Complete Guide to Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery

Cart abandonment is one of the most feared online store murderers. No matter how much effort you put into UX design, traffic acquisition, and advertising for your ecommerce business, shoppers are going to move away from your store at the last second before making a purchase, crippling and even killing your sales.

According to 99Firms, 67.91% is the average e-commerce cart abandonment rate. These numbers are telling that more people leave their carts while shopping online than those who follow through to make a purchase. Apply this Shopify cart abandonment guide to get more of your shoppers to convert.

Which Products and Services do People Usually Leave in Their Carts?

Now, you know the average online cart abandonment rate, and soon you will find out why people bounce away from your store’s checkout URL. But, first, you need to know how your existing abandonment rates measure up. So, what’s should you expect

According to Statista, here are the top product and service categories most commonly abandoned in their carts.

  1. 40% of Clothing
  2. 18% of Tech
  3. 16% of Homewares
  4. 8% of Hospitality (Flights, Hotels, Travel, etc.)
  5. 7% of Events (Sports, Music, etc.)
  6. 6% of Jewelry and Accessories
  7. 4% of Food
  8. 2% of Fitness Equipment

Your niche may not be on this list. But, it should give you an idea what type of conversion you should expect once a shopper adds your item to their cart. If you sell clothing, for example, chances are 40% of your shoppers are going to move away, so your Shopify abandoned cart recovery plan needs to be on-point.

Ultimately, even if your conversion rates are already higher than your niche competitors, you still need to continually optimize the way shoppers experience your online store.  

5 Top Reasons Online Shoppers Abandoned Checkouts

After you have an idea where you might stand in relation to your competition, it’s time to move forward. To understand how to get customers to stay on your site and complete their purchases, you need to know why they’re leaving your checkout page in the first place.

According to Statista, here are the top 5 reasons why online shoppers abandon their carts without making a purchase:

  1. 63% of respondents said they are likely to abandon a purchase because of high shipping costs.
  2. 46% of shoppers have left their cart because their discount code doesn’t work.
  3. 36% of online shoppers will move away from a transaction because they find the order will take too long to ship.
  4. 30% of customers claim that they will avoid a buying items in their shopping cart if they are required to re-enter their credit card information.
  5. 25% will abandon their shopping cart because they are required to re-enter shipping information.   

So, a Shopify abandoned cart, while a reasonable cause for worry, can be minimized. Here’s how you can optimize your checkout process to solve your customers’ top problems and streamline abandoned checkout recovery.

Avoid High Shipping Costs to Decrease Abandoned Carts

Screenshot source: Bokksu

As a rule of thumb, you should offer free shipping whenever possible. And, there’s the key: “whenever possible.” In some cases, free shipping doesn’t work, especially for smaller stores. So, what can you do to avoid high shipping costs?

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to add the product shipping cost into your total product price; this makes it seem like the shipping is free. Here’s why this works: buyers aren’t only looking for the lowest costs -- they’re looking for simplicity.

Online shoppers browse products with a budget in mind. And, there’s nothing more frustrating to than to think you’ve found a product that meets your budget only to arrive at the checkout page to see that you’re going to be spending an additional $5, $10, or $50 just to have your product shipped to you. By merging costs to reflect both product and shipping costs, you can easily solve this problem.

Still, when you consider the fact that each product on your store is listed with the price of shipping combined with the product price, what does this imply for multi-item orders. You and your customers will know that they aren’t getting the best deal. Naturally, it will cost less to ship multiple items in one box than what it would cost to ship each of them individually.

You know that your shipping and handling costs will be less on orders containing multiple items, and you can be sure that most customers do as well. So, when implementing a pricing strategy like this, it can be a good idea to offer discounts on orders over a certain cost.

What to Do When You Can’t Offer Free Shipping on All Orders

Shopify merchants are not able to offer free shipping on all orders are up front about offer free shipping on orders over a certain price. Or, try something more creative like free shipping for shoppers willing to share their email address.

Image source: MNML

Your exact pricing strategy will vary greatly based on your internal operations and ROI. But, the bottom line is that you need to do everything you can to avoid high shipping costs if you want to lift the Shopify abandoned cart curse.

Optimize Your Discount and Rewards Processes for More Completed Purchases

Offering a discount is a trusted way to get a new or existing customer to order from you. But, if their discount code doesn’t work, they probably won’t complete their transaction. So, how can you make sure your discount and rewards processes are bulletproof?

Image Source: Campus Protein

The answer is pretty simple. You really just need to work with a trusted Shopify app that is specifically designed to make discounts run smoothly on the platform.

Here are a few reliable discount, customer loyalty, and rewards apps to check out.

1. Loyalty Lion

Image source: Skinny Dip

Your existing customers will determine your business lifetime success. Your loyalty programs can stand out as much as your brand with Loyalty Lion-powered rewards programs. Build warm relationships with your shoppers by giving them special deals and discounts.  

