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If you run an online retail shop it is really important that you know everything about your shopping cart abandonment rate.

A shopping cart abandonment rate can be defined as the total number of people who add an item to their cart but who do not complete payment and finish the checkout process.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

It’s vitally important to know your shopping cart abandonment rate and to optimize it so that you do not continue to lose out on sales. When someone adds an item to their cart they are showing a very strong interest in owning that item. Therefore it is important to know why they do not complete the check out process.

Why People Abandon Shopping Carts

So, why do people abandon their online shopping carts?

Why People Abandon Shopping Cart

The highest majority of people abandon their shopping carts because they find shipping and handling costs to be too high. The next largest percentage abandon because they are simply not ready to purchase the item for whatever reason. They may really want the item but at the last minute decide it costs too much at this time, or some other reason.

The last two major reasons why people abandon their shopping carts are because they simply want to compare prices to other sites or the item is priced too high. This has also become a trend in the logo design business.

And of course, finally, keep in mind that someone might abandon their shopping cart for a mixture of reasons even if the online store is effective. For instance, they may want to compare the total price of an item including shipping costs on multiple sites – in many cases to get the shipping costs you need to add an item to the cart first and initiate the checkout process. If your total cost comes out to be higher than a competitor you may lose this sale.

Who Abandons Shopping Carts Most?

So, what do we know about people who abandon shopping carts in general?

Percent Of People Abandon Shopping Cart

The majority of all people have abandoned a shopping cart at least once (I know I’m guilty of doing it multiple times!). And a very large percentage of people who abandon their cart are doing so because they want to research a better, lower price. Although, a smaller percentage simply places the item in a cart for later consideration.

Now that we know why people desert shopping carts and that a huge percentage of people will abandon a shopping cart at some point, how do we reduce shopping cart abandonment on our own sites?

Tips for Improving Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Here are a few tips:

Decreasing Shopping Cart Adandonment


  • Show delivery and payment options at the beginning of the checkout process. This means if you have a variety of shipping options and costs available (standing, 2-day, overnight) you should state those as early on as possible – especially if your shipping rates are high. It becomes very frustrating for a visitor to go through the entire checkout process only to be hit with unexpectedly high shipping rates.
  • Offer free (or reduced) shipping. Because shipping and handling costs are the number one reason people abandon their carts, it makes sense to offer free shipping if you can. You might do this by increasing the cost of your product slightly to cover the extra fee that you have to absorb. However, the benefit is you can advertise that you offer Free Shipping on your home page, on the product page, and throughout the checkout process.

macys free shipping


  • Don’t force registration before the sale has been made. Of course, you want customers to register for your site so that you can remarket to them later. However, forcing registration before the sale could lose you the sale altogether. Allow customers to check out as a guest and then ask them later to register so they can check the status of their order.
  • Provide options to save the contents of the cart. Since we know over 20% of people will abandon their carts simply because they are doing research for later, allow those potential consumers to easily save the contents of their cart – either by creating an account or through cookies.
  • Set up for safe and secure checkout. Although online shopping is now mainstream, users still want to know that their credit card and personal information will be safe. Use SSL and become certified with a company like Truste to give users confidence in shopping with you. Read how security badges can improve conversions.


truste security


  • Display customer support contact information. Displaying customer support contact information will assure your shoppers that you can be trusted. That in the event of a mishap with their order that you will be available to make it right.

Reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate is all about making sure visitors feel confident that they are making the best purchase possible. That means that they are getting good value from a company that cares about customer satisfaction.

Begin using these tips today to optimize your retail site so that you can reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate and start making more money!

If you would like assistance with improving your retail website, please fill out our contact form and we will be happy to help!

The shopping cart abandonment statistical graphics in this post are part of a larger infographic on the topic created by Kissmetrics.

When was the last time you filled a shopping cart with groceries and then abandoned it on aisle four? Never? The average person wouldn’t dream of doing this in a physical store location, but it happens all the time on ecommerce websites. Here are the most common triggers for shopping cart abandonment along with common-sense ways to prevent this phenomenon.

Unexpected costs.

