How we captured the details for 62% of cart abandoners

By 28/03/2017 June 4th, 2019 One Comment
10 min read

It’s no secret.

In fact, it’s an issue pretty much everyone in the eCommerce sphere knows, discusses, and understands. Or at least think they understand.

Stay with me here. I’m not saying you, in all your wisdom and experience, have no idea what you’re talking about. Cause that’s not true.

What I am saying is the majority of eCommerce experts and business owners have built their processes and knowledge on outdated or incomplete information.

The problem I’m talking about is, of course, cart abandonment. Most regularly referred to as “the biggest problem facing eCommerce stores” and the “$4 trillion hole”. 

These are both examples of good information based on fact. But at the same time, the facts this information is based on don’t address the full severity of the information.

Read any article on cart abandonment and, invariably, you’ll see the below two stats:

  • 69% of carts are abandoned (source)
  • It’s costing the industry $4 trillion per year (source)

Problem is, these stats are massively outdated. I mean, the Baymard Institute stat is probably the top quoted source on this, but if you look at their stats you’ll wonder why it’s still relevant.  Incorrect cart abandonment statistics

Their average stat of 69% is derived from only a handful of sites (some, like Listrak, pull from various sources though) and their reported abandonment going as far back as 2006.

I’m sure that’s relevant from an academic standpoint, but do you, as an eCommerce professional, care about 2006 stats?

Do you want them included in the average for cart abandonment or are you more interested in recent developments? Year on year change and how it’s affecting the industry today?

The latter, right?

You’re running a business today and need to know what the current challenges are. Unfortunately, those current challenges and the way cart abandonment has developed is not good.

Listrak is keeping a closer eye on the cart abandonment statistics and it’s a lot higher than most people believe. At the time of writing they put the number at 78% with the six month average at 77%. Nearly a full 10% higher than the oft-quoted stat.

updated cart abandonment statistics

The good news is the issue of cart abandonment does get a lot of press. There’s a ton of information out there to help you prevent abandonment or bring abandoners back on site.

But there’s a huge disconnect between the most popular recommended solutions.

The Most Often Quoted Solution

With cart abandonment being such a huge issue there is, of course, a huge amount of information on the topic. Most of that information focuses on re-engaging visitors with cart abandonment emails.

And, with email being the highest converting channel, that’s some great advice.

Email has an average 38:1 ROI and, for cart abandonment, the gains are even higher. There are numerous reports online of brands recapturing between 7% and 12% of lost revenue through cart abandonment emails.

Cart abandonment emails grab the attention of store owners like you because the potential for recapturing lost revenue is great. Knowing this, marketing brands and agencies churn out tons of content like the below to help you run more effective cart abandonment campaigns.

  1. Cart Abandonment Emails – The Mystic Mantra to Win Back Abandoners – Email Monks
  2. 5 Mistakes You’re Probably Making with Your Cart Recovery EmailsReshu Rathi for SmartInsights
  3. Cart Abandonment Emails: Creating Content that Maximizes ConversionsGreg Randall for eConsultancy

These are great articles but, as with most advice on the topic, they’re missing a key element. They overlook one piece of crucial advice key to the effectiveness of your abandoned cart email campaign.

They don’t tell you how to capture the email address of your abandoning users.

They detail the reasons for abandonment, how to optimize your emails, optimal send frequency, and everything else. But you can’t take advantage of cart abandonment emails if you’re not building your list.

You could have the most optimized cart abandonment email sequence in the world, but with no addresses to send to, who’s going to see it?

No one.

Capturing the email of users is incredibly important. Unfortunately, there’s very little advice on this specific to cart abandonment and, the solution most advise instead, is anything but complete.

The Current 1-2 Approach Most eCommerce Stores Employ

Most eCommerce stores employ a simple 1-2 strategy to reduce abandonment and recapture those they fail to persuade. They:

  1. Streamline the path to purchase
  2. Use an exit-intent popup to capture the details of those who don’t purchase

This can be very effective. Case in point, the 99:1 ROI Yieldify achieved for Domino’s with an exit-intent incentive popup.

But this isn’t an optimized solution. If you look at the below study, you’ll see the primary reasons for abandonment manifest at the final hurdle (shipping costs, delivery time etc), or are due to there being a lack of purchase intent (researching only).

Reasons for eCommerce abandonment


Exit intent pops are a great way to grab attention, but they’re served when the prospect is pissed off.

They’re served just after they’ve noticed they’re going to have to pay $20 for shipping or that the product won’t arrive in time for when they need it.

A money off incentive is powerful, but it’s not enough to change the mood of someone who’s pissed at seeing the price jump $20 and it’s of no use if the issue is delivery time.

And for those who are just researching, a small saving isn’t enough to persuade them to make the purchase right now.

Let’s put this into real terms. A user, let’s call him Tommy, wants a flat cap. It’s a slow day at work so he decides to check out Mr. Porter’s stock.

