Does Price Influence Cart Abandonment? You Better Believe It

Averages often shroud insights, which is why we should always apply segmentation to our data analysis. A fantastic example of this is recent findings by by Seewhy, which analyzed 264,631 abandoned carts and found a very strong relationship between the dollar value of abandoned shopping carts and abandonment rate.

Check out the 2 spikes in the chart below. Surprised by the percentage of low dollar value cart abandonment? This is reasonably explained by the shipping cost to item cost ratio. If an $18 sweater costs $15 to ship, the customer is more likely to jump ship.

Another peak happens around the $100 mark, which Seewhy believes is due to the psychological impact of $100 vs. $99 or less. Interestingly, higher ticket carts are abandoned almost half as often as ~$100 ones.

Other price points that spiked abandonment were $250, $400 and $500. Understandably, very high ticket items and orders require more consideration.

So what?

Knowing abandonment rates by cart value segment allows you to create an informed optimization strategy to reduce abandonment and recover abandoned carts.


1. Bucket your abandoned carts into low-value, mid-value (around your free shipping threshold, if you have one, or use $99), and high value

2. Understand your shipping cost to cart value ratio for low value carts. SeeWhy suggests adjusting shipping policies to get the ratio below 20%

3. Find what critical price points have the highest abandonment rates. This is good input for selecting your free shipping threshold

4. Test your free shipping threshold. One of Elastic Path’s own A/B tests found conversion rates did not change between $100 and $60 shipping thresholds. Be sure to measure both conversion/abandonment and average cart value and revenue/profit.

5. SeeWhy recommends you investigate abandonment rates for individual products, and cross-checking the product detail page and shipping costs for these items to find clues as to why these products may be abandoned much. For example, a buy online pick up in store option may help convert certain items.

6. Think about pricing psychology when determining shipping threshold. SeeWhy’s ebook points out a good psychotactic used by Macy’s. Instead of a minimum of $100, it offers free shipping on carts $99 and above.

7. Track visits to purchase for higher value carts. Make sure your cart persists for 60-90 days.

8. Trigger remarketing emails (for cart recovery) based on cart value, considering those who abandon lower valued carts are likely motivated by different copy and offers than considered, high value purchases.

The full research report The Science of Shopping Cart Abandonment is available as an e-book download, with more information on strategies for cart recovery.

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7 Responses to “Does Price Influence Cart Abandonment? You Better Believe It”

  1. Russell McAthy says:

    Really good post and this is something I have been championing over the last few years.

    I wrote a small but similar blog post earlier in 2011 on the same lines aswell as

    Let me know what you think

  2. Great posting, a lot of store could gain more sales from positioning their pricing correctly.

  3. Queuepon says:

    Very interesting fact on the Macy’s free shipping.

    Haven’t really thought about that. If the abandon rate is so high on product that is $250 and above, I wonder how much sale those luxury store have done!

    Great report! Thanks for share!

  4. Linda, do you know if this can be set up with Google Analytics? I’m trying to do it with a custom variable, setting the value of the variable to the current price of items in the basket on every page. But (1) I’m not sure which scope to use (session?), and (2) I’ve come up with several different reports but not sure which one would be right. I might need to just wait a bit longer for results but I’m impatient :)

    • Hi Susan, I think the scope could reasonably be either session or visitor, if you persist your cart. Of course, you’ll get different data with each :) Hopefully results come in fast this time of year

  5. This is a great post to help online retailers break down how they can play with price to influence a conversion. However unfortunately margins make the playing field a tight one and there’s only so much room to maneuver. Regardless, I’m a firm believer of thinking outside of the box to adjust your price, decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate, increase your market share, and lower your margins as much as humanely possible.

    It’s always easy to justify raising prices for an ecommerce store, but with shoppers getting savvier than ever, they’ll make sure they find the lowest price before they complete a sale. Unless, you have them hooked on your store in other ways.

    Thanks for sharing Linda.

  6. Watabe says:

    Great info.. will be sure to implement a few ideas. Thanks

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