How to Reduce High Cart Abandonment Rate Using Web Analytics

How to reduce high cart abandonment rate using web analytics

One of the greatest challenges when managing your e-commerce store is to keep products selling. But if a speck of dust gets into the process at any point, it can become a serious problem and could result in leakage in your sales. There could be tons of reasons why visitors interrupt their purchase and leave their cart behind, so tracking cart abandonment rate on your site is quintessential if you want to provide a customer-friendly user experience.

But what is cart abandonment rate?

Cart abandonment rate is an important metric for every e-commerce store - it shows the percentage of people that put at least 1 item into their shopping cart but left during the checkout process. If you want to know what is your store’s cart abandonment rate, you can calculate it with the following formula:

Let’s see how it works with a simple example. If you had a total of 100 initiated transactions in a month and 40 of them ended as successful purchases, your cart abandonment rate would be 1-(40/100)=0.6, which is 60%.

A Baymard Institute study finds that the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is around 70% (so the previously calculated 60% would count as a decent ratio). Overall this might sound a bit too high for an average rate. So what are the causes that make people leave their carts behind during the checkout process?

From bad user experiences like slow page load time to hidden extra costs, there could be several reasons why people get frustrated and stop shopping without actually buying anything. A Statista report found that these are the main reasons why most transactions remain unfinished (in America):

  • Extra costs too high (shipping, tax, fees) - 48%
  • The site wanted me to create an account - 24%
  • Delivery was too slow - 22%
  • I didn't trust the site with my credit card information - 18%
  • Too long/complicated checkout process - 17%
  • I couldn't see/calculate total order cost up-front - 16%
  • Website had errors / crashed - 13%
  • Returns policy wasn't satisfactory - 12%
  • There weren't enough payment methods - 9%
  • The credit card was declined - 4%

That seems like lots of pain points to deal with at once. But do you really need to handle all of them? The answer is no! You don’t have to worry about redesigning your site from scratch. With only a few adjustments, you can make wonders, and website analytics can help you identify what should be fixed on your site.

Web analytics - a versatile solution for your website

Website analytics is a multi-purpose set of tools that can provide different analyzable data about a website by collecting pre-set, well-defined information and generating statistics and graphs for inspection. Both quantitative and qualitative data could be acquired through website analytics - quantitative is all about countable data, like page visits or bounce rate, while qualitative can give meaning behind numbers, reveal hidden actions and explain why visitors behaved in certain ways (e.g. heatmaps, session replays, etc.).There are many ways you can take advantage of these tools. Let’s check what data you can collect and how they can be to your aid:

Quantitative analytics

Numbers can reveal a lot, and with quantitative analytics, you can harvest tons of numerical data from your site and create different graphs and diagrams to get a more clear picture of your website.


1. Metrics

There are several aspects you can examine your website from, and different metrics can reveal different bottlenecks in your checkout process. They might seem plain numbers, but they can serve as the perfect indicators of why your cart abandonment rate is high. Let’s introduce a few of them:

  • Session length - it shows the amount of time visitors spend on your website. You can break it down into individual pages, check it by browsers, or examine it by unique visitors. 
  • Bounce rate -  shows the percentage of visitors that left your website with a single page visit (e.g. a guest opens one of your product’s pages but not directing to other pages and leaves your website immediately).
  • Exit rate - indicates the percentage of people that left a certain page in a multiple-page view session. Exit rate is measured at the page where users are redirecting from to another site (so if a visitor went through the following path: Homepage -> Product page -> Checkout and left there, then exit rate is measured for the “Checkout page”).

At first, you might think: “How are these simple metrics supposed to help me in any possible way?”. Well, actually they can tell a lot. High cart abandonment rates at short sessions might mean that your website is confusing and they can’t find the necessary information they need on your product pages, they found your checkout process too long or people had to create an account to continue shopping. On the other hand, if you experience that people leave their cart right before finishing payment, it could be a sign of lack of trust, their preferred payment method is not available or they met extra fees for the first time in their checkout.

