Online Shopper Abandonment Rates: What They Mean and How to Lower Them

Understanding the nuances of shopper behavior is essential in ecommerce. Of particular importance is the abandonment rate for various online actions, from visiting a specific landing page to completing a purchase. The proportion of users starting but not finishing an action can reveal issues in your site’s functionality, visual appeal, or calls to action. This article explores the relevance of different abandonment rates and how to recognize and analyze them when it comes to online shopping.

Understanding Abandonment Rates 

Abandonment rates provide insights into online shoppers‘ decision-making, revealing obstacles to conversion that you can address. Understanding these rates allows ecommerce businesses to identify problems customers face. Addressing these problems enhances the overall shopping experience and will enable companies to pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Website, page, form, and shopping cart abandonment each present unique challenges. The first step in fixing these issues is to recognize the differences between them and what approach is the best fit for each. Then, you can improve the customer journey by simplifying the checkout process and using retargeting to better engage shoppers. Likewise, increasing transparency will bolster consumer trust and help raise your conversion rates.

Website Abandonment Rate

Website abandonment refers to users leaving a website before completing the desired action, such as making a purchase. You can calculate the website abandonment rate by dividing the number of visitors who leave the website without completing the desired action by the total number of visitors during a specific period, typically expressed as a percentage. 

This metric can be further divided into bounce rate and exit rate. In the context of ecommerce sites, both bounce and exit rates are important metrics for understanding user behavior, but they measure different aspects.

Bounce Rate

  • Definition: Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who land on a webpage and leave without interacting further with the site. Essentially, they “bounce” away after viewing only one page.
  • Significance: A high bounce rate may indicate that the landing page doesn’t meet visitors’ expectations or fails to provide the information they seek. It could suggest issues with content relevance, site usability, or load times. 
  • Example: If a user lands on a product page, spends a few seconds without clicking anything, and then leaves the site, that action would contribute to the bounce rate for that page.

Exit Rate

  • Definition: Exit rate represents the percentage of sessions that end with a particular page being the last one viewed in the session. It shows the frequency with which users exit the site after viewing a specific page.
  • Significance: Exit rate helps identify pages that are more likely to be the final step in a user’s journey before leaving the site altogether. While high exit rates don’t necessarily indicate a problem, they can highlight pages where optimization efforts may be needed.
  • Example: If a user navigates through several pages on an ecommerce site but ultimately exits the site after viewing the checkout page, that action would contribute to the checkout page’s exit rate.

When either of these rates are high, it signifies lost opportunities for conversion and can indicate underlying issues with the website’s design, usability, or content. Several factors can contribute to website abandonment, including slow loading times, complicated navigation, unclear call-to-action buttons, excessive distractions, unexpected costs, and lack of trust in the website’s security or credibility.

Strategies to Reduce Website Abandonment

Enhancing website speed and performance is crucial for ensuring that visitors have a smooth and seamless browsing experience. This involves optimizing image sizes, minimizing HTTP requests, and utilizing content delivery networks (CDNs) to improve load times, ultimately reducing user frustration and encouraging prolonged engagement.

Simplifying navigation and checkout processes makes it easier for visitors to find what they need and complete transactions quickly. Implementing intuitive navigation menus, reducing the number of checkout steps, and offering guest checkout options minimize friction and increase the likelihood of conversion.

Optimizing content for clarity and relevance ensures that users are presented with engaging and informative material that effectively addresses their needs. Regularly updating content, using clear headings, and tailoring content to user pain points enhance engagement and encourage exploration.

Providing transparent pricing and shipping information builds trust with customers by displaying all associated costs up front, thus reducing abandonment due to unexpected charges.

Ensuring website security through measures such as SSL certificates and trust seals further instills confidence in users, alleviating concerns about data privacy and online fraud.

Offering incentives or discounts can motivate users to complete their purchases by creating a sense of urgency and incentivizing action. This can ultimately reduce abandonment rates and drive conversions.

Page Abandonment

While similar in many ways to site abandonment, page abandonment is a more detailed metric that identifies per-page issues. When visitors leave a specific page at higher than average rates, it suggests possible barriers or disinterest that can impede the site’s conversion goals. Calculate the per-page abandonment rate by dividing the number of users exiting a page without completing the desired action by the total number of users who visited the page, expressed as a percentage. Since total bounce rates range from 26-70%, it’s important to consider individual page rates and look for outliers. 

Common causes of high per-page abandonment include slow loading times, irrelevant or confusing content, intrusive pop-ups, poor mobile optimization, complex navigation, and a lack of clear next steps or conflicting calls to action.

Businesses can optimize their content and design to minimize per-page abandonment. They should strive for fast loading times, provide relevant and engaging content, reduce distractions, optimize for mobile responsiveness, simplify navigation, and prominently feature clear calls to action.

Web Form Abandonment

Web form abandonment occurs when users start filling out a form on a website but fail to submit it. It can lead to lost leads, reduced conversion rates, and missed opportunities for engagement or sale. The web form abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the number of users who abandon a form without completing it by the total number of users who initiated the form, which is expressed as a percentage. 

According to ProFaceoff, 81% of users have abandoned an online form after beginning to fill it out. 

