10 Most Common Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment & Tips to Overcome Them

According to a stats by the Direct Marketing Association 65% of new customers are not completing their purchases online, and chances are they will leave and never come back. And another stats by Baymard Institute, a web research company in the UK, says 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned. So, the biggest roadblock in the holy grail of ecommerce conversion is shopping cart abandonment..

There are too many different factors that are responsible for a user to leave his shopping journey before the finish line. For example, shopping cart abandonment is higher for high value goods as visitors mostly fill up their baskets to make a wish list.  While, for ‘need’ type items the average abandonment cart rate is as low as 50%. However, at times, your user might be window-shopping, and has no intent to purchase..

But it’s vital to identify the “conversion killers” that affect a user’s shopping behaviour and fails to capture his interests. Take a look.

1. Expensive Shipping

A high charge for shipping is the most common variable that kills the conversion. A ComScore report says that 61% consumers are “at least somewhat likely” to cancel their entire purchase if free shipping isn’t involved.

A PayPal study also revealed that 43% of shoppers abandoned shopping carts because the shipping charges were too high. After all, this is the biggest drawback of online shopping, that your bought item only reaches in your customer’s hands after a pre-fixed delivery period.

More than half of online retailers offer free shipping. While free shipping for international orders can hurt your bottom line, your store must offer free countrywide shipping as a gesture of saying thank you to the many customers who paid in advance…

shopping cart abandonment

And, in all the other cases, you must mention your shipping cost upfront, so at all times, your customer is aware of the shipping charges rather than discovering it later only to abandon his shopping cart. 

Also make sure that your total shipping cost doesn’t exceeds more than 20% of the price. “Shipping shouldn’t be a profit center.” 

You can also offer a flat rate shipping on all items or your cost can vary depending on different products and the weight of the items you’re shipping. Decide your shipping plan in advance and calculate your average, per-order shipping and handling costs to avoid repercussions later.

Include the destinations you’re willing to ship to. If your customer only gets to discover that you won’t ship to his destination only at the confirmation page, then it can be very frustrating.

2. High Price

Price point is another primary reason your shoppers might be leaving your site prior to checkout. A lot of survey says that a massive percentage of people drift away from completing an order because they are looking for a better price.

There could also be other reasons like not displaying price in local currency for international shoppers forcing them to deal with exchange rates on their own. So if possible, give your customers an option to see & charge the price in their local currency.

shopping cart abandonment

Solution: While big companies might compromise with their price to establish their foothold in the market, small startups can’t afford to play under the belt. Rather then cutting the price to where they can still make some profit, companies can offer coupon codes on their site, so the visitor doesn’t need to leave the site in search of discount codes and get distracted with lots of options.

shopping cart abandonment

If too many customers have left after checking out the price page then send them recovery emails offering a small coupon or discount for an abandoned cart to motivate them to return.

Companies can also offer ‘comparison shopping’ if they are already offering the lowest prices in the market.

3. Minimize your Checkout Flow

Multiple steps from cart to checkout could be very frustrating, pushing a user to leave the process in between. Stats say, if you can’t complete a transaction page in under 4 seconds you are doomed.

While, a single page checkout could be complex to users too. It’s similar to the pain of filling lengthy forms. At times, you might be ready to pay for a subscription with your credit card in hand, but a long form turns you off.

shopping cart abandonment

Solution: Your checkout flow should not involve multiple pages with separate billing cost, shipping & taxes to displaying return policy.  Limit the number of clicks required between adding an item to the basket and completing the purchase.

You can test what works best for you given the type of products you sell. For example, for high value goods, multi-page checkout isn’t an issue as it gives shoppers some time to carefully go through every step to build confidence and trust. On the other hand, for low value items, multi-page checkout could deter your prospect, forcing him to leave the process in between.

Also, multi-page checkout could repel your repeated visitors who frequently shop online. The call to go with a one page checkout from multi-page or vice versa shouldn’t be done just because everyone is doing it. Your ideal checkout process should be driven by A/B testing rather than assumptions.

4. Asking for Compulsory Sign Up

While you will want to capture the email address of every single visitor who comes to your site, but forcing shoppers to register an account in order to do some shopping is a big mistake.


shopping cart abandonment

Solution: Once the customer is through with his shopping, you will ultimately get access to his details including, billing address, phone number and email address too, so why to mess it all up in the first place. 

