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Lesson 1 of 6
Refine your checkout flow
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Refine your checkout flow

checkout bag

Recover revenue from potential subscribers

checkout bag

What is cart abandonment?


Cart abandonment or checkout abandonment is when a potential subscriber or donor starts to purchase a subscription or donate, but doesn’t complete the transaction.

Abandonment rate averages 70% across all industries (2023). In other words, for every 10 people who select a subscription, 7 will leave without purchasing.

Why do people abandon a subscription or donation?

Long checkout processes, site speed, unexpected costs, and lack of security are just a few reasons why people abandon a subscription or donation, after starting to checkout.

If you’re on your phone, you’re more likely to abandon checkout at the first sign of friction.

💡 Best practices to prevent cart abandonment

  • Make subscribers feel secure
  • Use fewer steps
  • Show their progress

How do I track abandonment rate?


To calculate your news organization’s cart abandonment rate, use the following formula:

Cart abandonment = Incomplete Transactions ÷ Carts created

For example, if 100 people began the process of purchasing a subscription or making a donation and 40 people completed their purchase, then 60 people “abandoned” their cart.

0.6 = 60 incomplete purchases ÷ 100 carts created

Your cart abandonment rate is 0.60, or 60%.

💡 Best practice: Use an overlay when someone returns to the page, or when they are about to leave the page


Make subscribers feel secure


17% of people abandon carts because of lack of trust, like credit card theft or other security concerns.

💡Best practices to be transparent with data

  • Ask for their e-mail first, so you can follow up
  • Add a guarantee like “We will never share your data”
  • Ask for essential fields only:
    • Email address
    • Password
    • Credit card information
    • Billing address
  • Ask for first name, last name, and physical address only for print subscriptions
  • Avoid asking for phone number or gender
  • Add “Cancel Anytime” below the final purchase button

Use fewer steps


A 2019 study found that half of surveyed shoppers were less likely to complete their online purchase if the checkout process took more than 30 seconds.

💡Best practices for a faster checkout flow

  • Limit checkout to a maximum of three steps, like Account, Billing, and Review.
  • Enable social login. This allows your audience to sign-in or register with one-click using an existing social media account.
  • Enable autofill
  • Enable the number keyboard on mobile for easier selection
  • Enable third-party payment options like PayPal or Amazon Pay
  • Display checkout as one page

Show their progress


21% of people abandon carts because of complicated or lengthy checkout experiences.

A clear and simple checkout page reduces confusion, keeps potential subscribers and donors informed throughout the journey, and allows for purchases to be completed with ease.

💡Best practices to simplify your checkout

  • Display an anchored progress bar
  • List steps, such as “1 of 3”
  • Anchor an itemized order summary to the page
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