TEA Blog


You finally start getting decent traffic to your website, as well as new customers registering every day. Then all of sudden you see this shocking metric in your BackOffice, fifty percent of your customers have abandoned your checkout process.

You go to Google and search for How to reduce checkout Abandoned Rate, and then you get a bunch of bloggers () writing the same c-r- that has nothing to do with checkout abandonment.

Seriously, what does adding beautiful product pictures have anything to do with checkout abandonment? They must be confused with product abandonment. I literally went through 50 different blog posts, and the only advice I got that was valid for checkout abandonment is that you should send out emails with to visitors who abandoned your checkout.

After spending three hours reading over 100,000 words, and only getting one paragraph of advice from all of them combined, felt like watching paint dry. I dont blame the bloggers, they dont know any better because they never ran an website, but Google still ranks their irrelevant garbage on the first three pages in the search results and wasting not only my but also your time if you ever followed my footsteps.

Now before we jump into this subject, I want to warn you that this mainly applies to you if you actually see abandoned orders in your BackOffice. If you do not see abandon orders on a daily basis, most likely you dont have enough traffic or you have other problems such as High Bounce Rate, Window Shopping, and Product Webpage Abandonment. I just want to make sure that you dont jump ahead of the horse and conclude that you have a checkout abandonment problem when you actually have other problems.

If you are using Shopping Cart Elite it will clearly tell you how many abandon orders you get on a daily basis.


So assuming that you do have a checkout abandonment problem, you should be aware of a metric called Exit Rate, Exit Rate in simple English is the total amount of visitors that left your website after browsing at least two . Since it is unlikely for someone to enter your shopping cart or checkout page from outside of your website and bounce, the metric of your checkout abandonment is called an exit rate.

Here are a few reasons why you may have a high exit rate on your shopping cart itself (you know the page where you see the subtotal and apply ):

  • Estimate shipping is too high

  • You are charging tax

  • Visitor realized how much money they are about to spend and got scared

  • Visitor is window shopping and will come back at another time because you did a poor job convincing them to make an impulsive buy

  • Teased the visitor with the idea that you have coupons and sent them on a hunt to find one that doesnt exist

  • Didnt reinforce the visitor of a price match guarantee, so they left to compare prices

  • Shopping cart has technical issues that are not allowing visitors to move forward

  • You dont ship to the visitors country

  • You dont ship fast enough

  • You dont specify when exactly the item will arrive as the visitors needs it by a certain date

It is human nature to convince ourselves out of a deal. If you do not give an incentive for your customer to move past the shopping cart in ten seconds, then half of those visitors may leave (unless you have a killer deal).

I believe that most of the issues listed above can be addressed by giving your customer a limited time coupon code that is valid for the next 12 hours, and it should clearly show them the checkout process that the coupon was applied to their cart. The coupon should also indicate that it will expire today by midnight.

If you are using Shopping Cart Elite, you have to assign a custom CSS theme to the shopping cart page when a discount is applied. This way a banner will show up that the coupon was applied in their cart, and it will expire at midnight.

You can also try to engage the visitors using live chat by asking them about their concerns if they spend more than 40 seconds on the shopping cart .

Finally, you can disable estimate shipping altogether (in Setting > Website Setting) and disable the coupon code from displaying so you can get visitors to the next step.

So when you hear someone talking about Checkout Abandonment, they are most likely talking about shopping cart exit rate. Since there is very little information online about actual checkout abandonment, let me tell you many ways of resolving it.



Did you realize that all the commodity shopping carts (BigCommerce, Volusion, 3Dcart, Magento) offer one step checkout, while the majority of the Fortune 500 companies do not? eBay doesnt offer it, and neither does Amazon. Amazon has one click checkout not a checkout.

It is true that the founders of the commodity shopping carts woke up one day and decided to build a shopping cart with no experience whatsoever. None of the founders or the executives of the commodity shopping carts ever ran a successful website. They simply dont know what works and what doesnt work for their customers. This is certainly a core problem because once you a develop the core of the software, it is not practical to change it in a few years later when you realize you have the whole thing wrong.

One Step Checkout is as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Where is the proof that creating a form with 50 fields on it will increase sales? Why are customers requesting this non-sense? The commodity shopping carts have succeeded in you once again by making up facts without any proof that it will help your business, while these facts certainly hurt your business more than it helps.