Allowing customers to shop with a guest checkout can massively reduce the number of dropouts.

5. No Clear Calls to Action

shopping cart

Many ecommerce sites lose it by not guiding the user at every step and presenting him with the next step.  There are 90% chances that a user who has come to your website for the first time, might not return to your site ever again.

Solution: Make your site structure is simple and easy to navigate while optimizing it for displaying related products under each category. Include clear call to action (CTA) while handholding your customer to browse the other categories before he calls it a session.

6. Hidden or Additional Charges

The biggest disappointment for a customer who is ready with his credit card to checkout is to discover hidden fees and additional charges in the last step.
So refrain from adding up to the sale price without explicitly stating it up front.

Solution: The best way to cater to this problem is to offer a calculator within the shopping cart. Also allow your customers to check on the contents of their shopping carts and the total charges before they complete the checkout by smartly including it in your design. This way he can keep a check on the total amount at all times during the shopping.

7. Missing ‘Continue to Shop’ Option

Many ecommerce sites don’t give the shopper the basic ‘Continue to Shop’ option as soon as they’ve added an item to the cart, forcing them to limit their purchases. They fail to realize that the customer might need to change his order at the last moment or might want to keep shopping without losing his cart contents.

There should be an option to “Continue Shopping” at all times. While your users will love it, you will ultimately benefit by trying to upsell this way.

Solution: While you might not want your user to drift away from your product page, you can continue to show his shopping cart while he is free to browse other items that he might be interested in. 

shopping cart optimization

Show him his shopping cart at every step, so he isn’t forced to navigate back to the product page again and again. You can create a viewable cart that continues to appear on every page he is browsing. Whenever the customer adds an item, automatically add it in his “shopping cart contents.”

shopping cart

Warning: Never ever take your customer to your home page leaving him confused as to what the next step is.

8. Lack of Payment Options

Many online businesses fail to realize the importance of not providing different payment methods to customers. According to a ClickandBuy survey over 50% of regular online shoppers will cancel a potential purchase if their preferred payment method is not available. 

According to WorldPay stats, alternative payments account for 22% of global e-commerce transactions, worth a total of €165bn. 

shopping cart abandonment reason

Solution: Payment options help bring new customers, its a proven fact. So include all the popular credit and debit cards on your site. Besides also include the popular payment options for international shoppers. For example, offering to pay through PayPal & Google Checkout could be a great option even for international shoppers. 

Also offer popular local payment methods. In The Netherlands, over 68% of all online payments are made through iDEAL, in China, almost 50% all ecommerce transactions are done through AliPay. So you’re shipping to these countries you must take this into account.

9. Lack of Trust

With the increasing number of online frauds, a new online shopper might need some reassurance with regards to security and privacy through the checkout process. 

shopping cart abandonment reason

Solution: Make sure to include security icons located near the total amount to help build the trust. Including company’s address and contact details (email address, physical address and telephone number) can help in building the trust that there’s real people to turn to if anything should go wrong. 

10. Lack of Customer Support

The biggest advantage of shopping at brick & mortar shops is that the shopper feels secured that he known who to come back to in case of any issues. Offline shoppers are known to buy in company of their family or friends, helping them to make a make a better decision. 

While shopping online is a lonely experience, your shopper might need some more information for his satisfaction before the crucial checkout.

Solution: Introducing a forum where the customers can instantly post their queries and get someone from the customer support to have those queries answered back could give them confidence to move further.

Live Chat

Providing features like Live Chat to online customers can help them in getting their answers in real time, thus reducing the turnaround time. A consumer study by LivePerson,
online chat software, says “51% of
consumers stated that they were more likely to purchase from a website if they
could get answers via live chat. Overall, 93% of consumers consider real-time
help as being beneficial during their online customer journey.” 

Often the online shoppers land up on your site simply to browse your store collection. Though there is no cupid’s arrow to make him change his mind, however, there are chances that he might come back later to complete his shopping.

Identify Your Problem Areas

Google Analytics can be a good starting point to find the big areas for improvement in this type of situation. There are many services/tools that provide more insight to help you nail the reasons for cart abandonment on your site. 

Customer review

Another simple solution is to ask for customer feedback to help you improve your site’s experience. A survey conducted by Econsultancy and TolunaQuick found that 54% of shoppers would drop out if they experienced any technical problems. Motivate them to share any difficulties or technical glitches that they might have encountered on the site so you & your team can work on it. 


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