While 87% of online shoppers abandon their shopping baskets, the majority plan to return to websites later to complete their purchases, with baskets effectively used as wish lists.

According to a basket abandonment survey from Amaze, 74% of respondents said they would return at a later date to make a purchase, and many are using the basket as a means to 'window shop' on e-commerce sites.

The report suggests that, since there is little that etailers can do to change this behaviour, then less emphasis should be placed on abandonment rates as a measure of success or failure.

There were differences in the types of products that shoppers stored to buy later. Clothing and computer products were more likely to be bought straight away, while baskets containing books and music were often abandoned:

So what can e-commerce sites do about abandonment?

  • Saving basket contents for future visits, and making it easier to resume the purchase may make it more likely that customers will come back and also use the feature for research.
  • Clearly display prices and delivery charges on product pages so that shoppers don't have to add items to the basket to find out this information. If customers are reaching the shopping cart and then abandoning due to delivery costs, then this suggests that this information has not been made clear or that charges are too high.
  • Add user reviews and ratings to help uncertain customers make a decision on a purchase there and then.
  • Offer collect in store options. Sometimes people want items more quickly, or are simply researching online for offline purchases, so making this easy for customers can pay off. Both Halfords and Argos have boosted their multichannel revenues recently by offering such services.
  • Email customers that abandon baskets. By adding items to shopping carts, customers have shown a possible intent to purchase, so a reminder email, possibly with the added sweetener of a discount may be enough to get shoppers to come back and finish the purchase.

    While this could be an effective tactic, care should be taken over the timing and tone of emails to avoid annoying customers.

Graham Charlton

Published 25 August, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)


Kevin McGrath, Partner at Starfish Web Consulting

I've used shopping baskets as a way of calculating the total value of products in the past - not necessarily for delivery charges. Take the Wii for example, you could want to see the total price of the console, seconary remote, nunchuck and charging stand. You don't often see functionality on e-commerce websites to calculate total value of combined products.

almost 9 years ago

Matthew Kelleher

Matthew Kelleher, Commercial Director at RedEyeEnterprise

Great find, compelling reasons. We all know that we/browsers/customers don't simply 'abandon' a basket and this confirms the main reasons. What brands and emarketers do about this is key, as browsers will be off somewhere else comparing products or responding to someone else's advertising. Abandon basket emails always contribute between 1 and 5% in incremental income.

almost 9 years ago



There is a new breed of Recession Shopper and Value Hunter online.  And every ecommerce site has to equip themselves with the Best-Practices to stay competitive. 

People are more concerned with value over brand these days. Evaluate offerings to find ways in which value can be infused directly into the brand. 

Be creative and about identifying, and offering value. Get real about offering incentives, 10% off doesn't mean anything but a come-on to a savvy shopper.

Buyers are looking for low-pricing, quality goods, sincere sales and customer service, all resulting in a positive experience online.   Is your phone number at the top of the site? Is there a human at the end of that line? Do you have seals on your login screen that site your security levels.  Are you employing high-level security like Extended Validation SSL?   Is your website easy to navigate?  Are you offering free shipping? Are you offering real incentives for return customers?

Value Hunters are demanding security and service, and it's about time some etailers recognize the value in their return customers, step up and deliver or close up shop.

almost 9 years ago

Tim Bay

Tim Bay, Founding Partner at Shay Digital

While the report states that 74% of respondents said they would return at a later date to purchase the products, I wonder how many actually did.  My guess is that it is much lower which makes it that much more important to try to close more sales while at the site and follow-up on the abandoned carts (excellent suggestions on how to do both in the article).

almost 9 years ago

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