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A simple way to increase your add-to-cart rate

Selling online has never been easier with the emergence of Shopify and other e-commerce platforms. You no longer need technical or web design skills to start an e-commerce website. Excellent news for most entrepreneurs and small business owners, but naturally, as the barrier to entry decreases the market saturation increases.

Since it’s relatively easy to create a website, the difference between a profitable e-commerce business and an unprofitable one is not the website design, but the conversion rate percentage.  More specifically, the percentage of visitors/users that are converted into buyers.

If we dig a little deeper,  the add-to-cart rate percentage plays a crucial part in the overall conversion rate. In other words, what percentage of visitors go from viewing your product to adding it to the shopping cart.

What Add-to-Cart Rate (Percentage) Should I Aim For?

We know that the average add-to-cart rates vary from country-to-country, industry, and the device type (e.g. desktop, tablet, phone, etc.). However, we will use 8% as the baseline – the average add-to-cart rate in the US*.

If your add-to-cart rate is less than 8%, then you probably have work to do. Even if you are around 8% you have work to do because many companies we’ve worked with have a much higher add-to-cart rate. Even small improvements (e.g. 0.5%) can lead to thousands in additional revenue.

Improve Your Add-to-Cart Rate With Email

We know that an average add-to-cart rate (via email) is 10%, or 2% higher than our baseline (8%), so collecting email addresses is a great start.

Why Email Marketing Produces Higher Add-to-Cart Rate?

Giving a business your email address is a lot more personal than just visiting a website, or clicking follow (social media).

More specifically, to sign up for a newsletter, you have to be interested in the company, product, service, or content; therefore, if you convince a visitor to give you an email address, you are already halfway to converting them into a customer.

It may take weeks or months, but a good percentage of them will convert (make a purchase).

Your Newsletter Is Extremely Important, So Make Sure It’s Great

If your newsletter or any promotional email is poorly planned or executed, then your add-to-cart rate will be disappointing. To give your newsletter the best chance of success, make sure you follow these three simple rules:

  • Must Be Relevant And Helpful – your email/newsletter has to align with the product range your potential customer is interested in. More specifically, your newsletter should only include the content (e.g. product launches, discounts, tips, how-to, etc.) related to the product(s) they previously showed interest in
  • Must Be Timely – when we use the word “timely” we mean where they are in the “Buyer decision process” (Need recognition, Information search, Evaluation, Purchase decision, or Post-Purchase). For example, if a user is in the “information search” phase, then your objective may be to educate them on the “benefits” of your product. However, if they are in the “purchase decision” phase, then focusing on “limited time” offers is more appropriate because they are indicating readiness to buy. 
  • Must Provide A Consistent Experience – a well thought out and consistent experience is essential because we do not want our buyer to be distracted by any inconsistencies. For example, inconsistent colors, CTAs, writing style, marketing message, or image styles.

If planned and implemented correctly, an email marketing campaign will do wonders for your add-to-cart rate, but there are no shortcuts. You have to dedicate the time to plan, execute, and optimize all your email communications.


The online shopping (e-commerce) space is highly competitive and saturated; therefore, to prosper, you have to obsess over conversion numbers (e.g. add-to-cart rate).

In this post, we used email (newsletter) to improve the add-to-cart rate, but optimization opportunities are endless. All successful online businesses are created with small incremental improvements that lead to significant growth. Improving your add-to-cart rate can be your first step on this journey.

Related: The Importance Of Conversion Rate To Your Bottom Line

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