February 23, 2024

What to Do With Abandoned Shopping Carts

Shopping carts litter our neighborhoods and create a safety hazard and visual blight. They also attract additional litter and serve as breeding grounds for rats and other vermin. Abandoned carts are also costly for businesses. In fact, they cost retailers an estimated $800 million a year worldwide.

In some cases, abandoned carts can be sold for parts or recycled. But this option requires a lot of planning and careful preparation, since carts often contain personal information or payment data. Additionally, local laws vary. In the City of Watsonville, for example, removing or possessing an abandoned cart without a store’s permission is illegal.

The best way to deal with abandoned carts is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. By understanding what causes shoppers to abandon their carts, you can design a strategy to reduce the number of lost sales. Some of these interventions are simple to implement, like a clear checkout process. But others are more complex, like educating consumers about any hidden fees that might appear at checkout.

One way to do this is by displaying your return policy mid-checkout. Another is to use remarketing to remind shoppers about the items in their carts, and provide incentives like discounts or free shipping. Using personalized content also helps, with research suggesting that people are 40% more likely to engage with ads that have been tailored to their browsing history.

A third option is to offer a program where customers can trade in their old carts for new ones. While this might seem a bit counterintuitive, it can be a great solution for smaller stores that aren’t able to afford the investment of acquiring a fleet of new carts.

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