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.
For many online retailers shopping cart abandonment is one of, if not the leading, causes of missed sales.
Find out everything you need to know about shopping cart abandonment in this article.
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 are 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.
Learning from shopping cart abandonment
Today’s ecommerce brands lose out on a combined $18 billion USD in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.
You could have an excellent, really well dialed-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.
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
What causes shopping cart abandonment?
Several factors can cause checkout abandonment, but the most instrumental one is 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 the odds of them abandoning their cart increase significantly.
Unknown shipping speeds
Faster delivery is no longer a competitive advantage – it’s an expectation.
61% of online customers even expect that their packages will be shipped out within 1 to 3 hours of placing their orders as well.
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 and 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, there 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.
How to reduce your cart abandonment rates
Though it might feel like cart abandoners have an unlimited amount of reasons to bail on their online shopping cart, ecommerce retailers have a few tips and tricks they can use to provide a better checkout flow and reduce cart abandonment.
While you won’t eliminate cart abandonment, you can reduce the rate at which your potential customers are contributing to lost sales.
Here is just a couple of the best cart and checkout optimization tips available to improve the process, secure the sale, and drop abandonment rates like a stone at the same time
Simplified checkout process
Your entire checkout flow needs to be optimized from top to bottom for your customers, not your business.
Customers need fast load times, forms that automatically fill out, and as much simplicity as humanly possible within the checkout flow.
Anything you do to complicate the process – a questionnaire, surveys, or any other friction practically guarantees a skyrocketing abandonment issue.
Including a progress indicator, allowing users to sign through an alternative social media account, or similar checkout design improvements could hasten the checkout flow and could also do wonders in lowering your cart abandonments.
Flexible shipping options
Customers are busy. You don’t want to force them to rearrange their schedule or create an appointment just to get their hands on their package and order.
Additionally, today, shoppers expect improved security, flexibility, and fantastic speed when it comes to their shipping choices. Flex delivery options (whenever possible) can boost your conversion rate significantly.
Integrating a flexible delivery scheduler onto your checkout page provides your customers with the freedom to choose when, where and how they want to get their orders and lets them enjoy their order the same day they place it.
For more information on shipping, read our article “Why is shipping important?“
Guest checkout options
Collecting shopper data and information is a big piece of the ecommerce success puzzle but collecting it shouldn’t come at the expense of the user experience.
Make sure that you allow shoppers to check out as a guest instead of compelling them to create an account. You’ll lower friction, improve checkouts, and boost sales.
Transparent pricing and payment
The last thing your customers want to worry about is surprise delivery fees, hidden charges and expenses, and other less-than-ideal price changes during the checkout process.
Nobody wants to enter their preferred payment information and then back out because there were hidden fees.
Be upfront about your costs and transparent with your pricing, and these problems disappear.
Discounts, incentives, and promotions
Shoppers abandon carts, but they might not abandon your store. There could be many reasons why window shoppers choose not to go through with their purchase, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever!
Providing a discount code for their shopping carts, and incentivizing a purchase with a voucher for free delivery can continue them threw the sales process.
With Breadstack’s behaviour-based customer analytics, you can provide discounts, incentives and gifts for customers on the fly without having them bounce from your site.
Have overstocked inventory or dead stock? Breadstack lets you turn unwanted inventory into promotions to lock in conversions and reduce your cart abandonment rate all with the click of a button.
Reducing shopping cart abandonment rates
Shopping cart abandonment is endemic within ecommerce. Even if customers are visiting your site, there’s only so much that product descriptions and photography can do to spur customers into a purchase.
Implementing all of these strategies and best practices requires time and patience to get right.