9 Solutions For Shopping Cart & Website Abandonment

Convert Abandoning Visitors To Customers:

Updated: 17th June 2017

On average, around 96% of people who visit a website will leave without generating a lead or converting. Many have no intention or desire to convert. They are probably not be in the market for what you sell or offer. Some will have arrived on your site by mistake or are simply doing research.

However, there is a proportion of visitors who are currently in the market for your product or service, but abandon your site. These visitors could potentially be persuaded to buy if they are engaged in the right way and your value proposition is sufficiently compelling. This is where your conversion activity needs to be targeted – site abandonment may be costing you dearly.

A systematic approach to website optimisation will allow you to identify areas for improvement. Beyond this there are two kinds of tools that can respond to site abandonment and shopping basket abandonment. It is possible to convert abandoning visitors.

Cart Abandonment:

Shopping cart abandonment is a massive problem for online retailers and if you can convert abandoning visitors you could massively increase revenues. Taking statistics from 29 different studies, the Baymard Institute in the UK, have estimated that around 68% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Just reducing this rate by 1% could increase revenues by millions of pounds a year for major retailers.

Image of chart showing reasons for abandonment during checkout process
Image Source:

Help is at hand though with Shopping cart abandonment tools. Using a single line of JavaScript the software enables automated emails  to be sent to visitors who leave your website without buying items in their basket. Here is a great case study from MAGEMAIL of the best performing abandoned cart emails. These solutions can make significant progress towards converting abandoning visitors.


Site Re-Marketing:

For those visitors who you don’t have contact details for or abandon your site before they login, there is onsite re-marketing. This uses real-time personalised onsite messaging to target form abandonment and other revenue-reducing behavioural issues (e.g. when visitors move to exit your site or become inactive). Onsite re-marketing helps to increase visitor engagement levels and should allow you to convert more abandoning visitors by reducing site abandonment.

Why don’t sites use these solutions?

Many sites use in-house solutions, such as email marketing cycles for newly registered customers, to try to engage non-converting prospects. However, relatively few companies have the resource or expertise to develop fully-integrated solutions which can email prospects in real-time or conduct onsite re-marketing.

Further, many sites have not fully integrated the necessary analytics onto their web platforms to enable visitors to be tracked at the level required for these solutions. However, sites which invest in the necessary technology are likely to benefit financially as they will be able to deliver a much more personalised user experience than those who don’t.

9 Site Abandonment Solutions:

I’ve summarised below nine leading providers of shopping cart abandonment and onsite re-marketing tools to allow you to minimise the impact of site abandonment.

1. Communicator: Provides automatic email campaigns for shopping cart abandonment. Recommends that emails are sent within 20 minutes of abandonment. On average it achieves a conversion rate of 5.2% using highly relevant and personalised communications.

Image of Communicator/corp.com homepage

2.  MAGEMAIL: A triggered email app for Magento sites. This app automatically emails customers who start to checkout but don’t finish. It also offers automated product recommendations based upon past purchases, wish list reminders, win-back campaigns, purchase anniversary emails, replenishment reminders and birthday emails. MageMail also offers you the ability to A/B test and optimise subject lines, content, discounts and sending frequency.

Image of MAGEMAIL.co shopping cart abandonment features page

3. NUDGR from Formisimo: This is a new solution to respond to abandonment of forms and checkouts. It is a machine learning based tool which uses algorithms to precisely identify patterns of behaviour that result in customers abandoning your site. This allows the tool to accurately predict customer intent and offer timely interventions to reduce site abandonment. The solution allows you to tailor offers according to your customers and campaigns.

Image of NUDGR.io homepage


4. Rejoiner: Offers automated email campaigns for shopping cart abandonment, and personalised behavioural email campaigns (e.g. for partial web form submission) to re-target users who exit your site. Optimizes campaigns through personalisation, segmentation and A/B testing email campaigns.

Image of rejoiner.com homepage


5. SaleCycle: Delivers both onsite re-marketing using targeted messages to 100% of visitors as they are about to leave your website and shopping cart or form abandonment email re-marketing.  Offers A/B testing of emails as standard and claim email re-marketing increases sales between 4.5% to 6%.


Image of salecycle.com


6. SAP Hybris: Conversion Manager triggers real-time onsite messaging, personalised emails and re-targeted advertisements for shopping cart and form abandonment. Offers A/B testing as standard. Browser Manager triggers 1 to 1 real-time campaigns based upon visitors browsing behaviour (e.g. visitor goes to exit site).