There is nothing worse for a shopper than finding out their great deal is not-so-great due to shipping costs. According to a study by Forrester Research, this is the number one cause of shopping cart abandonment. One way of preventing this is by offering free shipping or flat-rate shipping for orders over a certain size or dollar amount. If this is not a possibility, tell people upfront what shipping costs for every item on its detail page. The same holds true for taxes, handling fees, and other costs that are not included in the price of the item itself.

Security concerns.

Many people balk when it comes time to enter their credit card digits. Indeed, with identity theft and fraud stories filling the evening news almost every day, your customers have good reasons to have reservations when it comes to this step. Invest in good security and let your customers know on every single page of your ecommerce website that you are as concerned about their safety as they are.

Lack of options.

Maybe they planned to pay with PayPal and you only accept credit card purchases. You need to have different payment gateway options. Maybe they have an unreliable mailman, but you ship USPS as a default. Maybe you require that they create an account and they simply don’t want to do it. Your customers will be more likely to complete their purchases if you offer as many options as possible and allow them to customize their buying experience. When you decide not to accept a major payment venue or otherwise narrow options, you are narrowing your customer base as well.

Cold feet.

We all have buyer’s remorse—that moment when you look at a cart full of goods and wonder how you spent so much. Brick-and-mortar businesses know that the longer people wait in line, the less they buy. This principle holds true for ecommerce as well. Make your checkout process as quick and uncomplicated as possible to capitalize on impulse buying and leave as little time as possible to get cold feet.

No intention of buying in the first place.

Some people simply have no intention of buying. They are at your website to do research on products or simply to dream. If your website is well-designed and you are offering great deals, these people may become buyers, especially if you have that fast, easy checkout we were talking about. However, a certain amount of shopping cart abandonment will occur because of people who never intended to become customers in the first place. Don’t aim to end shopping cart abandonment altogether; merely try to make changes that will eliminate the major causes of it.

Why Customers Abandon Their Shopping Carts… And How To Prevent It

Here’s an interesting fact: over half of all internet shopping carts are abandoned. Few of us would even consider loading up a shopping cart at a brick-and-mortar store and then walking away from it; yet most people think nothing about doing the same on an ecommerce website. However, if you understand why people abandon their shopping carts, you will have a chance at stopping it.

Why do people abandon their shopping carts? If you think about it, they have already invested their time in finding your website, shopping, selecting items, and then adding them to their order. Yet something kept them from buying. In many cases, this is a concern about shipping or other costs. Other times, the customer is concerned that the checkout process is going to take too long. Last, some customers are genuinely approaching buyer’s remorse, second-guessing their choices and simply wanting out of the transaction.

While there is little you can do about that last category, you can certainly address the first two. Make sure your shipping and handling rates are prominently displayed throughout your website so people know upfront exactly what they are paying. Also, show customers clearly what step of the ordering process they are currently on, and how many they have let. This will encourage them to complete transactions.

Another strategy is to send an email to customers who abandon their carts. This can be complicated because it assumes that you actually have their email. While many websites request a sign-in process in order to add merchandise to a shopping cart, this in itself can cause bounces. If you have an email, don’t be afraid to communicate; if not, don’t worry about it. A recent study found that only fourteen percent of e-tailers send a follow-up email after cart abandonment.

If you are sending an email, why not make it a really sweet deal? Many merchants try to round up bouncing customers by offering a discount or a bonus such as free shipping. This is not just an opportunity to make a sale; you can try to upsell as well. Make sure you let customers know how long you will be holding their merchandise so they don’t try to put off completing the sale indefinitely.

Last, be tenacious. Some customers will require more than one reminder. Some people will need to revisit your ecommerce store website several times before they make the leap to completing the order process using the payment method integrated. Others are only visiting for research or simply dreaming and never intended to make a purchase in the first place. Some people are simply shoppers, not buyers, so a certain percentage of bounces are to be expected and the user experience should be tweaked to match.

As with all interactions with customers, keep it friendly, light, and relevant to your brand. After all, your customers are busy people checkout abandonment rate is more frequent that you can imagine. They are not thinking about your conversion rate. This is not just an opportunity to make a sale, but an opportunity to gain a loyal customer. Make sure you approach shopping cart abandonment in a fun and friendly way that will win your customers over while modifying your checkout process to minimize the phenomenon in the first place.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.