Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment And How To Reduce It

by | Business Growth, Marketing

Shopping cart abandonment is a big issue for businesses selling online. In Australia, a whopping 74.64% of shopping carts are being abandoned by customers before checking out in 2019. It’s frustrating to know that after all your hard work, attracting your target client to your website, put items in their cart to have them leave moments later before completing their order.

Usually, this problem is only discovered after research into why you are struggling to drive conversions, make sales, and your subsequent research into the analytics of your customers’ behavior on your site. After researching it, you might find that although people are showing an interest in your product and getting to the stage of adding them to their cart, they are not completing the purchase

So how can you prevent cart abandonment rates and why do customers abandon their shopping carts? To better understand this, let’s discuss the basic fundamentals of shopping cart abandonment.

What is shopping cart abandonment?

A new customer visited your site and browsed your products. They picked a product and added it to their shopping cart, but right before checking out, something happened and the user never completed the order and the product remained in the cart.

Why is this happening?

  1. Website Errors/Crashes or Slow
  2. Website ErrorsCrashes or Slow - Rebel Agency

    As a new customer, once you visit a site to purchase a product, what happens if the site keeps crashing or won’t load? You will most probably abandon your shopping cart or in some cases, won’t bother adding products to your cart at all and just bounce off the site.

    It’s natural for customers to leave after crashes. And as a brand, you cannot expect people to keep trying to make the purchase until the checkpoint page opens. So to avoid this issue, what can you actually do?

    Solution: Maintaining and checking your website regularly is imperative to improving your customer experience. Having a dedicated development team that can constantly monitor your website uptime and bug reports are critical to improving your customers buying journey and prevent shopping cart abandonment

  3. Unexpected and high extra charges
  4. Unexpected and high extra charges - Rebel Agency

    Online shoppers tend to abandon their shopping carts when they find an item that they want and consider the price and decide to make a purchase. However, upon checking out, they see something unexpected in the payment summary.

    This frustrates and angers many shoppers knowing all the additional charges such as shipping costs and taxes being added to the original price. Which causes the total cost of the item to rise unexpectedly.

    It is very important for the customers to ensure that they’re getting a fair deal before they buy. In most cases, they are looking for the lowest price and free or low-cost shipping. Nowadays, consumers are savvier than ever and very cautious of any additional fees that are being added to their purchase.

    Example: You decide to buy a cat collar that costs $21 only to find at the end of the purchase process, shipping to your area is $27!

    Solution: You can’t always waive the extra charges because it could result in a loss for you as a retailer. You have to set proper expectations for your customers right from the start so they don’t face unexpected extra charges during the checkout. For example, if you require a minimum purchase for free shipping, you have to make sure that you display that information clearly on your product page.

  5. Having to go through a lengthy registration process
  6. Having to go through a lengthy registration process - Rebel Agency

    Most customers make purchases online because it’s quick and convenient. They don’t want to go through a lot of steps just to buy a few items

    Solution: As much as possible, you have to make it easy for your customers to complete their purchases. You can add a checkpoint option or a social media sign up button to do so. (e.g. sign up with Facebook) You can even offer both of these options for added convenience.

  7. Confusing and complicated checkout experience
  8. Confusing and complicated checkout experience - Rebel Agency

    A long and complicated checkout process is another common reason why customers abandon shopping carts. Which includes having to enter shipping and billing information and the payment process as well.

    Solution: For check out and payment, ideally you should reduce the number of the form fields required. You need to remove any irrelevant fields for customers to complete their purchases. You can give your customers an option to ship to the billing address instead of requiring them to enter billing and shipping addresses separately.

  9. Found a better deal elsewhere
  10. Found a better deal elsewhere - Rebel Agency

    Most often, customers use shopping carts as a wishlist. They might save some items they might want to buy at some point in the future while browsing your site. You have to give your customers a reason why they shouldn’t go anywhere else to buy it if you are not offering the lowest price available for the same product. This means selling the unique benefits of using your product or company.

    Solution: Nowadays, many large e-commerce companies offer loyalty programs that reward their returning customers with perks for every purchase. New opportunities open up after value adds to cart abandoners shopping for the best price as more retailers expand their loyalty programs into their e-commerce site. We have seen many e-commerce sites offer discounts to the customers in their recovery email to drive online sales. However, this leads to a common way for savvy customers to game the system and get additional discounts by intentionally abandoning their carts.

    It’s not recommended to always give discounts to customers who abandoned their shopping carts as you don’t want to condition your customers to expect it.

    We recommend implementing a trigger-based recovery program that offers a discount on first purchase and signs up for a loyalty program. Together this can be a winning combination.


    Abandonment of carts is commonplace if you are doing business online, but once you address the common reasons why customers abandon shopping carts and implement ways to reduce abandonment and boost conversions, you should be on track to lessen its effect on your business. Implementing these changes doesn’t mean that you will not have abandoned cart problems again but in these cases, you can send shoppers cart abandonment emails to encourage them to come back and complete their purchase

    Overall, creating an experience that your visitors and existing shoppers would love is all that matters. It’s not easy to build an exceptional shopping experience as it takes a lot of effort, but by implementing some of the above guidelines, you can help redeem what is lost.

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    Related article: 5 Stages of Consumer Behavior: How People Make Buying Decisions