   Image of hybris.com homepage


7. ScreenPopper: Helps you convert more users through a pop-up appearing on top of a web page, with the goal of promoting a single call-to-action. The benefit is you get the visitors immediate attention, which can be used to for conversion purposes. If your goal is to get more newsletter sign ups, you can use the pop-up to offer an incentive in exchange for an email address. Free 14 day trial.

 Image of screenpopper.com homepage

8. Upsellit: Delivers a range of solutions for cart abandonment, including live chat, personalised automated email campaigns, real-time site abandonment detection and targeted onsite re-marketing offer campaigns.

Image of upsellit.com homepage


9. VeContact: Collects abandonment data to create real-time personalised  emails that seek to bring lost customers back to their pre-populated basket. Claims to achieve a conversion rate of up to 60% of abandoned visitors.


Image of veinteractive.com homepage


Site abandonment costs e-commerce retailers millions of pounds a year is lost sales. Shopping cart abandonment and re-marketing tools can help minimise the financial impact of site abandonment.  As solutions increasingly employ artificial intelligence to determine the timing and nature of interventions we should expect these tools to become more effective in the fight against site abandonment.

Early adoption of AI site abandonment solutions is likely to become a major competitive advantage. AI has the potential to deliver a much more personalised and targeted approach to site abandonment. Companies that don’t use such technology may find their margins squeezed as they fail to maintain conversion rates.

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You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, check out the Conversion Uplift  Facebook page or connect on LinkedIn.

How To Use Psychological Triggers To Boost Your Conversion Rate!

Instincts are triggered by our brain to alert us to threats. We are programmed to respond to some instincts, such as fear, without any conscious thought to protect us from harm. As such fear and other instincts are powerful behavioural motivators and can be targeted by marketers to cut through the noise that surrounds us.

1. Use messages and images of death or dangerous events:


image of life insurance ad - If you died today, who would take care of your family

Source: AccuQuote.com

Fear activates and puts our information and emotional processing systems on high alert.  This ensures we notice material that conveys danger and inspires fear or even death. Provided the images or messages are relevant to your product or service, try testing content that portrays danger or fear. If used appropriately they may help get an emotional response that is more powerful than conventional communication strategies.


2. Frame messages around potential losses rather than gains:


image of loss aversion focussed landing page - You'll never see this deal again

Unconsciously people are more motivated by the fear of loss than of the anticipation of gains. By framing communications around a potential loss (e.g. Don’t miss out on our latest offer) rather than  the conventional approach you can create a more instinctive and emotional response.  Loss aversion is probably a brands strongest
loyalty driver and should be employed to help retain existing customers and attract new ones. Test headlines that are framed from a loss perspective against one that is not to see if your visitors respond accordingly.

When you identify that visitors are going to abandon a transaction or leave your site try testing messaging around what they will lose
out on. Frame your messages around the loss of key benefits from your proposition when targeting existing customers who may be in danger of lapsing or switching to a competitor.

3. Let potential customers try out your product or service for


image of Experian credit report free trial offer - Endowment affect

Source: Experian.com

People value things that they own more highly than items they don’t have. This is called the endowment affect and experiments have shown that people put a higher value on things that they own, even if only partially. The ownership of goods appears to increase the perceived value of an item, especially for goods that are not frequently traded.

Free trials and samples works in a number of ways.  Ownership (even if only as part of a trial) increases the perceived value of the item, it reduces the perceived risk of responding to the campaign (i.e. there is no cost), and our aversion to loss means that we are often loath giving something up once we have given it a test drive.
Further, free offers can also trigger regret that people may think they will feel if they don’t take up the promotion.

4. Use limited offers or show stock levels to convey scarcity:


image of Golden Tiger Casino 1 hour to play - scarcity effect

Source: Goldentigercasino

It always amazes me that many websites display promotional offers without any prominent end date. People value scarce or limited offers more than products that are perceived to be commonly available. Experiments have demonstrated that people are drawn to items that appear to have limited availability because of a fear of loss and a potential for regret.

We are particularly motivated by scarcity when we believe we are in competition with other people. This may be because our herd instinct uses scarcity as an indicator of popularity amongst our peers. Social validation is especially important when we are in an uncertain or new situation as we have no experience to fall back on. Make sure you demonstrate your site’s popularity for this very reason.

