What is Checkout Abandonment (And 13 Ways to Reduce It)

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Does checkout abandonment have you feeling like this?


You’re not alone.

If you face this as an ecommerce store owner, you probably want to know why those customers abandon you and how you can recover them.

In this article, we’ll show you why checkout abandonment matters and how you can combat it in your online store.

Let’s get down to it!

What is checkout abandonment?

Let’s start our journey with the terminology: checkout abandonment is when a customer starts the checkout process but leaves without completing the purchase.

Checkout abandonment can happen when potential customers are in the payment process or when they’re asked about their shipping information. Essentially, they decide not to proceed in the final stage of the purchasing journey.

Checkout abandonment vs cart abandonment: what's the difference?

Checkout abandonment and shopping cart abandonment may sound similar, but they’re not the same.

Let’s break down the differences:

Differences between checkout abandonment and cart abandonment

1. Timing

Shopping cart abandonment happens earlier in the purchasing journey, before the potential customer reaches the checkout stage. 

Checkout abandonment, on the other hand, happens at the final stage of the purchasing journey, typically when customers are one or two steps away from completing the transaction.

2. Causes

Common reasons for cart abandonment include browsing without intent to purchase, comparison shopping, unexpected costs at checkout, or distractions. 

Factors contributing to checkout abandonment include unexpected additional costs, a complicated checkout process, security concerns, or technical issues.

3. Impact

Shopping cart abandonment doesn’t always mean a lost sale because people might come back later to finish buying. 

Checkout abandonment is a bigger deal because the customer was close to buying but changed their mind, which means a missed revenue opportunity.

Why does your checkout abandonment rate matter?

When customers leave without finishing a purchase, it can be disappointing. But it can also impact your business in multiple ways.

1. Revenue and conversion rates

Every abandoned checkout represents a missed revenue opportunity.

Even small improvements that reduce checkout abandonment can significantly boost sales and revenue.

By streamlining the checkout process to minimize abandonment, you can increase the number of website visitors who make a purchase.

2. Customer experience

A smooth, hassle-free checkout experience is crucial for keeping customers happy.

When customers face difficulties or frustrations during checkout, they’re more likely to abandon their purchase and may opt to shop elsewhere.

Addressing checkout abandonment issues contributes to an overall positive shopping experience for customers.

3. Brand reputation

If most customers leave without buying… that doesn’t really look good, right?

Customers may view frequent abandonment as a sign of inefficiency or unreliability, which can negatively impact the perception of the brand. 

Top reasons behind abandoned checkouts

We’ve discussed how checkout abandonment impacts your business, and now it’s time to uncover the main reasons behind it.

Top reasons behind abandoned checkouts

1. Hidden costs and fees

When it comes to pricing, a lack of transparency about additional fees is never a good thing. 

If hidden fees like shipping or taxes only show up at checkout, it can catch customers off guard, leading to frustration.

2. Lengthy and complicated checkout processes

Online shopping shouldn’t feel like doing homework. If it does, customers might just give up.

A complicated or lengthy checkout process can easily deter customers from completing their purchases. 

3. Security concerns

When sharing sensitive information like credit card details, customers want to feel safe.

If a website seems fishy or lacks security measures, customers might back out at the last minute.

4. Lack of payment options

Everyone has their favorite way to pay. If a website doesn’t offer the payment method a customer prefers, they might rethink their purchase.

5. Technical glitches and errors

Sometimes websites simply act up. This can include website errors, page loading issues, or payment processing failures. These technical issues can leave online shoppers frustrated and cause them to abandon their purchases.

What's the average checkout abandonment rate?

While checkout abandonment rates can vary depending on various factors (like industry, target audience, and product/service offerings) having a baseline understanding of the average rates can help you set realistic goals and identify areas for improvement.

What is the average checkout abandonment rate

According to our own stats, the average cart abandonment rate is 66.5%.

That means nearly 7 out of 10 visitors leave without making a purchase after adding a product to their cart. 

While these numbers refer to cart abandonment, our experience shows that the average checkout abandonment rate is similar. 

While achieving a 0% abandonment rate might be unrealistic, there’s a lot you can do to reduce yours.

How to calculate your checkout abandonment rate?

Calculating your checkout abandonment rate involves monitoring how many people begin the checkout process but leave before completing it, and then comparing that number to the total number of people who started the process.

Here’s the exact formula you can use:

Checkout Abandonment Rate = (Number of Abandoned Checkouts / Total Number of Initiated Checkouts) x 100

how to calculate your checkout abandonment rate

13 ways to decrease your abandoned checkout rate

Ready to solve your checkout abandonment challenges? 

We’ve got 13 effective strategies to help you reduce abandonment rates and boost your online sales.

1. Simplify the checkout process

If a checkout process is too complicated, customers will vanish in the blink of an eye.

That means you should minimize form fields and remove any unnecessary steps that can complicate the customer journey.

An optimized user experience—including a simplified, intuitive checkout—can reduce friction and encourage customers to complete their purchases.

2. Offer guest checkout option

In our fast-paced world, we all love quick solutions, and a guest checkout option is exactly that. Creating an account takes time, and many customers prefer simplicity and speed. 

Allowing guest checkout removes barriers for new customers who are shopping for the first time or only making a one-time purchase.

Check out this example from Drunk Elephant:

Drunk Elephant offering customers a guest checkout option.

3. Implement progress indicators

Going through step after step of a checkout process without knowing how long it will take is frustrating. 

No wonder customers abandon if they feel lost in the purchase process! People want control and clarity during checkout, and progress indicators help with that. 

If customers can see visual cues about how far they’ve come in the process, they’re more likely to finish their purchase.