In Shopping Cart Elite, we broke up the steps into four steps (like all the fortune 500 companies).

1. Guest Checkout / Register / Login
2. Billing Information
3. Shipping Information
4. Confirmation

Using a multi-step checkout process, you end up capturing a potential customers email address. This will allow you to contact the potential customer by email if they abandon their checkout. Only then, you ask for other billing and shipping information. This way if they do not complete the checkout process, you will have an email to contact the visitor and try to save the sale. Second, it is much less intimidating: instead of one long form, you have a short one at each stage.

if they leave on a certain step then we can use a process of elimination to figure out the reason why they abandoned the particular checkout step.

Shopping Cart Elite has a checkout so can easily identify the reason for the checkout abandonment.


Offering guest checkout is a must have, creating a video ensuring the security of the customer information will also get them passed this step. Shopping Cart Elite allows you to add custom HTML to this page (setting > themes > external plugins), and it also supports guest checkout.


As I said earlier, customers love to talk themselves out of a deal the first chance they get. You need to eliminate all the obstacles and encourage the deal throughout the whole process.

  • Add Security badges, SSL certificates, lock icons, privacy policies and shop with confidence on the side of the menu. Do not make the banners linkable so the customer doesnt leave your website, just leave them as images. Having such graphics can put the customer at ease because they may fear of sharing their personal information with you.

  • Add a nice graphic for your contact information, easy return statement, brand commitment promise, price guarantee, and any other guarantees.

  • You can add testimonials of recent sales and reviews as a scrolling top banner (available in Shopping Cart Elite plugins). Customers love being a part of something, and seeing that others are making purchases will allow them to proceed with the next step. Try to put their mind off at ease and get them into an emotional mood so they can focus on buying the products.

  • Add a video on each process from the CEO with auto play (once per session and only for new visitors using Wistia) that will encourage them and walk them through all the steps.

  • The customer might not have their credit card information with them, so offering other services such as PayPal might help. Shopping Cart Elite does leave the visitor session alive for six hours, so if they come back in an hour they can still checkout. Shopping Cart Elite also leaves the shopping cart alive forever so if they want to finish the checkout at home, they can.


The majority of abandon checkouts on this process is related to shipping.

  • Your shipping is too high because are not properly combining items into boxes and shipments. Shopping Cart Elite offers BIN packing where you define the boxes you use for shipping, and it can predict how many items can fit inside those boxes. If you need to setup BIN packing in Shopping Cart Elite contact technical support (helpme@shoppingcartelite.com) to set it up.

  • Thanks to Amazon, many of your customers will expect you to ship for free. If possible, make your shipping free and clearly state when you will ship the products.

  • For fraud reasons you might not allow customers to ship to a shipping address, and they are forced to select their billing address. If you choose to allow it there is a setting in (setting > payment methods > allow shipping address), but make sure you verify each order for fraud. Here is a great tutorial that covers fraud, and more info from VISA.

  • You dont allow international shipping.


80% of the customers abandon this step due to technical issues with your merchant account gateway. In most cases, an address verification rule fails to process the order which takes the customer back to the second step. Sometimes it is due to fraud, but in most cases, it is a false positive which frustrates the customer and they leave.

  • Shopping Cart Elite sends you an internal email every time your merchant gateway failed to process an order. You can also see every abandon order that you have on a daily basis from the order search screen. DO NOT IGNORE THESE MESSAGES, as you are losing sales over something that can easily be fixed.

We recommend that you set your AVS (address verification system) on the gateway to the minimum requirements, so it would reject an order only if nothing matches. If at least something matches let it go through and then verify the order manually. To find out how you can confirm the order is not a fraud, read this tutorial we put together.

  • You may have additional fees applied that made the price a lot higher than the customer expected.

  • Make sure that the order was processed under another order number and that it is truly an abandoned order.

  • Cheer the customer to complete the step by pointing out the arrow to press for completing the checkout, or making a Thank you in video.


BigCommerce When someone abandons the checkout process we will automatically send them a series of emails enticing them to complete their order in your online store, optionally including a coupon code. You can completely track the number of abandoned and recovered orders using the integrated analytics capability.

