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13 Reasons for Cart Abandonment & Tips to Recover Abandoned Carts

Posted by Sharon Thomas on  October 06, 2020  in Ecommerce


Why do customers abandon the checkout process? This has been the question for many eCommerce store owners after cart abandonment has taken a toll on their sales.

The problem here is, you never know the real reason for cart abandonment, all you can do is make an assumption as to why customers abandon the checkout process. Sometimes these assumptions can be true. To make it easy for you, many organizations have conducted surveys to study the reasons for cart abandonment.

Below shown is a graphical representation of a survey conducted by Baymard Institute.

reasons for cart abandonment statistics

This survey identified 10 reasons for cart abandonment, but what’s surprising is that the assumptions made by store owners were close to these reasons.

We know you are curious to find out why customers abandon the checkout process and so are we. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Why customers abandon shopping carts?

Firstly, allow us to address the elephant in the room, customers are not obliged to purchase in our store, if they feel something isn’t right, they can stop their purchase at any time. But as a store owner, we must make sure that those things doesn’t happen.

So, to avoid those things to happen, in this case, cart abandonment, we must initially figure out why customers abandon the checkout process.

Is it the prices of the products? Is it the user experience of the site that’s pushing the customer away? Until you figure out the reasons for cart abandonment, you cannot find the solution to stop it. So, here are the top reasons for abandoning shopping carts.

See where you fit in these 13 reasons, once you figure it out, you can optimize your checkout process and put an end to shopping cart abandonment.

13 Reasons for Cart Abandonment in your store

This post sums up findings from different surveys and describes briefly the top reasons for abandoning shopping cart along with some suggestions to recover the already abandoned carts.

Hidden costs that spike the product price

The cost of a product is one deciding criteria when purchasing online for most people. And to see that same cost increase unexpectedly at checkout is disheartening and even frustrating. This eventually leads to cart abandonment instantly, almost without a second thought.

In all the surveys conducted to uncover the reasons for cart abandonment, hidden costs are proven to be the top reasons for abandoning shopping carts. These hidden costs include shipping, taxes, and maybe even a fee for a complimentary product. They are not revealed on the product pages and only after the checkout.

Why not reveal an estimated cost earlier in the process? Amazon does this perfectly by mentioning the cost earlier in the product page itself.

Additional hidden costs at checkout

User account creation

According to a study by Baymard Institute in 2017, 37% of people revealed that the mandatory need to create a user account was one of the top reasons for abandoning shopping carts.

A first-time user being bombarded with the pop-up ‘Login or create an account’ in the midst of online shopping is an incident worth abandoning the cart. Even though registering as a user or member has benefits in the long run, people consider the procedure as an obstacle.

The problem arises when the account creation is made mandatory. Do the following as an alternative.

  • Allow customers to checkout as guest user.
  • Prompt the customer to sign up as a member after the purchase is done using a pop-up or a noticeable CTA when the transaction details are shared.
  • Give an option to turn down the offer too.

Complicated checkout

No one likes to fill up forms. People are always in a hurry and would like to finish it quickly when the need arises. This is something that cannot be avoided for the checkout process when shopping online but the flow of the can be made smoother and easy for the customer.

Research reveals that around 28% of people abandon their carts if checkout creates a ruckus and that is why customers abandon shopping carts.

Other elements that contribute to shopping cart abandonment during checkout are

  • Multiple pages
  • A non-interactive form
  • Distracting images
  • Slow loading
  • Internal links

In the absence of all these, the checkout will function without much hassle.

Payment issues

Issues with payment are another top reason for abandoning shopping carts. You cannot expect all of your customers to choose from a single payment method of your liking. This might actually make you look untrustworthy.

I actually abandoned a cart last week due to the same reason. It happens all over the eCommerce domain and can be reduced if multiple payment options are put forth.

Payment methods

Make sure you have multiple options for payments if you want avoid checkout abandonment in your store. Multiple payment options can also help you drive more conversions and repeated sales.

Unsatisfactory return policy

Customers do take policies very seriously, whether it is a refund or return policy. The return policy, in particular, is the most sought after in the eCommerce sector especially for the fashion retailers. The mention of the return policy in the checkout page encourages the person to carry on with the payment rather than abandoning the cart.

The return policy must be devoid of any legal terms and in simple and clear words for better understanding. The return policy literally acts as a trust badge and when people are unable to find it, they hesitate to take the process forward.

If you have done everything to curb cart abandonment and still don’t know why customers abandon shopping carts in your eCommerce store then the return policy might be the issue.

Return policy is the last place a store owner will look at if he’s facing cart abandonment. It has also proven to be one of underrated reasons for checkout abandonment.

No coupon code

Where there is a deal on one side, there is a customer at the other end waiting to grab it. An online shopping site that does not provide coupon codes is considered nearly useless. As per a survey conducted by Blippr, people who use coupon codes spend 37% more than people who don’t.

This statistic itself reveals the possibility of a higher cart abandonment rate in the absence of a coupon code. Isn’t it a smarter idea to provide coupon codes generously especially when you, as a store owner, can decide to whom and when to deliver them?

No express delivery

In eCommerce, one aspect that people look into is the estimated delivery date for the products chosen. And if it is a last-minute buy, it is no wonder that the customer might expect a quicker delivery than the regular one at any cost. I mean it – AT ANY COST because the purpose has to be realized here.

There is nothing more infuriating than finding a ‘No express delivery available’ tag at the time of checkout. The customer obviously leaves the page and goes on to shop from another online retailer who provides this support.

