Are you tracking abandoned carts?

If you have an Ecommerce site then you must be aware of abandoned carts and the potential value that sits within a list of people who have abandoned their cart at the last minute. If you aren’t then you should be tracking abandoned carts.

A point to make from the start – whilst this post touches upon abandoned cart emails and re-targeting it focuses on the much wider issue of abandoned carts, the issues and learnings that can be made from having a full tracking system in place.

People leave their carts for many reasons and tracking abandoned carts not only opens up a channel for a proactive (and more importantly non-invasive) remarketing opportunity but tracking can also identify issues in your user journey and highlight issues in your product range that can be addressed.

Why do people abandon carts online?

If you had all the answers to this and more importantly the solutions you could sell it for millions (maybe not millions, but people would pay a pretty penny for it) but the truth is that there are all sorts of reasons.

Below is an image ive borrowed from which was produced based on results from a large sample of US users. Ignore that they are US users – behaviour and issues will be very similar to our brothers and sisters across the pond.

Reasons for abandoned carts


You can see straight away that there is such a variety of reasons why abandonment happens and you can quickly see which you can address and which you can’t.

Work out your missed revenue

You may not be tracking abandonment but i guarantee you know your:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value
  • Average Order Quantity

So you can quickly work out a value of lost revenue. Now, its important to point out that this is lost value for 1 sale per person. If you have a high percentage of return customers then you are missing out on customers who could return again and again…and recommend you to friends…We’ll come back to this point shortly!

It quickly adds up

Back to the image of reasons and lets get some categories…

Reasons for abandoned carts
Courtesy of
  • Proposition & Pricing
  • Technical Issues
  • User Journey
  • Checkout
  • User personal issues
  • User behaviour

Now you can see which you can and can’t control and put a plan in place.

The beauty of the web is the abundance of tools available to track and monitor things like this so that you can use data to drive improvements on site and to the user experience. Not only cart abandonment but abandonment of account creation, contact form completions and much more.

Next steps for tracking abandonment?

Hopefully this post has highlighted the importance of tracking abandonment and has got you thinking about other funnels to track. The importance and priority you place on it is likely to change when you can see the difference in a pounds and pence.

But now you know the scale of this issue what do you do about it?

Remarketing – I would bet most of you have received an email from a store where you left a cart. These emails can perform really well if you can address potential issues for abandonment. For example – people abandon because of lack of information about delivery or delivery changes – you can address these questions here. If price could be the issue then offer a discount code to try and push users over the line. Think of potential lifetime value of customers mentioned earlier.

Development – whether you see a sudden change in conversion and abandonment or you have prolonged suffering you can identify areas for improvement. If you are tracking checkout steps you could see any areas of friction. If you are going down this route then signing up to somewhere like could provide some great insight.

There are some user behaviours to consider which tend to muddy the water and are dependent on the site and the business and this is why not only tracking is sufficient but GOOD tracking is sufficient that gives you information, as much as possible at a user level.

  1. Users can be tempted to built a cart on mobile and then transact on desktop later. Do you want to offer promo codes to these people – identifying this segment of users would drive targeting however from a site development point of view – do you use a cross-device basket?
  2. Some users will get to checkout and then leave to find promo codes on 3rd party sites. This is the behaviour of many people. Considering using 3rd party sites here can be a win, however a promo code in retargeting emails can work and save costs of using 3rd party sites.
  3. You’ve caught people in the early stages of research – this is dependent on products sold but if you sell products that are more of a considered purchase then a more product detailed abandonment email may be needed.

If you have a WordPress site then here is a simple tool for tracking abandoned carts and a good place to start.

Whilst the above should give you some ideas to mull over and strike some importance of proper tracking of carts and users on site. There are also reasons to look at this from a traffic source point of view – but we’ll cover this in a later post.


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