It's rather mindblowing to think that two out of three shoppers go to the trouble of finding a product, adding it to their cart, and then abandoning their purchase!

And it's a problem that needs to be analyzed because it means we are missing out on sales.

Today, I'm going to share seven great tips for cart abandonment when dropshipping!

What is an abandoned cart?

What is an abandoned cart - Explanation

Let's start with understanding what cart abandonment means and how you can analyze your own stats.

So, what is an abandoned cart?

An abandoned cart is when somebody is visiting your store, they've found a product they like, and they've added it to their cart. Next, they carry on browsing in the store or get distracted by a phone call and leave the website. Which means they don't proceed to checkout and complete the purchase.

What we need to work out is the cause. It could be something happening on your website, the quality of your traffic, or simply a customer who is browsing or distracted.

It will never be possible to completely rid ourselves of abandoned carts, but I hope the following tips will improve customer experience to increase your overall conversion rate.

The latest cart abandonment statistics

The Baymard Institute has tracked the global average cart abandonment rate for the past 12 years. The average cart abandonment rate currently sits at 69.5%.

Using several qualitative benchmarks, the study encountered 2,700+ instances of checkout usability issues. While we can't do much to avoid cart abandonment resulting from “window shoppers”, we can do much to resolve these issues.

Two stats from Baymard that particularly hit home for me were:

  • We can experience a 35.6% increase in conversion rate with a better checkout design.
  • The average mobile ecommerce cart abandonment rate is 85.6%. We need to ensure our checkout is even more slick and user-friendly on mobile to remove all frustrations.

What are the reasons for an abandoned cart?

From the stats above, I think we can agree abandoned carts can result from a poor store design, but that may not be the core problem. Everything matters!

The Baymard Institute Survey reports the following critical reasons for abandoned carts displayed in the graphic below:

Reasons for cart abandonment dropshipping infographic

Let's go through the five key reasons in a little more detail:

1. Unexpected costs

According to the survey, 49% of online shoppers abandoned their cart because extra costs were too high. No one likes negative surprises in the form of unexpected costs like taxes, shipping, and handling.

An easy way around this is to offer customers free local shipping. But naturally, the costs of offering free shipping to international customers may be prohibitive.

Remember, it's not that people don't want to pay for shipping, it's more about the fact that they don't want to pay for it unexpectedly. Unfortunately, it's human nature to become annoyed with extra costs and simply close the webpage.

2. Customers are required to create an account

Although we see the checkout process as an opportunity to collect data about our customers, forcing them to create an account with your store is a major reason for cart abandonment. They don't know you yet and are not ready for a long-term relationship!

The Baymard Institute survey reports that 23% of abandoned carts are attributed to this practice. So it's a good idea to get rid of this customer pain point immediately!

3. Delivery was too slow

Reducing cart abandonment when dropshipping is a challenge when we study delivery times.

If you don't already, consider offering multiple express delivery options. You'd be surprised how many people will pay extra to get the product to their address in time for a certain event or function.

So give them the option like in this example:

Shopify shipping options
Shopify checkout

4. Too long / complicated checkout process

The Baymard Institute Survey states that in the US and the EU alone, more than a quarter of a trillion dollars could have been recovered with a more streamlined checkout process. In an ideal world, the checkout experience only has twelve to fourteen elements.

Cut down the fields to be completed so that the customer needs to complete fewer steps before confirming the order.

The customer does not fully trust the website

According to that same study, 17% of online shoppers left the checkout flow because they did not trust the business with their personal information.

Work at communicating that the customer's card and shipping details are safe with you. Your site design and overall branding will help with this too. (More about this below)

7 Tips to help you reduce cart abandonment

As you'll agree, the causes of cart abandonment are multi-faceted, and it's almost overwhelming to know what to fix first!

And if it is any consolation, cart abandonment happens to all online stores from the most optimized slick brand to the one-man show.

Don't wait. Get started now using these seven tips to reduce cart abandonment when dropshipping:

1. Track shopping cart abandonment

We need to analyze our data to make decisions and take action. In most ecommerce platforms, you'll have the ability to navigate to abandoned carts to find patterns that might suggest why customers are abandoning their carts.