2. Smile.io

Image source: Topps

Keep first-time customers coming back by inviting them to join your rewards program. Then, use the platform to encourage your customers to invite their friends to join. Smile.io can help you grow your retention through the lifetime of your business by nurturing customers want to join, engage, and share your branded rewards program.

3. Bulk Discount Code Generator

Image source: Shopify

Save time and effort while you stop coupon abuse and simultaneously give your customers reliable discount codes to use with their orders on your site. Use the codes you generate with popups, welcome email series, cart abandonment recovery, win-back campaigns, transactional emails, loyalty programs, and more.

Avoid Prolonged Shipping & Handling Times to Speed Buyers Through the Purchase Process

Fulfillment and delivery are the backbones of any e-commerce strategy. As suggested by the data above, more than one-third of online shoppers don’t want to wait too long for their products to arrive. After all, modern humans are all about convenience.

24-hour convenience stores and fast food thrive in nearly every first world country. And, while I’m not suggesting you become the McDonalds of your niche, there is something you can take away from the success of the instant gratification economy.

You need to ensure that your fulfillment strategy is optimized for speed. Luckily, Shopify makes this easy, offering integrations with dozens of high-quality shipping and fulfillment apps to streamline your processes.

Screenshot source: Marine Layer

Amazon Prime users make up a large portion of online shoppers, and they’ve come to expect their products to be delivered in 1-2 days from the time they order. So, you need to move your inventory from the warehouse to your customer’s door as quickly as possible.

Streamline the Checkout Flow to Retain Shoppers

You now understand that you need to ship your orders quickly. Next, you need to optimize your checkout flow to be simple, yet informative. You can do this by ensuring that your checkout pages are simple and contain only necessary pages and information.

So, what pages or sections should your shopping cart flow contain?

  1. Registration or Login
  2. Delivery and Payment Information Collection
  3. Verification of Order Details
  4. Order Submission

And, that’s it! All you need are these four pages. Keep it as simple as you can.

Registration and Login Tip

For existing shoppers, the need to re-enter credit card and shipping information can kill a sale. So, you need to allow users to register and securely store their personal data on your site. For existing shoppers, the need to re-enter credit card and shipping information can break the transaction.

So, you need to make it as quick and convenient as possible for users to register. Consider implementing social media registration and login. Enabling a customer to log in to your website with the click of a button using their Facebook or Amazon account can tremendously enhance and simplify the experience.  

Image source: Caffeic Coffee

Not all shoppers will want to use their personal profiles to create an account, but try giving people options and see how fast your conversions rise.

How to Create a Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery Plan

Even if your checkout processes are fully optimized for conversion, you will still have customers who leave your Shopify store without making a purchase. So, you need a plan to get some of them back.

So, where should you start? The first step is to analyze your store’s abandoned cart data. Then, you can determine what you need to do next.

Analyze Shopify Abandoned Cart Data From Your Dashboard

From your Shopify admin dashboard, go to Orders. From here, you can select Abandoned Checkouts. The platform collects and stores abandoned cart information for three months, so you can use what you find to look for and identify patterns.

Image source: Shopify

By doing so, you may be able to discover what’s making your shoppers move away from your store at the last minute before making a purchase. You’ll have access to crucial order information.

  • Dedicated Checkout Number
  • Date and Time of Cart Abandonment
  • Customer Name
  • Email Status
  • Recovery Status
  • Total Order Amount

Based on your completed purchase amounts in a given timeframe vs your abandoned cart amounts, you can also find your abandoned cart rate.

Calculating Your Abandoned Cart Rate

To calculate your abandoned cart rate, first, add up the total dollar amount of completed orders in a specified date range. Next, add that number to the total dollar amount of abandoned checkouts in the same date range; this gives you the total of all carts created. Then, divide the total of abandoned purchases by the total of all carts created. The result is a percentage -- your store’s abandoned cart range.

For example, imagine that your orders have totaled $6,719 in the past two weeks. When you add that to the abandoned checkouts, which totaled $8,327, over the same timeframe you find that you generated interest in $15,046 worth of products. You would then divide $8,327 by $15,046. Your abandoned cart rate would be 55.34% (better than average).

If you’re seeing numbers like the example above, there’s no cause for major concern. However, if your abandoned cart rate is closer to or above the average abandoned cart rate of 67.91% (cited at the beginning of this article), you need to put your Shopify abandoned cart recovery operations at the top of your priority list immediately.

How to Get Shoppers Back to Their Carts to Complete a Purchase

Depending on your sales volume, you can either reach out to shoppers manually or use software to automate the process. A small-scale store owner might have the time to reach out to a customer with a friendly, manual email. High-volume sellers are more likely to have the need to leverage full-suite automation.

How to Send Manual Abandoned Cart Emails in Shopify

You may want to know how to send manual emails from inside the platform. While the process is pretty simple, it can be time-consuming if you need to send multiple emails. On the plus side, you have complete control over what it said and can add a personal touch when inviting a shopper back on your site.

