Online cart abandonment is rocketing. It is reported by Business Insider that a shocking $4 trillion worth of products are abandoned at the shopping cart each year, in the US alone. Approximately 70% of all shopping carts are abandoned.  The research published by Statista helps us to quickly identify the main causes of abandonment so we can establish a solution. 


Presented with unexpected costs

The main reason for abandonment is the shock of extra costs when customers get to the checkout. The extra costs like transaction fees, tax and shipping can significantly add to a purchase. These prices therefore can end up larger than the cost of the product buying, which will put customers off and lead them into a false sense of security. 

Historically, free shipping offers preform very well. Customers are 5 times more likely to make a purchase if you offer free shipping, says Convince and Convert. However, of course, offering free shipping will have a significant financial impact on your business. If your products have a compelling mark-up, then you need to consider at what basket- value you offer free shipping. A way you could see around this is by offering free return labels. This would reduce the risk any negative perceptions of shipping costs. 

Another step you could take is if the bulk of your competitors are offering free shipping and they publicise this, not only are you going to lose visitors to your website but you would be set below your competitors that are offering free shipping. Sometimes its a good idea to offer a higher prices express service, to make your slandered service look more cost effective. 

To stop the shock at the end of check out you can make it clear how much shipping is and at what price point does it become free. 

I was just browsing 

In my opinion, these people are few and far between, in the back of a online shoppers mind there is a desire to purchase or you wouldn't be looking. However, if a customer doesn't see anything compelling enough, they will either turn to your competitors or label themselves as 'just browsing.'  

If a customer is to add product/s to their cart and fill in their details but then leave's the item/s, you have captured some vital information. You can use what they were interested in to further remind them via email, or advertisements on social media. 

Found a better price elsewhere

One of the most threatening situations you can find yourself in is price discounting for sales volumes. If your competitors are offering price-comparison as a primary feature then this is a game you will also have to play. 

Spend time building a brand. Of course, this is easier said than done. But you can spend time ‘content marketing’ with the aim of showing your expertise in the products you offer and you could also stretch to more informative product descriptions. If you can build trust through textual means, a slight price increase can be endured by a customer if they feel they are rewarding the retailer for their efforts. This may not work in all industries, but I suggest most.

Decided against buying

Formissimo has an interesting piece of evidence that suggests the abandonment rate increases steadily from Fridays to Sunday for retail stores. We also witness this phenomenon with one of your sister websites where Friday’s conversion rates are a fraction of the rest of the working week.

The same can be said at different stages of the monthly salary payment cycle. Before payday conversion rates fall, and abandonment rates increase as visitors become more price-sensitive. Delays in payment may be an option, but again, adding free shipping at the end of the month for new visitors may work.

You could also change the messaging on your website during these periods to show more aggressive reasons why delaying purchase may not be a good idea.

Website, navigation too complicated and process, was taking too long

There are many websites that didn't have a shopping cart button, or websites that have had ecommerce functionality bolted on to another CMS so that as your transition through the website the cart option disappears tan reappears. 

Some other websites tend to overload consumers with information  and options at checkout, which will just drive customers away. The easier checking out is for a customer the more likely they are to purchase. 

Website crashed / website timed out. 

Undoubtedly, if your website is unstable you are likely to lose customers during checkout. It is best to consider using a plug in like Pingdom to inform you when your website is down.

Excessive payment security checks / concerns about payment security

One of the first features conversion rate optimisation consultants will look for a the ‘secure server’ badges. CrazyEgg has reported on the impact that ‘Trust Seals’ and the like have on conversion rates. Go through your checkout process and look to see how you convey how secure your checkout process is and then remedy any shortfalls.

Similarly, done make your forms so long with the aim of receiving additional security information to validate orders. Find a compromise level when you don’t suffer undue risk, but also don’t unnecessarily lose valid sales.

Delivery options weren’t suitable
Many customers buy items and expect the delivery to take place during work hours. One way to reduce the perception of being inconvenienced by picking up orders from a courier depot, the Royal Mail sorting office or a neighbour is considering your packaging. Many monthly subscription services actively design their products to fit through letterboxes. You could explain that items would be prioritised to this format. You can also choose a courier such as DPD which gives customers SMS notification of the morning of delivery so that your customer can arrange for it to be delivered to a neighbour or delivered on another day. If you explain this during the purchase process, then you could reduce abandonment rates.

Another method is to offer a wide range of delivery options such as Collect+ and other forms of courier lockers so that your customers can retrieve orders at their convenience.

Price presented in a different currency
Showing the wrong currency could be due to international visitors not being able to establish the value of the items in their currency. You could consider many ecommerce store modules to allow customers to toggle pricing or launch separate geo-targeted websites if the market is large enough.

My payment was declined

Ensure that you have correctly configured the payments processor and have the correct security settings. Some systems such as Shopify allow you to take orders and then get a risk profile for you to decide if you would like to take payment.

Most payment gateways, such as SagePay, will also give you the ability to test their systems with ‘test’ transactions. Keep details of these to hand and regularly check.