopping cart.


Klaus Jespersen Colding
Ecommerce Director