Posted on 8/26/2015 in Business and Strategy

By Dean Dorazio


Why do customers place items in their shopping cart but fail to make a purchase?

I was surprised to find that approximately 60% of customers “abandon” their shopping cart. But why does this happen?

One big reason is the shipping costs of the item or items. To put it simply, customers don’t want to pay them. Webstrategiesinc.com conducted a study in 2015 listing the following reasons customers interested in your product buy elsewhere . . .

  • 57% don’t want to pay shipping costs
  • 48% felt the cost of the purchase was more than expected
  • 41% used shopping cart for research – most likely to determine shipping costs
  • 27% wanted a discount
  • 22% were unable to find site contact information and felt the website lacked credibility
  • 15% felt the checkout process was too complicated

Cart abandonment also happens when a customer decides to purchase the same product from a different retailer. Countless studies on online customer behavior have shown that the eCommerce environment is incredibly competitive, and as a result companies are looking for any advantage to attract more customers. Competitors that sell the same product are now offering better shipping and return deals as their competitors, or price matching to entice customers to make a purchase on their site.

So how do you optimize your shopping cart to decrease abandonment rates? Below are a few suggestions . . .

  1. Offer shipping discounts – Help your customers avoid shipping fees. If possible, offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount. You win by generating more revenue and your customers win by receiving free shipping.
  2. Include privacy assurances such as “we keep your personal information safe” next to form submission and shopping cart checkout buttons and include a direct link to your privacy policy.
  3. Make sure security assurance marks are included on your site. For instance, placing the McAfee or Verisign logo in the corner of your site are two small actions you can take to make people feel safer before providing you with their personal information.
  4. Upon arriving at the shopping cart, the customer should be ready to buy. We recommend removing links that attract people away from making the purchase (ie, footer, blog).
  5. Add a hero image (for instance, a happy customer) to encourage people to continue with the purchase. If possible use images with people in it and shows the positive emotions generated as a result of using the product or service.
  6. Reduce the total number of form fields customers are required to fill out when entering their information. The less work required could lead to more conversions.

If you are still seeing cart abandonment rates, consider sending a followup email alerting the customer that they still have an item in their cart. These emails can be especially effective if accompanied by an incentive to purchase, like free shipping on that item or a small discount if they order within a certain number of days.

In Your Cart Email Example

To conclude, online customers, will always look for the best deal they can get, however making a few minor changes to your shopping cart and check out process could have a positive impact on revenue.


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