Shopping Cart Abandonment: What is it, and how can You Avoid it?

If you’re an online business owner, we have news for you. You’re losing money. You lose money every day on potential sales orders–and there’s data to prove it. According to recent research by Baymard Institute, an average of 69.82% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This issue, known as shopping cart abandonment, is one of the unique problems that e-commerce businesses face. It is repeatedly responsible for loss of customers and substantial revenue.  

What is shopping cart abandonment?  

Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a potential customer adds items to their online shopping carts but drops out of the checkout process before completing their purchase. Cart abandonment rate is a crucial business metric for e-commerce retailers to monitor. High abandonment rates can indicate an inefficient checkout process, leaky sales funnel, or poor website usability. You can calculate the shipping cart abandonment rate by dividing the total number of completed purchases by the total number of shopping carts that were created within a specific period.  

Does shopping cart abandonment hurt businesses? 

Data shows the average cart abandonment rate is approximately 70%. This means that for every 100 potential customers that add items to their shopping carts, 70 will leave without finishing their purchase. The most obvious problem that shopping cart abandonment causes businesses is the enormous loss of revenue. A 2010 Forrester report estimated that cart abandonment caused e-commerce stores to lose a whopping $18 billion in sales revenue yearly. In 2022, that figure is many times higher. Also, when customers add items to their cart that they do not wish to purchase, it ties up the inventory and makes those items unavailable to customers that truly want to buy those items. Other problems that cart abandonment can cause include loss of customer lifetime value, higher retargeting costs, and skewed website data.  

How to avoid shopping cart abandonment 

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eliminate abandoned carts. The good news is that there are steps you can take to significantly reduce cart abandonment therefore improving your customer conversion rate. Applying the correct techniques can help you recover as high as 20% of abandoned carts.  

Here are some strategies that can help your business avoid shopping cart abandonment: 

Simplify your site’s purchasing process 

When mapping out your site’s purchasing process, it’s important to make sure it’s simple and straight-forward. You must eliminate any complication that could prevent your customers from enjoying a seamless, satisfying, and ultimately rewarding online shopping experience. A cumbersome checkout process is a huge turnoff for many customers. Your checkout process should only comprise one page, or two at most. The chances of a customer abandoning their cart increases with the number of pages of your checkout process.  

You can also offer a guest checkout option for customers that wish to make a quick purchase without creating a user account on your platform. Forcing them to register your site before checking out will disrupt the purchasing process and lead to cart abandonment.  

Be clear about all costs and fees 

Lack of transparency about additional costs or fees is one of the primary causes of shipping cart abandonment. One of the fastest ways to lose a customer is to bombard them with additional costs after they were expecting to pay just one price. Customers loathe paying extra money. If they begin the checkout process only to discover that you’re not clear about all costs, they’ll abandon their carts faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Ensure that you disclose every cost upfront. You can even show taxes and shipping costs on the cart preview page. This will allow your customers know what to expect beforehand and can alter their carts to accommodate the extra charges.  

Offer several payment options 

Offering a wide range of payment options (such as credit /debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Amazon Pay, etc) can help maximize your customer conversion rate and reduce the number of abandoned carts. Online buyers prefer using payment methods that they find most convenient. They are more likely to leave a site if their preferred method is unavailable. To ensure that your customers follow through with their purchases, your e-commerce site should support the most common payment options, especially the options that are popular with your target audience. Depending on your business type, you can also consider adding a buy now, pay later option or customer financing options. Some examples are PayPal Credit, Afterpay, or Affirm for high AOV (Average Order Value) products.  

Allow customers to save their carts effortlessly 

Online shoppers want to quickly drop items in their carts and return to going through the products on your website as effortlessly as possible. In many cases, customers may be unable to purchase items from your site immediately after adding them to their carts therefore leading to shopping cart abandonment. Thus, saving a cart on your e-commerce platform should be as easily achievable, so customers can return to checkout whenever it’s most convenient for them. Ideally, customers should be able to save their carts by hitting a single button.  

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