Site Abandonment and How to Decrease it at Every Stage of the Customer Journey

Stephanie JacksonEcommerce, Site Optimization

Site abandonment has always presented a major challenge for online retailers. To convert shoppers, it’s important to keep them onsite and interested. 

Between Q4 of 2021 and Q2 of 2022, overall conversion rates decreased .5%, while the average abandonment rate hovered around 70%.

To decrease site abandonment, you need to understand the different types to better address shoppers’ needs. In this blog, we detail the four types of abandonment and how to prevent shoppers from leaving your website at different stages of the customer journey.

What is Site Abandonment?

Site abandonment occurs when users view a site and then exit without completing the desired action. This can happen at various stages of the customer journey. 

While we often hear about cart abandonment, a large portion of abandoning shoppers never even make it that far. In reality, ecommerce abandonment can take place at any point in a customer’s path to purchase. That’s why decreasing site abandonment involves all stages of the user experience – not just the cart stage.

Understanding what point in the customer journey users are abandoning can help you to make improvements and draw shoppers in. Before we detail ways to prevent site abandonment, let’s discuss the four types.

The Four Types of Site Abandonment

1. Site Bounce

When a user enters a site and leaves after seeing just one page, that’s a site bounce. While a high bounce rate can be common across certain pages (i.e., a privacy policy page, a blog post, etc.), a high sitewide bounce rate is usually a result of a bad first impression or shopper’s expectations not being met.

2. Product Abandonment

Product abandonment occurs when a visitor abandons your website from a product page. This means that a user was interested in a product, but a number of reasons including comparison shopping and product uncertainty might have driven them away.

3. Cart Abandonment

Perhaps the most frequently talked about form of ecommerce abandonment is cart abandonment, with the average online cart abandonment rate at 70%. This means that most shoppers showed interest in products, but then changed their minds. Common reasons for cart abandonment are unexpected costs and unanswered questions.

4. Checkout Abandonment

Checkout abandonment is frustrating because it happens when a shopper leaves the site right before they’re about to complete a purchase on the checkout page. This can happen when a checkout process is longer or more complicated than it needs to be.

Preventing Abandonment at Each Stage

How to Minimize Site Bounce

Generally, bounce is caused by a bad first impression or a page that didn’t meet the user’s expectations. Lowering your bounce rate is all about making a good first impression.

Have an Easy-to-Use Site

Focus on creating a site design that’s easy-to-use, yet visually interesting.  In addition, you’ll want to prevent navigation problems at all costs. Make sure that your site visually leads shoppers to the action you want them to take. Also having easy-to-use search features, clearly laid-out categories, fast load times, and a mobile optimized platform can help a user navigate your site.

Highlight Best Sellers

When shoppers enter your site, you can prevent them from leaving by catching their attention with your best sellers or by placing highly-rated products front and center.

Limit On-Entrance Offers

On-entry engagement strategies seem like a good idea to build your email remarketing list, however, on-entry strategies can lead to lower engagement rates and increased site bounce. 

Limit on-entrance offers so that customers can explore the website a bit before asking for information or offering unnecessary discounts

How to Reduce Product Abandonment

For ecommerce sites, it’s a double-edged sword that shoppers can quickly and easily compare prices online. While comparison shopping may bring shoppers to your site, it can also send them away as they continue searching for the best price. 

Additionally, unanswered questions about products can lead to shopper hesitation. So if that’s the case, how can you keep visitors from abandoning at this stage in the customer journey?

Offer Clear Product Descriptions and Images

One of the most important steps online stores can take to prevent product abandonment is using clear, to-the-point product descriptions and clear product images. Don’t forget, visitors have probably never experienced this product in person; your goal is to make them feel like they have every answer to their potential questions right on their screen.

Include Customer Reviews

You can also build trust by including product reviews into your on-site experience. Over 80% of users trust product reviews as much as a recommendation, so even a small bank of reviews can pay off down the road.

Offer Product Recommendations

Make sure that your product recommendations are highly personalized for each individual shopper. If a visitor is displaying hesitation about a full-priced item, try suggesting similar products from your sale section. Showing the user more options help ensure they can find a product that suits their needs.

Leverage Out of Stock Notifications

Lastly, you can turn out of stock products into an opportunity by leveraging them to make future sales. Offer users the option to receive notifications when the item they’re interested in is back so that they can be converted later. Though a shopper may have no option but to abandon a product when it is out of stock, you can remind them to come back later.

How to Prevent Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is often the result of unanswered questions and surprise costs. In fact, 48% of shopping cart abandonment happens because extra costs at checkout are too high.  

E-commerce sites lose a lot of customers at the cart stage. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent cart abandonment and keep customers on the path to conversion.

Be Clear About Shipping Costs

One reason for high shopping cart abandonment rates is unexpected shipping costs. That’s why a great way to prevent shoppers from abandoning is to offer free shipping. 

When extra costs are tacked on towards the end of a transaction, it’s easy to see why a potential customer might feel tricked – even if it’s completely reasonable to charge fees. For that reason, remaining upfront about shipping is the best way to reduce sticker shock after the user has already added items to their cart.

Offer In Cart Support

In-cart customer support is also important when preventing cart abandonment. If a customer has to leave their cart in order to find support, it’s possible they won’t return.

Allow Changes to Products

To keep customers smooth sailing on the path to conversion, make it simple for them to change the quantity, size, and color of items from the cart page. This way, customers don’t need to exit the cart page to make adjustments. This prevents the chance that they’ll get distracted and abandon all together.

How to Decrease Checkout Abandonment 

Checkout abandonment is one of the most frustrating types of abandonment, because it happens right before a shopper has completed a purchase. It can feel like the ecommerce equivalent of being left at the altar. 

On the bright side, the causes behind checkout abandonment are often easier to diagnose than other types, since you can see exactly which step in the process caused the user to abandon. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons users break it off in the eleventh hour.

Offer Guest Checkout

It’s never a site’s goal to make checkout confusing, but it happens all the time. For instance, many sites still require users to create an account before completing checkout. This adds extra steps and extra opportunity for shoppers to get tired and leave. Add a guest checkout feature to allow users to quickly move through the checkout process.

Limit Unnecessary Fields

While it makes sense that you want as much information about the shopper as possible, the checkout page is not the time to go overboard. Limit unnecessary fields to decrease checkout abandonment. Ask the bare minimum first (Name, Address, and Payment method) and worry about the rest later. Remember, you can always give the user the option to create an account after they order.

Leverage Progress Bars

In addition, try to use as few pages in checkout as possible. While some checkout processes are shorter, others can feel like an endless slog with no clear end in sight. Using a progress bar on the top of your checkout can give shoppers an idea of where they are in the process and keep them motivated to complete their order.

Reiterate Site Security

Finally, you can make customers feel confident in their purchase by advertising your site security. Display secure badges to demonstrate the different ways you protect the user’s credit cards and information. Given the amount of information you’re asking for, creating a sense of trustworthiness is vital to making customers feel safe on your site.

Preventing Ecommerce Abandonment Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

Although abandonment rates are high, small steps can make a huge difference. By understanding the types of site abandonment and optimizing your site with the steps outlined here, you can address the needs of online shoppers and increase your conversion rate. For more information on decreasing site abandonment, make sure to download UpSellit’s “Dating Game” infographic. This fun, retro-themed infographic personifies the types of site abandonment, what causes them, and how to get shoppers to stick around. If you’d like assistance in implementing these strategies, you can reach out to our team of conversion experts at

Dating Game Infographic