The abandoned shopping cart discounts experiment!

According to Wingify, over £3 trillion pounds worth of products globally are abandoned in shopping carts every year, that’s a lot of unsold products that retailers would prefer to see sold! To try and rescue some of those sales, it’s said that retailers may offer a discount to get you to change your mind and splurge the cash.

On Martin Lewis’ last live Money Show, he mentioned a great little tip that may get you a discount offer when voucher codes and other deals are not available. It’s a great thing to try if you’re not in a hurry to buy as you will have to wait up to a week before you know if you have been successful.

How does it work?

All you have to do is fill up your shopping cart and then walk away. Close the browser tab and leave the contents of your cart as it is, waiting for payment. If you’re successful in bagging a discount you will receive an email or notification from the retailer offering a discount code, just follow the instructions and get some money off!

Who offers discounts on abandoned carts though?

That’s where this little experiment comes in! over the coming weeks I’ll be registering accounts, filling shopping carts and walking away to find out who offers these discount codes, what they offer and how long I had to wait.

Who are we testing?

First of all I’ll be testing the top ten online retailers according to GlobalData, plus a few others that I either use regularly or feel should be on the list. Please comment with any other requests or findings and we can start to build a comprehensive list of which retailers offer discounts on abandoned shopping carts.

The rules

I’m going to impose a few rules on this experiment…

  • Keep shopping cart as close to £100 as possible,
  • Avoid any sales, discounts, offers which could end during the experiment and disrupt the retailers normal response,
  • Add only wine and spirits to supermarket shopping carts,
  • Just load the shopping cart, don’t click on “Checkout”.

Check back soon for the results…

And the results are in!

So it has been a week since I started this experiment and the results are in and it’s not pretty!

As you can see in the table below, I loaded up shopping carts at some of the UK’s top online retailers and then abandoned them to see if I would get a discount. For a week I’ve been eagerly checking my inbox for tempting discounts and offers from all the retailers and now a week has past it’s time to go over the results!

So, after one week I’ve received…


Not one of the retailers above have offered me a discount to rescue my abandoned shopping cart which, I’ve got to say was quite a surprise, considering how many people online are saying that you generally do get offers. Aldi, Argos, Ebuyer, PC World even emptied my shopping cart for me!

What went wrong?

Who knows. Perhaps a £100 spend is not enough to be taken seriously and the retailers are happy to wave goodbye to the potential sale? Or perhaps retailers have become wise to this strategy and have stopped offering the discounts? Too many people have deliberately abandoned shopping carts in the hope that an email offer will arrive in their mailbox?

Thinking about it logically, by taking the time to fill a shopping cart you are showing an intent to buy so perhaps the retailers have done some research of their own and have found that a significant proportion of us will be back to complete the purchase. It’s just a waiting game for them and by offering discounts, they are hitting their profit margins unnecessarily.

Take two

As my little experiment failed to win me any discount emails I’m going to try again but this time I’ll up the spend to see what happens when I abandon the carts. I’m not going to be happy until I get at least one email offer!

Abandoned shopping carts results

DateRetailerProduct/sCart valueDiscount offered?
05 OctoberAldiMultiple bottles wind and spirits£99.92No
05 OctoberAmazonAmazon Echo spot£119.99No
05 OctoberArgosMakita bluetooth speaker£119.99No
05 OctoberAsdaMultiple bottles wine and spirits£102.21No
05 OctoberAsos French Connection Pea coat£110No
05 OctoberEbuyerBuffalo LinkStation NAS drive£101.18No
05 OctoberJohn Lewis & PartnersCasserole pot£110No
05 OctoberMarks & SpencerRevere Overcoat£99No
05 OctoberMorrisonsMultiple bottles wine and spirits £99No
05 OctoberAO*Shark steam mop£99No
05 OctoberPC WorldMy Cloud Home NAS£114.99No
05 OctoberSainsbury’sMultiple bottles wine and spirits £100.15No
05 OctoberTescoMultiple bottles wine and spirits £102No

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