Which @*^% &! decided this was a good feature? I can foresee the meeting taking place.


Executive Team Member A: Hey Mate, I saw a blog post recently on Googles first page from all those smart () bloggers talking about checkout abandonment. They are saying that this is a big industry issue. I mean after all its all over Googles first page, it must be important, and we have to do something about it.

Sales Team Member: Yes! Definitely and since our awesome app partners are charging like $200 for this feature per month, we can just include this into one of our packages and charge more money!

Executive Team Member B: Yes Mate, this is an awesome idea, so anyone knows how this feature works?

Sales Team Member: Yes! I know, I get emails from Amazon in the spam folder all the time. We just need to do what Amazon does, and make, like a simple auto responder that will spam the $hit! out of the customers who abandoned the checkout to an extent that they would have wished they never done business with that website, LOL .

Executive Team Member B: Haha, Great Idea Mate, we will put this on our schedule for 2012. What you think is three years long enough to develop this feature?

Sales Team Member: Well I am not a developer, but considering we only have one developer who is actually working in our company, I think three years is more than enough time to roll this out.

Ok, enough jokes.

Spamming your visitors with promo codes after theyve abandoned your checkout will not make them a customer. It is a stupid idea, that will only make sure that potential customer never does business with you again. Can you imagine if the customer left due to technical issues, or he checked out under another order, and next thing he knows is his getting spammed with promo codes? This is what I am talking about when I say commodity shopping cart like BigCommerce developing vaporware. It sounds good on paper, but it is a useless feature.

It may be even illegal according to the ACT unless you put that in your terms and conditions and the customer agreed to it.


If you do not have too many abandoned orders, just pick up the phone and call them, or create a few friendly emails for each different step, and send them out by hand. You dont actually have to worry about checkout abandonment unless you feel that you are losing a large portion of your total company revenue that must be recovered at any cost.


We developed an intelligent inside Shopping Cart Elite which will do three things.

1) You will manually review each abandon order, and schedule a specific email series to that customer. As you can imagine not everyone should be getting certain emails, and some customers shouldnt get them at all. If you are going to train your loyal customers that by abandoning an order they get a coupon a discount, then this will only encourage them to do that next time and it will ultimately backfire on you when you will be generating abandoned checkout orders instead of sales.

By manually select the email series for each customer you can:

1. Confirm that you are sending the right emails series to the right customer
2. Confirm that the customer didnt with another order
3. Confirm that there were no technical problems
4. Customize the email series with specials coupon codes for specific set of products instead of a universal coupon code
5. Evaluate how the email series has been working thus far from previous customers

2) When the email is sent it will track open rate, click rate and engagement. Yes, we can actually tell how much of the email was read after it was open.

3) Using this engagement information the intelligent will delay sending too many emails to the customer. So if the customer engaged with an email, it will send the next one two days later, if the customer didnt engage with it then it will send it out 1 day later. This way it will look like a human is actually emailing instead of commodity shopping cart automated spam system.

Since this feature is not particularly simple to setup, you should only consider it if you have at least 5 or more abandon orders per day. If you do have at least 5 abandon orders per day, and would like to use this feature then email development@shoppingcartelite.com.


When you visit a website, leave that website, and then notice ads from that website are showing up all over the internet, then that means you have been re-marketed. Remarketing is simple to setup, you install a JavaScript code on your website, and it will tag all your visitors for remarketing.

Shopping Cart Elite has a better way, we can set up a remarketing tag to show up for clients who enter a specific checkout step, and you can have a specific remarketing campaign for those particular visitors. So for example, lets say a visitor entered the Shipping Checkout step and left, we would have triggered the remarketing tag on that visitor, and that particular tag will carry a free shipping discount code with a free shipping banner.

So when the visitor goes to browse CNN, YouTube, Facebook, etc. They will keep seeing the banner Hey you didnt finish your order, here is a FREE SHIPPING coupon so you can finish the checkout.

Shopping Cart Elite allows you to discount codes that will be triggered by a URL so that specific URL with the tag will be linked from the remarketing banner. When the visitors enters your website, the free shipping coupon will automatically be applied to his order.

We can get creative with how to handle re-marketing. If you are interested in setting up remarketing please email development@shoppingcartelite.com