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    Why Online Shopping Cart Abandonment Occurs and How to Fix It

    By Kay Swift

    You’re not alone if you notice that your customers aren’t checking out their online shopping carts. Believe it or not, online shopping cart abandonment happens even to the biggest names in the business—and at a rate higher than you may expect.


    To ensure more customers do check-out, we first need to understand why customers abandon shopping carts.


    The Meaning of Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

    The Meaning of Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

    An online shopping cart is a virtual cart where customers place goods they want to buy. Online shopping cart abandonment is when a customer doesn’t end up buying goods added to his/her cart.

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    What Percentage of Online Shopping Carts Are Abandoned?

    According to a Statista shopping cart abandonment survey, on average, 80% of online shopping carts got abandoned in 2021. You may see why shopping cart abandonment is a problem for retailers—this is a considerable loss of revenue.


    Top 10 Reasons for Customers Abandoning a Shopping Cart

    Shopping cart abandonment may detrimentally affect an online business’ bottom line. Equally, implementing strategies to increase abandoned shopping cart pick-ups may improve it. 


    Here are the top 10 reasons for online shopping cart abandonment along with relevant ways to decrease shopping cart abandonment in each instance.


    #1 The Necessity and Cost of Your Goods

    On average, 80% of online shopping carts got abandoned in 2021. However, statistics did vary across industries, in part from shopping habit changes due to Covid-19. Online shopping cart abandonment for expensive or non-essential goods such as automobiles, flights, and travel packages, was more common at 85% to 90%.


    In contrast, essentials such as groceries, pharmaceuticals, and electronics, featured a lower shopping cart abandonment rate of around 60% to 70%. Other less essential but affordable goods, such as cosmetics, car rental, DIY, and sporting goods, featured a median shopping cart abandonment rate of 75% to 85%.


    A user-friendly online store is important. However, without products, it’s just an empty store. Ensure that your e-commerce store offers a wide range of goods or services to include low-cost and premium as well as essential and non-essential. By diversifying your range, you may also improve sales, particularly if a customer picks up everything from your store instead of shopping at multiple stores.


    #2 Forgetting to Check-Out

    Shopping online is convenient, no doubt. However, because the process is virtual, it’s easy for customers to get distracted by work, kids, or something else. This is one reason why customers may abandon carts. Luckily, an abandoned shopping cart pick-up reminder may help. Shopping cart abandonment retargeting is vital for online businesses to recoup potential revenue.


    Speak to a digital marketing company about setting up abandoned shopping cart emails and reminders for your website or app. The team will follow abandoned shopping cart email best practices to ensure the highest possible abandoned shopping cart pick-up rate.


    #3 Market Research

    Customers may add items to their cart only to compare your pricing, promotions, shipping, delivery slots, and times with competitors. Yes, this market research is one of the top reasons for customers abandoning shopping carts. 

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    However, it’s crucial that you don’t take this type of online shopping cart abandonment for granted. Despite such customers not yet being set on buying from you, they are still most likely ready to buy.


    In this instance, it’s worthwhile to engage in shopping cart abandonment retargeting. Shopping cart abandonment email marketing is the way to go: 

    • Send the customer a notification or an email with a reminder after he/she abandons a shopping cart. 
    • Including a discount code or voucher can help you build a loyal customer base. In the case of abandoned shopping carts, it may also improve the likelihood of the customer buying from you.


    #4 Unexpected Fees & Shipping Costs

    You know the drill; you’ve carefully shopped for your products and head to check-out. Out of nowhere, your total cart value suddenly jumps by a third or more. Hidden fees and costly shipping rates are among the top reasons for customers abandoning shopping carts.


    Besides feeling disheartened, customers may simply be unable to afford the extra fees or costs. However, this is not the only ramification. If you’re not transparent, customers may feel that your pricing is deceptive and intentionally misleading.


    Try to be as up-front about additional fees, taxes, and shipping charges as possible prior to a purchase being made. Including shipping costs into your online pricing, so you may offer free shipping, is also a great way to improve sales. Alternatively, fix a flat shipping rate for all regions and countries based on your overall annual shipping fees.


    #5 A Slow or Glitchy Website

    Optimizing an e-commerce site’s speed and functionality to ensure a smooth shopping and check-out process is a must. A slow or glitchy website or app may discourage customers, leading them to abandon their shopping carts. They may also drop their intention to buy from you in the future.


    Customers may worry that if there are issues with your website, there may also be issues with payment and delivery. Discount codes or sale pricing promoted on your products but not applied to the shopping cart may also lose you a sale.


    If your website is old, slow, or not working correctly, focus on fixing these issues. Contact a professional e-commerce website development company to redesign, fix, or optimize it as soon as possible.


    #6 Lack of Consumer Trust

    Paying via credit card is one of the most convenient ways to shop online. However, it’s not the safest. Besides, not all customers may possess or qualify for a credit card. This is why accepting payments only via credit cards on your website or app may result in online shopping cart abandonment. 


    Offer customers various options to pay, including EFT, debit card, and wire transfer, as well as trusted third-party payment services such as PayPal, Stripe, or WePay. Bear in mind that refund and buyers protection apply for some of these third-party services.