5. Use humour to encourage people to try something new:


image of nettl.com ad using humour to get attention

Source: nettl.com

People like to stick with well-known brands when they are sad or scared.  We are more risk averse when feeling emotionally vulnerable. However, when we are in a good mood we are
comfortable and more open to trying something new. Use humour to engage people when you want them to try something new.

Humour breaks down barriers and makes us feel more positive about a situation. Research at  Radboud University in the  Netherlands found that humour distracts our natural resistance to advertising and creates a positive brand association. Humour is  particularly effective at getting and retaining attention as most websites don’t use humour and so it also benefits from being a novelty on the web.

Humour doesn’t have to be employed throughout your website. It can range from cheeky or off-beat call to action copy, amusing headlines to attract attention and  entertaining animation or graphics. PaddyPower is one site that has built their whole brand around having a laugh and not taking themselves too seriously. This aligns well with the market they are in (i.e. gambling) and helps them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Image of humour in Paddypower copy


Source: Paddypower.com

Humour benefits brands in a number of ways by:

  • Reduces tension towards the brand or buying process
  • Appeals to emotions by enhancing positive feelings and associations
  • Discourages and deflects criticism
  • Improves engagement by making messages more memorable
  • Distracts people from potential sales objections.

Try A/B testing using humour on your website and see if you can also benefit from using more light-hearted content.


6. Reassure new visitors with trust and credibility indicators:


Image from Dropbox of evidence of trust and credibility

Source: Dropbox.com

Make sure people feel safe and comfortable when trying to get them to experiment or buy from somewhere new. People dislike uncertainty because it makes them uncomfortable and will avoid it at all costs. Put new customers at ease by providing clear and relevant evidence that your website is reliable and trustworthy.

To create credibility and trust in your website consider the following issues:

  • First impressions count. Attractive and well-designed websites help create a sense of trustworthiness.
  • Make it easy for customers to contact you – ensure a ‘Contact’ link is the last item in your navigation.
  • Clearly display your address and telephone number in your footer and if appropriate in your header.
  • Show awards to demonstrate your standing in the sector
  • Display customer numbers if impressive or a client list
  • Statements and claims should be backed up by third party evidence.
  • Show logos of well-known business partners or sponsorship partners.
  • Make sure prices are clearly displayed as people want to know how much your product or service will cost.
  • Shipping costs or other administrative fees also need to be clear as people will often want to compare what you charge with your competitors.
  • Ensure copy doesn’t have errors or broken links that could create a poor impression of your site.

However, you should also A/B test displaying some items such as customer testimonials,  product reviews, returns policy, privacy policy, trust marks and popular payment methods. Sometimes credibility indicators can raise unnecessary concerns (e.g. around security) if they are introduced at inappropriate stages of the user journey or they may just be a distraction. This is where A/B testing can help identify when they benefit conversion and when they may actually harm your business goals.

7. Ensure visitors feel in control:


Image of Netflix.com pricing plans

Source: Netflix

People equate choice with control and people want to feel in
control. So always offer some choices.  This could mean having a back button on your sign-up form so that people feel they have a way out if needed. By all means reduce exit points at key stages of a user journey to focus their attention. However, if you remove all navigation elements apart from the one you want them to take users may feel trapped and respond by abandoning the form  or  transaction.

At the same time it is important to limit the number of choices to 3 or 4 as if you give people too much choice they can freeze and
avoid choosing anything.  Too much choice creates anxiety and cognitive strain as our brains struggle to categorise and choose between all the different options available. People will avoid making a decision if they believe they are unable to make a choice that they will be happy with.  This becomes increasingly difficult as the number of options we have to choose between rises.

8. Create curiosity by holding back information until later in
the user journey.


Image of Wistia.com landing page using curiosity

 Source: Wistia.com

Dopamine in the brain is not only a pleasure chemical in the
brain but it also causes us to want and desire things. It motivates us to be curious about ideas & information. You can use this desire for knowledge by stimulating information seeking behaviour. Create desire and curiosity by giving people a limited amount of  information upfront and offering them more information when they complete a task (e.g. offer a free white paper or sample if they complete an email address form).

9. Use visual and auditory alerts or novelty to grab attention:



Dopamine is also stimulated by unpredictability, when something unexpected happens, and is especially sensitive to cues that a reward is coming. To grab attention build some unpredictability into the customer experience and include an auditory or visual alert. Similarly, we are also pre-disposed to be wary of change – so also consider using novelty to grab attention.

