Why do people abandon shopping carts online?

Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from one of the fans who entered our giveaway contest for a Roku. Today we will answer the following question: “why do people abandon shopping carts online?”

We’ve talked a lot before about how the shopping cart abandonment rate is really important in eCommerce. Shopping cart abandonment happens when a potential customer puts an item in their cart, but never completes the purchase. According to the Baymard Institute, 68% of customers abandon their shopping carts. Figuring out how to reduce this behavior would save eCommerce owners a ton of money!

Why Customers Abandon Shopping Carts

Using Barilliance and SaleCycle as our sources, we can identify several reasons why customers abandon their shopping carts. Some are preventable and some are not.

The most common reason for customers to abandon their shopping cart is because they are “just looking.” This accounts for 34% of abandonments according to SaleCycle. While it represents a plurality of shopping cart abandonments, this behavior cannot be easily prevented. Furthermore, it’s proof that adding an item to the shopping cart does not necessarily indicate purchase intent.

What’s far more preventable are abandonments caused by a shopping cart experience that is bad enough to eliminate purchase intent.

Five damaging reasons while people abandon their shopping carts are as follows:

  1. Shipping costs are unexpectedly high.
  2. They have to create a new account to complete the purchase.
  3. Concerns about payment security or lack of payment options.
  4. Technical issues.
  5. Inability to find a coupon code.

What You Can Do About It

Focus on fixing the five most preventable causes of shopping cart abandonment. Here is how.

Twenty-three percent of shoppers add items to the shopping cart to compare shipping costs and options. By displaying this information on product pages, an eCommerce store owner can curtail this behavior and reduce shopping cart abandonment caused by shipping sticker shock.

Next, allow customers to complete checkouts without creating an account. Having to create an account is annoying and most people will not do it, costing a lot of money in sales.

When it comes time to take payment, your site needs to be obviously secure. It also needs to accept a variety of payments, at a minimum including a wide variety of credit cards and PayPal.

Your website needs to be bug-free. People will not troubleshoot your site to complete a purchase. They will simply give up.

Lastly, if you allow customers to use coupon codes, then coupon codes should be readily accessible. One way you can do this is by sending them out to your mailing list, which may have the added benefit of driving sales in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Convenience and simplicity are the highest values when designing eCommerce websites. Anything that makes the shopping experience difficult will lose customers. Being considerate and detail-oriented about the customer experience can go a long way toward decreasing your shopping cart abandonment rate, therefore increasing sales revenue.

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