Reduce Cart Abandonment with 6 Tactics from Top Merchants

cart abandonment


Reducing cart abandonment has become a top priority for retailers looking to optimize their traffic–and for good reason.

On average, 73% of users abandon their active carts…

…leaving items unpurchased and conversion opportunities missed. Watching a huge volume of customers abandon just moments before checkout is maddening for merchants. The frustrations of losing conversions has spurred on extensive research as to why people decide to quit at the last minute. Today, we’re going to discuss strategies to reduce cart abandonment as we audit the cart pages of the five following websites:

  1. Crate&Barrel
  2. Symantec
  3. AutoZone
  4. U.S. Auto Parts
  5. Cabela’s

As with our previous installments in this abandonment analysis series, the shopping cart pages will be judged on the categories of usability, presentation, focus, and flow.


Usability Reduces Cart Abandonment

Alternate Payment Methods
71% of all online transactions in the United States and Canada are done with credit or debit cards. Although cards are, by a large margin, the most popular payment methods in North America, alternate methods are steadily gaining traction both domestically and abroad. When customers are poised to move onto checkout with a cart full of items, you want to provide their payment option of choice. In fact,

7% of shopping cart abandoners cite a lack of proper payment options as their reason for abandoning.
usauto_cart_detailLogically, to reduce cart abandonment, you’ll want to provide users with their preferred payment method. While the shopping cart isn’t the place to enter billing information, simply letting customers know which types of cards you accept goes a long way. Of the five websites analyzed, only U.S. Auto Parts and Symantec clearly and quickly list usable cards, removing any doubts from the consumer’s mind.

In addition to listing off accepted cards, U.S. Auto Parts joins AutoZone as the only two retailers to accept Check Out with PayPal directly from the shopping cart.

Cart Permanence
As we said before, an average of 73% of customers with an active cart abandon before making a purchase. Of these 73%, a significant portion will not return. Those who do return should experience the most seamless experience possible post-abandonment. Make sure carts are consistent without requiring a log-in.

Cabela’s and Crate&Barrel take this concept a step further by promoting wish-list functionality. Right next to the ‘delete’ or ‘remove’ buttons, these retailers give shoppers the choice to move an item to a saved list. The buttons here draw just enough attention to compete with ‘remove’ options, while staying far less prominent than checkout options. Fully stocked wish-lists reduce cart abandonment among return visitors, as they’ll have no problem finding what they need.

Usability Winners: U.S. Auto Parts & Cabela’s


Reduce Cart Abandonment through Presentation

Customer Reassurance
As the customer comes closer to making a purchase, establishing trust becomes more important. Customers want to know that their personal information will be safe in your hands as they fill out the requisite forms.


Three of the five companies audited use subtle contextual clues in the cart to help build trust. By including a padlock icon on the page alongside safety words, such as ‘secure,’ these websites allay the fears of wary customers and reduce cart abandonment.

Presentation Winner: Symantec


Flow: Reduce Cart Abandonment by Directing Customers

Navigational Changes
On the early pages of a website, retailers want to promote easy, non-linear browsing to help customers find exactly what they want to buy. However, as shoppers get closer to completing a sale, it’s often a good idea to start narrowing navigation and focusing exclusively toward checkout.


Of the five companies analyzed, Crate&Barrel was the only store to restrict navigation in an effort to focus attention entirely on moving forward. Although customers are (rightly) given an avenue back towards shopping, the navigation categories that once spanned the top of the screen are hidden, putting all of the focus on getting through to checkout.

Don’t let users get distracted and abandon the cart. Narrowing choices will reduce cart abandonment by increasing focus.

Once again, it’s time to take a take a close look at calls-to-action. Shopping cart CTAs should follow a few general rules:

  • Draw the most attention of all page elements.
  • Clearly state button function.
  • Label buttons with active language.

Although the majority of the companies analyzed satisfy these marks, AutoZone again finds their CTAs muddled among a sea of bright orange. While the brand’s color is certainly important to their recognition, surrounding the primary method of continuing on with like-colors is a risky move. Some customers may lose their way.

Flow Winners: Crate&Barrel and U.S. Auto Parts


Focus on Customers to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Coupon Code Field
Coupon code fields are constantly debated within the ecommerce sphere. Some believe that they’re a necessary part of offering discounts to customers, while others claim that their mere presence is reason enough for some users to abandon and go deal hunting.

Symantec takes the safest route of the five retailers by not providing a coupon code field. Even without a field, the retailer can still apply discounts by simply tracking traffic sources and session data. Automatically applying discounts prevents non-discounted users from feeling left out.

U.S. Auto Parts, however, takes an opposite approach. Next to the coupon code field is a link titled, “How do I get this?” A click of this link prompts the user for an email address in exchange for promotions and discounts. This is a smart move that provides the company with expanded marketing reach, even in the face of cart abandonment.

Shipping Estimator
According to our research,

Over 23% of shopping cart abandoners cite “additional charges” as the reason for terminating a session.

Seeing a different price between the cart and checkout is jarring for customers and oftentimes comes across as dishonest. Even if those additional charges are sales tax and shipping fees, the final price is oftentimes enough to turn away potential customers.


To offset this, Cabela’s uses a total cost calculator powered by ZIP code entry. This gives shoppers the opportunity to see exactly how much they’re expected to pay well before the final pages of checkout, effectively reducing cart abandonment.

Focus Winners: Symantec and Cabela’s

The Results
Since our friends over at the Baymard Institute already have an in-depth exploration of all five of these companies’ checkout flows, this is where our analysis ends. By totaling up the number of wins in each category, we get a pretty close race.

  • Symantec, Cabela’s, and U.S. Auto Parts tie for first with 5 wins each.
  • AutoZone and Crate&Barrel follow with 4 wins each.

Although these websites are all impressive in their own ways, it’s important to note that none are perfect. With continued study, testing, and optimization, any website can further reduce product, checkout, and cart abandonment to increase revenue earned. To learn more about reducing site abandonment, contact the experts at UpSellit.


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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