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10 Reasons for shopping cart abandonment and 10 solutions

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According to the Baymard Institute in April 2013 the average cart abandonment rate was 67.35%. This average is calculated based on these 19 different studies containing statistics on eCommerce shopping cart abandonment. Very often a cart may be abandoned because you have simply been used as a price comparison. So it is vital to review the following points below and correct them to ensure you have the best chance of winning the sale.


1. Shipping charges

It’s not really fair but Amazon has led consumers to expect free delivery on everything. It’s a massive turn off for consumers now to have to pay delivery costs themselves, even a low flat rate. Another major turn off for consumers is not displaying the shipping charge until you reach the final stage of the checkout.


Offer free shipping on orders over a set amount and send it on the most economical service that provides you with some security such as royal mail signed for. Don't offer free next day delivery: this is a premium service and you can still charge for it, Amazon does! You can also use a third party fulfilment house that will be able to give better shipping rates.

2. Security, Security, Security

If you are not the most well known of businesses you are going to need to gain shoppers’ trust fast. Everyone has some experience of online fraud and it is all pervasive in the media. If you do not display SSL certificated and PCI compliance you will find customers shopping elsewhere.


Display the certification and demonstrate your PCI compliance. It does not have to be big, have it neatly on the homepage and in your checkout.

3. While we are on the subject of security

If you do not display your customer support email and phone number predominately it might make you look a little less than reputable.


Display your customer support email and phone number predominately and make sure your terms and conditions are easy to find as shoppers will want to check out your returns policy particularly if they are buying items like clothes.

4. Furthermore ... on the subject of security

How good does your checkout look? Does it look significantly different to the rest of your site? Does it look old fashioned? These are all aesthetic issues that can make a buyer uneasy.


Spend some time and money making the checkout look professional. Poor design smacks of unprofessionalism and they may question your security. Ensure that it is simple to use and it does not have too many stages.


5. All major payment methods?

If you don't accept all major credit cards, PayPal and Google Wallet, you are asking for trouble. The potential customer will not only leave if you do not accept their preferred payment method but they will likely never come back.


Accept all major credit cards? Yes I'm including American express. Yes people do use it. Do you accept PayPal? You should, it won’t put people off and if you want to look to the future display Google Wallet as a solution.

6. Is it a pain to pay?

If your checkout process has lots of steps you may find customers will go. Do you force customers to set up an account they don’t really want? It might be very useful for you and your CRM system but it’s a pain when we live in an age where fast internet transactions are expected.


Keep it simple and clear, offer a check out as a guest option and if you must demand customers sign up with an account do it after the payment. You may want to look at installing one click ordering. It’s simply about making the process as simple for your customers as possible. If you make life easy for them they will reward you with sales and loyalty.

7. Coupon code field, what would you do?

You leave the site to find one. I certainly do and once they are out of that buying mode they may not come back. Perhaps they will find a better coupon for a competitor.


Make it discreet but not hidden, if they have a coupon code they will look for it. Don’t have an interrupter jump out and stop the customer’s journey at the crucial moment.

8. On the subject of interrupting

You are nearly at the checkout and then you have to click through page after page of cross selling, up selling and promotions. (Vistaprint is guilty of this; I would be fascinated to know their abandonment rates.)  When there is too much it starts people clicking the back button or refusing to come back a second time.


There is nothing wrong with a well-placed interrupter on the checkout walk, just don't go mad with it. It's confusing, annoying and looks desperate. Remember make their life easy.


9. Mobile Friendly?

Is your website optimised for mobile devices? Do you know how to fix it? Increasingly shoppers are using smartphones for their shopping and this trend is going to continue. Failing to provide a welcoming user friendly version of your site for small devices will send customers away. What do you do when you access a site that is not optimised for mobiles? So do we!


Get it fixed fast, if you can’t do it get the services of a developer. Don’t cut yourself off from the huge number of potential sales.

10. Where are your promotions?

If you are offering a deal or promotion don’t be ashamed to show it. etailing.com’s survey in 2011 found that 62% of online shoppers think it’s important for an eCommerce website to have sections for specially priced items. That’s quite a lot!


Give them what they want, let them have their own special section and don't hide it make sure it is clear in the navigation. I have heard business owners decry offers’ sections as they, in their opinion, devalue the brand and look cheap. Do you think John Lewis looks cheap? Is Harvey Nichols a down market brand? However, there is a time and a place for everything (see section 8) don’t interrupt the sales flow at the crucial moment.

An extra one of you...

11. Is your tax taxing?

If you are selling abroad, is your shopping cart properly set up? Will it display prices in that country’s currency? Are you charging VAT to countries that do not have to pay it? Do your payment providers have difficulty charging people in another country?


You're going to need the services of a developer again. Don’t cut yourself off from the rest of the world and make sure your shipping is not going to eat away at your margin. This is another instance where an order fulfilment service can be of use to provide a more cost effective service.

Before you go … here's a tip

Many companies try to regain lost carts by sending a follow up e-mail if you have the resources try a phone call. According to a report published on internetretailer.com, eCommerce site - Movies Unlimited - e-mails shoppers 24 hours after they abandon a cart. This apparently resulted in a 1.5% lift in purchase transactions that it attributes to recapturing sales from abandoned carts.

For more eCommerce and fulfiment tips, please visit our blog, read more about e-fulfilment integration or contact us at James and James Fulfilment today.

June 20th, 2013 by Hannah Newman

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