How to Prevent Cart Abandonment for Subscription Products?

Learn from product-as-a-service businesses on how they prevent cart abandonment by providing flexibility to their customers. 

While account creation and sign-up forms are a sure-fire way to lose sales, converting a visitor into a customer takes a bit more than ensuring you have no sign-up forms or account creation steps in your checkout flow.

What does it take to convert visitors into customers?

Converting visitors into customers is no longer about convincing them that you have something they want, but it mostly boils down to convincing customers to proceed with the purchase.

Convincing customers to proceed with the purchase is often done by:

  • Building trust
  • Making the user feel at ease
  • Making the checkout process as efficient and frictionless as possible
  • And learning how to employ remarketing tactics

What is the reason behind success of sales-based eCommerce companies?

eCommerce companies that are doing well have nailed it in making the checkout experience as frictionless as possible and building trust.

This is primarily because of the creativity of some masterminds behind the whole selling process. However, the success of eCommerce companies is also because the industry has now existed for so long that the technology that empowers it has advanced beautifully and is doing a great job at perfecting the selling process.

How is renting a product different from selling a product?

Renting a product is not the same as buying a product.

Even though for the customer, the process still looks the same as the customer still wants to get access to something they want in a fast and efficient manner, for the vendor renting products instead of selling them is a different ballgame altogether.

When eCommerce companies started offering subscription-based products and making their way into the market, they didn't receive the same advantages as the one-time sales-based eCommerce industry already had.

What were the typical obstacles of renting products instead of selling them?

The obstacles of renting products were different from selling products.

  • There were no existing tools or technology that could support creating seamless renting/subscribing processes.
  • Ecommerce shops were not made for handling rentals, atleast not in an efficient way.
  • ERP systems were not made for handling rental orders.
  • The consumer had to be convinced and made used to this new form of consumption and getting access to a product.

So imagine this:

  • You have a relatively new industry.
  • You don't have the technology to manage and scale it and bring it to par with traditional sales-based eCommerce.
  • Additionally, you have to convince customers to get used to this new form of consumption.

Sounds like a tough job.

Now, this is perhaps the story of 5 years ago. Now there are some tools and solutions; the subscription industry is gaining momentum, and customers are warming up to subscribing to products instead of buying them.

But the customer experience and customer journey bit of it still looks pretty historic. Many product subscription companies still have sign-up forms that say something like, "hey fill out the form, and we'll get in touch with you about your interest in renting our product XYZ."

Can you imagine a customer going through something like that? Hopefully, a little voice in your head is screaming NO right now. And if not, then we recommend taking a lesson or watching a video on customer experience in eCommerce, and its impact on conversions.

So when you have a visitor who is convinced they want to subscribe to a product instead of buying it, the least you can do is to make sure that the customer experience is at par with traditional sales based eCommerce.

So the basic means no sign-up forms or account creation steps.

What are some reasons for cart abandonment?

Here are some common cart abandonment reasons with solutions to overcome these hurdles from companies that are doing a pretty damn good job in creating a great subscription experience.

1. Cart abandonment due to price surprises


According to the Baymard institute, the shopping cart abandonment rate is as high as 69.8%, and 49% of consumers cite extra costs as the main reason for cart abandonment.

Up until the checkout page, online shopping feels like an experience that most customers enjoy as there is no disruption and no pressure to make a decision. However, customers feel a disconnect between the cart and checkout when they reach the checkout page, mainly due to the price change.

Now, this of course, is not the fault of the vendor/seller but just how the customer journey is designed. If you have a product that lets the customer customise it and add different options, then the total payable price will change if the options selected by the customer have price implications.

Most customers do not have a problem with the price, but they have a problem seeing it on the checkout page when they finally have to pay.


Include options that have price implications already on the product page so that the visitor can play around with the different options and see how it impacts the overall price.

When visitors can play around with the different options and see how the price changes as per their selection, they no longer feel a disconnect between the cart and the checkout.

The need to go to the checkout price to see the final price is made redundant when customers can see the price change beforehand.

For subscription products, multiple options can change the overall price, and to lower cart abandonment, it's crucial that the visitor is not met with these surprises on the checkout page.

Here's are examples of companies already doing this:

1. Dance

Dance is an e-mobility startup that offers e-mobility solutions on a subscription basis.

Their customer journey starts on their home page. The visitors click a "Start now" button and are taken to the product page. On the product page, they can select the product of their choice. The price displayed at the bottom left changes as per the visitors' selection.

In the example from Dance, the overall price changes with the product and the subscription type. As the visitor selects a different option, the price changes at the bottom of the page to ensure that the visitor is not met with any surprises.

Image 1: Price change with product

Image 2: Price change with subscription type

Note how the option “pick your add-ons” state whether the option has a price attached to it or is free.

2. Swapfiets

Swapfiets is another mobility startup from the Netherlands. They also display the price changes because of the available option on the product page itself and not surprising the visitor on the checkout page.

3. Stokke

Stokke is a Norwegian company that manufactures furniture solutions for babies and young parents. On their product page they’ve integrated the option of selecting a subscription plan as the subscription plan has implications on the price.

Their visitors can play around with different options and see how the subscription length impacts the overall price.

2. Cart abandonment due to delivery expectations


Another major reason for cart abandonment is unsuitable delivery options. Visitors often proceed to the checkout page to verify the delivery date and check if it works for them. Obviously, they abandon the cart if they are unhappy with the delivery options.


Add delivery options on the product page itself in the form of a delivery calendar. By adding a delivery calendar already in the onboarding flow, visitors can decide for themselves and in advance when they want the product instead of going through the whole checkout process just to check the delivery date.

Here's are examples of companies already doing this:

1. Dance

Visitors have the freedom of selecting a delivery date from a delivery calendar. They also already collect the address as it makes sense to ask for the address while asking for a delivery option.

Note that the option also states that the delivery cost is free of charge.

2. Swapfiets

Swapfiets providers two options: pickup or delivery. If visitors select pickup then an availability calendar is displayed from which the visitor can pick a date that suits them best. If the visitor select delivery then the visitor is notified that they will be notified via email about the availability of their product and also displays the delivery cost (which is free in Swapfiets case)

3. Cart abandonment due to account creation


The account creation step is another reason why many visitors abandon the cart as they see it as a hurdle in the checkout process. For the seller, this step is often essential for reasons like repeat purchases, allowing the customer to track the order, giving users access to special offers and so on. For subscription products, account creation makes even more sense because the customer can use their account to control various aspects of their subscription. But that being said, account creation is still among the top three reasons for cart abandonment.


As a seller, you can still create an account without asking your customers to do the same. The basics of creating an account are name, email and a password. While you already have the customer's name and email, you can easily skip over the password requirement. And this is made possible in the circuly customer self-service portals.

The customer need only know their email to log into their self-service portal. When they log in, a one-time password is sent to the email address, and they can use this password to log in and gain access to their account.

4. Cart abandonment due to sign-up forms


Visitors hate sign up forms.


Kindly move away from sign-up forms.


When it comes to converting prospects into consumers you not only need to have an institutive site design and fast checkout but also leave no room for surprise. In eCommerce "the element of surprise" has rather negative implications specially when the surprise is about price.

Get Inspired By Other Companies Already Operating Such a Model.

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