Abandoned basket

Fernando Maciá

Written by Fernando Maciá

In the field of e-commerce, an abandoned basket is usually referred to as the set of products associated with an order that has not been completed correctly. Abandoned baskets provide very valuable information for the optimization of the online store and if worked correctly can be transformed into sales.

In an online purchase, the first step is to select the desired products and add them to the shopping cart. Once this is done, the potential customer will go through the following phases: register in the online store, select his shipping address and make the payment of the order. The user is free to abandon the payment process at any of the aforementioned stages. And the more phases we advance, the more information we will have to design a commercial action to recover the abandoned basket.

Shopping cart abandonment in online stores is one of the most worrying issues for webmasters. Many users who access a website initiate a purchase but do not complete it. Much has been said about the reasons and causes that lead to this, but the truth is that getting to know why a user adopts a certain behavior is really complex. Each online store is different, so each one needs a thorough independent study.

Studying user behavior with web analytics

Each e-commerce should study which aspects influence the user from the moment they add a product to the cart until they end up leaving the website without buying anything. The reasons that lead Manuel not to complete his purchase in store X will not be the same reasons why Maria has left her shopping cart full of products that she will not finally purchase in our store. To study these aspects we can use analytical tools such as Google Analytics or Hotjar.

Google Analytics

With this tool you will have access to valuable information that will help you make decisions within your store. Through the conversion funnel you will be able to know in which step of the purchase process there are more abandonments. This data is very useful for understanding user behavior. In this way we will be able to work and improve that point where customers tend to abandon the purchase. The key to all this is to try to convert an abandonment into a new conversion, by studying in detail the behavior adopted by users. In this way, we will be able to develop strategies that will help us to increase the conversions of our e-commerce.


Analyze user behavior

There are also other tools such as Hotjar, which will provide us with information of great interest related to heat maps, the route taken by the user once he has accessed our store… Perhaps the location of the basket is not appropriate because according to the tool, the view of our users hardly rests on it in that area of the web. As you can see, by gathering all this data we can set up a strategy in our online store that will lead us to achieve a higher number of sales.

There are two ways in which cart abandonment can occur in an online store.

  • On the one hand, we have those users who put the products in the cart but do not finish the purchase and leave the store with a full basket.
  • On the other hand, we have those customers who enter the products in the cart, access the checkout process to finish validating the order but finally leave the store in one of the steps of the process.

Why is a cart abandoned without a completed purchase?

Here are some of the reasons.

For online store operators, this is an ongoing headache. Why do users enter, select the article and then abandon? Were they really interested in the product? If they leave, how do you get them to come back? Complex questions that often do not have an exact answer. Although each online store has to be understood in its own context, we can narrow down some possible reasons why the user could be abandoning your online store without completing the purchase process.

Aspects related to shipping

Shipping options

Often the shipping options made available to the user are not what the user expected. It is advisable to add at least two alternatives from which you can choose. Here are the two most basic options, essential for your online store.

  • Home delivery

This type of delivery is usually really convenient for users, as they do not have to go to a physical store or travel anywhere. The product order is delivered to the address provided during the purchase process.

  • Shipment to physical store or pick-up point

It is another basic shipping option that every e-commerce should have. This alternative entails a lower cost, which is why many users opt for this option to save on shipping costs.

Shipping times

delivery timesWe are very impatient and even more so with everything for which we have invested a certain amount of money. Sometimes we wait until the last day to make purchases, so if we see that the store does not have fast shipping service, we will end up not purchasing the product. There are also those who make their purchase and, although they wish to have their item as soon as possible, prefer to wait a little longer so as not to have to pay a higher amount for shipping costs. We propose, as a minimum, to include two types of shipment:

  • Standard shipping: Normally this option will result in a lower cost for customers.
  • Express shipping: More expensive than standard shipping, but many users will prefer it.

Shipping and handling

Shipping costs are often the reason why an order is not finalized in an online store. Sometimes this price exceeds what the user would be willing to pay or does not know the amount of shipping costs until they process a shopping cart. It is recommended that we provide clear information in a visible part of our store.

It is interesting to propose the option of free shipping with a minimum order amount. This will encourage the user to make a larger purchase which will result in an increase in our conversions. In addition, you can suggest the products that can be purchased to reach the required price and free shipping.


We all like to buy with a money-back guarantee. It is mandatory by law, but the user will appreciate it if you remind them by placing it in a visible part of your website, along with other vital shipping information such as shipping costs, and some of the most advantageous variables of your online store.

The possibility of a free return is very attractive for a user, but for the merchant it usually translates into losses unless he has a very buoyant turnover, which is not usually the average case.

Aspects related to the purchasing process

The purchase process refers to the phases through which users go through in our online store until they purchase a certain product. From the moment they click on the item until they validate the order, a number of factors come into play that significantly influence their decision.

Complex purchasing process

Do not include long, complex and cumbersome purchasing processes.