From the Abandoned checkouts page of your Shopify admin, select the checkout number of the order you want to recover. Then, click ‘Send a cart recovery email.’ After that, write your note, and click, ‘Review email.’ When you’re satisfied, send your email. Easy enough, right?

Image source: Shopify

If the email recipient returns to complete their purchase, all data will be automatically updated in your reporting dashboard.

The manual checkout recovery email process might be the best solution for high-end, low-volume businesses like fine art sellers or luxury travel companies. But, it isn’t likely to be worthwhile for drop shippers of inexpensive sunglasses or print on demand t-shirt retailers.

How to Automate Your Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails in Shopify

The Shopify platform, of course, has built-in tools to automate your abandoned cart recovery operations (and other transactional emails) -- In this section, you will learn how to use them. A few advanced recovery tactics will follow.

When you’re ready to start automating, first, from your Shopify admin Settings, select ‘Checkout.’ Find the Abandoned checkouts and click the checkbox next to ‘Automatically send abandoned checkout emails.’

Image source: Shopify

From here, you will have two choices to make:

  1. Send to anyone who abandons checkout OR Email subscribers who abandon checkout.
  2. Send after one hour, six hours, ten hours, or twenty-four hours.

It’s up to you whether you want to send abandoned cart recovery emails to everyone or only your subscribers. Your marketing strategy can help you decide.

How many hours after abandoning should you send an email to a shopper? Shopify recommends you wait ten hours before sending an email to remind a customer that they’ve left items in their shopping cart.

Once you’ve made your selections, click ‘Save.’ Now, your customers will automatically receive a link to their pre-filled cart so they can continue with their purchase.

Advanced Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery Tactics

The basic how-tos are covered above, but you need to motivate customers to instill a desire to come back to your store to complete their purchase. There’s more you can do than simply send an email notification. Here are some more advanced tactics to implement when you want to recover cart abandoners.

Use an Exit-Intent Popup on Your Checkout Page

One of the earliest ways to capture a shopper who is about to move away from your checkout pages is to use an exit-intent popup. Just as your visitor is about to leave without making a purchase, your promotion appears to entice them to stay on your page.

At this point, you can offer a discount or try to direct the shopper to take another action.

Image source: Better coupon Box

If they don’t leave in the first place you’ll never need to send an email. According to Beeketing, you can entice 58% of leaving customers to continue shopping and make a purchase with an exit-intent popup discount.

Optimize Your Recovery Email Subject Line

The first thing a shopper will see when your Shopify abandoned cart recovery email hits their inbox is the subject line. If you don’t make it clickable, the recipient will never even read your message or make it back to their cart. So, it’s crucial to rock the subject line.

A boring subject line like, “Items are still in your cart,” probably won’t entice anyone. Instead, you need to make recipients what to find out what’s inside.

Image source: Subjectline.com

Subjectline.com has tested over six million email subject lines to analyze the best words to use in email subject lines for the best chance of getting recipients to open them. Use their free tool to test your recovery email subject lines before sending them out.

Add a Discount to Your Recovery Emails

In the Abandoned checkouts section of your Shopify admin Settings, you may have noticed a button labeled, “Customize email.” Of course, you don’t have to use it, but doing so gives you complete control over how shoppers perceive your brand.

Did you know you can apply automatic discounts to Shopify abandoned cart recovery emails? After all, savings are the best bait to reel your shoppers back in.

Image source: SmartrMail

Before you begin, you will need to create either a monetary or percentage discount code for the type of deal you want to offer your shoppers. Then, make note of the name you’ve given your discount (ex: “AbandonedCartSave”). After that, make sure you’ve followed the steps in the section above to enable automated recovery emails.

When you’re ready, follow these instructions to edit the code and add your savings promotion to all abandoned cart emails sent.

Leverage Social Media Messaging to Get in Front of Shoppers

The last advanced cart recovery tactic we’re going to look at is social media messaging. This is like an abandoned cart recovery email, but it’s sent to the shopper’s social media inbox instead.

Screenshot source: Facebook

In general, social media messages have a higher open rate than emails. So, if you leverage them to re-engage your cart abandoners, the likelihood that they’re going to see your message is increased. Use the same tactics you would with email, but grant yourself a greater chance to connect with the shopper.  

Final Thoughts

The main takeaway to reflect on is that you need to keep your customer’s journey succinct and transparent. Make sure shoppers know what to expect and that they can make it from point A (the decision to make a purchase) to point B (the actual transaction) quickly, with all the information they need to trust that their order will arrive quickly and any applicable discounts will be applied.

Start using what you’ve learned today and lasso those customers back into your corral.


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Cart abandonment is one of the most feared online store murderers. No matter how much effort you put into UX, traffic or support, it needs to be fixed.

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