Top 6 Reasons Consumers Abandon their Carts, and How to Prevent it

Shopping cart abandonment presents a veritable challenge for the majority of E-Commerces from the largest companies, to the smallest start-ups. What causes a customer to abandon a potential purchase from an E-commerce site? Here are the top 6 reasons consumers abandon their carts, and how to prevent it.

1. Unexpected Delivery Costs

When a customer is at the point of purchase on an E-commerce site, an unexpected elevated shipping cost can be what kills the sale. More than half of consumers state that this is the number 1 reason for abandoning a potential sale.

How to combat this: Make your delivery costs clear from the beginning. Make sure the customer knows how much shipping will cost at the earliest possible moment, and if possible, offer free shipping options (like a purchase ceiling to qualify for free shipping or free shipping to nearest store/post office).

2. Didn’t qualify for free shipping

Many customers will abandon their carts upon not meeting, or not willing to meet, an elevated free shipping goal. There is also the question of international customers not qualifying automatically for free shipping, no matter how much they spend on merchandise. Offering an elevated, but free option for international customers will promote brand loyalty– for example clothing and kitsch retailer ModCloth offers free shipping for non-US customers at a $150 purchase. At the current dollar to euro exchange rate, 150 dollars translates to 132€, which is under the 150€ ceiling for taxable international orders. This helps customers in Europe benefit from free shipping, while also not needing to pay extra VAT and customs costs, and offers ModCloth an advantage over retailers who would otherwise not offer free shipping to international customers.

How to combat this: What is your average purchase on your site? Make sure your free shipping goal is not so high that a customer has to double their average purchase in order to meet the goal. Also, if your merchandise is generally at a higher price point, offering smaller items at the time of checkout to meet the free shipping goal helps customers gain their free shipping without doubling their usual purchase amount.

Reasons customers abandon their carts

3. I wanted to estimate shipping costs, but I’m not ready to purchase

Customers will often place many items in their cart without finalizing the purchase in order to shop around for the best shipping prices. If they find a more attractive delivery option elsewhere, they will abandon the cart, leaving the purchase in suspension.

How to combat this: Offer a delivery calculator on the site based on your customer’s country/zip code. This will allow for an easy flat rate delivery estimate for customers based in Alaska, Hawaii, and internationally. Making your delivery processes and prices as transparent as you can- it will help seal the deal when it comes to the point of purchase.

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4. I wanted to save the items for later purchase

Another common reason that customers abandon their carts is due to the need to save the articles for purchase at a later date. With cookies enabled on their browsers, many sites will save a pending shopping cart for a certain amount of time, which offers customers the opportunity to leave and come back later for purchase.

Adding a wishlist allows customers to save a list of their favorite items without using the shopping cart to this effect. It also allows you to send call-back E-mails to propose items they might like.

How to combat this: Offer your customers a wish list to save articles they love but aren’t ready to purchase. This does two very important things: it prevents your customers from using a shopping cart as a wish list, which will lower your overall cart abandonment, and it will offer you the opportunity to communicate with your customer based on the merchandise that you already know they love. When the item goes on sale, comes back in stock, etc, you’ll be able to tell your customers or suggest similar items that they might also enjoy. This will bring them back to your site and raise the probability of purchase.

5. Shipping costs appeared too late in the purchase process

Customers dislike when shipping costs appear late in the purchase process. It seems like the company is hiding charges from them and trying to trick them. Even if that may not be the case, being transparent about your shipping policies is the best way to promote brand trust with your customers.

How to combat this: Show your estimated shipping based on the items in the cart anytime the customer consults the cart. If the customer is not signed in or doesn’t have an account, offer the shipping calculator based on their zip code to show them your shipping costs as soon as your customer needs them, and make it visible on the shopping cart page.

Reasons customers abandon their carts

6. Shipping was too slow

Sometimes customers need a product quickly, and delivery wait times don’t meet their expectations. A delivery time that is too long or unnecessarily delayed can prevent the execution of a purchase at the shopping cart.

How to combat this: Try to offer next-day, or even same-day delivery options. Make your limitations clear, and make what products qualify clear. Being able to offer a variety of delivery options will improve customer satisfaction and help you not only get the pending sale, but also secure sales in the future. Providing a guaranteed delivery date helps impatient customers track the shipping process and reduces on customer service calls.

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Another notable reason for cart abandonment is the necessity to create an account to make a purchase. This can be something that pushes certain customers away- but there are ways to prevent shopping cart cold feet. By offering purchase with a guest account, the customers that don’t want to create an account will be able to check out with minimal information. Offering the possibility of account creation with social media and Google accounts will help customers create accounts with the necessary information already provided. This will streamline account creation for your E-commerce and also provide important social media information based on your customers.

Some customers choose to abandon their carts because of the lack of their preferred payment method. Paypal and other such methods make online shopping incredibly quick and easy, and you should be using their systems to help your purchase process become as quick and simple as possible. Other customers are suspicious of systems like Paypal, and prefer to use their credit card for purchases online. For this reason, it is important to offer a variety of possible payment methods.

A fantastic way to avoid cart abandonment is to send a follow-up E-mail within 24 hours. These are notably successful in drawing the customer back to finish the purchase, with a 46% click to open rate and an overall conversion rate of 5%. Sending a personalized (if you have their first name) E-mail with customer reviews for the item the customer left in their cart is an effective tool to remind the customer of the pending cart. For more loyal customers who have abandoned their carts, offering a discount or a code for free shipping might be just what is needed to complete the sale.

Reasons customers abandon their carts and how to prevent it

These are just a few things you can do to prevent cart abandonment for your E-commerce. There are a multitude of factors that push customers away from the purchase as opposed to towards it, and by understanding those factors and offering comprehensive solutions, you can reduce the gap between those carts that become sales, and those that are forever pending.

For more information, learn about what M-Commerce Optimization can do for your sales. What do you do to pull back customers that have abandoned their carts? Share it below or tweet us!