shopping cart abandonment rates in google analytics

For e-commerce and online retailers, completed purchases mean everything, especially if you’re a small business. However, many times small business retailers are unaware of their shopping cart abandonment rates in Google Analytics. This is an extremely important metric for small business retailers to track because every time that occurs, you’re losing a sale and you should know why.

Knowing your website’s shopping cart abandonment rate and what some of the causes may be for it, will help you to re-think your buying process and implement changes to keep the sale going and increase your revenue.

How to Track Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great (and free) tool provided by Google to help measure and track website performance. There are many reports to check and measure different web metrics. If you don’t have an account set up yet, you need to. It’s important to be aware of your website’s strengths and weaknesses if you’re going to be a successful small business online.

One of the best tools that Analytics provides is “Ecommerce Tracking” and “Goal Tracking.” Creating and tracking this data will help you see how your website is performing in a specific area and if you’re actually accomplishing the benchmarks you set for your website. In this particular case, you want to track purchases from your website. How many people that are visiting your website are actually buying your products or services? If they’re not buying, why and where are they going? 

This is critical information in creating the best website possible for future customers!

How to Set Up Goal Tracking in Google Analytics

Setting up e-commerce tracking in Analytics is important to help you monitor and track your sales goals. However it is an involved process to set up, so make sure you have a Google Analytics expert to help you.

But, if you want to go a step further and get the most information possible from Analytics about your e-commerce sales, you need to make sure you switch on that option. Follow these steps to get there:

Step 1: Log into your Google Analytics and then on the left hand navigation, at the bottom, click on “Admin”

Step 2: Three main lists will appear. In the farthest right list, under the “View” section, select “Ecommerce Settings”. Then, switch the e-commerce tracking to “On”.  You’ll also see an option for “Enhanced Ecommerce”, you’ll want to switch this option on as well.

Note: With this option turned on, you’ll be able to view your e-commerce sales funnel so you’ll be able to track your web visitors’ activity through your site!

Step 3: Click “Save” at the bottom and you’re all set!

Analyzing the Data

Once you set up your e-commerce tracking to record your completed purchase numbers, you’ll be able to determine the amount of traffic you’re getting vs your goal completions vs your cart abandonment rates. These metrics all need to be considered together so you can get the full picture of how your website is performing. 

Google Analytics also provides us with something called a “Goal Funnel Report”. This tool illustrates how, in this case, the shopping cart checkout process is working or not working for your website.

How To View “Goal Funnel” Reports in Google Analytics

Understanding your goals in Google Analytics can help you determine how successful your website is at converting visitors. You can set up goals to track important CTAs like form completions, product information downloads, appointments scheduled and so on. The e-commerce tracking we talked about above functions like “Goal Tracking” on it’s own, so don’t worry about creating goals for your e-commerce sales. 

Follow these steps to view your Goals Funnel:

Step 1: In Analytics, on the left side navigation, click on “Conversions” and click “Goals” in the drop down menu

Step 2: Under “Goals” select “Funnel Visualization”

goal funnel vizualization in google analytics

Step 3: Select the goal you want to see from the drop down menu near the top of the page. Don’t forget to select your data range on the right hand side too! You’re all set!

By looking at the graph and flow chart that appears, you’ll be able to see the exact percentage of your web visitors who leave (and when they leave) before purchasing your product or completing a CTA. Knowing this type of data can help you narrow down the reasons your potential customers may be leaving. 

Whatever the reason may be, you can now be able to see a pattern for your cart abandonment rate in Google Analytics. Once you know that a potential issue exists, you can work to fix it so you don’t continue to lose sales in the future.

Abandon Cart Shopper Stats

According to a data study in 2017:

  • 54% of online shoppers abandoned their online shopping carts due to expensive shipping
  • 24% of online shoppers abandoned their online shopping carts because they were unaware of shipping costs
  • 16% of online shoppers abandoned their online shopping carts due to bad website navigation

Cart abandonment rates also vary based on the type of products or services being sold online. That’s normal and OK, but if cart abandonment is a recurring problem for your website, you need to investigate why. Check out this graph for cart abandonment rate by product type:

Some of the biggest reasons web visitors will abandon their online carts is because 1) they don’t trust you and/or 2) they don’t have all the information up front. For a new customer, buying a product online from a business they’ve never worked with before is a big step. You need to do everything in your power to make your potential customers comfortable and put them at ease.

How to Reduce Your Abandon Shopping Cart Rate


1. Informative Product Pages

Optimized product pages need to have any and all the information for that product. I’m talking about, high quality images, sizing, prices (include any discounts, payment options, shipping costs), related products, previous customer reviews, warranty options, and detailed product descriptions. Be up front with exactly what your customers will get when they buy your product. Your product pages should answer all your web visitors questions about the product so they can move forward in the buying process confidentially.

2. Use Cart Abandonment Emails

If a visitor leaves before they complete their purchase, you can still reach out to them to try and complete the sale. If you were able to capture their email address, send an email once they leave your site notifying them they still have items in their cart. Make sure you include a strong CTA (call to action) in the email or maybe even a discount code they could use on their purchase if they decide to come back to your site and complete their purchase. But, make sure to add a personal touch as well. Prioritize your customers from the get go to ensure their loyalty. Give them a reason why they should complete their purchase and show them their business matters to you!

3. Provide Proof

As I mentioned above, trust is a necessity in order for an e-commerce sale to happen. Potential customers who are unfamiliar with your business will want some sort of assurance you’re business is trustworthy, dedicated, knowledgeable, and involved.

Make sure your brand logo is visible on all your website pages, include customer reviews on your website, have an easy to find blog section that visitors can check out, list your social media accounts, display any awards, certifications, and honors your business or employees have been awarded, create an informative “About Us” page that connects with the reader, and have an in-depth FAQ section that new online visitors can reference. In addition, make sure to provide several different methods for your visitors to reach out to you (social media accounts, phone number, email address etc.) if they do have any concerns before, during, or after the purchasing process. If you’re open about everything, you have nothing to hide!

In Conclusion

Website visitors’ cart abandonment rates in Google Analytics can give us clues as to why it’s happening. Online sales success has many moving parts but watching your shopping cart funnel is one of the most important. Missing the signals that your checkout process is ineffective can mean the difference between online success and failure.