Furthermore, bounce and exit rates can give an insight into how each of your pages performs - a page with a high bounce rate could mean that your result page is overwhelming and users find it hard to navigate on your website, or a webpage with noticeably high exit rate could be a warning sign that the user experience is poor there because of faulty links, slow page load speed, etc.

2. Conversion funnels

If you want a more visual representation of quantitative data, then an e-commerce conversion funnel is your tool. Funnels are pre-set, multi-step events that represent how visitors are progressing through to the desired completion. An important metric comes into the picture here, which is conversion rate. It shows the percentage of people that reached the end point of your desired action. You can set up multiple funnels with different goals, like subscribing to your newsletter, or completing a purchase.

Funnels are extremely helpful when it comes to high cart abandonment rate. You can create one for your checkout process and see where visitors leak. Sales funnels can show you the drop-off rates between each step, thus helping you identify the origins of user pain points and lead you in the right direction.

Qualitative analytics

Though quantitative analytics can help you understand the big picture, it doesn’t explain the motivation behind actions. If you want to dig deeper and understand visitors' behavioral patterns, qualitative analytic tools are the solution for you! Here are the best tools to kick off:

1. Survey

The easiest way to find out what gets on visitors' nerves is to just directly ask them. Surveys are indirect data-gathering tools that simply collect customer feedback about why they left their cart before checking out. You can either ask controlled questions that you wish to hear a review about or let them express their opinion by themselves. Because of the versatility of surveys, you can identify almost all the main cart abandonment problems, and you don’t have to do website analysis by yourself!


Although surveys are the most personalized way to understand user pain points, sometimes visitors can’t give a concrete reason for what annoyed them during the checkout process. But thankfully, the following tools allow you to examine user behavior by yourself!


Heatmaps are visual representation tools that allow you to see how users interact on your website. There is a color scale where warmer colors indicate the most used part of your site, while the colder ones show the least popular parts. There are different types of heatmaps that can be used for various purposes:

  • Click heatmaps can unfold where visitors click on your web pages. You can see whether CTA-s serve their purpose or not, or if there is something that distracts users (like clickable-looking objects).
  • Scroll heatmaps give an overall picture of the most viewed parts of your webpage horizontally. You should put all the necessary content above-the-fold, or visitors might shut their eyes on them.
  • Segment heatmaps are like click heatmaps, but they show you how visitors from different sources interact with your site. This way you can identify platform-specific problems and focus on what really needs to be fixed.

Heatmaps are powerful, multifaceted tools you can use to tackle high cart abandonment rates. It can help you reveal the weak spots of your site so you can optimize it to become more user-friendly.

Use click heatmaps to discover unexpected clicks and create a more visitor-centered product page, scroll heatmaps to identify if important elements remain hidden from guests (like trust-factor badges, return policies or “Add to cart” buttons), or segment heatmaps if you don’t know whether a problem is specific on a platform or not. These are just a few examples of how you can take advantage of heatmaps, but they can provide many other possible solutions for high cart abandonment rates!

3. Session replay

If you want to understand why visitors behaved in certain ways, session replay is your tool. It records every interaction a visitor did on your site during their session. You can then watch these records back as if you were sitting next to your customer and see their mouse movements, where they clicked, and how they navigated through your site.

Session replay could be one of the best tools to use if you experience high cart abandonment rate. You can watch every movement of each visitor and directly make changes at the root of a problem. Identify rage clicks, spot potential distracting content, or analyze recurring behavioral patterns - session replays can help you in many ways to make your website better!


High cart abandonment rate could be really intriguing as an e-commerce store owner. Figuring out why customers leave their carts behind could feel like an impossible mission, but website analytics can help you make it look easy. There are different ways you can analyze your site’s performance - both quantitative and qualitative tools are available for different purposes.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to combine these tools together. Statistical and behavioral analytic tools can complement each other incredibly well. For example, if you experience a huge drop-off in your funnel, you can use a qualitative analytic tool to investigate the problem. The possibilities are endless - let’s start cutting down your abandonment rate now!

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