Top 5 reasons for shopping cart abandonment in ecommerce

~ 5 min read | June 9
Analyzing Shopping Cart Abandonment

Analyzing Abandonment

In 2011, shopping cart abandonment reached an all time high of 75 percent from 71 percent in 2010. The reasons for the increase vary from a more sophisticated consumer market to problems with eCommerce stores. Why are customers not completing purchases at your website? In this article, we examine 5 of the top reasons why consumers do not complete their purchases and what you can do to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

One of the biggest headaches that online business owners have to contend with is shopping cart abandonment. This means that the consumers put items on the shopping cart but never complete the checkout process. By understanding why consumers are not completing the checkout process, you can know what to do to improve your conversions.

Below are the top 5 reasons why customers do not complete the checkout process:

1. High Shipping Costs

Should you be offering free shipping for your products? The simple answer is YES. According to a report by Forester, most customers fail to purchase when they realize they have to pay for shipping charges. With over 50 percent of online merchants offering free shipping, it is only logical that you join the bandwagon.

Some websites offer free shipping for purchases above a certain value. Other companies offer unconditional free shipping. If you are afraid that offering free shipping will eat into your margins, find ways to reduce other costs or offer free shipping to majority of your users. For example, if your major market the US, you can offer users from the region free shipping and have customers from other regions pay for shipping. Nordstrom, for example, provides free shipping and free returns as a policy.

Nordstrom - Free Shipping

Nordstrom – Free Shipping

2. Not Ready to Purchase/Comparison Shopping

Online consumers have become more savvy with the wealth of consumer resources available online and explosion of social media. Today, most customers compare products from different merchants before they buy. The many online comparison website have made work easier for customers and with the shaky economy, everyone is trying to save a buck.

If your customers are only comparing prices at your website, offer them a value proposition that will make them buy. For example, you can have a pop up box that offers them free shipping if they order on that date only. You can also track consumer behaviors using cookies to understand them and provide better value.

There are many websites nowadays which provides comparison of prices from different merchants. For example, with Nextag, you can compare the prices and reviews before the consumers can buy a product.

Nextag - Price Comparison

Nextag – Price Comparison

3. High Product Price

Consumers shop online not only because of the convenience but also because they expect items to be cheaper than at offline stores. If your items are expensive than what the consumer can get at the local store, your shopping cart abandonment rate is likely to be high.

Check the prices of your competition and see how they stack against yours. If your product price is too high, find a way to make it work. Perhaps you provide next-day shipping, offer free packaging or a related product with a purchase. The bottom line is that your high price should be justified. Customers will abandon the shopping cart if you do not provide additional value that justifies the high price.

4. Wish to Review Selected Products later

The modern consumer will not purchase a product the first time he comes across it. Most buyers usually interact with a brand a couple of times before they make a purchasing decision. This is why most consumer will put items on their shopping carts to come and review them later.

To improve your conversions, provide a detailed description of your product. Avoid using the descriptions provided by manufacturers since they are usually technical in nature. You need to invest in persuasive copy-writing to keep customers on your website and make them buy. Apart from this, you have to nurture a relationship with your customers. Capturing your visitors’ emails and putting them in a sales funnel is important to building trust and improving conversions.

Ties.com provides a great description for each of their products

tiesdotcom copywriting

tiesdotcom copywriting

5. Long Checkout Process

How many steps does your customer has to go through to reach checkout? The key to improving conversions online is simplicity. Online shopping experience should be easy and straightforward. Ideally, your checkout process should consist of three steps: product selection, cart and check out. The simpler your checkout process is, the better your conversions will be.

However, for sophisticated customers, it may be better to have other steps in the checkout process. For example, customers may wish to customize the colors, size or number of items they want to purchase.

Scarves.com provides a clean interface for checkout and lets the shoppers edit their purchase in one click.  They also let the users do a guest checkout and another option to pay through amazon which is pretty cool.

scarves.com Checkout Process - Simple and sets expectations

scarves.com Checkout Process is simple and sets expectations

Overall, understanding shopping cart abandonment can help business owners improve conversions by addressing the reasons for purchase objection. To improve your conversions, you can do split tests or capture data using analytic tools. You can also use the data to determine the preferences of individual customers and provide a better value proposition to them.

Here is a great infographic that summarizes the major reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

Online Orphans

Source – CrazyEgg

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John Solomon

Marketing Leader / Sales Enabler. Head of India Operations for @Infrascale / @sosonlinebackup.