10 Reasons People Abandon Online Shopping Carts

By Kinjal Adeshara
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You design a beautiful ecommerce website. You populate it with a number of awesome products, and you make sure that the products are showcased well. You spend a good amount of time, effort and money on digital marketing and advertising to drive visitors to your website. Finally, your effort bears fruit – customers come, select products and place them in their shopping cart.

Then, they abandon the shopping cart and leave.

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the most exasperating things that customers do. While some people may simply be browsing for products and checking out your website, when you detect a high rate of shopping cart abandonment, you need to take a close look at what’s happening.

Experian Simmons, Forrester Research, ComScore and several other reputable research and survey organizations have tried to get to the bottom of the issue. At different points of time during the last few years, they have surveyed a number of ecommerce visitors and tracked the online transactions to understand what makes people abandon shopping carts. Here are 10 of the most common reasons customers decide to abandon their online shopping carts and leave your online store without spending any money.

1. Annoyed at Complicated Checkout Process

The checkout process needs to be as simple, smooth and quick as possible. If you make the user fill out too many forms or perform too many complicated or repetitive actions, the impatient customer will abandon the cart and leave.

2. High Shipping Costs or Slow Shipping

People are not okay with paying high shipping rates. Most people buy online because they can get the goods delivered at their doorstep and get discount at the same time. But high shipping costs increase the price and take away their motivation. Also, online buyers are often buying goods on impulse – if they realize that it will take weeks for the product to reach them, they may look elsewhere.

3. Shipping Costs Listed Late

Most online sellers know that high shipping costs are a big no-no. So, they try and get the customers interested in a product. Once the customer has placed a product in the shopping cart, they slyly add the shipping cost to the total cost. Needless to say, customers hate this and they are quick to abandon the cart.

4. Forced to Register and Create an Account

Collecting client details is undoubtedly useful. The more information you have about a client, the better you can market – and deliver – your products to them. A registered user is more likely to visit the site again and develop loyalty. Ecommerce stores try to get this information by forcing the user to register with the website. Most people just want to buy and leave. Sites that do not allow the users to buy goods as guest visitors see a high rate of shopping cart abandonment.

5. Lack of Payment Options

There are dozens of different credit and debit card companies out there and there are several different methods that people can use to make online payments. Many customers want to buy products, but are forced to abandon the carts because the ecommerce website doesn’t make provisions for their particular preferred or available method of payment.

6. Unsure of Security Features

Most people are comfortable shopping on large and popular ecommerce websites, but when it comes to smaller, lesser known websites, they are afraid of phishing and other fraudulent activities. Many users bring their online shopping expedition to an abrupt end if they become unsure of the security features of an ecommerce store.

7. Coupon Codes and Promotional Offers

Savvy online buyers know that if they can get a discount coupon, they can save a lot of money. So, websites that have a coupon code button see a lot of shopping cart abandonment – the users go in search of the coupon code and come back only if they can find one.

8. Lack of Product Information

Some buyers are 100% sure of what they want to buy, while others expect to find product information and comparisons on the store. When they do not find enough information about the product, they decide not to buy, or continue their search to find information.

9. High Cost of Product

At times, there is nothing you can do: if the product is too costly for the users, they will not buy it. Also, if you are applying taxes to the products and driving up the price, the users may look elsewhere or consider buying it for less in a physical store.

10. Want to Look Around

Just as people in the physical world visit stores simply to check out stuff, online buyers also visit online stores to check out products and prices. These visitors do not intend to buy, and there is nothing you can do to stop them from abandoning the cart. But, they often do have the intention of buying at some time – by sending automated emails reminding them to buy the products, you can increase chances of conversions at a later point of time.

How does your site rate? If you are concerned about a high rate of shopping cart abandonment, it might be worth considering the above list for possible influencing factors. With some, you will be able to devise and implement your own way of dealing with them. With others – or if you can’t discern what the cause of a high abandonment rate might be – it might be a good idea to hire a professional.

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  • Yogesh Lokhande

    Quite good information. another point could be a lack of an explicit return policy.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, KInjal,thanks for sharing it, even lack of EMI Option could be one reason. What you say?

  • Anonymous

    Very nice and informative article. Thanks!

  • ToddM

    Excellent and informative article! In the category of #5 and #6, I think it’s essential that small companies provide third-party payment options (e.g., PayPal). Many customers do not want to trust their credit card numbers with a small company. This is not only because they may be unsure of the online security of such websites, but also because they don’t fully trust that small company’s employees. Then, related to #1, if someone is checking out with a third-party payment option, I’d recommend using the information available through that third-party (e.g., shipping address, etc.), and not require users to re-enter all their personal information (maybe just a phone number or e-mail address to contact if there’s a problem with their order)? My favorite bad practice is when ordering something for digital delivery or download, and the company requires the customer’s street address, telephone number, etc. What!?

    • Mojo

      Got to agree with ToddM about the lunacy of demanding street address, telephone number, etc for a digital download. I’ve abandoned purchases for this very reason.

    • Mojo

      This is related to number 4 but doesn’t just apply to shopping carts. One thing that really pisses me off is any linear multistage process that demands a lot of personal information in stage one. By all means grey-out steps 2, 3 & 4 until I’ve completed step 1 but at least allow me to skip ahead to see what information the following steps require. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve abandoned sites because of this; it’s poor UX design in my opinion. Don’t keep me in the dark, if I’m expected to hand over confidential data I want to see the whole picture.

  • Anonymous

    A typical example is http://www.dominos.co.in/ – The internet is filled with coupon codes that you keep trying during check out. Most of the coupons fail and then when you proceed to pay, your cart items vanish magically. You then start over again. Not friendly at all. On the other hand http://www.makemytrip.com – once you add something to the cart, you get alerts even for weeks offering you discounts if you do not complete the transaction and your cart stays alive.