How to Decrease Cart Abandonment for Mobile App

How to Decrease Cart Abandonment for Mobile App

One of the biggest issues that any eCommerce business faces is cart abandonment. People often add items to their shopping carts, only to leave the website without completing their purchase. In addition to eCommerce websites, eCommerce apps frequently see high cart abandonment rates, making it important to find ways to keep users in the app to complete their purchases.

In this guide to reducing cart abandonment for mobile apps, we’ll explore what cart abandonment is, the potential causes behind it, shopping cart abandonment effects, and steps on how to decrease cart abandonment.

What is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment refers to the situation where a shopper adds items to their online shopping cart but leaves the website or app without completing the purchase. This can happen for various reasons such as unexpected shipping costs, long checkout process, or simply a change of mind. Cart abandonment is a common issue faced by e-commerce businesses and can result in lost sales and revenue.

Cart Abandonment in eCommerce Apps

Although cart abandonment is a problem for all eCommerce businesses, it’s a particularly big one for eCommerce apps. Just consider the fact that the average cart abandonment rate for all industries is 69.57%. Meanwhile, the average cart abandonment rate for mobile users is even higher for mobile users at a staggering 85.65%.

One likely reason for the higher rate among mobile users is that it’s far easier for people to switch to another app using their mobile device. While people may switch to another tab in the same browser when shopping through a website, which could lead them to return to it using the same browser at a later point, mobile users often hop from app to app with ease, decreasing their chances of coming back to the eCommerce app as frequently.

There are also certain issues unique to apps that may contribute to a higher cart abandonment rate.

Online shopping

What Causes Mobile Cart Abandonment?

There are several potential reasons why mobile app users may abandon their shopping cart and neglect to complete a purchase. Understanding these can help app owners determine what to look for and what to optimize if they see a high cart abandonment rate.

Causes of Mobile cart abandonment:

  1. Compelling Payment Steps
  2. Shipping Costs
  3. Poor Performing App
  4. Lack of Trust
  5. Comparison Shopping
  6. Change of Mind

Compelling Payment Steps

One of the main reasons why mobile users may abandon their cart is the inclusion of long payment processes. Pay flows should be efficient and enable mobile users to easily provide payment details and information. Otherwise, people won’t have the patience to go all the way through each form and field.

According to Sleeknote, the average checkout flow has around 23 form elements, along with almost 15 form fields. To create a fully optimized checkout flow, it’s best to aim for no more than 12 form elements and seven form fields. If people don’t have to go through too many steps to lead to the actual checkout, they’ll be more inclined to complete their orders.

Shipping Costs

Another reason why users may opt out of purchase is unexpectedly high shipping costs. If people encounter steep shipping costs that aren’t transparent early on, they may change their minds about their purchase and abandon their cart.

If possible, you may want to offer certain deals to help ensure that customers complete their purchase, such as free or discounted shipping with their first order. You can also try to make shipping costs more transparent to users before they come across them at the end of the buying process. This will help weed out individuals who are more likely to avoid making a purchase because of shipping costs. Instead, people making a purchase will know exactly what to expect when starting their order.

Poor Performing App

This cause is unique to apps, as an app that’s difficult to use or buggy will keep people from completing purchases. It’s important to look at eCommerce apps as more than simply mobile stores—they’re an experience just like any other app. Application performance generally decreases shopping cart abandonment, making it necessary to optimize the app experience as much as possible.

Lack of Trust

If shoppers don't trust the website or app and have concerns about the security of their personal information, they may abandon their carts.

Comparison Shopping

Shoppers may add items to their cart to compare prices with other websites or to think about the purchase later.

Change of Mind

Sometimes shoppers may simply change their mind and decide not to make the purchase.

Negative Effects of Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

High shopping cart abandonment rates are detrimental to eCommerce apps in several ways, which is why you must take certain steps to decrease cart abandonment. Some of the negative effects of shopping cart abandonment for apps include:

  1. Increased Customer Acquisition Costs
  2. Inaccurate Data
  3. Issues With Inventory
  4. Reduced Customer Lifetime Value
  5. Increased Retargeting Costs
  6. Decreased Click-Through Rates for Ads
  7. Less Trust in Your Brand

Increased Customer Acquisition Costs

Many eCommerce app owners spend a large amount of money working to increase brand awareness and convert leads to customers through a variety of channels. However, all of this could be essentially worthless if people finally download and install the app, only to encounter an issue that keeps them from successfully converting. You may also fail to notice that the shopping cart is where the core problem lies in your funnel, particularly if you’re still seeing high download and install rates because of certain ads. As a result, you may continue pouring money into high-performing ads that ultimately don’t yield high ROI as people stop engaging right before their initial purchase.