Poor quality traffic, often from undeveloped countries with little spending power, often results in browsing rather than purchasing activity. Take a look at where your traffic is coming from.

Break down the data. Who are you targeting? Analyze the breakdown and start narrowing down on age, gender, country, and placement.

Be aware that while Instagram influencers can be fantastic for driving traffic, you cannot control customer location, which can result in an increase in abandoned carts when dropshipping.

Cart abandonment rate is simply the percentage of shopping carts that didn’t convert.

To calculate your cart abandonment rate, first calculate your cart conversion rate, which is just the number of completed purchases divided by the number of shopping carts opened.

Cart conversion rate calculation

For example, if your business recorded 100 completed purchases within the month and 800 shopping carts opened, this would equate to 12.5% of completed transactions.

Then, the cart abandonment rate is simply 1 – the cart conversion rate: 1 – 12.5% = 87.5%.

Cart abandonment rate calculation

If you’ve set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics, this will automatically track and calculate the conversion and abandonment rate for you. Just navigate to Conversion -> Ecommerce -> Shopping Behavior, and you’ll find the numbers you need.

Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

2. Automate to recover abandoned carts

It's not all bad news! By setting up automated messages to your customers, you'll be able to recover more sales on autopilot with no extra time needed from you or additional costs.

Email marketing

You need to remind shoppers about their abandoned cart several times after they leave. The concept here is simple:

When someone adds an item to their cart but leaves your store without completing the purchase, you can trigger an email workflow.

Your communication reminds the customer of their forgotten purchase and motivates them to complete the order by offering some incentive.

We've covered this topic in-depth in a previous article that you can find here.

Next, follow the steps to set up the automation for a guaranteed increase in conversion rate.

And if you're wondering which email automation service you should use, check out our list here.

SMS marketing

This strategy is pretty straightforward and very effective. It only takes a few minutes for you to create an automated cart recovery campaign that reaches out to prospective customers through SMS.

You'll need to write the messages you want to send your customers, then decide how long to wait before sending your initial SMS and follow-up message. 

These articles will be helpful reading:

Web Push notifications

Not too many businesses leverage the power of web push notifications, and I think there is scope to customize these to regain some of our customers.

The default opt-in box only offers the prompt “company name would like to send you notifications.” The user has the option to “allow” or “block”.

Web push notifications

Imagine having the ability to customize this message with persuasive text and images conveying the benefits of receiving push alerts.

You'll find various apps like Recover Cart Pusher that offer this functionality. Pretty cool!

Web push notifications

3. Use retargeting ads

You have more than just one shot at converting a customer!

If someone adds to the cart but doesn't purchase, you can remarket to them while they are browsing the web.

They'll be reminded of your products and when they return to your website, you'll take them straight back to their cart where they can finish the transaction.

4. Offer free shipping

As mentioned above, expensive costs were one of the main reasons customers abandon their carts before making a purchase.

A beginner dropshipper is encouraged to offer free local shipping but it is tough on the budget to offer free worldwide shipping before you have steady profits.

Free shipping vs. lower product price: What's better [Infographic]

Some argue that you will be able to attract more customers to offset these costs. If the potential gains significantly outweigh the costs, it may be worth testing.

For more information, check out our complete pricing strategy guide for dropshipping here.

5. Use exit-intent popups

An exit-intent popup is a technique that we can use to retain visitors that are going to leave the site. A visitor's mouse movements are tracked, and when the cursor moves outside the upper page boundary, a popup window is shown.

This is a great strategy but can be annoying and distracting to the visitor if the popup appears too soon.

Your exit-intent popup could take the form of:

  • A discount voucher encouraging completion of the order and collection of their email address.
  • Couple the discount voucher with an urgency timer encouraging completion of the order.
  • A reminder to the customer that they have something in their cart, showing the image of the product.

In exchange for an email, J. Crew offers new visitors a 15% discount on their first purchase.

The popup does a great job of framing their value proposition for submitting an email (early access, exclusive sales), providing a timetable (only a minute), and minimizing the opt-out choice (“no thanks”).