    #7 Delivery Takes Too Long

    The convenience of shopping online is undeniable, but what isn’t convenient is waiting for goods to get delivered. If customers shop at a tangible store, they may take anything they buy to their homes on the same day. However, delivery is rarely the same or even the next day for most online orders.


    If your delivery times are too far out, you risk online shopping cart abandonment. Another factor that comes into play is stock in hand. Keeping limited stock or only ordering from your supplier when a customer orders may further lengthen your delivery times.


    Streamline your delivery process to ensure the quickest delivery times. Ensuring you have enough stock to ship out on-hand and staying on top of stock control is vital. If you have limited delivery drivers, partnering with a third-party delivery service may help to improve availability.


    #8 Your Returns Policy is Dissatisfactory or Non-Existent

    #8 Your Returns Policy is Dissatisfactory or Non-Existent

    Buyer reluctance is one of the many challenging aspects of e-commerce and also a reason for shopping cart abandonment. Customers may be hesitant to check out; not because your products aren’t enticing, but because of a lack of trust. Offering a money-back guarantee or a generous returns/exchange policy may improve rapport and trust.


    If you have no such assurances or they’re not displayed clearly, customers will be more hesitant to buy from you. This is even the case if your company is reputable and your products perfectly fit their needs and price point.


    Outline returns, exchange, and money-back policies that you think will work for you and your online customers. Train all your staff on the details to ensure they can relay this information to inquiring customers. Be sure to advertise your policies clearly on your website and app.


    #9 Payment Issues

    Another top shopping cart abandonment problem is declined payments. If customers cannot pay for your goods or services, they will abandon their shopping carts. The good news is that they are likely to come back if their own lack of finances is at fault.


    Be sure to have those abandoned shopping cart emails and notifications set up to remind them. However, if your website or the payment gateway is experiencing technical issues, this is more serious. In this instance, you are much more likely to lose the sale and your customer for good.


    There is not much you may do if a customer has insufficient credit or balance to pay you. This is also the case if the bank or payment provider experiences temporary technical difficulties. Regardless, it’s important to contact a website development company to maintain and test your payment integration regularly. Otherwise, you could be losing out on sales and return customers.


    #10 The Undefined

    We don’t know all the specific determinants for consumers’ online shopping cart abandonment. Who picks up abandoned shopping carts and why they abandoned them in the first place is unique to each site. We can only share the statistics surrounding the main reasons.


    As such, it’s important that you try to determine why your own customers are abandoning their shopping carts. Luckily, you may use various shopping cart abandonment tools to do so. For instance, you may track shopping cart abandonment using Google Analytics. Alternatively, you may get your customers to report online shopping cart abandonment reasons and issues to you.


    Work with a digital marketing agency to implement effective online shopping cart abandonment solutions for your website, store, or app. The team may devise a multi-level strategy to recoup lost revenue, including sending shopping cart abandonment surveys and reminders. 


    The Top 3 Ways How to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

    How to reduce shopping cart abandonment for your particular industry and website, app, or online store may vary. Here are a few basic steps every online business may take to decrease its shopping cart abandonment.

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    1. Send Abandoned Shopping Cart Email Reminders

    Abandoned shopping cart email reminders may help you reduce your cart abandonment rate, and thereby, improve revenue and sales. However, following abandoned shopping cart email best practices is also key:


    • Send abandoned shopping cart email reminders at the right time. Ideally, around one hour after abandonment, but this may vary as per product and industry.
    • Use discount and gift vouchers wisely. Offering large discounts to every customer who abandons a cart may set a precedent that cuts into your profit.
    • Include images. Don’t just send a list of the cart items; send visuals to remind customers what they’re missing out on.
    • Add calls to action. Encourage customers to finish shopping, checking out, and taking a look at other items they may like.
    • Use data. Track customers’ orders, cart contents, and browsing habits in order to up-sell relevant items.
    • Try different abandoned shopping cart email templates. Play around and collect data to see what works and what doesn’t for your business.
    • Prioritize aesthetics to improve engagement and sales. Your abandoned shopping cart email reminder should fit the look of your brand and online store.
    • Include additional information.  This can come in the form of customer reviews, sale pricing, alternative colors, and the stock remaining.


    2. Get Your Website UX-Optimized

    2. Get Your Website UX-Optimized

    User Experience (UX) plays an important role in online shopping cart abandonment. It’s advisable to hire a professional web design agency to optimize your website, app, or e-commerce store.


    3. Monitor Shopping Cart Abandonment Using Tools Such as Google Analytics

    If you don’t know why customers abandon their shopping carts, it may be difficult to fix the issue. What helps is you can find out by using the right tools. One excellent resource comes in the form of  shopping cart abandonment tracking tools from Google Analytics. You can access these if you have Enhanced eCommerce reports set up. 


    There are other ways to analyze why customers abandon shopping carts and who picks up abandoned shopping carts too. You can send out a shopping cart abandonment survey to your customers. Alternatively, you may set up ways to easily report shopping cart abandonment issues.



    You are better prepared now that you know the top reasons for abandoning a shopping cart. We’ve also shared the best ways surrounding how to reduce shopping cart abandonment, and these extend way beyond, shopping cart abandonment retargeting. Try these out and implement a strategy to recoup those lost sales, or seek advice from a specialist.

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