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December 3, 2015
Automation  |  8 min read

How to Turn Abandoned Carts into Sales

by Jordan Hatch

Almost six years ago, I somehow managed to get my wife to say yes when I proposed to her.  Our first date was almost one year before that. During our year of dating we spent a lot of time together going on dates, hanging out, watching movies, etc. We fell in love with each other over the course of time and not too long later we were married. Now we have two beautiful girls and we’re extremely happy.

Contrast that with the guy at the bar who goes around asking women he doesn’t know to go out with him. Sure, he can play the numbers game—eventually somebody will say yes, but how long is he going to have to play that game?

Building a relationship with your future spouse that takes time. It doesn’t happen immediately—or even over night. Similarly, building a relationship with your leads and prospects takes time. Luckily, most of the time it doesn’t take a year of relationship building to get them to say yes, but it does take some work. 

Unfortunately, sometimes our relationships end in a breakup. It is usually devastating.  It’s sometimes equally as bad when our prospects “break up” with us too. Often times they just disappear—other times they’re ready to buy, but end up leaving your site with your product or service left in their shopping cart. We call that an abandoned cart. reports that over the last 6 months 81 percent of carts are abandoned. Think about that for a second—81 percent of potential online sales don’t get to the ultimate yes. Imagine what would happen if you were to capture even a small amount of that. Changing that statistic requires starting from the beginning.

In today’s world, a lot of that relationship building happens online. Your “first date” with your prospect is more that likely going to take place on your website or one of your social media accounts, and you might not even be aware that you went on a date. Just like any other first date, you want to make a good first impression.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your site look up to date or is it wearing a tracksuit from the 90s?
  • Does it look good on their phone or do they have to squint and scroll to read your copy?
  • Is it clear and easy for your prospect to give you money or are you making them jump through unnecessary hoops?

Once you’ve corrected any issues and you’re on your way to making a good first impression, you need to consider the dating process with your prospects. If you think about dating as a series of decisions, after each date your future spouse has to make a yes or no decision on whether or not to go out with you again. It takes a lot of yeses but only one no. It’s the same process for your prospects. They have to make many yes decisions, but it only takes one no for them to quit the process and abandon your cart.

Here’s a helpful exercise: Ask a friend or colleague to go through your site as a prospect all the way through purchasing and watch what happens. As they are going through, don’t try to explain anything or tell them why the site is built the way it is.  During the user test, the only thing you should be doing is asking questions like:

  • Why did you do that?
  • What does this mean to you?
  • How does that make you feel?
  • What are you thinking about?

The feedback you can get from these user tests is amazing. It’s really easy to miss or ignore issues with your conversion process because you’re so close to it. Take the feedback and see what you can do to resolve those problems with the conversion process. Fixing these issues should lead to an increase in getting products added to the cart as well as successful purchases.

Getting a prospect to put something in their cart is a lot like buying the engagement ring. You’re ready to make it official, but there’s still a chance (81 percent) that they’re going to say no. reports the top five reasons for an abandoned cart are:

  • Presented with unexpected costs (56 percent)
  • I was just browsing (37 percent)
  • Found a better price elsewhere (36 percent)
  • Overall price too expensive (32 percent)
  • Decided against buying (26 percent)

Amazon has changed the game with the traditional e-commerce sites. Consumers are having an increasingly difficult time paying the relatively high costs for shipping. When a customer gets to the checkout page are they getting sticker shock from the shipping costs? What about taxes? Are you charging too much for shipping? Can you roll some of the shipping costs into the price of the product?

If you keep going down the list, numbers six through 10 all have to do with the site itself. Is the process too complicated? Is the site slow? Does the site have an SSL certificate? With any of these issues, make sure that you’re solving the real problem and not the symptom. Recently I had someone ask me if there was a way to send emails slower because when they sent to their entire list, it crashed their website. Their problem was that too many people wanted to get to their site, so their solution was to slow down how many people got the promotions? Wrong. Fix your server issues—that’s the real problem.

Ok, so your prospect puts something in their cart. They get to the checkout page and leave. What do you do when they say no? Do you just say “Oh well, maybe next time”? No. You follow up with them. You remind them of all the good times you’ve had, you ask them what’s wrong and remind them that there’s still something left on the table. The Internet is full of great examples of these types of emails. Google it. It doesn’t really matter much what you send, just start sending it. Infusionsoft users can use the Turn Abandoned Carts Into Sales campaign from the Marketplace to deliver these emails (and stop reminding them when they buy). Also, don’t forget the power of picking up the phone and making a phone call.  Yeah, it might be a little Orwellian to immediately jump to “Hey Sally, I noticed you didn’t finish the buying process on my site.  Can I help you process your order over the phone?” Talk to them like you don’t know that they put it in their cart and didn’t buy. Ask them if they have any questions about the product or what concerns they might have. In today’s automated world, a simple phone call can make a huge difference. 

In the end, it all comes down to your customers’ experience. It takes making a good first impression, getting them to say yes a bunch of times, and making your buying process as frictionless as possible. As you start to perfect the experience, you’ll gradually start to see that 81 percent cart abandonment go down, and your bottom line revenue going up.


Every job that Jordan has had, from his first real job at the age of 16 to his current role as a senior project manager at Infusionsoft, has helped him gain a tremendous passion for helping small businesses succeed. He has a knack for making complex, technical issues easy to understand. Jordan's knowledge and passion has helped thousands of entrepreneurs learn new and exciting marketing ideas and strategies to help them be successful.



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