Check out this example from Skims:

Skims payment process in their online store

4. Optimize mobile checkout

We’re all tied to our mobile phones. In 2024, approximately 187.5 million users are expected to be active mobile shoppers, up from 167 million in 2020.

This alone suggests that you should pay special attention to these users by optimizing mobile checkout.

Make sure you have a mobile-responsive checkout process that’s easy to navigate and tailored for smaller screens.

5. Provide multiple payment options

Users abandon if there’s no payment option that fits their preferences or needs.

Offering a range of payment options—from credit/debit cards to digital wallets and alternative methods like PayPal or Apple Pay—enhances flexibility and boosts the chances that a customer will complete their purchase.

Take a cue from Waterdrop’s approach:

Waterdrop's cart page showing different checkout alternatives to easy out the purchase decision.

6. Display trust symbols and security certifications

In a world where scams and fraudulent messages are a daily occurrence, it’s understandable that online shoppers are becoming more and more cautious. 

If you display trust signals on your online store such as security badges and SSL encryption badges, customers will feel more secure sharing their personal and payment information.

7. Offer free shipping

Unexpected or high shipping fees can easily deter customers from completing their purchase.

Offering free shipping is a powerful way to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions. 

Consider setting free shipping thresholds or offering promotional shipping deals to encourage customers to complete their purchases.

8. Implement exit-intent popups

To tackle lost sales, try using exit-intent popups while customers are shopping. 

Exit-intent popups are triggered by a specific behavior that suggests visitors are about to exit the site. 

With the right popup (and the right message, at the right time) you can convert at least 25% of your abandoning customers. 

When customers are about to leave without buying, these popups give them a chance to think again, especially if you offer them a special deal like free shipping or a discount. 

9. Increase urgency

Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle nudge to get a customer to complete their purchase. 

That’s where creating a sense of urgency can work wonders, tapping into our fear of missing out on something. 

Consider implementing countdown timers on your exit-intent popups. They can motivate customers to click the “buy now” button so they won’t miss out on their discount. 

For inspiration, check out these templates:

10. Remind users about their coupons

Do you offer exclusive coupons, only to find that they often go unused? 

You’re not alone—many ecommerce stores face similar challenges. While those coupon codes may be enticing for your visitors, if customers aren’t redeeming them, it means missed sales opportunities. 

The solution lies in follow-up: remind them to use their coupons and keep the offers fresh in their minds.

Start with these templates to spark their interest:

11. Recommend relevant products

Personalized product recommendations are incredibly important for ecommerce businesses.

As you gather data based on visitors’ browsing history and the items in their shopping carts, you can offer related products and encourage them to make additional purchases.

Take a cue from Craft Spirit Shop, who displayed personalized product recommendations on their product pages.

Craft Spirit Shop abandoned cart recovery tactic is offering personalized product recommendations on the same page.

With this technique, they increased revenue by 77.9%. Impressive, right?

Learn more about their journey.

12. Provide clear return and refund policies

Being transparent always pays off, especially when it comes to returns and refunds.

Clearly communicate your policies regarding returns, exchanges, and refunds to alleviate concerns and build trust with potential buyers.

By being upfront about return and refund policies, you’ll reassure customers and reduce hesitation.

Check out The Oodie’s checkout page for inspiration. They do an amazing job of highlighting their money-back guarantee and their free shipping & free returns policy. Plus, they’ve included some social proof to boost trust.

Oodie's checkout page clearly communicates to customers their returns and money back guarantee.

13. Use abandoned checkout emails

Last but not least, to recover abandoned carts, put your focus on your email strategy.

Implement an abandoned checkout email strategy to re-engage customers who have abandoned their carts.

Send a follow-up email with a straightforward subject line, a link to their abandoned cart, and incentives or discounts to encourage them to return and complete their purchase.

Take a cue from Tadashi Studio’s abandoned checkout emails:

Tadashi's automated emails helps to recover abandoned shopping carts


What is purchase abandonment?

Purchase abandonment is similar to checkout abandonment but encompasses the broader spectrum of instances where a customer abandons the purchase process at any stage, not just during the checkout phase. This could include abandoning a shopping cart, leaving a product page without adding the item to the cart, or exiting the website or app before reaching the checkout stage.

Why is checkout abandonment a concern for businesses?

Abandoned checkouts have a direct impact on a business’s conversion rates and revenue. When potential customers abandon their carts, it represents lost sales opportunities and can indicate underlying issues with the checkout experience or the overall customer journey.

What are the benefits of reducing checkout abandonment for businesses?

Benefits include increased revenue, improved conversion rates, enhanced customer satisfaction, and a positive impact on brand reputation.

How can businesses address technical glitches to prevent checkout abandonment?

Technical glitches can indeed occur. These include page loading delays, payment processing errors, form submission errors, compatibility issues, and security concerns. By consistently and proactively monitoring and testing website performance, businesses can swiftly address these issues to ensure a seamless checkout experience for customers.

What are some ways to expand payment options to cater to customer preferences?

To accommodate diverse payment preferences, businesses can integrate various payment methods such as credit cards, digital wallets (like Apple Pay or Google Pay), and alternative options like PayPal. By providing multiple payment choices, companies can cater to the needs and preferences of their customers, resulting in improved satisfaction and an increase in completed transactions.

Wrapping up

Checkout abandonment may seem like an ongoing battle—and you’re right, it is—but there’s a lot you can do to fight it. 

Use the strategies we’ve covered in this article to decrease your checkout abandonment rate: simplify the checkout process, deploy exit-intent popups, optimize your email strategy, and keep your pricing transparent. Ultimately, this will help you keep your customers (and your bottom line) happier.

Take charge with OptiMonk—create your free account now to reignite your sales and reclaim those lost carts!