5 min read

Why Is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem for Retailers?

Written by Andriy Boychuk
5 min read
Table of Contents

    An abandoned cart is created when a potential buyer adds a product to an online shopping cart on an e-commerce website but does not proceed to check out and complete the purchase.

    One of the reasons could be because the individual isn’t ready to buy as yet and wants to shop around more and compare prices before doing so.

    You may question, “Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem for retailers?”

    Many retailers face the problem of cart abandonment because they are not aware of the mistakes they are making.

    Even if retailers know the reasons, most times they don’t have any strategy in place to rectify the problem.

    All e-commerce retailers need to pay attention to the shopping cart abandonment rate because it’s a signal that your website has a poor user experience.

    Why is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem for Retailers?

    All e-commerce business owners who face cart abandonment want to resolve the issue as soon as possible because it has serious implications for business. Let’s take a look at what they are.

    Loss of customers and sales

    One of the most important reasons why shopping cart abandonment is a problem for retailers is because when customers don’t check out, it means that they miss out on a sale. It does not matter whether the order was large or small.

    In some instances, customers don’t intentionally abandon their carts. Maybe the customer simply forgot to check out. But usually, other factors interfere, such as:

    • Pricing
    • A lagging website
    • Complicated checkout process
    • Delivery costs and other factors are responsible for shopping cart abandonment.


    Potential customers who abandon your cart may have done so because they found better products on another website.

    If customers add items to their carts but fail to check out, it could mean that they are just browsing and will ultimately purchase the item/s from a competitor.

    To prevent this, you need to keep your marketing strategy up to date. You can do that by:

    • Creating a target market
    • Sending relevant emails and messages
    • Creating attractive deals.

    Slows down sales

    Customers who abandon their cart may do so because they prefer batch shopping. This means that they want to buy the items but will do so over several days.

    This problem can be solved by offering a discount or a deal when people log in and order within 15 minutes of adding things to their cart.

    Loss in revenue

    The average shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 69% according to recent studies.

    This means that all the time and resources that you have invested so far are not reaping benefits. Only 1/3 of shoppers visit your e-commerce site, check out and complete their order.

    Shopping cart abandonment causes a major loss in sales which adds up to $18 billion for some e-commerce companies. You need to help curb the loss in revenue as soon as possible.

    Why Do Customers Abandon Shopping Carts?

    To rectify the problem of the abandoned shopping cart retailers must first find out why customers are turned away in the first place.

    Each business is unique, but there are common factors that affect most e-commerce retailers.

    One of the prime reasons for shopping cart abandonment is:

    • Poor usability
    • Lack of trust
    • Complicated checkout process
    • Etc.

    Let’s take a detailed look at some of the reasons for cart abandonment, and what you can do to rectify this issue.

    Top Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

    Other than poor usability, some other causes for this problem are the following:

    Complex check-out process

    A clear and faster check-out process while finalizing the order is a must to make the shopping experience positive for the customer.

    Sometimes extra steps could result in a loss of interest. Customers lose patience when it comes to:

    • Form-filling
    • Authorization
    • Detailed checking.

    No discounts or offers

    Research shows that around 93% of shoppers use a promo code or discount code to make purchases online. This shows the usefulness of these codes.

    When these are not provided, customers may tend to shift to a competitor’s website.

    Shipping issues and long delivery times

    When an online shopping website does not offer proper shipping options and shows long wait times for delivery, it reduces the frequency of purchases being made by shoppers from the website.

    Every shopper would like timely delivery of the product purchases along with some shipping options to choose from.

    No trust in the online store

    When customers do not trust the online store, it could lead to more abandoned shopping carts.

    This could happen if your website:

    • Does not have proper return policies
    • Does not have an option for user reviews or testimonials.

    Limited payment options

    The payment gateway for the website should provide a range of payment options for the user.

    If the options are limited, it may turn off the customer and give him reason to leave the website for a competitor’s one.

    Strategies to avoid shopping cart abandonment

    Now that we’ve evaluated the possible reasons for shopping cart abandonment, we can outline some strategies to prevent it too.

    • Establish trust in your brand and website
    • Simplify the checkout process
    • Add a progress indicator on the checkout page
    • Add images of the items on the checkout page
    • Simplify navigation between the cart and website
    • Include multiple payment options
    • Offer guest checkout
    • Waive shipping costs.

    Shopping cart abandonment could prove to be a major wake-up call for retailers and they should find solutions to overcome this problem quickly.

    Research shows that in March 2020, nearly 88% of orders failed to be converted. The highest rate of cart abandonment was found in the automotive sector, with a whopping 96.9%.

    Once you figure out the main reasons why customers are abandoning their cart and how it is affecting your sales, you should take steps to rectify it as soon as possible.

    Reducing cart abandonment will help you to increase revenue and boost sales and business.

    Learn More

    Discover how to recover abandoned carts by sending abandoned cart emails.

    Talk email strategy with an expert