Shopping Cart Abandonment Theory and How to Prevent It

Have you ever found yourself adding well over 5-10 items to your online shopping cart, then clicking the big red X at the top of the page? Well, you’re not alone. According to Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate has risen to 67.35%.

These so-called “cart abandoners” are considered as lost revenue opportunities, though some marketers disagree. Often times, a customer may just need a little reminder about their items or a quick price comparison to make a confident purchase.

5 Reasons Why Customers Abandon Their Shopping Cart

1) PC / Laptop Versus Mobile Purchases Several customers shop online via their tablets or smartphones, though most would opt out of completing their purchases on-the-go. Whether it be for a security reason or simply an easier shopping process, consumers may find more value in switching up their devices to complete a purchase.

2) Inflexible Checkout Process Ever had to fill out your name, email, address, phone number, and all sorts of other personal information then accidentally click an ad that transports you to another page or even exit the site itself? Customers may find the checkout process too draining to repeat a second time, thereby abandoning their cart altogether. In many cases, retailers do not account for international customers who expect international shipping and other tailored services. Customers may be turned away from solidifying a purchase if they have to register prior to checking out or submit a U.S. phone number.

3) Surprise or Hidden Costs High shipping prices could lead to dissatisfaction with the goods or services offered. Retailers who advertise “S&H not included” face far more cart abandonments than those who explicitly state a flat shipping rate or offer free shipping.

4) Price Comparison Often times customers conduct research on their products before making pricey purchases. Thus, after calculating the total costs, consumers then buy the product from the site that offers them the greatest return on their investment. Items added to their carts would be saved for consideration or later purchases. 5) Precursor to an In-Store Purchase Accumulated costs can break a customer’s wallet. Therefore, it is no surprise that most would rather purchase directly at a local store than spend over $5 on shipping.


Solutions to Prevent Cart Abandonment

1) E-mail reminders A great way to prevent shoppers from abandoning their cart is through e-mail reminders. This can be as simple as the catch phrase “Forget something?” to notify customers that they still have that lovely pair of jeans in their cart. E-mail reminders can be optimized by combining the right offers sent at the right time to persuade customers.

2) Remarketing Strategy Another method of reminder can be through targeted display ads. These relevant and targeted messages are key to convincing customers to return to your site. Constant images of the items left in their shopping carts serve as reminders than can convert a hesitant shopper into a buyer.

3) Easy & Confident Checkout Process Making online forms user friendly by automatically pasting in validated data may help retain customers who would otherwise have found the process too tedious. The ability to enter in a partial address which then populates the entire form with other relevant information creates an easier checkout process. Furthermore, a multi-step checkout process is considered easier on the eye than forms that require every piece of information on one page. Additionally, sites that offer their shoppers the option to view their products and its details throughout each step of the checkout process ensures a secure and confident purchase from their customers.

4) Transparency A rule of thumb is to be transparent. Although it is great to offer free shipping, the costs may or may not outweigh the ROI. What companies can do to decrease their cart abandonment rate is to explicitly state their shipping cost or even offer a great return policy, such as Zappos and Nordstrom. This simple piece of information could encourage hesitant shoppers to click that final button at checkout. Offering quality customer service will assure customers of your credibility as a retailer.

5) Price Comparison What better way to convince your consumers that you’re the best bet for them than to offer a price comparison on your product versus your competitors. Customers want to see that they’re choosing the best option that guarantees a quality product at an affordable price. Service companies such as offer price comparisons on ticket flights against its competitors.


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ReSci is a team of marketers and data scientists on a mission to democratize AI. We make powerful recommendations and predictions accessible to brands. Find out how we can help you connect with your customers.