Exit intent popup

6. Enhance your checkout process

Analyzing and optimizing your checkout process is something you'll want to pay attention to continuously.

Use heatmaps

Using heatmap software like those listed below will give you insight into how people read and interact with your site and where the fall-off happens:

These heatmaps and many others will help you fix what is not working and test new ideas without guesswork.

An example of a heatmap
An example from Hotjar

Display product images at checkout

Using plug-ins or custom coding, displaying the product image at checkout optimizes for conversions by reminding customers of the item they intend to purchase.

Therefore, it is advisable to include thumbnail images of your product throughout the purchasing phase.

AliExpress does this well. Displaying the image also eliminates the possibility of distraction.

Shopping cart with product image thumbnail

Show savings

In the image above, you'll also see that AliExpress reminds customers of the savings that they are offered. A good strategy.

You can also try something creative, such as using an upsell app like MonsterUpsells to offer free gifts. Check out this example:

MonsterUpsells Add to Unlock feature

Use every opportunity to build trust

If you want more buyers show them, whenever you can, that they will not suffer from buyers remorse. There are a couple of small but vital steps you can take.

Use social proof before the customer gets cold feet at checkout. Address any concerns they may have before they get there by including star ratings and reviews.

If your customers see that other people like the product that you sell, they will be more inclined to purchase.

In fact, in a recent survey, a high review score played a significant part in the customer's decision to purchase.

Survey measuring the impact of customer reviews

As I mentioned at the start of the article, there is nothing more frustrating than shopping online and expecting to pay a certain price only to get to the checkout and being hit with hidden costs and fees.

It makes customers so annoyed that they often abandon their cart after beginning the checkout process.

A reminder that unexpected shipping costs are the single biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment when dropshipping.

Some successful dropshippers recommend displaying shipping costs as early as possible – preferably on the product page.

This is how World Market does it, and you can see how this is particularly important for heavier goods.

Estimated shipping costs on the product page

They take it further by clearly displaying the estimated shipping and handling costs on the cart page.

Estimated shipping costs on the cart page

Use popular payment gateways

When designing your checkout, you don't want anything to come in the way of a purchase. Depending on your country and the options available to you, try to offer several popular payment options.

In addition to offering credit card options, some customers like using Paypal. Options like Google Wallet and Apple Pay are popular with certain demographics.

Apple pay example

Display credit card companies and security logos too. Building trust is critically important when asking customers to give you their credit card details and personal information.

Allow customers to check out as guests

Although the checkout process is an opportunity to collect data from your users, forcing them to create an account can be a significant deterrent to purchase.

A better option would be to allow the customer to make the first purchase as easy as possible as a guest.

Then, instead of diverting them to a whole new flow at this critical time, you can offer the customer the option of creating an account after purchasing – if they love your store, they'll come back and create an account. 

7. Optimize page speed

According to Visual Website Optimizer, ecommerce conversion rates drop seven percent for every one-second delay in your page loading.

At four seconds, you lose up to one-quarter of your visitors. At eight seconds, more than one in three customers would have moved on. Particularly on mobile!

Page load time - Infographic

Optimize your images using something like Tiny PNG or similar. Limit the use of GIFS and social plugins.

I also found a great guy on Fiverr who increased my page speed dramatically.

There is one “silver bullet” that I'd like to add before I conclude this rather lengthy article!

It may seem obvious but remember to test your checkout process by purchasing one of your products (you can refund yourself later). There may be some obscure shipping setting, for example, that prevents people from buying.

If you're interested in learning more about speeding up your store, check out this article here.


It is rather shocking to read the stats about the average cart abandonment rate! Us store owners have our work cut out for us.

Now that we know why shoppers abandon their carts, there is a lot we can focus on to reduce cart abandonment when dropshipping.

Addressing these key points should help you reduce your cart abandonment rate and redirect a good portion of shoppers that don’t initially complete their purchase. 

Wishing you luck in understanding your customer pain points better, reducing any friction that causes cart abandonment and increasing conversions!

Want to Learn More?

Do Dropshipping - Author Logo

Hi! My name is Janet and I’m the owner of a dropshipping store in the Home and Garden niche. As a freelance writer, I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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