Why Customers Abandon Shopping Carts and How To Bring Them Back

An abandoned shopping cart to illustrate why customers abandon shopping carts.

The big dilemma faced by most ecommerce stores is how to prevent cart abandonment. Some estimates claim that 75% of sales are lost when customers decide not to go through with a purchase. With numbers as high as that, it can be incredibly frustrating and even dejecting for store owners. However, understanding why customers abandon shopping carts can help you put solutions in place to prevent that. In this article, we’ll be discussing the 10 most common reasons for cart abandonment:

  • Higher than expected prices
  • Shipping costs
  • No express shipping
  • Complex checkout
  • Technical difficulties
  • The customer is just browsing
  • There’s no trust
  • Not enough payment options
  • Customers have to create a user account
  • Poor return policy

Higher Than Expected Prices

  • The Problem: When a customer is browsing a website, it’s easy to see a product and the price of that product. However, when the customer goes to checkout, they forget that taxes and sometimes shipping costs are added to the total and suddenly they owe more money than they expected.
  • The Solution: Add a tax estimator that automatically adds tax prices onto the product, or shows it in the checkout even before they input their information. Also be upfront about shipping costs.

Shipping Costs

  • The Problem: Many large retailers now offer free shipping on most goods. Unfortunately, free shipping is becoming something consumers expect. Because of that, they’re less inclined to buy an item when they see they also have to pay shipping. It’s one the reasons why customers abandon shopping carts.
  • The Solution: As we mentioned above, be upfront about any shipping costs customers may have to pay. You can add banners that promise flat rate shipping on all products, or free shipping on orders above a certain amount. If customers aren’t surprised by shipping costs, they’re more likely to accept them and proceed with the purchase. If you have the means, consider making shipping free as well, or periodically offer free shipping coupons.

No Express Shipping

  • The Problem: Shipping is genuinely becoming the bane of most small retailers. Because most larger retailers offer express shipping, the average consumer has come to expect their products to be at their front door in a matter of days, rather than weeks.
  • The Solution: Follow Amazon’s example and introduce a paid subscription plan that offers users express shipping while offsetting your costs. You can also stagger shipping prices and have your customer pay more money if they decide they want express shipping.

Complex Checkout

  • The Problem: Sometimes, checkouts span several pages and have users input excessive amounts of information. As to why customers abandon shopping carts in this case, the answer is simple. The longer and more complicated a checkout is, the more time a customer has to decide to abandon their cart.
  • The Solution: Keep your checkout process to a single page and streamline it as much as possible. Include a button for customers to use their billing address as their shipping address and vice versa so they don’t have to put the same information in twice. Also add a progress bar that tells your customer how much longer the process is.

Technical Difficulties

  • The Problem: A glitch on your website causes it to crash or for something else to go wrong in the checkout process. This physically prevents your customer from completing their purchase.
  • The Solution: Sometimes this problem is simply out of your hands. However, you can try to minimize the issue by checking your checkout process once a week or after every update so you know it’s working as it should. Also consider asking for a customer’s email at the beginning of checkout. If you have their email address and they aren’t able to complete a purchase because of a glitch, you can send them a coupon to encourage them to try again.

The Customer is Just Browsing

  • The Problem: The customer isn’t really planning on buying anything in the first place. As they browse, they may add items to a cart to look at once more, but then they leave your site.
  • The Solution: It can be hard to convince someone who doesn’t want to buy anything to actually make a purchase. However, you can try to entice them with special incentives. Those incentives might be a discount for first-time customers, bonus items if they complete the checkout process, limited time sales, and more.

Why Customers Abandon Shopping Carts if There’s No Trust

  • The Problem: The customer has never shopped with you before and doesn’t trust that your product is good or that you’ll be able to protect their information.
  • The Solution: If the customer doesn’t trust your product, add a customer review/testimonial section to your website so other people can ease a new customer’s worries. In the event of a customer being worried about security, you can share proof of your security certificates and also add an FAQ section to your website to explain your security process.

Not Enough Payment Options

  • The Problem: Being able to accept payment through Visa just doesn’t cut it anymore. Many consumers want to be able to pay in a variety of methods, where they will choose what’s most convenient to them in the moment they’re making a purchase.
  • The Solution: The only way around this problem is to make sure you can accept a wide variety of payment options. This might include through credit or debit cards, PayPal, gift cards, etc.

Customers Have to Create a User Account

  • The Problem: While asking customers to create a user account is great for you, it can be off-putting to customers if you force them to make an account to be able to buy a product from you.
  • The Solution: While both you and your customer can benefit from creating a user account, not all customers want to make one. Instead of making it mandatory, leave your consumers to option to make an account or checkout as a guest.

Poor Return Policy

  • The Problem: Buying online is a tricky business. You’re asking customers to trust a product that they can only see on a screen. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t always meet customers’ expectations and they want to return the product. If your return policy is too complex or too strict, customers won’t take a chance on your product.
  • The Solution: Conduct some research to learn what customers want in a return policy. Some options to include are free return shipping, full refunds, etc.

By tackling these common issues for why customers abandon shopping carts, you can help increase your sales and put a smile back on your face. What other methods do you use to reduce cart abandonment? Let us know in the comments!

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