Streamline eCommerce journey

That Lock & Co hat is right up Tommy’s alley. So, he clicks through, has a look, and adds it to his bag.

ecommerce Purchase Journey

Mr. Porter’s done a great job at streamlining the path to purchase. As soon as you click add to cart, they serve an immediate CTA to complete the purchase. But Tommy’s shopping around.

He added the cap to the bag to compare it to others. He heads back to the search results page and searches for other hats, adding them to his bag.

This is where things go wrong. Tommy is at work. An urgent task might come up or the boss might drop by. Something happens that makes Tommy need to close the window.

Even if Mr. Porter served an exit-intent pop, Tommy isn’t going to care. His focus is on not pissing off the boss. He ignores the popup and closes the window.

Mr. Porter’s lost a potential customer because they didn’t collect his email details. If they had collected the email details they could have followed up with him later in the day or week. But they didn’t capture anything.

And this is the same mistake the majority of eCommerce stores make.

They fail to act at the time when intent is highest.

In the above, Tommy’s purchase intent was highest when he first clicked add to bag. Mr. Porter obviously knows this as they ask him to complete the purchase then and there. But, as the studies above show, there’s a multitude of things that can go wrong.

He could have been dissuaded from completing his order after the point of highest purchase intent. Offering a conciliatory cash incentive when user attention and interest is already waning is not an optimal way to capture details and make sales.

You have to strike when the iron is hot. You have to understand when your users are most interested and offer an action which most of them will take. An action which will give you the option to chase the user over a period of time, re-engage them and get that sale.

The Method we Used to Capture 62% of on Site Cart Abandoners

Cart abandonment emails are incredible for growing revenue. However, there is a big problem in collecting email addresses for use in cart abandonment campaigns.

Streamlining the customer journey is a great action to take. And exit-intent pops are a proven method for gathering email addresses. But there’s a disconnect. If your streamlined journey fails to convert the exit intent pop is something of an apology.

It’s kind of like saying “hey, we’re sorry we couldn’t get you to open your wallet, how about we let you pay less?”. It can grow revenue, but it’s very much a last ditch effort.

To capture email details when purchase intent is at its highest, we created the add to cart popup.

The popup triggers when a user’s purchase intent is highest. As soon as a user adds an item to their cart, they’re served a popup like the below.

We use the ATC popup in all our stores

At that point in the purchase journey, your user has expressed an incredible interest in a product. Whether they’re interested in purchasing now or are just researching isn’t going to change the effectiveness of the popup.

Customizing it with a message like “make sure you don’t lose your cart!” appeals to those who are researching for later or interested in purchasing now. But, and this is the key difference, it triggers at a point where their purchase intent is highest.

They’ve seen the product and like it so much they want to add it to their cart. They’ve not yet seen anything to dissuade them from completing, meaning you have a far better chance of getting their details.

We’ve tested the popup on our own stores and found it to be incredibly effective at capturing emails for later cart abandonment email campaigns.

We’ve seen an average 62% lead capture rate by getting this popup to trigger immediately after a user clicks the add to cart button.

Even the first test was incredible

62% is an insane statistic for this. Sure, the number of tests we’ve done aren’t as vast as others, but as we continue to test this method we’re seeing the conversion rate stay pretty stable.

Contrast this with the average exit intent conversion rate and you’ll see that acting when purchase intent is at its highest is the best way to grow your list and give you cart abandonment email opportunities.

  • Thomas Griffin saw a 5% conversion rate using exit-intent popups (Source)
  • Compensa Saw a 9.5% Conversion rate with exit-intent popups (Source)
  • Lavinia Lingerie captured the details of 2.59% of abandoning users thanks to an exit intent popup (Source)

Exit Intent is a Good, But Not Great Method for Filling Your Abandonment Email List

We get it. Exit intent is a great way to capture lost revenue.

Recapturing even 1% of your abandoning visitors is a bonus most eCommerce stores would be happy to experience.

However, waiting until your user is displaying signs of wanting to leave is too late. Ask any good marketing nerd and they’ll tell you that the highest gains come from building desire and asking for action when that desire is at it’s highest.

Our add-to-cart popup does exactly that. It triggers when desire and purchase intent are highest. It adds 62% of users to your email list so you can continue to market to them int he future.

Best cart abandonment solution

Recart’s add to cart popup is triggered when purchase intent is at its highest point.

And if they don’t convert today, you can add them to your cart abandonment email series and bring them back on site to complete the purchase.

This really is the most effective way for eCommerce store owners to increase their email list and revenue. If you’re running exit-intent popups right now then experiment with our add-to-cart popup and see how much more effective it is at growing your list and driving sales.

If you’d like to take Recart for a spin at no cost, check out our sign up page and start recapturing 62% of your site abandoners today.

Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle

Pete Boyle is a conversion copywriter and content manager for Recart. He's helped various eCommerce brands increase their revenue through streamlined sales funnels and more effective copy. You can connect with him on Twitter or on his personal site,