10. Use images of food to grabs our attention when people are


image of bowl of chilli from JustEat app

 Source: JustEat

Visually appealing images of food can trigger our saliva glands and get our attention. Smells of food can be even more powerful and so
most food stores and restaurants try to use this to their advantage. Scientists are also working on ways to digitise, transmit and reproduce smells through the internet. This could become a new tool for engaging and motivating visitors to sites which are food related.

However, in the mean-time high resolution images of food can
still be an effective means of engaging with visitors who are looking for their next meal. Even if your site is not food or drink related why not try images of food or drinks around meal times to engage with visitors to remind them to return after their meal.  It may be a way
to personalise your site to align with what your customers are doing in the off-line world.

11. Sex!


image of mobel on AdoreMe.com sign up offer

 Source: AdoreMe

Sex or the implication of sex can be a very a powerful attention getter. The desire for sex is one of our strongest and most basic instincts.  We also make decisions, largely unconsciously, on the possibility of sex – having more sex or being more sexually  attractive.  Certainly it must be appropriate to your product or service and how it is presented is also critical.

Indeed, Adore Me, a lingerie website,  A/B tests some of the world’s most attractive models to understand what works and what doesn’t work for selling its products. Perhaps surprisingly, blondes don’t
work, props are a distraction and couches are ok. Fascinatingly the model has more impact than the price.

“If customers see a lacy pushup on a model they like,
they’ll buy it. Put the same thing on a model they don’t, and even a $10 price cut won’t compel them. Pose matters as well: the same product shot on the same model in a different posture can nudge sales a few percentage points in either direction. “ Fast Company, The lingerie company that A/B tests the world’s
hottest women

Popular models can also help sell more expensive versions of the same item which can add millions to the bottom line. So, if anyone ever tells you that sex doesn’t sell, just point out that if done in the right context and in an appropriate way, it certainly can.

Thank you for reading my post and please read some of my related posts.

You can view my index of all blog posts here:

Related posts:


Tools for conversion: Website Optimization Toolbox

The psychology of loss: Why are people more concerned about potential losses than winnings?

Conversion ideas: 17 conversion tips to help you optimise your website.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

6 Myths About Word Of Mouth Marketing

Importance of peer-to-peer influence:

Peer-to-peer influence is of the utmost importance in spreading ideas, products or campaigns. Without visibility a new practice or technology will not spread to the wider population. As a result word of mouth (WoM) marketing has grown in importance as businesses have recognised the value of getting people to talk about what they do or what they offer. Indeed, it is estimated that WOM is the primary driver of between 20% to 50% of purchase decisions.

“Peer-to-peer influence – what people do with and to each other – is the prime shaper (of mass behaviour).” Mark Earls, Herd.

At the same time there are some common misunderstandings about WoM and how it can be used by marketers.

1. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of social influence:

Personal influence is much more important than traditional  marketing because individuals will often be willing to  comply, conform and copy the behaviour of their peers. Our natural ability to copy embeds knowledge into our social networks that can spread throughout wider society.

A widely held belief here is that such influence is defined by word of mouth (WoM). Word of mouth is not the most powerful form of social influence; it’s just the most noticeable. Measuring WoM may be a good indicator of peer-to-peer influence but it does not cover non-verbal behaviour,traditions or social norms which can be more important drivers of mass behaviour.

Leading by example is often a much more powerful form of social influence. Pedro Gardete, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Stanford University,  analysed in-flight purchasing behaviour on 2,000 flights of a major US airline between January and February 2012. His analysis found that people sitting next to a passenger who bought something on the flight were around 30% more likely to make a purchase themselves.

He also analysed the behaviour of people travelling together under the same reservation number. The propensity to buy doubled if the person next to them makes a purchase and is someone they know. This could be due to friends or family sharing the same tastes, but it could also suggest they are influenced by their travelling companion.

2. Marketing-generated WoM can be as influential asnaturally originating WoM.


The evidence suggests that naturally generated WoM is more influential than marketing-stimulated WoM. This may be because it is perceived to be more genuine and less manipulative. The key take-out here is that what people do without business involvement is more powerful at driving significant and swift change in consumer behaviour. Just look at how quickly SMS text messaging was adopted as a means of communicating with each other and yet it
was just an afterthought from the mobile networks.

3. Word of mouth as a channel for markers in relatively new.


WoM is an important channel for marketers because
it is a persuasive and to a degree, a free media. However, an appreciation of the power of WoM is nothing new. A US study in 1955 estimated that WoM was seven times more influential than print advertising at encouraging brand-switching.

