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Shopping Cart Abandonment Causes Billions in Lost Sales – Here’s Why

Whether you own an eCommerce store or shop at one yourself, chances are you’ve come face to face with shopping cart abandonment once or twice before.

You could have an excellent, really well dialled-in website with fantastic product descriptions and beautiful photography, and you still may lose out on a decent chunk of your sales and conversions during the checkout process.

For many online retailers, today’s shopping cart abandonment is one of, if not the leading, causes of missing sales. You might not believe it, but today’s eCommerce brands lose out on a combined $18 billion USD in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.

It’s a good indicator that something’s wrong with your overall purchasing flow and checkout process, your user experience, or something wrong with the actual site itself.

Even worse, though abandonment is one of the biggest and most common issues retailers online face today, business owners very rarely know how to manage the problem, mitigate the issue, or overcome it altogether.

Despite throwing the kitchen sink at cart abandonment, many online retailers, business owners, and eCommerce stores still have difficulty reducing shopping cart abandonment. They’ll discover customers visiting their website, adding all kinds of products to their cart, and abandoning it entirely as soon as they hit the checkout page!

In a digital-first world where consumers have endless options at their fingertips, this is less than ideal.

Luckily, getting a handle on reducing your cart abandonment and increasing your conversion rate is possible with enough commitment and dedication. Before we dive into the how behind cart abandonment, let’s take a deeper look into what shopping cart abandonment looks like and what its main causes are.

 

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is the rate at which your customers abandon their online shopping carts before converting and completing a purchase.

Business owners can determine their abandonment statistics by breaking down the total amount of completed purchases they’ve processed in a given block of time and then dividing that number by the total amount of created carts.

Subtract that number by one, and you’ll have the calculated cart abandonment percentage for your site.

Here’s a quick example:

Let’s say that an online store has about 500 created carts in a month but only 200 purchases completed. In this example, a bit of napkin math (1-[200/500]) says that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 60%.

While this sounds high, it’s a little bit lower than the industry average. According to the Baymard Institute states that business owners can expect their average cart abandonment rate to hit 69% (or a little higher).

At first blush, that number looks sky-high. Seven out of ten carts being abandoned before a sale process is tough to swallow.

Thankfully, though, your own abandonment rates will likely be lower than this online eCommerce average that averages all types of digital businesses together.

At the same time, even losing 50% of your sales to abandonment is a big problem.

 

 

What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Several factors can cause checkout abandonment, but the most instrumental one is a poor customer experience. Buying online shouldn’t be a complex process. A poor user experience, slow site speed and limited payment options are just some of the reasons why more than half of eCommerce customers abandon their carts.

Here are a few more:

Complex and Confusing Checkout Process Try as they might, online stores and eCommerce stores just aren’t able to fully replicate the physical retail experience. The brick-and-mortar store experience is unique. You can see the products in person, handle them personally and checkout and bring it home.

With that being said, online shoppers and retail shoppers want many of the same goals – one of them being able to make their purchase immediately and as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Nothing aggravates consumers and customers more than a drawn-out, complex, and confusing checkout flow. Even if you’re not shopping online, having to wait in line to complete a purchase is frustrating and annoying.

Nobody likes a complicated checkout process. Suppose an online store subjects its customers to multiple checkout pages. In that case, field forms and multiple information requests just to complete their online purchase is likely to turn prospective customers into shopping cart abandoners that won’t return to your store.

No Guest Checkout Option

Large and small eCommerce retailers love user accounts for many reasons. They provide a wealth of essential data that they can leverage to improve everything from their purchase funnel to their product pricing.

However, it can make shoppers abandon their shopping carts.

User accounts are precious when you want to collect user data and optimize your overall online shopping experience, but they also extend the checkout flow significantly. The checkout experience needs to be optimized for customers, not for your business.

Uncertainty with Security Features

Online shopping is more common and popular than ever before, but a segment of the market still is a little bit hesitant about online payments. Not all digital customers are ready to leap at the opportunity to share their personal, private, and payment information with just anyone. This market segment prefers to do some window shopping on your product pages instead of making a purchase.

To adapt to this kind of user behaviour, you have to be sure to include multiple payment options, the opportunity to use a preferred credit card account, and as many other security features as possible to assure customers and earn their confidence.

If your customers don’t feel comfortable using their digital wallets, can’t use the most popular payment methods, or need to provide a lot of extra information when filling out form fields, the odds of them abandoning their cart increase significantly.

Unknown Shipping Speeds

Same-day delivery is no longer a competitive advantage – it’s an expectation.

80% of all customers not only expect same-day delivery but are actually disappointed when they find this kind of expedited shipping as the standard isn’t available. 61% of online customers even expect that their packages will be shipped out within 1 to 3 hours of placing their orders, too.

The last thing a shopper wants to worry about is hitting your checkout page, going through the checkout process and giving their payment method and personal information, only to find out that it’s going to take them forever and a day to get their order.

Unexpected, High Shipping Costs

Shipping and fulfillment costs are part and parcel of the eCommerce experience. While eCommerce brands can offer free shipping, not every retailer has the means and the budget to make this a reality.

Many digital shoppers will understand the necessary evil of online shipping costs, but many more will sour if unexpected shipping costs are added later.

While extra delivery fees are understandable if the delivery destination is remote, they should never be hidden costs. When you display the costs upfront to the consumer, they’ll be able to gauge the cost of their purchase more readily.

Plus, who doesn’t hate unexpected costs?