Shopping Cart Abandonment: 6 Ways to Overcome It

September 5, 2016 Karen Axelton

shopping cart abandonment

As an ecommerce retailer, customers who abandon their shopping carts are undoubtedly one of your biggest headaches. Fortunately, when you understand the reasons behind shopping cart abandonment, you’re better armed to prevent it. A recent report from VWO explored the biggest reasons consumers leave without checking out. Here’s what they found—and what you need to know to get shoppers back to their carts again.

Unexpected shipping costs are the biggest reason for abandoned shopping carts; 25 percent of respondents say they’ve abandoned a cart for this reason.

Solution: Clearly state shipping costs upfront so consumers don’t have to go through even part of the checkout process to discover them. If you don’t have a flat shipping rate or offer free shipping, place a link to a shipping rate calculator prominently on the homepage.

Consumers are reluctant to share personal information with e-commerce websites. 22 percent say they’ve abandoned the shopping cart because they don’t want to create a new account to place the order.

Solution: Offer the option to check out as a guest rather than requiring customers to create an account to complete the order. And when consumers do create an account, keep the process as short and simple as possible.

Security is an issue for some: 15 percent abandon shopping carts because they are worried about the security of their payments.

Solution: Prominently display certificates, such as your SSL Certificate, on your ecommerce website’s homepage to boost customers’ confidence. Make sure that saving customers’ payment information is not the default option when they place an order or create an account; instead, require them to check a box if they want the information saved. And, of course, comply with data security standards regarding financial information.

9 percent of shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart because the checkout process is too long and confusing.

Solution: Try to keep your checkout process to a minimum number of steps — 3 to 5 stages is plenty for most ecommerce retailers. Also be sure that customers always know where they are in the checkout process (that is, how many more steps they have to go through). Have users who aren’t familiar with your site go through the checkout process and see what they think about its clarity and simplicity.

Window shopping is another big reason for abandoned carts. Some 17 percent of respondents have abandoned a cart because they were just researching products they might buy later. And 10 percent of shoppers are downright crafty: They admit they sometimes abandon their carts on purpose in hopes of getting discount offers later on.

Solution: Offering a discount on products in an abandoned shopping cart is by far the best motivator for these shoppers. Nearly six out of 10 respondents (58 percent) say that if they get an email or see an ad offering a discount on the product, they’ll go back and purchase.

Creating a sense of urgency can also help, although it’s not nearly as effective: 9 percent of respondents say they’ll buy if they get an email informing them the product is going out of stock, while 7 percent will purchase if they get an email informing them that the product is in high demand. This tactic works best if your product is hard to find, limited in supply or highly coveted.

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Author information

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

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