This is another top reasons for abandoning shopping carts. If your store doesn’t provide express delivery then there is no purpose for customers to purchase at your store as many eCommerce stores have started one-day delivery services.

If you want to keep up with the market then you must upgrade your store’s services every now and then.

Website crash / Technical snags

There cannot be anything more embarrassing than this. Loads of errors in your website can lead to a crash when hundreds or even thousands of shoppers have loaded their carts to proceed to payment. Get rid of this with proper and regular maintenance checks on each and every page of the website.

Some experts has stated that why this isn’t one of top reasons for abandoning shopping cart, imgaine adding a product to cart after a lot of surfing and then when you are midway in the payment process, the website crashes.

The sheer frustration one can get due to this is higher than hidden costs. Make sure you test and optimize your store regularly or else your store might lose the trust of customers once and for all.

Note: If you’ve decided to migrate your web presence across various shopping carts (e.g. Magento to WooCommerce), you can turn to the Cart2Cart migration service and get the job done in a totally automated way. Even if you’re a total newbie, with Cart2Cart you’ll transfer your database without affecting your sales and customers.

Just browsing

You might be banging your head as to why customers abandon shopping cart, sometimes the reason might be to hard to believe, casual browsing, according to a study conducted by WorldPay. The Baymard Institute seconds it with jaw-dropping stats from the latest study – 58.6% of US online shoppers have abandoned a cart because of ‘just browsing’ Another reason that was closely related is ‘not ready to buy.

There is nothing to wonder here. In this age of the internet, people either get themselves involved socially via social media or loners like me prefer to simply check out some products from eCommerce stores. You would have done this too, right?

Security problems

Information is what keeps the internet running and information consists of data. Customer data is meant to be kept confidential and it is to be put into practice.

Most people are worried about the misuse of banking details when a credit card is being processed by the retailer himself. Even with the slightest of doubt, you can lose sales with an increase in the cart abandonment rate. Make your website trustworthy by including industry-standard trust logos that assure data security.

Trust badges

Trust logos have become mandatory for eCommerce stores nowadays. A customer won’t move to the checkout unless he sees a trust badge in your store. So, make sure you get the right trust badges for your store if you want avoid customers abandoning their shopping carts.

No customer support

Even though this point does not appear in most of the cart abandonment surveys, it is a matter to be concerned about. Help must be rendered to the customer in times of trouble when shopping online. When someone is out there to clarify things, people never mind facing issues and still come back for more.

Customer support is crucial to build a good rapport and build trust with the customer base. Failing to achieve this milestone will result in unexpected shopping cart abandonment.

Not responding to your customer is one of the top reasons for abandoning shopping cart. When they reach out to you, make sure you hear their queries and respond to them quickly if you want to build a loyal customer base.

Found the same product at a lower price in competitors’ site

Lower the prices, the higher will be the number of customers buying from you. What if your competitor has even lower prices? Your customer base will hit a low in no time as prices are one of the top reasons for cart abandonment.

Since there are e-Commerce stores mushrooming every now and then, quality and low price are two factors that people always look out for.

It is pivotal to keep a note of your competitors’ pricing strategies and catch up soon.

Not compatible with mobile devices

There is evidence that shopping using mobile devices is on the rise and the possible revenue through this medium will only rise higher than ever. There is no wonder even if this surpasses the mark of revenue generated by shopping using desktops.

With more customers making online buying handy, it would be absurd if your store is not compatible with mobile devices. The website must be tested in all major mobile devices to reduce the cart abandonment rate.

Tips to recover abandoned carts

Sometimes things go out of your hands even when all the 13 problems addressed above are set right. Others might be in a situation ready to implement the necessary measures but unsure about what to do with abandoned shopping carts.

Recover them!

It is easier said than done. So, here are some ideas that might help you get back the lost revenue.

Craft a subject line that clicks

Open rates are always higher than the conversion rates and that is because of the enticing subject lines. They create the first impression of what to expect in a cart abandonment email. Some ways to write the best subject lines include personalization, mention of a discount, and creating urgency.

Provide dynamic and unique coupon codes

The coupon code mania is never going to fade. Customers would be happier than ever to receive more of it. The problem here is that sending the same coupon code for all the abandoned carts is not advisable. Instead, you can very well auto-apply a coupon code to every abandoned cart email using an application.

Send the first email of the recovery campaign series without much delay
When there is a delay in reminding the customers about shopping cart abandonment, the probability to change their minds into buying drops drastically. The general consensus is that the first cart recovery email must be sent within an hour after the cart abandonment.

Segment your customers

The biggest mistake that you can make is to send the same cart recovery email to all owners of abandoned carts. This is a complete no-no. To avoid this, you must first segment your customers.

You must draft at least 3 to 4 emails with a focus on various things like discounts, product recommendations, customer support, and the like. Segment the customers and send different emails to the groups. The chances of conversion are higher when this is done.

Wrapping up…

Every customer base is different. So, you will have to identify the reasons for cart abandonment for your website and it is no cakewalk. You might have to initiate a survey or rectify glitches on your website by using this post as a guideline.

Identify the problem and only then you can find an answer to why customers abandon the checkout process. Once you find it.

Arrest it.

Then see you cart abandonment rate decrease.


Author Bio
Sharon Thomas 
Sharon Thomas
Sharon Thomas is a content marketer and eCommerce growth hacker with specialization in email marketing, abandoned cart recovery, customer retention, and WooCommerce & Shopify plugins. She also has experience in creating content for education, hospitality, beauty, pregnancy & parenting, and other niches.

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