Top 10 Reasons (and solutions) for Shopping Cart Abandonment

Do you understand your customers? What products do they want? Where do they get their information from?

Without understanding why customers abandon carts, it is impossible to reduce cart abandonment.

The truth is...

Every eCommerce store is different. Which is why you need to know how to track shopping cart abandonment. However, you can dramatically improve your results, and literally multiply sales by learning from others.

We've collected the top 10 reasons for cart abandonment. We'll be breaking down each cause in detail, and provide a quick overview of how you can eliminate cart abandonment and recover sales.

This article is part of Step 1 in our Cart Abandonment Roadmap.

Top 10 reasons for shopping cart abandonment

According to Statista, there are 7 major reasons your visitors leave right before purchase.

reasons for shopping cart abandonment

1. Unexpected shipping cost

Hidden costs are the primary reason your visitors leave without purchasing. In fact, a full 25% of customers specifically cited shipping costs as driving them away.

However, you should also pay heed to other hidden costs such as taxes or required complementary items which have a similar effect.

These costs cause an immediate annoyance and irritation. In some cases, it can even propel consumers to feel remorse for purchasing.

The solution?

Fully disclose costs. Transparency is valued highly by digital shoppers, and is crucial for store success.

The best course of action is to state all costs from the outset.

Another successful strategy is to bundle the extra cost of shipping into the product and offer "free" shipping to the customer. CPCstrategy found that free shipping is deemed "critical" to 73% of customers to make a purchase and will encourage 93% of shoppers to buy more online.

2. Having to create a new user account

Your customers expect convenience. In eCommerce, one factor to convenience is imminent. Customers want to do things quickly and have instant results.

Spending more time and effort than expected is a significant source of friction. 22% of cart abandoners do not complete their purchase when they are required to create a new user account.

The solution?
To state the obvious, don't force first time buyers to create an account before they can complete their order. Offer guest checkout.

Additionally, take some time and identify other points of friction in the checkout process that may be causing customers to spend more time and effort.

3. Conducting research to buy later.

Some cart abandonment is impossible to eliminate.

eCommerce web behavior evolves. One online shopping habit is to use the internet to browse multiple products across shops. Research includes looking into the price, quality, shipping, and special offers.

Often, customers will add items to a cart in order to easily reference items. It is not uncommon for customers to exit a store with the full intent of coming back. In fact, many will return several times before making a purchase.

The solution?
While there isn't any solution per se to reducing this type of cart abandonment - you can do better.

The point of reducing cart abandonment is to recover lost sales. If you know shoppers are evaluating certain products on price, you can implement a price match guarantee pop-up to ensure customers ultimately purchase from you.

This line of reasoning extends to other types of guarantees, such as durability, quality, or money-back offers.

4. Concerns about payment security

Digital shoppers are wary of shops that do not seem secure.

This can stem from design flaws, such as outdated layouts or missing images, to the order process itself.

The solution?
Incorporate various forms of social proof to assure customers that you are a trustworthy store.

Use customer testimonials. Use product reviews. Use endorsements. Provide full contact information, such as a phone number and even faces and bios of you and your workers.

All of these factors let your customer know they are working with a real person who cares about their experience and will take care of their personal information.

5. Long and confusing checkout

This top 10 reason for cart abandonment is similar to number 2 (creating a new user account).

Long and confusing checkout processes are annoying to customers. Oftentimes, unnecessary forms contribute to unease and can even become confusing. All of this contributes to a poor experience, resulting in 9% of shoppers to abandon their carts.

The solution?
Minimize form elements. Only ask for necessary information.

Additionally, streamline your site's navigation. Reducing the "number of screens" from initiation to completion is a great way to reduce time.

6. Couldn't find a coupon code

Some customers chase deals. If they can't find a coupon or promotional codes, they will go and look for one elsewhere.

According to Statista, a full 8% of customers decide to abandon carts when they are unable to locate a coupon code - opting to wait until one shows up and try and find a better deal elsewhere.

Unfortunately, some checkout processes encourage the feeling of missing out. This happens most often when a coupon code search bar is near the checkout. The presence of this field promotes the idea that they are paying too much.

The solution?
It is best practice to auto-apply coupons when able.

Most carts have the ability to pass through parameters through the URL, and can be applied via emails or pop-ups.

7. No Express Shipping Available

If you haven’t noticed yet, customers care a lot about shipping.

While the cost of shipping is a top reason for cart abandonment, speed of shipping poses a significant threat to large purchases.

We all procrastinate (well, 95% of us according to Pies Steel, human resource professor). Important purchases are often time constrained. Think of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or emergencies.

If your store is unable to deliver the goods in time, customers are forced to abandon their carts.

The solution?
The tragedy is that in all of these cases, customers are willing to spend more.

If you need to charge more for express shipping, do so. Customers are more willing to spend for expedited shipping, and you will benefit greatly from providing this option.

8. Lack of Payment Options

Your customers are creatures of habit.

We tend to have a set, preferred way for most tasks. This includes online shopping.

According to ClickandBuy, over 50% of shoppers will not complete a purchase if their preferred payment options are not offered.

The solution?
It’s not hard to include other forms of payment.

Some eCommerce stores hide additional options in another tab to keep the user experience clutter free. Others offer all up options up front.

Offer as many payment options as possible, including local payment methods, such as AliPay in China.

9. An unfavorable return policy

Up to 66% of shoppers say that they would spend more with a generous return policy.

Unfortunately, many stores put hard limits on their returns. This can take two forms. First, policies that restrict too much time. Second, policies that charge for the return, usually in the form of shipping.

The solution?
Make sure you are able to track the number of returns and costs associated.

Then, begin offering a free, 30 day shipping. Run the test for a month or two and see what lift, if any, occurs for your industry and demographic. Compare this to the added costs of such a policy, and see if free 30 day return is a profitable strategy for you.

10. Lack of customer support

Lastly, lack of support is detrimental to shopping cart abandonment rates.

Customers expect service and convenience. A study conducted by LiverPerson found that 83% of online shoppers want help while they are on site. Over half (51%) said that they are more likely to make a purchase if they had customer support such as live chat during the session.

The solution?
How can you provide more support throughout your shopping experience? If you do not offer live chat, experiment. Like the 30 day free shipping, invest in the technology for a month or two. Measure lift in sales.

Bonus Case Study: Why Shoppers Abandon Carts Video

While conducting research, we found a great, in-depth case study on Zara. Zara is one of the leading brands in the world, and they have taken great measures to protect themselves against abandoned carts.

The video is below. Watch it for a real life walk through on how to actively combat cart abandonment and eCommerce best practices(click here to view in Youtube).

Next Steps

Knowledge is the first step.

Action is the next. Perform an assessment (or assign to a team member) on how your site performs. While it is impossible to completely eliminate shopping cart abandonment, you can greatly decrease it by addressing these top 10 reasons.

Then, progress to step two in the Cart Abandonment Roadmap.

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