online shopping journey

How to personalize the online shopping journey to reduce cart abandonment

The average eCommerce store loses over 75% of sales to shopping cart abandonment during the online shopping journey. When comparing cart abandonment by device (desktop, tablet, mobile), mobile has the highest rate with nearly 86% of all transactions ending without a sale. Abandoned shopping carts represent a huge potential source of lost revenue—that is, unless shoppers come back and buy later.

According to BigCommerce:

  • 69% of online consumers will put something into a cart and leave without buying
  • 59% of online shoppers use carts as places to store ideas while browsing
  • 42% of people begin the checkout flow by entering their emails, but do not purchase

Prioritizing the reduction of shopping cart abandonment is not just about recovering lost revenue, but about improving the strength of your eCommerce website and creating a better user experience that will convert and keep customers over the long haul.

Why Shoppers Typically Abandon Carts

The typical reasons shoppers abandon carts include:

  • unexpected shipping costs (25%)
  • having to create a new user account (22%)
  • need to do more research (17%)
  • concerns about payment security (15%)
  • long and confusing checkout (9%)
  • couldn’t find a coupon code (8%)
  • no express shipping option (4%)

While you can’t stop customers from comparison shopping, you can certainly send out additional information that helps your brand stand out from the competition. Consider ways to offer free shipping, allow guest checkouts, offer multiple payment options (such as PayPal), and streamline the checkout process to a basic one-page interface. Most people are looking for discount codes, so incentivizing a purchase in some way could convert shoppers.  

Personalize the Online Shopping Journey to Seal the Deal

A personalized approach to the online shopping journey accomplishes several tasks: It lets the shopper know you see and care about their experience; it potentially solves a problem; and it helpfully reminds the shopper about an unfulfilled want or need. There are several effective ways to personalize the online shopping journey to convert browsers into buyers.

1. Retarget With a Personalized Email

An estimated 27% of shoppers are not purchasing due to lengthy or complicated checkout processes. The average abandoned shopping cart email will win back 12-15% of these consumers, but a personalized email is six times more effective.

Email marketing services can be used to retarget shopping cart abandoners with a personalized approach. Many email platform providers allow you to measure the success of your campaigns and optimize them for better performance.

Next, follow a logical three-part progression: Offer a reminder; Offer a reward; Assign a deadline. The ideal abandoned cart email might say: “Hey, [insert shopper name]! It looks like you left something in your cart. These items are going fast, so grab them while you still can! If you have any questions about sizing or shipping, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [].” Include a large photo of the item, a summary of the order with free shipping or an incentive applied, and thumbnails of a few relevant upsell items in a “you might also like” section. Customize the email with your site header and footer.

A/B testing is the ideal way to optimize abandoned cart email templates and subject lines. You can also A/B test your offers, so you don’t give away more than you need to. Test different timeframes to determine whether you’re rushing the retargeting effort or spacing the emails too far apart. Click-through and open rates will tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your recovery emails.

2. Retarget With SMS

online shopping journeyMobile messages are an easy way to personalize a simple, yet effective, message and reach your target. Consider this: 95% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of receipt. When you compare that figure to the 22% read-rate for email, the statistic becomes even more astounding. If the shopper uses your app, consider sending a push notification for an even better open rate.

Bundle an incentive with your reminder to encourage shoppers to pick up where they left off. You might offer a discount on current or future purchases, free delivery, a free sample or gift, or extra rewards points. If possible, include an image of the abandoned item(s).

A simple message might read: “Hey, [insert shopper name]! Your new shoes are waiting for you in your shopping cart. Finish your order now and get a 5% discount!” Add a link to the abandoned cart right in the SMS that will take mobile users directly to your shopping app or a mobile browser.   

4. Engage With Shopkick

Some shoppers abandon online shopping carts and head to a retail location to buy instead. Maybe they feel the shipping costs are too high, they don’t trust web security for their credit card information, they want to weigh a few other options before choosing, the delivery was too slow, or the online checkout process is too confusing.

There is still a chance to hang on to these interested buyers and incentivize purchase with Shopkick—a  mobile shopping rewards app that works both online and in-store. If a shopper is still browsing on their mobile device, brands and retailers can leverage Shopkick to build pre-shop consideration with in-app content to educate consumers, keep the product top of mind, and encourage purchases. Users can also check the app to view deals on products at stores in their area. They are incentivized to engage with partner brands and retailers by making select purchases for rewards points (called “kicks”) toward a gift card of their choosing. These kicks apply, even if you have your own rewards program, sweetening the deal even further.

In-store, Shopkick utilizes an engaging gamification strategy that drives shoppers to products at-shelf and encourages physical product interaction in exchange for kicks. This allows brands to boost product awareness when it truly matters most—in-aisle, with the product in hand. By offering users an additional kick incentive for making a purchase, Shopkick closes the loop and drives sales. Eventually, Shopkick users redeem their kicks for free gift cards, which builds a positive affinity and loyalty for the brands and retailers that awarded them.

Today’s shopper understands it’s a competitive marketplace out there. If you don’t treat the shopper as an individual with unique preferences and interests, then they know there is another company that likely will.

Today’s shopper understands it’s a competitive marketplace out there. If you don’t treat the shopper as an individual with unique preferences and interests, then they know there is another company that likely will. Personalization is not viewed as a “best practice” anymore; it’s a precursor to doing business. Getting in line with consumer expectations will not only reduce shopping cart abandonment but foster greater affinity and clinch those desired sales.

 Want more innovative ideas for creating a personalized shopping experience online and in-store? Read our success stories or contact Shopkick to learn how to become one of our partners and start reducing shopping cart abandonment.


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Image courtesy of MarkoV87



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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.