WoM has long been seen as a filter on information that is received from third-parties by our social networks. This appears to becoming more important as people have learnt to trust authority less and less. Trust in Government among the public in the US stands near an all time low and in the UK Ipsos MORI research indicates that the public are less likely to trust politicians than most other professional occupations. As a result is should not be surprising that WOM is perceived to be the most trusted source for recommendations.

4. Word of mouth is less important in B2B compared to B2C markets.

The perception among some markers that B2B markets are somehow less influenced by what individuals say about brands does not stack up with the evidence. WoM is just as important in B2B as in B2C markets because people in organisations are integrated into the same social networks that the rest of the population are part of.

Sure, what your colleagues mention about a brand can be important. But you can’t divorce yourself from what your peers outside your organisation have to say, and nor can you close yourself off from
what family and friends may contribute to your perception of a supplier.  Add in what you find out when you Google the product or service and there is little difference between WoM for B2B and B2C

5. People can’t tell the difference between marketing-generated WoM and  naturally occurring WOM.

Over the years many organisations have attempted to package marketing initiated WoM as coming from an independent source, such as a blogger, with the aim of spreading their message across our social networks. This has now been outlawed in many countries. As such marketing’s efforts to generate WoM is often clearly distinguishable from the naturally occurring variety.

However, if any organisation did consider attempting to present their message as naturally occurring word of mouth the risk of damage to their reputation is massive. Indeed, Mark Earl’s in his book Herd suggests that as “super social” apes humans have innate ability to spot cheating and deception. This may be related to the wisdom of crowds that has been observed in many contexts. Whatever the mechanism though which deception is discovered you can guarantee that the consequences will have major ramifications for any brand.

6. Word of mouth is another marketing communication tool.


Sorry, but WoM is not another marketing innovation.
WoM is a naturally occurring interaction between different people that is primarily driven by our instinctive desire to establish and reinforce social bonds. We are sometimes motivated by other factors such as curiosity and survival instincts, but frequently WoM is just a means of keeping the channels of communication open. So when we say hello and chat to our neighbour about the weather we  may not be that interested in what they say, but it has benefits that are important to us from a social perspective.

To put WoM marketing into context research suggests that a majority of what we say to each other is about social relations. That is what we do with or to other people and who we can or cannot
trust. Social content (e.g. gossip and rumour) also tends to be the most memorable part of a conversation. This insight probably explains why ideas that  enable social content sharing can spread very quickly as they facilitate something that is crucial to the functioning of our social networks.

Given this insight we may see WoM as a channel or a medium to create a ripple effect in the target audience’s social network. However,because people are constantly sharing thoughts and ideas about a diverse range of topics the water into which we drop our pebble is more like a bubbling hot-tub full of lots of excited and playful people than a calm expanse of water. This means that luck and timing play a big part in whether your idea is noticed or just swallowed up in the noise of human society.

What matters most about WoM is the social system, the people involved and their desire to interact about something. Clearly endogenous or self-generating WoM is much more powerful than superficial marketing generated WoM that organisations initiate. This reflects the deep seated human characteristic of talking to each other about a topic which nourishes the interactions with other people.

People are highly motivated to share their passions and obsessions with others. We are drawn to identify with a cause. People will chat
whatever you do, and sometimes it will be about you, but more often it won’t be. The real reason for WoM is the social interactions around the topic. The subject of discussion provides the oxygen to sustain interactions rather than the purpose of our conversations.

Businesses can try to facilitate WoM, but they may also limit, prevent or intensify the interactions of people with each other. What is most influential though is what we observe others doing, what we think they are doing and how we interact with them. Rather than constantly trying to control how people interact with our brands we need to let go. We should encourage and help people to engage with each other about our products or ideas as this ultimately results in value creation.

Thank you for reading my post. I hope it generated a few ideas and if you have time you can read previous posts on how we are influenced by the behaviour of others:

 Previous posts on social influence:

1. How do social networks influence human behaviour? How people who are close to use influence our behaviour in many different ways.

2. What makes social networks tick? What set of circumstances encourages collaboration and sharing between people.

3. Are most purchase decisions the result of other’s  behaviour & opinions? What does the evidence say about how powerfully other people influence our purchasing decisions and what are the different ways that we copy other people.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.


Recommended reading:

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, check out the Conversion Uplift  Facebook page or connect on LinkedIn.