Welcome to Josh Baker's Practical Advice for Optimizing Your Internet Marketing blog. Here you will find internet marketing optimization and online strategy articles full of tips, tricks, discussions, and thoughts to help you take your marketing and business to the next level of success.

The Other Cost of Cart Abandonment


How much is your existing ecommerce cart costing you in cart abandonment?  Notice that I didn’t ask you how much revenue you’re potentially losing from those cart abandons.

Take a look at this scenario:

  • Each week 1,000 visitors to your online store place an item or items into your ecommerce cart.
  • You know that from your research each visitor that adds an item to your shopping cart costs you $12 to acquire.
  • You also know from your analytics that your cart abandon rate is 90% (or conversely a 10% conversion rate)

So in this scenario, 900 visitors out of the 1,000 (90%) visitors each week that place an item into your online shopping cart bail and do not purchase, but you have paid for their acquisition anyways. At the $12 per visitor that puts an item into your cart acquisition cost, it’s costing you $10,800 per week ($561,600 per year) for just those visitors that bail out of your cart. How is that so? Continue reading to follow my logic.

So you do some what-if scenarios and believe that with optimization you can get down to an 88% cart abandon rate from your existing 90% abandonment rate (or conversely a 12% conversion rate).

You decide to optimize your shopping cart, and your cart abandonment rate decreases to 87% (better than your prediction of the improved 88% abandonment rate- woohoo!).  Now each week your cart is costing you now only $10,400 per week or $542,880 per year – that’s $18,720 less per year, PLUS the additional revenue of those 1,560 paid sales from your cart optimization efforts.

Ok, so you know just as well as I do that that either way you’re still paying the $12 per visitor that puts an item into your cart. So your actual costs haven’t gone down at all, BUT…

 Why does this matter and how do you really use this information?  

Although your numbers may vary – from the dollar cost of each acquisition that you pay, to the number of visitors that put items into your cart, to your cart abandonment rate. This is purely an exercise in reasoning or a cause for optimization or software upgrading, in other words, an additional metric to prove the value of taking action.

What if your current shopping cart is limiting you to what you can test (or maybe for some reason you can’t perform testing on it) because it’s a third-party application that you have no control over, a legacy cart system that additional programming looks to be costly in time and resources, or some other preventive reason that does not allow you to optimize your cart in the ways that you know you need to in order to increase desired performance.

What if you work for an organization that doesn’t fully believe in the power of testing and optimization? Or, maybe you work for an organization where they are tightening the budget in the current economy and are not interested in investing in optimization.

Your current cart, its current conversion ability and its abandonment rate could be in many ways costing you more in acquisition costs (not including the opportunity costs) than it would cost to fix the problem.

This dollar amount, the cost of cart abandonment, is the cost of leaving your cart as is – the true cost of abandonment of your online shopping cart to you.


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