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A Guide To Lowering Your Cart Abandonment Rate with Google Analytics

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Cart abandons are painful. Not only can it feel like a personal insult that someone decided not to buy your product, abandons also hit ecommerce stores financially. 

This is especially true if you’re running ads to acquire site visitors—essentially meaning you’re paying for a person to browse your site, put items in their cart, then leave before purchasing.

It’s a problem that each ecommerce store owner faces, and the correlation between the popularity of ecommerce stores and the number of people that Google ‘shopping cart abandons’ indicates a solution is desired:

Google trends for shopping cart abandonment
Source: Google Trends

In this article, we’ll show you the cart abandonment rate formula to help you monitor your progress, explore ways to reduce your checkout abandonment rate, and help you track cart abandonment in Google Analytics.

Why Is Shopping Cart Abandonment So Important?

The average cart abandonment rate across all verticals is a whopping 70%. In other words, for every 100 people that visit your site, only 30 make a purchase.

At that percentage, store owners should consider it a normal part of doing business. This means that instead of hoping your sales will come from first-time visitors while they’re on your site, you accept that many will come through follow-up communication.

This is where automation is your friend: the average open rate for a cart recovery email is over 42%, and the click-through-rate is close to 11%—both of which are higher than industry standards.

Discover how Baking Steel uses automated emails to generate 33% of its email revenue, despite being 2% of their total email sends.

What Is A Good Cart Abandonment Rate?

In its review of 44 studies, Baymard Institute found the average cart abandonment rate is 70%. Of those 44, the worst rate was over 84%, and the best was 55%.

On the one hand, this means that you can expect more than half of your visitors to leave before completing the checkout process. To look at it in a more positive light, if your checkout abandonment rate is below 70%, you’re performing better than the average. If you’re below 60%, you should be feeling particularly good about yourself.

To calculate your site’s cart abandonment rate formula, divide the number of completed transactions by the number of times a visitor added items to the basket. Subtract that number from 1, and multiply by 100. As a formula, it looks like this: (1 – (sales ÷ abandoned carts)) * 100

If your site generated 10,000 sales and you had 90,000 abandoned carts, your calculation would look like this:

10,000 ÷ 90,000 = 0.111

1 – 0.111 = 0.889

0.889 * 100 = 88.9

Your cart abandonment rate would be 88.9%.

If you generated 10,000 sales and had 30,000 abandoned carts, your calculation would be:

(1 – (10,000 ÷ 30,000)) * 100 = 67%

Tracking Cart Abandonment In Google Analytics

It’s 2021—we have (some) self-driving cars, voice-controlled smarthomes, and omnichannel automation software. It would be strange if a checkout abandonment rate had to always be calculated manually.

Fortunately, you can track within Google Analytics instead. By doing so, you can see your cart abandonment rate over time, including any changes as you make optimizations.

To set it up, you need to create a goal funnel with the following steps:

Goal funnel google analytics
Source: Google Analytics

First, the Destination is the URL visitors go to after completing a purchase.

Second, turn the optional Funnel toggle to ‘on.’ This is how the calculation for cart abandonment in Google Analytics is made. You need to add a new Step for each URL that the visitor goes to when making a purchase.

In this example there are two steps: the cart and the checkout. If your store has additional steps, such as upsells, make sure to include them here too—that way, you will see if people abandon at a particular point.

Once the funnel is created, Google will start collecting the data, and you can see a visual overview of its performance under Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization.

Funnel visualization google analytics
Source: Google Analytics

3 Ways To Reduce Abandoned Carts Using Google Analytics

Tracking carts is an important part of running an ecommerce store, but knowing the overall abandonment rate is of limited use. What you really want to know is where customers are dropping off, and why.

With Google Analytics on your side, it’s easy to drill into the specifics.

1. Checkout Barriers

If the cart analytics shows that most of your abandons occur at your checkout stage, it could indicate a problem here. Is this where people are forced to make an account, or do they see shipping rates for the first time? 

You can take the guesswork out by simply going deeper into the data. For example, it could be that a high percentage of visitors who leave at the checkout page are on a mobile device, or a specific browser, or are a new visitor. Knowing this, you can implement optimization and monitor any improvements to your abandonment rate.

2. Geographical Issues

Around half of cart abandons are because of additional costs such as taxes and shipping. If you charge varying shipping costs based on where the buyer lives, segmenting cart abandonment in Google Analytics can help you see if it’s discouraging buyers from completing their purchase.

By segmenting based on location, you’ll see whether higher shipping costs correlate with a higher checkout abandonment rate. If they do, you could try different options such as a flat rate of shipping and see what impact it has on conversion rates.

3. Giving Too Many Options

A common mistake on many websites is too many CTAs. Multiple options can be distracting and overwhelming, ultimately leading visitors to take no action at all.

While it’s logical to assume that by giving multiple options we give more people an opportunity to be interested, the opposite usually happens. There are a couple of reasons: one, it’s distracting and overwhelming to have our attention pulled in multiple directions. Two, when faced with multiple choices, we can get confused and decide it’s easier to leave than make a decision.

A good example of this can be found with the video game The Sims 3: its original landing had a small ‘sign up’ button, multiple news links, and buttons to the Sims Store. By removing all the clutter and introducing a new, focused page with a single clear CTA to sign up, registrations increased by 128%.

Recovering Cart Abandons With Automation

An abandoned cart doesn’t necessarily mean a lost sale—automation tools like Omnisend allow you to keep in touch with people who didn’t buy immediately and encourage them to purchase later.

1. Automated Sequences

An automated, omnichannel sequence will follow up with your site visitors after they’ve left your site. 

By using the A/B messaging feature, you can send different messages and sequences to different visitors and test them against each other. This sequence can be as basic or clever as you want it to be. 

You could, for example, send everybody the same message. Alternatively, the type of item in the cart could determine the message they receive: this way, a fashion store may send different messages to people looking at dresses than people looking at winter jackets. Enhance the sequence further by incorporating abandonment SMS, which can be a great way to close the sale.

Perhaps the best part of an automation sequence is that it’s all done on your behalf. Once you’ve set it up, carry on with other tasks in the knowledge that the sequence is running smoothly. 

Combined with the cart abandonment in Google Analytics, you’ll have an effective system for reducing your checkout abandonment rate and improving your conversion rate.

2. Retargeting Across The Web

Even if you don’t have your visitors’ contact information, you can send personalized messages through retargeting. By simply placing an ad pixel on your checkout page, you can send tailored adverts to them on Facebook and Google.

With the Omnisend platform, you can integrate all of this into one campaign. This way, your site visitors will only receive relevant communications—so if they purchase after seeing a retargeting advert they’ll stop receiving email and SMS reminders, and vice versa. 

This guarantees that your visitors aren’t receiving messages they shouldn’t, which helps to generate positive sentiment of your brand and keeps your costs down by only sending relevant communications.

Wrap Up

Cart abandonment is a problem that every ecommerce business faces. While you’ll never manage to convert every visitor, there are various methods for reducing your checkout abandonment rate.

Optimizing your store as much as possible and tracking cart abandonment in Google Analytics are important steps, and then you need to consider ways to reach people after they’ve left your site. By incorporating an automated omnichannel sequence, you can send friendly reminders to people via email, SMS, as well as ads on Google and Facebook to recapture them.

Get started with Omnisend today & drive sales on autopilot with pre-built automation workflows
Article by
Whitney Blankenship

Sr. Content Marketing Manager for Omnisend. When not writing awesome content, Whitney is reading up on the latest in digital marketing, ecommerce, and social media trends. Obsessed with pop culture, art, and metal. Powered by coffee. Fastest Googler in the West.