The Top 5 Reasons People Abandon Ecommerce Shopping Carts

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Business Start Up Advice [ 1 Comment ]

starting an online businessFew phrases cause online retailers more anxiety than “shopping cart abandonment.” The fact is that 60% of online shoppers who start the process of buying online abandon the checkout process before converting. An alarmingly high percentage of people fill out checkout forms completely, but then abandon them just before hitting “Buy Now”.

For years online retailers have been trying to understand the psychology that drives consumers to abandon so many purchases online. Forrester reports that 88% percent of shoppers interviewed for a recent report had abandoned in the last month. This data suggests that abandonment is simply a normal part of the buying cycle for most consumers. However, although abandonment may be a normal purchasing behavior, online retailers can still work to reduce the friction customers experience at checkout.

Consider below five common reasons for abandonment and then what you can do to address the issue:

Top 5 Reasons People Abandon Shopping Carts and What to Do about It

1. Shipping Charges – Unexpectedly high shipping charges are by far the most common cause for shopping cart abandonment. According to a survey done by eConsultancy, shipping costs could be the reason for 75% of abandoned carts. Most retailers don’t reveal shipping costs until late in the checkout process, creating a less than favorable experience for potential customers. A general rule for retailers is to avoid any type of unexpected charges during checkout. To combat this, many retailers offer 24×7 free shipping or free shipping for carts above a certain value.

2. Comparison Shopping – Many visitors are simply trying to compare pricing for items they’re considering. These types of buyers should be classified differently because they really weren’t ready to purchase at the time of abandonment.  However, these customers are still very valuable prospects, as they’ve signaled intent around specific items.  A good remarketing partner will be able to help you nurture that intent through display & email campaigns. Also consider adding a guarantee to your checkout page that offers to match competitive pricing.

3. Login Fatigue – Most retailers subject current & potential customers to an account creation page before completing a purchase. They do so in an effort to capture an email address for that customer prior to order completion.  Many consumers are tired of giving out their email address to yet another website. If you must ask for account creation, make it clear that you won’t spam, sell or rent people’s information. At a minimum, allow your customers to checkout as guests.

4. Payment Errors – Although shopping online is supposed to be less of a hassle for consumers, when it comes time to pay this isn’t always the case. Payment errors can be the result of user error or technical bugs on your site. Help customers with intelligent error messaging that highlights exactly what piece of information caused the transaction to fail. Also be sure to test your checkout process at least once a week to be sure it’s working properly.

5. Site Performance – Consumers are shopping online because they want to save time. If your website doesn’t load fast enough, you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.  According to the New York Times, “People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second).” Every millisecond counts.

The key to improving your sites’ abandonment rate is to remove friction from the checkout process. Remember, abandonment is a normal part of the buying cycle but can be reduced by streamlining your customer experience.

Mike Arsenault is the CEO & Co-founder of Rejoiner. Rejoiner is the easiest way to turn abandoned shopping carts into conversions and is based in Boston, MA.


One thought on “The Top 5 Reasons People Abandon Ecommerce Shopping Carts


  1. avatarFortune3

    Great tips and reasoning for shopping cart abandonment. Ecommerce merchants should constantly be working on reducing abandonment rates.


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