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Understanding Basket Abandonment

Updated: Jul 1

Researched by Tim

OK, let’s talk about a topic that’s a real headache for most producers of artisan food and drink—basket abandonment. 

You’re a small business owner, crafting the finest cheeses, brewing the perfect ales, or creating amazing chocolates. You’ve worked hard to build your market profile, attract customers to your website, and showcase your products beautifully. Then, customers add your items to their cart, only to leave without buying. It’s not just disappointing; it’s incredibly frustrating.

The Scope of Basket Abandonment

It’s widespread throughout the online shopping industry – not just food and drink. Did you know that around 70-80% of online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout? 

According to the Baymard Institute, the global average cart abandonment rate is about 69.57%, but in the UK, it can be even higher. 

Statista reported that in 2021, the abandonment rate in the UK was around 81%, and SaleCycle noted a 75.6% average for UK retailers in 2020. These figures mean that for every ten potential customers who show interest in your hand-crafted cider or gourmet jams, only two or three might actually complete the purchase. Not OK!

Why Customers Abandon Their Baskets

Understanding why customers leave without buying is the first step in addressing the issue. Here are some common reasons, from the perspective of your potential customers:

  1. High Shipping Costs: Customers fall in love with your small-batch honey but balk at the delivery fee. It’s a deal-breaker. This is the most common reason. 

  2. Complicated Checkout Process: A long or confusing checkout process can deter even the most enthusiastic buyers. They want your product, not a hassle.

  3. Mandatory Account Creation: Requiring customers to create an account before purchasing can be a major turnoff. Sometimes, they just want to check out quickly and easily.

  4. Payment Security Concerns: If your website doesn’t clearly communicate that their payment information is secure, customers may leave in search of a more trustworthy site.

  5. Unclear Return Policies: If your return policies are hidden or seem unfriendly, customers may hesitate to buy, fearing they’ll be stuck with a product they can’t return.

The Frustration of a Missed Sale

Every time a customer abandons their cart, it’s a missed opportunity. You’ve invested time, money, and passion into creating your products and marketing them online. 

Seeing a full cart left behind can feel like a personal rejection. It’s not just about the lost revenue—though that’s significant—it’s also about the effort that goes unrewarded and the potential word-of-mouth promotion that never happens. 

Each abandoned cart is a sale that could have helped your business grow, support local jobs, and bring your unique products to a wider audience.

Strategies to Combat Basket Abandonment

To turn things around, here are some strategies you can implement:

  1. Transparent pricing: Display all costs upfront, including delivery costs and VAT. If customers know what to expect, they’re less likely to be surprised and leave. 

  2. Fair pricing: Check out others selling the same produce are doing and make sure you are aligned. Customers may shop around, and there is no point in losing a sale, and the possibility of a long-term relationship, over a pound or two of delivery charges.

  3. Free delivery: Offer free delivery. Some producers will find it easier than others to do this for a whole load of good reasons – e.g.: weight/ glass containers/ tight margins. One good option is to offer free delivery for a certain level of sales, as this may entice your customers into buying more. 

  4. Simplify Checkout: Streamline your checkout process. Reduce the number of steps and make it as intuitive as possible. Consider adding a guest checkout option.

  5. Boost Payment Security: Use recognisable security logos and ensure your website communicates that it’s a safe place to shop.

  6. Return Policy: In the food and drink sector, this is tricky. Most producers quite rightly can’t offer a return policy and customers generally understand this. So just be clear about your terms from the outset. 

  7. Cart Recovery Emails: Set up an automated email to remind customers of their abandoned items. Sometimes, the customer was distracted for a good reason or they needed a bit of thinking time, and a simple nudge may bring them back.

  8. Optimise for Mobile: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Many shoppers browse and buy on their phones, and a smooth mobile experience can reduce abandonment rates.

Embracing Technology

Technology offers several tools to help mitigate basket abandonment:

  • AI and Machine Learning: These can help personalise the shopping experience, making it more likely that customers will complete their purchase.

  • Chatbots and Live Chat: Providing instant assistance can help address customer questions or concerns in real time, preventing abandonment.

  • Retargeting Ads: Use these to remind customers of their abandoned carts as they browse other websites, encouraging them to return and complete the purchase.


Basket abandonment is a significant challenge for producers of artisan food and drink, but it’s not insurmountable. By understanding the reasons behind it and implementing effective strategies, you can reduce abandonment rates and turn more of those potential sales into actual ones. Remember, every recovered sale is a step towards growing your business and sharing your passion with the world. So, tackle those abandoned carts head-on and watch your sales—and satisfaction—rise!

How WeFarmShop will help

As your sales and marketing agent, WeFarmShop will deal with basket abandonment in the App, so you don’t have to worry about the cost and hassle of dealing with it. 

We will work tirelessly to reduce basket abandonment, and our knowledge will help everyone in the WeFarmShop community, helping everyone to sell more.

WeFarmShop has clever functionality that allows friends and family to buy as a group. The benefit to producers is that with more than one person buying, they are likely to receive larger orders (still delivered to a single address) with the delivery charge either split with more than one person or eliminated altogether. It’s a win-win for everyone! 


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