Basket abandonment is a huge problem facing eCommerce businesses. UK consumers leave a whopping £18 billion worth of products in online baskets every year, according to Barclaycard. Just over 69 percent of online baskets are abandoned.

In this article, we explore seven checkout optimisation strategies that help to reduce basket abandonment. Read on to learn how to encourage more customers to complete the checkout process.

Why do people abandon baskets?

To effectively combat basket abandonment, we need to understand what causes people to abandonment baskets. The truth is that people abandon for a multitude of reasons but that doesn’t mean that that aren’t some areas to hone in on.

The 10 most common reasons for basket abandonment

Research by the Baymard Institute revealed the following most commons reasons why people abandon their basket:

  1. High extra costs, such as shipping charges: 60 percent of basket abandonment happens for this reason.
  2. Forced account creation: Over a third (37 percent) of basket abandonment happens when people are forced to register before they check out.
  3. Long/complicated checkout process: Lengthy and confusing checkout processes account for 28 percent of basket abandonment.
  4. Unable to see/easily calculate total cost upfront: Frustration at not knowing the total cost at a glance causes 23 percent of basket abandonment.
  5. Website had errors/crashed: 20 percent of basket abandonments happen because of errors and website crashes.
  6. Did not trust site with credit card details: A lack of trust causes 19 percent of basket abandonment.
  7. Delivery was too slow: Slow delivery accounts for 18 percent of basket abandonment.
  8. Returns policy was not satisfactory: 11 percent of basket abandonment happens because people are not confident they can return things easily.
  9. There weren’t enough payment methods: 8 percent of basket abandonment happens when people can’t find their preferred payment method.
  10. Credit card was declined: 4 percent of basket abandonment happens when payments are not approved.

How to reduce basket abandonment

Now you understand why basket abandonment happens, here are seven strategies you can use to reduce it. These focus on optimising the checkout process to keep customers on track.

1. Overcoming shipping cost anxiety

High extra costs are the single biggest cause of basket abandonment. Shipping charges are a common reason for additional costs.

The simplest way to overcome this is by offering free shipping. If you can’t justify doing this for every customer, try offering free shipping:

  • above a certain threshold
  • on certain items only
  • at certain times of year (e.g., around Black Friday, during season sales)
  • for first-time customers

If none of these options work for you, advertise shipping costs before customers reach checkout. This means they are less likely to abandon their baskets at the last minute.

2. Don’t force account creation

People will avoid filling out forms whenever they can, so don’t force them to register for an account.

This is particularly important if they haven’t shopped with you before. Forcing them to register may come over as presumptuous.

Allowing people to check out as guests overcomes this hurdle and can have a massive monetary impact. One brand found changing their “Register” button to “Continue” and adding a guest checkout brought them an additional $300 million in revenue.

You can still offer the option of signing up for an account but save it until the end of the checkout. Or if you do it earlier give people reasons to do so. For example:

  • tracking their order easily
  • free delivery
  • discount on first purchase

Another way to approach this problem is by offering a social sign in option. A study in 2015 revealed that the average UK consumer has 118 online accounts and that will nearly double to 207 by the end of the decade.

Asking for account creation is effectively asking potential customers to remember yet another password. Social sign in removes this hurdle and keeps things simple for the customer.

3. Keep them focused

Online shoppers are easily distracted. Keep them focused on the checkout process by showing them progress.

A simple progress bar is a smart way to set expectations. Try dividing this into numbered steps and make it easy for people to go back a step should they need to.


Another way to keep shoppers on track is by reducing opportunities to leave the checkout process such as removing your navigation bar and only linking to pages that are vital to the checkout experience.

4. Make it easy

Online shoppers are impatient creatures and get easily frustrated by complicated checkout processes. Make things simple for them by ensuring your checkout is mobile optimised and fast loading.

Don’t ask them for info that you don’t need. Keep forms to must-have fields and make data input easy. Show any errors in-line with form completion rather than flagging them at the end.

inline errors

Make it your aim to reduce friction when customers come to make their payment. Try offering:

  • multiple payment options
  • 1-click payment
  • the option to remember payment details

5. Reduce buyer anxiety

Parting with their hard-earned money may cause customers anxiety. This is particularly true if they are buying from an eCommerce store they have not used before.

Reduce buyer anxiety by optimising your website and checkout process to build trust. Adding trust logos that verify your payment system is secure is a great start.

Using social proof such as ratings and reviews is another way to reassure customers about their purchase.

Price can be a real concern for some customers. Reduce their fear of missing out on a better deal elsewhere by offering price matching.

Another important way to minimise buyer anxiety is by making your contact details and shipping policies super clear. Transparency helps buyers make a confident, informed decision.

6. Keep them motivated

Avoid basket abandonment by keeping customers motivated to buy. There are two important dimensions to this: urgency and enjoyment.

Creating a sense urgency gives customers a wake-up call and expediates their purchase decision. You can do this by adding real-time low stock level alerts to your website or countdowns for delivery deadlines.

Enjoyment is also key to the checkout experience. Shopping with you should be a pleasure not a chore. Delight customers with a free gift or make them smile with a playful tone of voice.

7. Think beyond the checkout

Our seventh strategy is to think beyond the checkout. Consider how you can entice customers back to buy if they do abandon.

According to research by Forrester, 90 percent of basket abandonment leads go cold within an hour. Basket abandonment emails allow you to reach out in real-time so you can make an impact before this short time window closes.

This smart automation is an effective way to drive customers back onsite to finish checking out. Nearly half of baskets abandonment emails are opened and a third of those who open them go on to make a purchase.


Here are three key elements basket abandonment emails should include:

  • engaging subject line that can be understood at a glance
  • product images and descriptions of what was left in the basket
  • call to action that compels the customer to click through and complete their purchase


Implementing our seven checkout optimisation strategies will drive more customers to complete their purchases. Your basket abandon rates should drop as a result.

That said, basket abandonment never goes away completely. To recover revenue you may otherwise lose, be sure to implement basket abandonment emails. They’re a very effective way of recovering sales and we recommend that all eCommerce businesses should be using them. Our own technology helps our customers recover 12% of revenue that’s lost basket abandonment.

To see our basket abandonment software in action, book a demo via the button below.

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