Inaccurate Data

If you see high levels of traffic and usage on your app, you may believe it’s performing better than it actually is because of shopping cart abandonment. For instance, you might see that people are interacting a lot with certain product pages and features, which could lead you to think that these areas are very valuable to users. In other cases, they may leave certain features quickly, which could lead to the misconception that there’s an issue with certain features or products that don’t have to do with the shopping cart. If your app sees low-quality traffic that doesn’t convert, this could negatively affect traffic metrics, along with other data. Because of this, your business might suffer as you rely on low-quality and inaccurate data to track success and guide campaigns.

Issues With Inventory

Cart abandonment could also make inventory management difficult. Once users add items to their shopping cart, the app may remove the item from available inventory to reflect changes in availability. The result is a reduction in sales as people are unable to purchase the items they want because of too many carts containing them. This issue is particularly serious for booking apps, as there may be a higher number of rooms or seats available than what users see as people neglect to finish the booking process. To help prevent this issue, you may want to consider adding a “wishlist” option that enables users to add items to a list of potential future purchases, which will keep people from adding items to their carts instead.

Reduced Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value details how much each customer is worth over the course of their relationship with a brand. It’s a vital metric for eCommerce apps because of its ability to show how your marketing campaigns are performing in the long term. It also helps guide strategies that place emphasis on high-value customers and enables businesses to better determine how to balance business goals. If customers abandon their shopping carts, think about their spending capacity and how they might refer your app to others as you attempt to bring them back. Keep in mind that losing a potential customer can lead to significant long-term losses because of reduced customer lifetime value, which is why you need to work to recover abandoned carts as much as possible.

Increased Retargeting Costs

Abandoned carts can also lead to higher retargeting costs. As more people abandon the shopping cart and fail to make their first purchase, you’ll wind up spending more on retargeting campaigns to get those people to come back. If you want to avoid spending too much on retargeting ads and other efforts, you can take steps to mitigate cart abandonment, which will help eliminate the need to focus on reeling those prospects back into the sales funnel.

Decreased Click-Through Rates for Ads

By recovering potential customers that abandoned their shopping carts, app owners can significantly reduce abandonment rates. However, there will always be some level of abandonment among app users. Some of these individuals may want to simply browse a website and don’t intend to make a purchase at that time while casually adding items to their cart. Others may be comparing different brands and seeing which offers the best price.

Another group of shoppers may be in the research phase of the buyer’s journey and want to learn more about a brand’s offerings before committing to a purchase. In turn, as these shoppers add products to their cart, this activity generates certain history and data that may affect ad targeting. Ad platforms such as Google and Facebook could consider users as people who are engaged with a brand and continue pushing ads to similar prospects. Subsequently, ad click-through rates could drop dramatically as people see your ads who have no interest in converting, which will translate to a reduced return on ad spend.

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Less Trust in Your Brand

Certain issues that contribute to increased cart abandonment, such as poor performance and steep shipping costs, can make users less trusting of your company and app. This may lead them to stop using your app entirely and avoid completing a purchase from you in the future, and they may even speak negatively about your brand to others who might otherwise come to you for your unique offerings. Even if your products are of the highest quality, these shoppers won’t be able to try them if they stop interacting with your brand before buying.

How to Decrease High Cart Abandonment Rates on Mobile Apps

While increases in mobile cart abandonment rates are problematic, there are several ways to decrease high cart abandonment rates:

  1. Optimize User Experience
  2. Use E-mails
  3. Use Push Notifications
  4. Use Personalized Product Stories to Minimize Cart Abandonment
  5. Provide Multiple Payment Options
  6. Offer Discounts or Free Shipping

Optimize User Experience

In keeping people from abandoning their carts, you must provide them with the optimal user experience. People want to be able to easily navigate an app and complete a purchase. To optimize your mobile UX, take the following steps:

Use Short and Simple Forms

As discussed, checkout flows and other user flows can deter people from making a purchase on your app. To improve the user experience during checkout and in other areas of your app, keep forms short. Forms of six pages or longer in mobile apps could easily turn people away as they feel like they’re not getting anywhere closer to finalizing their purchase.

To reduce the length of user flows, remove all elements from processes that are unnecessary. For example, if you want to ask whether someone wishes to subscribe to your newsletter during checkout, provide users with a simple check box that users can tap on to add them to your contact list. If people request a quote, you can also ask for the user’s last name or e-mail address as opposed to a long list of unneeded information. You can also give users the option to make their shipping info the same as their payment info with the tap of a button. In some cases, you may also be able to facilitate one-tap purchases akin to Amazon.

Make Navigation Easy and Include a Search Function

People should be able to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for when using an eCommerce app. As people add items to their cart, make sure they never get lost at any point.

To make your app easily navigable, include a clear menu that people can tap on to visit any area of the app. Additionally, add a search function that allows users to search for specific products. You can also include this search function in your app’s main content area along with your menu. This will indicate to users exactly where the search function is if they want to look for a certain type of product or feature.

You should also make sure the search results page in your app is equally clear. You can enable users to sort results based on relevancy to make sure customers don’t get lost in search results, and keeping results distinguishable from each other will further prevent confusion and frustration.