We like to have everything handed to us on a plate, we don’t like complicated things and we don’t like things that make us waste a lot of time. The user who comes to your online store driven by an unmet need, will want to buy the product as soon as possible. Do not include long, complex and cumbersome purchase processes. The user will get tired before reaching the last step and will leave without completing the process, thus having lost a purchase. The user who makes an online purchase is looking for simplicity, brevity, conciseness and the momentary. Eliminate the data you don’t really need and try different form modes to see which works best: collect all the data on a single page or on several pages?

Methods of payment

Methods of payment
Another reason why the user may abandon an e-commerce with a full basket is because of the few payment options offered. If the customer has come to your store, entered and added the product to the cart, it is because he is really interested. The problem is if they find themselves with different payment methods than yours. In this case, you will not be able to make the purchase and will leave the store without completing the process.

Make sure that the ecommerce platform you choose can host several payment methods for your online store and be aware of the fees you will be charged.

What payment methods should you add to your e-commerce? This is not really an exact science, but we will point out the most common ones:

  • Credit/debit card
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash on delivery
  • PayPal

Always consider the costs involved in each one, since banks and operators such as PayPal take a commission on sales.


In most online stores you must be registered to be able to make a purchase. We can add as many products as we need to the shopping cart, but when it is time to process the shopping cart, we are required to register or authenticate in order to complete the process.

Facilitates purchase without registration: it usually encourages purchase.

Many users are reluctant to this set of practices. As noted above, we don’t like to spend a lot of time on these little things. Many customers who encounter this request decide to abandon the purchase immediately, as it often takes them longer to fill out the forms than to make the purchase.

Although collecting data about our users has countless advantages for us (such as getting their email address to include them in our email marketing campaigns), sometimes it is better to give it up in order to get new sales.

Final product price

Always present the final price of the product, i.e. the price of the product including VAT. You will avoid unpleasant surprises that will make the user abandon the purchase process.

Technical aspects of the website

There are a number of elements related to the technical aspects of a website that directly influence the user. Does your e-commerce platform offer all of the above options? Does it have a usable design? Is it fast enough? Is it adapted to all devices? Do you regularly generate errors? We must not overlook these errors in order to make your browsing and shopping experience as complete and optimal as possible.

Charging time

The loading time is one of the reasons why users may abandon the purchase process without buying the product they had added to the cart. The customer has no patience, he likes the immediate, if you make him wait too long he will get tired and leave. Your platform must be fast because it will also be a factor that positions you better in the eyes of Google.


We must opt for a design that is as intuitive and usable as possible. The user should instinctively know how to purchase your product or consult the information they need.

Adapted design

In April of this year one of the latest and most resounding updates in Google’s algorithm, called Mobile Update, was announced: those websites that presented a responsive design (already emerging some time ago) would be favored with a better ranking, which would mean the lowering of those that were not prepared to adapt to the new devices.

Even with this, we must not forget that responsive designs are rewarded and opt for better positions than those websites that are not adapted.

The enormous growth of smartphones and tablets has made it necessary to adapt websites to these types of devices. If your website does not have a responsive design and the user accesses your online store from a mobile device, the screen will be out of order and their browsing experience will not be favorable. Immersing yourself in a purchase process under these conditions is neither attractive nor comfortable and will make your potential customer leave without completing the purchase.

User-related aspects

No real intention to buy

Sometimes customers who enter our store and add a product to the cart do so with the sole intention of obtaining certain information that they have not found in any section of the website. In this case, it is advisable to add a section in the home page detailing all the information that may be useful to the user, such as: shipping costs, shipping options, payment methods, returns…


Sometimes, whether or not a purchase is made is determined by the degree of trust that the online store generates in the user. If we add a product to the cart, with the intention of wanting to buy it, but then there are elements and aspects that do not convince us, we will leave the cart abandoned and we will not finish the order.

Strategies for converting abandoned baskets into new purchases

In an online store, we must see abandoned baskets as a path that will lead to a new conversion. Not everything is negative because, even if the product was not finally purchased, it has aroused the user’s interest. It is now possible to recover abandoned baskets to get the most out of them and maximum profitability. Below we explain the two basic strategies to develop in your e-commerce.

Turn abandonments into new conversions by planning marketing strategies in your online store

Email marketing

This strategy can only be carried out if you have collected the email addresses of potential customers passing through your store. This way you can send them an email reminding them of the purchase they started but never finished. It is advisable to send this email a few hours after the user has left their purchase ‘half done’. If we delay any longer, he will easily forget our product. It’s like a call to action that encourages you to finish something you started. If we do not want to be considered spam, it is advisable to send a maximum of three emails per abandoned basket. In the second one we can offer you a discount on the product in question and in the third one we can show you items that you could purchase that are related to the one you were going to buy.

They will therefore be completely personalized emails. Email marketing campaigns can make a purchase that was not finalized, end up happening.


If you do not have the email address of the users who initiated the purchase process in your online store, you can make use of remarketing. From cookies collected by the browser, we will be able to show the user advertising in which the products in which he would have shown interest appear.

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Fernando Maciá
Fernando Maciá
Founder and CEO of Human Level. Expert SEO consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He has been a professor at numerous universities and business schools, and director of the Master in Professional SEO and SEM and the Advanced SEO Course at KSchool. Author of a dozen books on SEO and digital marketing.

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