Shopping Cart Abandonment: Why people are leaving your site for another

4 Mins read

How many times have you gone to a retail store and seen shopping carts with items in them left at random places within the store? You see it all the time. But it’s rare that you see a customer get to the cashier to pay for their items and leave before the transaction can be completed… That’s what you would call shopping cart abandonment in real life!

The difference in abandoning a cart in a random place in a store versus at a checkout counter is the fact that a customer knew long before checking out that they didn’t want those items so they left it in the location where they came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to make that purchase. This same instance happens with online shopping as well.

The only difference with online cart abandonment is that you can tell where a shopper was in their buying journey when they decided to abandon their cart. It’s especially evident when a customer has multiple items in their cart; They make it all the way to inputting their personal information, and then they leave the site…

It’s a strange occurrence but it definitely causes one to raise an eyebrow and ask the question “Why?”

Why are people abandoning shopping carts?

Shopping cart abandonment is one of those things most up and coming entrepreneurs never think about in starting an online business. When you’re first starting out building your business, the major concern you’re worrying about is how to create your own website, how you’re going to market your brand, where to find suppliers, etc. All the major considerations are at the forefront of your mind… Shopping cart abandonment is something most don’t think about until it actually starts happening.

Luckily, whether you’re thinking about it before you start your business or after the fact, there are ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment but you first need to get to the bottom of why it’s happening so frequently on your site.

Top reasons your site is experiencing shopping cart abandonment

1. You don’t have enough product details

Online shopping is already tough for customers in the fact that the tangibility factor is missing. So, when they come across a site with products they want, but very little is in the product details section, they’re more likely to find a site with better product details and descriptions.

You have to understand that you’re running an online business in the era of the informed shopper. What is an informed shopper? An informed shopper is one who conducts research before making any type of purchase. In fact, according to, 88% of consumers pre-research products online before committing to a purchase both online or for in-store purchases.

The bottom line is that customers want to know what they’re getting before they buy it, and if you can’t provide the transparency they need to put their minds at ease with shopping at your store, you’re definitely going to see frequent cart abandonment until you can improve your product details.

2. Too complicated of a registration process

Lots of websites tend to require customers to register an account in order for them to shop, but in doing this, you’re running a high risk of losing customers over a complicated process. It could be the customer is in a bit of a rush and doesn’t have time to do it right then or they may have setup an account in the past but would need to reset the password… The point is that people don’t want to have to go through all of that if they don’t have to.

Consider giving your customers the option of checking out as a guest or that they can create an account with their social media login. With the latter, you’ll be able to get valuable data from their social accounts to help give them a more personalized experience with your store.

This tedious process of going through several steps just to make a purchase can all be eliminated with unified commerce… this is one of the hottest trends impacting digital commerce today and should seriously be considered implementing in your online business.

3. Unexpected costs at checkout

When people shop online, they’ll add items to their shopping carts knowing that there will be taxes added to them at checkout,  but it’s not until they start the process of checking out that they see just how much all the taxes and unexpected fees add up.

Typically, it’s shipping fees that surprise customers the most, and other additional fees that weren’t made clear in the beginning will definitely make people leave those digital carts right where they are! This is especially true if you’re charging unnecessary fees that your competitors aren’t even charging.

Just absorb those unnecessary additional fees and see how you can optimize on shipping costs. Consider offering free shipping to first-time shoppers or some type of discount code. This is giving visitors incentive to buy and it’s benefiting them as well.

4. You don’t offer enough payment options

Everyone’s preferred method of payment varies and that’s why you have to incorporate that into the design and build of your site. Not everyone has an iPhone and can use Apple Pay, and not everyone has a PayPal account. So, your best option is to keep your payment options open.

You first and foremost want to offer a standard credit card processor and then maybe incorporate other options like PayPal or Apple Pay. The key takeaway here is that the more payment options you offer to make checking out a breeze, the more likely they are to be committing to a purchase.

5. You have no return policy in place

Not having a return policy in place is like e-commerce suicide. As mentioned earlier, there’s no tangibility with online shopping, so if a customer buys a shirt from your store in the wrong size, they’re going to either want to return it in exchange for a different size or return it for a full refund.

If your site doesn’t have that, it could come off as a red flag to your customers… it makes them not trust you. To prevent shopping cart abandonment due to lack of return policies, make mention of your return policy during the final checkout processes. Whether it’s the wrong size, color, or product altogether, this lets customers know they can trust your business and that you conduct business fairly.

Read Next: 15 latest e-commerce trends to watch out for in 2020

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