It’s not over ‘til it’s over

The abandoned cart sits like a silver medal at the Olympics; only without the fame or recognition. So close, but so, so far from what you wanted. The good news is, you have something that the customer wants.

So where did things go wrong? And how can you win them back? 


The first point of failure may be shipping costs. People hate shipping costs so much that they’d rather pay more with free shipping than give-in to the additional cost power-move. It isn’t really a power-move, but it can look like one or worse, it feels like gouging. And nobody wants to feel like they’re being gouged. 

The next most common breakdown is the checkout experience itself. Not the right payment options. A button that isn’t working properly. Too many steps. Creating an account that they will only ever use once. Or an unfamiliar payment gateway – that looks and feels a little untrustworthy. All of these factors work as barriers between you and a sale; and they provide perfect exits for anyone to abandon-ship before purchase. 

So what now?

Your customer has bailed end – of story right? Maybe. You really only have two things to do at this point:

  • Use hindsight to consider why they bailed, then make improvements for future customers to ensure they don’t do the same; and
  • Try to win that customer back. 

Winning back an abandoned cart is one of the toughest gigs in the e-commerce. It can be done, but you’re going to need to offer something worthwhile. You don’t want to harass potential customers via email, but you want to let them know you’re still there, you haven’t forgotten them. And you want them to know what they’re missing. 

1: Big Discounts

Offering a 5-10% discount on an abandoned cart won’t take you very far. Even if that 5-10% was the initial difference that lost the sale, that ship has already sailed. There’s no use thinking logically here. Better to think with psychological smarts. And big discounts of 35% and upwards are enough to raise some eyebrows. Offer your customers half off on their abandoned cart (so long as it’s viable) and win some serious brownie points, while also getting them back on your site. 

2: Exclusive gifts with purchase

People love to feel special. A discount is great because the customer gets what they were originally interested in. But tell them they can have access to an exclusive gift and suddenly it feels more personal, like a gift rather than an incentive. Think things like: tote bags, t-shirts, fanny packs, earrings, scarves; people love free stuff, especially when it’s for a limited time. Offer your customers something to make them feel special and you’ll be surprised how often they will come running back. 

3: Free Shipping

This is a fun one. It’ll tell you a lot about how people’s minds work. And when it comes to additional shipping costs, the writing is on the wall. It really can be the final hurdle for your site, and it’s enough to trip up many potential purchases. By offering free shipping in a recovery email, you are telling the customer, ‘We get it. Nobody wants to spend on shipping, so this one’s on the house.’ If you’re feeling really generous, top it off with expedited shipping. You’ll end up spending less on the shipping than you would a 50% discount, but people will appreciate it just the same – probably more. 

So today we’ve mainly focused on winning back customers that walked away, but the first point is also worth noting. Improving your user check-out experience can be huge. Upgrade your payment options to include Paypal; shorten the steps to purchase; or offer guest access for single-visit customers, then email your list with the big news. It tells the customer that you know your old ways weren’t cutting it, and that you’ve changed for the better. 

Winning back abandoned carts is a great sign for any e-tail business and it’s the perfect way to build goodwill between you and your customers. 

If you’d like to chat about ways to build your customer relationships with solid backend pick, pack and shipping processes, we’d love to have a chat. You can call us on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland). Or drop us a note via the form below.

Enquiry Form

"*" indicates required fields

Need urgent help?

Let us know what you need and how to get back to you. Please makes sure you give us all your details.

How can we best help you?

The more detail you can give us, the better our response can be.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.