Tracking Cart Abandonment in Google Analytics

By 

Brody Hall

 on May 16, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Romi Hector

A wooden block with a shopping cart icon with a keyboard in the background

Cart abandonment involves a customer adding items to their online shopping cart, then leaving the site without returning to complete the purchase. How can you reduce this? By tracking cart abandonment using Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is great at tracking cart abandonment as the analysis tool closely tracks user behavior on a website before they even add an item to their cart. This allows online merchants to see which of their web pages are causing people to abandon their carts and how these pages can be modified to reduce this.

Why Should Cart Abandonment Be Tracked?

In e-commerce, cart abandonment is a huge problem that costs businesses billions of dollars in lost sales each year. This major issue can be caused by many factors, including high shipping costs, unexpected fees, not being able to find the product they were looking for, and long checkout processes. Understanding these causal factors is one of the reasons e-commerce analytics can boost sales. Addressing these issues can help improve the cart abandonment rate for e-commerce businesses.

Many e-commerce stores use tools like abandoned cart emails to recover these lost sales. While this tactic can be useful for enticing a customer to return to their cart, if you aren’t tracking cart abandonment, you’ll be shooting into the dark to improve your site’s user experience.

To highlight just how important cart abandonment tracking is, here are three key benefits of this approach:

  1. Through cart abandonment tracking, you can identify the reasons customers are abandoning their carts. This can help you address the issues head-on and improve your conversion rate.
  2. You can use cart abandonment data to improve your website’s design and layout. This will make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for and increase the chances that they will complete a purchase.
  3. By tracking cart abandonment, you can better understand your customer’s buying and checkout behavior. This information can create targeted marketing campaigns that will encourage customers to return and make a purchase.

Additionally, cart abandonment can significantly impact a business’s bottom line. To reduce cart abandonment rates, businesses need to track and understand why shoppers are abandoning their carts. By understanding what causes customers to abandon their carts, businesses can change their checkout process or website design to encourage more people to complete their purchases.

How Is Your Cart Abandonment Rate Calculated?

Your e-commerce site's cart abandonment rate is a critical metric to track and understand. For this reason, the best way to calculate cart abandonment rate is to track how many people add items to their cart, divide that number by the total number of completed transactions, subtract the output from 1, and multiply the total by 100.

For example, let’s say 125 customers add items to their cart, while only 75 complete their transactions.

125/75 = 1.66 1.66 - 1 = 0.66 0.66 x 100 = 66.66%

That means that for every 10 customers that add items to their cart, nearly 7 abandon their carts.

Scarily, this example isn’t anywhere near as bad as the average. According to new numbers from Statista, the average cart abandonment rate is nearly 90%.

Thankfully, aside from cart abandonment rates, there are two more key ways to cultivate a greater understanding of your customer’s on-site behavior: conversion rate and click-through rate.

What Is a Good Cart Abandonment Rate?

There is no definitive answer to what constitutes a good cart abandonment rate. It can vary by industry, as different sectors have different levels of customer expectations and competition. However, a few general benchmarks can provide some guidance.

Generally speaking, it is considered good for an e-commerce site to have a cart abandonment rate of 60-70%, while rates lower than 50% are considered excellent. As a comparison, for physical stores, the benchmark tends to be lower—around 30-35%. This is because customers expect more immediate gratification from shopping in person and are less likely to abandon their purchase if they have already made the effort to go to the store.

How to Track Cart Abandonment Using Google Analytics

So, where does Google Analytics fit into all of this?

Well, to save you the hassle of collecting data and conducting calculations yourself, Google Analytics can be used to determine your website's cart abandonment rate. To do this, you can integrate a third-party application into your Google Analytics, or you can set up a funnel to track this metric. Set up your own funnel from the platform’s dashboard:

  1. Head to "Conversions" > "Goals."
  2. Next, name your new goal and set the goal type. To set the goal type, select the URL destination by adding the URL of your order confirmation page.
  3. Check the “Use Funnel” option.
  4. Save your newly created goal.

Once that’s completed, from the "Conversion" > "Goal" > "Overview" tab, you should now be able to see Goal Conversion Rate and Total Abandonment Rate. Both are key e-commerce metrics that will help you understand at what stage your customers are leaving your site’s transaction process.

Understand that many other custom Google Analytics reports can be set up to help track other key metrics for e-commerce. If you’d like to know more, click through to our custom Google Analytics reports post.

Can Cart Abandonment Rate Be Improved?

Cart abandonment rate is a huge problem for e-commerce businesses. The consequences of high cart abandonment rates are lost sales and decreased customer loyalty. To combat this, businesses need to understand why customers abandon their carts and find ways to address these issues.

Online businesses can offer incentives such as free shipping or discounts on products to reduce cart abandonment rates to encourage customers to complete their purchases. Additionally, reducing the number of steps required to check out can also help reduce cart abandonment rates. By taking these steps, businesses can improve their bottom line, better understand customer behavior, and create a more positive experience for their customers.

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