How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment in 2 Simple Steps

abandoned shopping cart


[Estimated read time: 4 minutes]

There’s a lot of advice out there about reducing shopping cart abandonment by improving e-commerce and website performance. But if you look at closely at the numbers, you’ll see that the majority of consumers give up on a purchase because they need answers or a nudge in the right direction. When you focus on the customer’s concerns in the moment, reducing shopping cart abandonment becomes a simple two-step process.

According to the Baymard Institute, 68% of shopping carts are abandoned at some point before the purchase is made. That amounts to about $4 trillion in lost sales. The rate of abandonment is higher on smartphones, especially as potential customers get to the end of the checkout process. And as more consumers shift to mobile shopping, it’s possible the total lost sales will increase.

Why Consumers Abandon Shopping Carts

Statista has compiled a long list of reasons for cart abandonment, which we’ve organized into three buckets: purchase roadblocks, website performance, and e-commerce performance.

Purchase Roadblocks

  • Presented with unexpected costs (56%)
  • Just browsing (37%)
  • Found a better price elsewhere (36%)
  • Overall price too expensive (32%)
  • Decided against buying (26%)

Website Performance

  • Website navigation too complicated (25%)
  • Website crashed (24%)
  • Website time out (15%)

E-Commerce Performance

  • Process was taking too long (21%)
  • Excessive payment security checks (18%)
  • Concerns about payment security (17%)
  • Delivery options were unsuitable (16%)
  • Price presented in a foreign currency (13%)
  • My payment was declined (11%)

You might have noticed that the five reasons consumers gave most often for abandoning shopping carts are all what we’re calling “purchase roadblocks.” While website performance and e-commerce performance are important to address, they are relatively minor concerns. The most significant causes of shopping cart abandonment are in-the-moment concerns making the consumer hesitate.Click to Tweet


When potential customers hesitate during the sales process, it’s for one of two reasons: they can’t find answer to their questions, or they need a nudge in the right direction.

1. Reduce Cart Abandonment through Self-Service

Forrester reports that more than half of U.S. adults will abandon their online shopping carts if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.Click to Tweet Think of how many sales you could save just by having self-service tied to a knowledgebase available on your website and mobile app.


Don’t ask customers to wade through a long list of FAQs to find the one that vaguely applies to their concern. And don’t ask them to figure out the exact right words to use when searching your knowledgebase. A smart self-service solution uses natural language processing (NLP) to determine the meaning of a customer’s question and responds with an accurate and relevant response, as opposed to returning a list of topics that correspond to the keywords in their question.

For example, a potential customer concerned about your return policy can ask, “What do I do if I don’t like the color of my sweater?” and receive a response like “If you aren’t completely satisfied with the product you purchased, you have 90 days to return it, with no questions asked.” Without NLP, the customer would likely see a list of knowledgebase topics related to colors and sweaters, which wouldn’t help them overcome their hesitation.

2. Reduce Cart Abandonment through Proactive Chat

Some experts say that as much as 63% of the “lost” sales aren’t actually lost, estimating that up to three-fourths of the consumers who abandon carts plan to return (or go to a brick-and-mortar store) to finish the purchase. Those sales are potentially recoverable, with a nudge through email and SMS reminders or remarketing.

But what if you could save those sales before they were lost or delayed, by addressing consumer hesitation as it occurs? What if you could give the exact nudge each potential customer needed, exactly when they needed it?

That’s what proactive chat—defined by Forrester as the “triggering of chat invitations based on a predefined set of visitor behaviors”—does. It uses context like history, current behavior, and cart contents to systematically funnel the highest priority customers to a live agent. Through a personalized conversation, the agent can answer questions, alleviate concerns, and offer incentive discounts to help the customer overcome hesitation and avoid cart abandonment.Click to Tweet


A consumer electronics retailer started seeing increased conversion rates when they implemented proactive chat. It reports that more than 20% of visitors who have engaged with the company via a chat session convert to a sale, and about one-quarter of them actually end up purchasing additional items during their transaction.

How Astute Can Help

Astute can help you reduce shopping cart abandonment with a solution that integrates a knowledgebase and self-service with proactive chat. Our smart software will ensure your customers have access to the answers and advice they need to overcome purchase roadblocks and convert to sales.

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