Top 10 Causes of Abandoned Carts

Paul Paradisblog author
Paul Paradis Jul 22, 2020 • 3 min read
eCommerce fulfillment cart

Abandoned Carts

One of the most significant contributors to lost sales in the eCommerce industry, cart abandonment, or shopping cart abandonment, refers to the chronic case of a visitor browsing an online store, adding an item to their cart, but leaving without making a purchase.

Even with the ever-evolving, dynamic landscape of the eCommerce sector, cart abandonment remains one of the biggest battles fought by digital marketers today. In fact, in the first half of 2019 alone, the global cart abandonment rate stood at a whopping 84.24%. But that doesn’t have to be true for your store. Most of the leading causes of abandoned shopping carts are within the control of the merchant.

Amidst the steep competition for consumers’ attention, eCommerce shops go to incredible lengths just to get shoppers to visit their stores, let alone add items to their carts; but, it turns out that getting shoppers to fill their virtual carts with products is the easy part. The hard part is getting them to see their user journey through to checkout.

There is a long list of conversion no-nos, but long or confusing checkout processes are one of the leading ones. With more than 84% of online shoppers abandoning their shopping carts, this wave of lost traffic should be on the forefront of every

eCommerce leader’s mind. No shopper journey is complete in a merchant’s eyes until they’ve passed through the gates of payment. No matter your retail vertical or business clout, with a sticky payment process you’re going to end up missing out on a lot of potential revenue.

You can arrive at the cart abandonment rate and revenue loss for your online store using the following formula:

How to Calculate Your Cart Abandonment Rate

 CAR stands for – Cart Abandonment Rate,

 CT stands for – Number of Completed Transactions

 CC stands for – Number of Carts Created Revenue loss for your business = Number of Abandoned Carts

Top 10 Causes of Abandoned Carts

Shopping journeys in online stores can be quite complex and nonlinear, making it more difficult for marketers to consistently provide shoppers the right cues to urge them to complete their purchase. Further complicating the matter is that the reasons for cart abandonment can be countless and hard to pinpoint; however, studies have deduced the most common ones are largely the same for most online retailers. Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent reasons for shopping cart abandonment in the eCommerce industry:

1. Long or Confusing Checkout Process

A leading reason that shoppers fail to make it through the checkout process is because it seems unnecessarily long or confusing. After having spent enough time browsing the online store, narrowing their consideration to a few items, and finally deciding to add them to the cart, shoppers seldom have the patience to fill out lengthy, ambiguous, and sometimes complicated forms. For instance, checkout involving forms spread over multiple pages, no checkbox to select the same billing and shipping address, or unclear form fields without descriptions all contribute to a complicated checkout flow. Not only does this make for a poor shopping experience, as it annoys prospective buyers to the point that it causes them to walk away, but it creates a poor experience of your brand.

2. Hidden, Unexpected High Costs

The basic law of supply and demand states that all else remaining equal, charging a higher price will necessarily mean that fewer customers will be willing to purchase. What that means to your store: all the effort you put into getting shoppers to your online store to browse your catalog, visit product pages, and finally add their favorite items to the cart is often nullified when shoppers come across unpleasant surprise fees in the checkout process.

Unexpectedly high taxes, shipping charges, or unreasonable minimum order value for free delivery, are sure ways to confound users. According to the 2019 study ‘Reasons For Abandonment’ by the Baymard Institute, more than 50% of respondents cited high extra costs as their primary reason for cart abandonment over the previous three months. Shoppers see this as a deliberate attempt by the store to withhold critical information until the final step. As a result, your eCommerce store loses credibility and trust in addition to the last conversion.

A business should utilize a must-have shipping partner like eShipper in order to decide the right shipping strategy. They can either opt for flat-rate, free or opt to show live rates for transparency to avoid hidden or unexpected costs at checkout

3. Payment Security Concerns

Sharing personal or sensitive information such as credit card details with lesser-known or relatively smaller or newer stores is not something shoppers take lightly. When it comes to shoppers’ critical information, even the slightest bit of doubt regarding your site’s trust factors, a sense that your online store has no payment security measures or even the lack of trustworthy payment services, is enough for them to walk away. Lack of trust badges, SSL seals, and other similar stamps that provide visual reinforcement of trust are common triggers for buyers to be skeptical of a store’s information security.

4. Mandatory Account Creation for Checkout

Imagine your prospective customer scrolling through Instagram over their lunch break and coming across your ad which features an item they want to purchase. They click on your advertisement, land on your product page, add the item to their cart, and then proceed to checkout, only to get a prompt requiring them to “Create an Account”. Given this context, it’s no wonder shoppers lack the patience to go through the account creation process, and end up abandoning their online shopping cart.

5. Price Shopping

Buyers want the best deal possible. Often, they are not willing to settle for the first price they find, especially when it comes to digital shopping, where price comparisons are just a click away. Shoppers may search for a certain item, save it by adding the item to their cart, and then go hunting for a better price for the same item at your competitor’s stores.

6. Site Performance

Nothing will ruin a good customer experience faster than a poorly loaded website. That’s why site performance is commonly cited as another leading cause of cart abandonment and contributes to billions of dollars in lost sales each year. Shoppers find it extremely difficult to navigate through the checkout process when sites or applications operate slowly or even crash. As a result, shoppers tend to abandon their carts. This problem is heightened by the ever-shrinking attention spans of frequently distracted, always-on-the-go digital shoppers, so it’s almost unthinkable to expect that they’ll battle through a slow-loading checkout page in order to complete their purchase.

7. “Window Shopping”

Ecommerce stores are always open, and don’t require shoppers to do anything more than access a web browser, so “window shopping” is another reason visitors commonly abandon their carts. There are times people browse your online store out of boredom or with no particular agenda and end up casually adding their favorite items to the cart, but ultimately abandoning the cart due to lack of a substantial purchase intention.

8. Missing Desirable Payment Options

Buyers today expect multiple payment options and services to be available, and they want to be able to select the brand they trust most. Therefore, it’s common for shoppers to drop off and abandon their carts when they don’t see their preferred or trusted payment option among the ones provided.

9. Ambiguous or Unsatisfactory Return or Refund Policy

Shoppers want to know your store’s return policy right away, especially if you sell commonly returned items, like clothing. Some online retailers only highlight their return and refund policy at the payment page or worse, obscure their policy with unclear, ambiguous manner policy statements hidden in the site FAQs. For a prospective buyer, digging for return policy information applicable to their order might lead to doubt, confusion, and uncertainty regarding the purchase they were sure about just moments ago. Similarly, if the return policy imposes unsatisfactory conditions, such as ‘exchange your item within seven days for a partial refund (up to 50% of the item value)’ is almost sure to cause your shoppers to abandon their carts at a higher rate.

10. Unsuitable Delivery Timelines

In a post-Amazon world, fast shipping can be a major sticking point for gotta-have-it-now shoppers. More often than not, store delivery times are calculated based on the buyer’s shipping address. If you’re only gathering your shopper’s address at checkout, a longer than expected delivery time is sure to be off-putting to the would-be buyer. With the final step, businesses should have a shipping partner like eShipper who is nimble and can adapt to their business & customer needs seamlessly when it comes to delivery timelines.

Want to start your journey to less abandoned carts? Sign up for Sezzle here or request a demo!

Paul Paradis , President and Co-founder of Sezzle.

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