How to Reduce Checkout Abandonment and Recover Lost Sales


Checkout abandonment has become a prevalent concern for many ecommerce websites. Typically, customers browse through the website, add items to the cart, and then simply leave when they are ready to check out and make a purchase. This chapter extensively analyzes abandoned checkouts and offers efficient strategies to recover them.

What are the main reasons for checkout abandonment in online shopping?

Main reasons for checkout abandonment include unexpected costs, complicated checkout processes, lack of payment options, security concerns, and lengthy delivery times. Simplifying the process, offering free shipping, and ensuring transparency can help reduce abandonment rates and recover lost sales.

Understanding checkout abandonment

Abandoned checkouts is when potential customers add items to their shopping cart but leave the website before purchasing. This can occur for various reasons, ranging from high costs to a complicated checkout. This phenomenon is quite common in ecommerce, affecting small and large businesses. Based on research from the Baymard Institute Around 70% of shoppers abandon their carts, leading to an estimated $260 billion yearly loss. The common reasons for checkout abandonment include high extra costs (shipping, tax, fees), required account creation, lack of trust with credit card information, slow delivery, long/complicated checkout process, inability to see/calculate total order cost upfront, unsatisfactory return policy, website errors or crashes, lack of payment methods, and credit card declines.

Reasons of Abandonments during checkouts

But don't worry, there are actionable strategies you can implement to combat this issue.

Reason #1: Higher extra costs

48% of all abandonments are due to this reason. It's common for shoppers to abandon their checkouts due to unexpected additional costs. These can include shipping charges, taxes, or other hidden fees that the customer was unaware of initially.


  • Clarity and incentives: Display extra costs, such as shipping, on the product pages to build trust with your shoppers.

  • Incentivize purchases: Consider offering free shipping above a certain cart value. Say, for example, offer free shipping or at least free shipping above a certain cart amount.

  • Add tooltips: Use tooltips to clarify any extra costs or taxes.

Example: Avenue Clothing offers free shipping once a shopper's cart value exceeds a certain limit.

Avenue Clothing

Reason #2: Forced account creation

Many shoppers are turned off by the need to create an account before purchasing. This accounts for 24% of cart abandonments.


  • Guest checkout: Allow customers to purchase without creating an account. Simplify the purchase process for your customers.

  • Skip account creation: Add a 'skip' option on the account creation page, allowing customers to proceed directly to checkout. Offer a 'Guest Checkout' option or a 'Skip to Checkout' option on the sign-up page.

  • Post-purchase sign-up: Encourage customers to create an account after they've made a purchase. You can also ask them to sign up post-purchase.

Example: Lego offers multiple checkout options, including guest checkout, to minimize checkout abandonment.

Lego Cart

Reason #3: Complicated checkout process

22% of cart abandonments occur due to complicated checkout processes like long forms or multiple pages to navigate before checkout.


  • Auto-fill forms: Implement auto-fill forms to simplify checkout.

  • Simplified steps: Remove unnecessary steps and display a clear progress bar so customers know how close to completing their purchase.

  • Accelerated checkout: If you're using Shopify, provide accelerated checkout options.

Example: Shopify uses autofill to encourage customers to complete their checkouts, while Firebox keeps forms short and shows progress bar. Shopify

Building a safety net: checkout recovery emails

Despite your best efforts, achieving a 0% checkout abandonment rate is impossible. That's where a safety net comes in handy: checkout recovery flow.

These emails remind buyers of their abandoned items and nudge them to complete the purchase.

Checkout recovery flow:

One of the most effective recovery strategies is implementing email recovery flows. The process starts with an abandoned checkout event, triggering a series of emails to bring the customer back to complete the purchase.

Abandoned cart.png

This Abandoned checkout flow serves as a reminder to the customers about their abandoned checkouts and encourages them to complete their transactions by offering incentives.

  • Reminder email: The first email in the recovery flow reminds the customer of the abandoned items. It's a gentle nudge to revisit their cart and complete the purchase.

  • Incentive email: The second email in the sequence provides a special offer or discount, incentivizing the customer to go back and complete their purchase.

  • Final reminder: The final email serves as the last reminder to customers about their abandoned items. It's a final attempt to win back the customer and secure the sale.

You can use your Email Service Provider (ESP) to implement this. If you're a Mailmodo customer, you can build this flow in minutes with pre-built automation customized with your brand assets. Interactive emails can drive higher engagement, leading to increased sales.


Understanding the reasons behind checkout abandonment and implementing effective recovery strategies can significantly boost your sales. After all, every recovered checkout contributes to the bottom line. And in the fiercely competitive world of ecommerce, every sale counts! In the next chapter, we will delve into the abandoned cart. Until then, happy recovery!

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