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Basket Abandonment, Explained

By Emma Foster • Tuesday Sep 11th, 2018

We're depicting some of the key terms in the eCommerce world

When working on an eCommerce business, it’s important to have a good understanding of the key terms which make up the industry. Whether you’re starting up an eCommerce business or are looking to make changes to your current one, keeping yourself informed is one of the most valuable things you can do.

One of the terms floating around in the eCommerce ocean is Basket Abandonment. With a good understanding, you can use basket abandonment campaigns to optimise web conversions and communicate with your customers on a more personal level.

What Is Basket Abandonment?

Take your supermarket for example, imagine you’re doing your weekly shop, picking up all your essentials and putting them into your trolley. After an hour or so of shopping, you decide to leave your full trolley by the kiosk and, for reasons unknown to the shop keepers, walk out of the shop. This is a real life explanation of basket abandonment and is an unlikely scenario, but when it comes to online shopping, potential customers are dumping their baskets last minute and not completing their purchase. According to, ‘The average abandoned basket is worth £30 a month, potentially resulting in more than £18bn of lost sales each year.’ Read the full article here

Why do people abandon their baskets?

There are various reasons why customers don’t complete their purchase and it’s important, from a business perspective, to understand the reasons for this. There can be many complications in a buying journey, from technical issues to personal circumstances. The customer may have struggled to access the payment mode or maybe the journey wasn’t as user-friendly as they would have liked. It can be that the customer felt it was quite a hassle to go through the payment system, or the services provided weren’t good enough for them, bringing them to discard the idea of buying from the website all together.

On the other hand, customers might leave their carts due to other factors completely unrelated to the website itself. It may have been that the customer was distracted or had to leave for personal reasons. Maybe they were trying to save their money, or were waiting until payday. Or maybe the abandonment was due to a power failure, internet problems or technical issues out of their control, and caused them to suddenly leave without a warning. Whatever the reason for abandoning the basket, there is a chance the customer still wants to buy the products, which is where clever basket abandonment campaigns come into play.

How to utilise Basket Abandonment?

There are a few ways to troubleshoot why a customer may be abandoning their basket. If website issues are suspected, run through the site to detect any flaws which could be holding up the buying process. This can be executed with the help of CRO, which will detect the changes in traffic when upgrading certain features of the website. Once you can understand the customer behaviour, make sure the navigation and checkout process is smooth and user friendly.

Whether the customer has left due to the website or on their own accord, another term that comes into play is cart abandonment emails. The system works by detecting the user who left the cart and then saving up their basket information. With this information, you can send the user an automated email to remind them that they have items in their basket. This email can pull through the items in the basket, which can tempt the user to come back and finish their purchase. Emails can also use a discount as an incentive for customers to come back and complete their order.

Basket abandonment emails are used to create urgency, the user will be asked whether they want to go ahead with the final procedures, and if they don’t buy within the given period, the items in the cart will be lost. These emails can also be used as surveys to analyse why the customer had to leave the site in the first place. This gives the business a better insight into why people may be abandoning their baskets, posing the opportunity to make necessary improvements, as well as improving their brand reputation and relationship with potential customers.

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