Make Buttons Easy to Tap On

In optimizing the efficiency of user flows, another critical step to take is to make buttons easy to tap on for users. Some apps may make buttons too small or place them in areas where users don’t easily spot them. These issues can quickly frustrate users and keep them from completing a purchase. If you’re not sure how large to make your buttons for mobile users, you can follow Google’s “Accessible Tap Targets.”

Optimize App Speeds

You can also improve your app’s UX by increasing the app’s speed. You can do this in a few different ways.

One of the best ways to increase speed is to optimize your app’s images. Using too many images or images that are too large can slow an app just as it can a website. To compress large images, use image compression tools such as Squoosh, which can help you reduce your file size. Additionally, minify and combine the loaded JavaScript and CSS files, as doing so can reduce the number of connections that your app makes to servers, which will improve your mobile UX.

Don’t Overwhelm Users With Too Many Design Elements

You may want your app to look great, but simplicity is often more appealing than including too many visual components that only serve to bog the UX down. Try to keep the design tame but make sure it’s in line with your brand. Use the same types of color schemes that you use in other branding efforts and try to keep content in your app consistently digestible while maintaining the same branded messaging.

Test the UX on a Regular Basis

If you plan on implementing any changes to your user experience, test them for yourself. If you’re making a change to the design, see how it looks and consider running A/B split tests. Using A/B split testing, you can run two versions of a proposed change and see which performs better among users. You can then figure out which change to incorporate and which to avoid implementing. Through testing, you’ll make sure every change to your app is something that users find helpful and be sure that it won’t contribute to a cart abandonment rate increase.

Use E-mails

In the event of a prospective customer abandoning a cart, it’s important to do what you can to recover this shopper and get them to complete their purchase. One of the most effective tools to use for recovering abandoned carts is e-mail.

Once a user has added an item to their cart, you can use personalized emails to encourage them to return to the app. After a certain period of time passes, you could send an automated email to users to remind them that they’re only a few taps away from completing their order. Make sure your emails express how simple it is for them to take that final step to complete their order, and they’ll be more inclined to load your app and continue with their purchase. In addition, address users by name at the start of the e-mail to add a personal touch.

You may also want to include other recommended accessories or related products that might further entice users to not only complete their order but also add more items. You should also detail the value of your offerings to show what kind of savings customers can expect.

If items only stay in a cart for a limited time, you can also send an email reminding people how much time they have to complete their order before their cart expires. This will create a sense of urgency that further reduces cart abandonment rates.

Use Push Notifications

When used the right way, push notifications can also be highly effective in bringing people back to an eCommerce app to finish a purchase. Like emails, you can send automated push notification reminders to users with a simple encouraging message. For example, you can include a push notification such as “Forget something?” with an offer for a promo code to save on initial purchase. Again, similar to emails, you can also use personalization to draw attention, such as a “Hi [Name]” greeting to start the notification.

Use Personalized Product Stories to Minimize Cart Abandonment

Another great tool that you can use to decrease cart abandonment is a personalized product story. App stories are unique messages and visuals that users can receive in their app to keep them engaged.

Storyly’s in-app stories provide high-quality full-screen and personalized reminders to users, letting them know they have items left in their carts via product and RSS feeds. By using Storyly, app owners can decrease cart abandonment rates by showing stories multiple times for the products left in shopping carts. Based on the customer’s unique feed, users can automatically see the products in their carts through these stories, serving as a reminder of what the person could miss out on by abandoning their order.

Provide Multiple Payment Options

Offer various ways for customers to pay for their purchases. This can include accepting different types of credit and debit cards, digital wallets such as PayPal or Apple Pay, bank transfers, or other payment methods that are popular in the region or country where your app is available. By offering multiple payment options, you can make it easier for customers to complete their purchases and increase the chances of converting them into paying customers.

Offer Discounts or Free Shipping

Provide customers with a financial incentive to complete their purchase. This can be done by offering a discount code that customers can apply at checkout to receive a percentage off their total purchase, or by providing free shipping on their order. These types of incentives can motivate customers who are hesitant to complete their purchase, as they perceive that they are getting a good deal or saving money. This approach can help reduce cart abandonment rates and increase the likelihood of customers making a purchase, as well as building customer loyalty over time.

Use the Best Strategies and Tools to Minimize Cart Abandonment Rates

By developing the right strategies and utilizing the most appropriate tools, you can dramatically lower cart abandonment rates. By optimizing your app’s user experience, sending automated email and push notification reminders, and harnessing the power of innovative in-app stories, you’ll be able to build a strong connection with users and encourage them to complete their orders. This will help increase the number of satisfied users and customers, leading to increased engagement, retention, and loyalty among eCommerce app users. This means that you’ll have the chance to stay competitive and maximize the ROI of your efforts.


İrem Isık

İrem Işık is a Head of Marketing at Storyly. She holds a bachelor degree in business administration from the Middle East Technical University and MSc. degree in marketing & strategy from University of Warwick. As a former brand manager İrem knows/writes about marketing tech stack, brand management, marketing strategies, growth hacking.

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