Common Causes of Web Form Abandonment Include:

Complex or lengthy forms: 27% of users have abandoned forms due to length. 

Mandatory fields that users find intrusive: Asking for a phone number lowers form conversion rates by 5%, followed by street address (4%), a person’s age (3%), and city and state (2%).

Unclear instructions or error messages: WPForms reports that more than 67% of site visitors will abandon a form forever if they encounter any complications

Lack of trust in the website’s security measures: 29% of visitors abandon forms if they have any security concerns about their data. 

Improving Web Form Usability and Conversion

Streamline forms by reducing the number of fields to improve web form usability and conversion. Always use clear and concise labels and instructions for each step. It’s also helpful to provide progress indicators and offer autofill options. Mobile responsiveness is a prerequisite, as is optimizing your site for various devices and browsers. Enhance your site’s trust signals by using security badges or privacy statements.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment occurs when users add items to their online shopping carts but leave the website without completing the purchase. It’s a critical metric that reflects lost potential revenue and highlights friction points in the checkout process. You can calculate the shopping cart abandonment rate by dividing the number of completed purchases by the number of initiated shopping cart sessions, subtracting the result from 1, and expressing it as a percentage. 

The Baymard Institute reports that 70.19% of online shopping carts are abandoned. A rate below that is considered good for ecommerce sites, while a higher rate definitely has some room for improvement. 

Common Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment:

  • Unexpected shipping costs
  • Complicated checkout processes
  • Lack of payment options
  • Security concerns
  • Lengthy or confusing forms
  • Distractions or interruptions during the checkout process

Implementing Cart Recovery Strategies

Addressing shopping cart abandonment is crucial for increasing conversion rates and maximizing revenue in ecommerce. Here are some strategic approaches you can employ to combat this issue:

  • Abandoned Cart Emails: Abandoned cart emails are effective for cart recovery. You can set them to send when a shopper doesn’t check out. These emails should be personalized, showing the abandoned items, customer reviews, and similar product recommendations. Limited-time discounts can also encourage purchase completion.
  • One-Click Checkout Options: One-click checkout options simplify buying by storing payment and shipping details. This allows for quicker future purchases and appeals to those who value convenience.
  • Simplifying the Checkout Process: Reducing the complexity of the checkout process is vital. Businesses should limit the steps involved, only ask for necessary information, indicate checkout progress, and offer guest checkout to lessen abandonment.
  • Transparent Pricing and Shipping Information: To avoid cart abandonment due to unexpected costs, businesses should disclose all fees, including taxes and shipping, early on. Providing shipping choices of varying costs can accommodate different customer needs.
  • Retargeting Ads: Retargeting ads can effectively bring back customers who didn’t make a purchase. These ads, especially dynamic ones showing viewed products, can reappear on other sites or social media, increasing the chances of sale completion.

Conducting Surveys to Analyze Abandonment Rates

Surveys offer valuable insights into the reasons behind abandonment, helping businesses pinpoint specific pain points and areas for improvement in the user experience. By gathering feedback through surveys, companies can make informed decisions about website design, content, and functionality tailored to meet customer needs and preferences.

Gaining Key Insights Into Customer Behavior and Preferences

Surveys provide a window into customer behavior and preferences, allowing businesses to adapt their strategies and offerings to better align with customer expectations and enhance overall satisfaction.

Case Study: Orvis

Orvis, a prominent retailer specializing in outdoor goods, faced a daunting challenge. Despite their robust online presence and nationwide reach, they lacked crucial insights into their website’s visitor experience. Customers were coming and going without making purchases, leaving Orvis puzzled about the reasons behind the abandonment. However, they needed actionable data to prioritize enhancements and elevate the online shopping journey.

Orvis turned to the Bizrate Insights Site Abandonment Solution to investigate the problem further. By engaging customers as they left the site, Orvis gleaned invaluable insights into their pain points and frustrations. With this newfound knowledge, they swiftly implemented changes to mitigate abandonment rates and enhance the online shopping experience.

Orvis gained a deeper understanding of its lost customers, enabling it to fine-tune its marketing strategies in real time. Jason Pafford, Orvis’ Voice of the Customer and Communications Supervisor, praised the outcome, saying, “The site abandonment solution provided us with verbatim customer feedback on the design of the site.”

Orvis has underscored its dedication to enhancing the customer experience by leveraging data collected from individuals who have abandoned its website. Focusing on particular issues highlighted in the survey, Orvis enhanced its customer service approach, solidifying its status as a brand that prioritizes customer satisfaction. 

As Mr. Pafford emphasized, “In today’s retail world, being customer-centric is imperative for continued success.”


In the fast-paced world of ecommerce, every click counts toward revenue generation. Continuous monitoring and optimization of abandonment rates have become essential practices. These rates are crucial barometers of customer engagement and satisfaction, mirroring the success of the online shopping journey. Exploring the subtleties of abandonment rates and executing strategic plans to reduce them can help companies lay the foundation for improved performance, elevated conversion rates, and enduring expansion.

Seize the opportunity to revolutionize your ecommerce journey by proactively addressing abandonment rates. By prioritizing abandonment rate optimization, you lay the foundation for sustained growth, heightened customer satisfaction, and unparalleled business success. Get in touch and gain deeper visibility into the customer journey!