How to reduce Basket Abandonment with a UX Audit


The problem: 68% of baskets are abandoned


$3 trillion worth of sales are lost each year* because customers abandon their online shopping. Despite the effort e-commerce professionals put into optimising landing pages, product pages and the pre-basket journey, 68% of potential customers abandon during checkout. (*source: Rakuten)


But, most causes of abandonment are preventable


According to WorldPay, 10 of the top 14 reasons that customers give for abandonment are actually preventable: the number one reason being “unexpected pricing”.


Analysis of our own Abandonment Audit research shows that e-commerce sites are often riddled with preventable UX issues or technical bugs that lead to customer abandonment. On average each audit identifies an average of 72 unique preventable causes of abandonment per retail site.


Top 10 Preventable Causes of Basket Abandonment

Top 5 UX reasons

Top 5 technical reasons

Confusing delivery options

Slow page loading

Unexpected pricing

Browser crashing (Tablet/SmartPhone)

Ambiguous delivery dates

Bugs in the registration form


Unresponsive buttons (SmartPhone)

Unclear returns policy

Items disappearing from basket


source: WhatUsersDo Client Abandonment Audits


Reducing abandonment is becoming increasingly complicated, as customers now expect a frictionless and bug-free basket experience:


  • Whichever device they’re using
  • With a growing range of delivery and collection options    
  • Whether they choose to register or not


The first step for any e-commerce professional is to comprehensively identify all of the preventable causes of basket abandonment on their site.


Myth: Re-marketing is the solution


At first glance the headline figures for re-marketing are impressive. But, on closer examination an average of only 7% of re-marketing emails actually result in a recovered basket.

Although it makes financial sense to utilise re-marketing for those customers who had no intention of purchasing, (for example, because they were comparison shopping), it should not be regarded as a panacea. Emerging best practice is to fix the preventable causes before customers abandon.


Our E-commerce clients have reduced abandonment by up to 22% through fixing root causes revealed through UX Testing


Abandonment Audits provide e-commerce professionals with a thorough analysis of user journeys from the moment items are added to their baskets to pinpoint the preventable causes of abandonment.

Fixing the UX issues or technical bugs revealed in an audit can reduce abandonment by as much as 22% (source: WhatUsersDo clients).


How we run Abandonment Audits


Each Abandonment Audit is designed to identify, quantify and prioritise the reasons why customers leave after adding to their baskets. Equipping e-commerce professionals with a robust business case for change with easy-to-consume insight that is a) statistically valid, b) actionable and c) underpinned with compelling videos of customers’ experience.


Run once a year or following significant changes to the basket area (e.g. adding new delivery options) Audits are designed to comprehensively cover popular devices (e.g. Computer, Tablet and SmartPhone), all user journeys and customer segments (e.g. new and existing) so that all of the UX issues and technical bugs that hamper basket conversion are captured. This means UX Testing with hundereds of users.


From a UX perspective, scaling testing to hundreds of user videos means that conversion issues, no matter how small, are identified and counted. This is particularly important in the checkout stage of a customer’s journey because sensitivity to trust (at the point of registering or paying) is heightened.


Customers will often abandon a basket not because of a singular major conversion killer, but because of the accumulation of many “micro-conversion” issues, with each one eroding their trust.


Below are example macro- and micro-conversion insights from real client projects.


54% of iPad browsers crashed on the salutation drop-down


25% of customers did not understand the delivery options


14% of customers found the Returns Policy confusing:

8% of customers looked for, but could not see, a “continue shopping” link in the Basket

13% of Android users commented that the basket was slow to load


What do E-commerce Managers get from an Abandonment Audit?


Audits arm e-commerce professionals with robust evidence so they can influence the change internally that will reduce preventable abandonment. Outlined below are the three main deliverables.


A. Research Design, Execution and Analysis


Expertise to get you started quickly.


Our UX Research team design thousands of studies each year and have developed expertise with Abandonment Audits for both small and large e-commerce providers. After understanding your business, key journeys and customer segments, the team will then:


  1. Create a Test Matrix (see abstract below) and design tasks for users to follow that will surface abandonment issues 
  2. Launch tests on the WhatUsersDo platform 
  3. Quality check the videos of users’ device screens and spoken thoughts
  4. Watch every single moment in each video and annotate UX issues and technical bugs
  5. Collate individual annotations and analyse them (there are often over 1,500 individual annotations)


Test Matrix Abstract





Journey (user tasks)



UK, ABC1, Male, 20-50


Product Category A > Guest Checkout > Click & Collect



UK, ABC1, Female, 50+


Product Category A > Sign in > Home Delivery



DE, Female, 30-50


Product Categories A & B > remove product > Guest > Gifting delivery



NL, Male, 20-30


Product Category C > Register > Next Day delivery


… usually extended to cover core journey combinations, profiles and devices.


B. In-person presentation of the main causes

To help you convince colleagues.


So that it is not only your voice convincing colleagues for action, one of our UX Research Team will present the main findings to you and the wider team in person, covering:


  • The most significant UX insights and Technical Bugs
  • Prioritised micro-conversion issues
  • Key findings by device, journey and customer segment
  • Guidance on how to turn the findings into action







C. Prioritised Insights Table

Drill into the detail and take action.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 14.30.59.png

For those team members who need to drill into the detailed problems to fix them (typically designers and developers), a Prioritised Insights Table in Excel format provides all of the information they need, including:


  • Issue grouping by UX issues or technical bugs

  • Detailed issue descriptions

  • Technical data e.g. device, OS, browser, screen size

  • Customer demographics

  • Link to online clips of the issue showing the screen and spoken thoughts




“Over 6 months, by improving the experience for our customers and eradicating bug, we reduced basket abandonment by 20%. Without WhatUsersDo we would never have identified even half of the issues they did.”

E-commerce Manager, major UK High Street Brand


“Not only have we reduced abandons and increased sales, but we’ve reduced customer care calls.”

UX Manager, Fashion Brand