Top 5 Reasons For Shopping Cart Abandonment

Top 5 Reasons For Shopping Cart AbandonmentSTATISTICS

Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem that retailers face on a daily basis. According to Baymard, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 67.91%.This number is based on an average calculated from 27 other studies on e-commerce abandonment, where abandonment ranges from 55-80%.

Of course this sounds like a lot of sales are being lost, but this is not always the case. Not all people who add things to the cart necessarily want to buy just then, or buy at all – sometimes they’re checking final costs, sometimes they’re window-shopping online (this is where retargeting ads really comes in handy, but more on that later)…Also, research has shown that most visitors will not buy on the first visit. In fact, some studies such as this one by SeeWhy demonstrate that 99% of visitors will not buy on the first visit. What’s more, 25% of these visitors will not come back. However, the remaining 75% who abandoned do intend to come back.


So what are the reasons behind cart abandonment and what can an online retailer do to get back at least some of these customers? Because, even a small percentage of lost sales means a huge revenue loss. For instance, if almost 68 of every 100 customers are abandoning their purchases, what does it mean in terms of lost revenue for you?

Assuming you make $10,000 every month from 32% of your visitors, if you recover even 10% per 100 visitors, you would increase revenue by $3125 every month. That’s a $37,500/year increase!


Since the topic is broad and warrants in-depth discussion, I shall only talk about the top 5 reasons to begin with here, and shall discuss the rest of the reasons and solutions for abandonment in subsequent posts.

 Browsing and shopping habits have changed drastically with the internet; added to this are all the distractions that prevent us from concentrating while we browse and shop, both external and internal – TV, music, apps, internet ads on website, a web retailer’s own promotions while consumers shop, and the fact that we browse while we do a million other things… so many reasons to forget what we actually set out to do, or to distract us from completing a process.

We are also a generation that is keen to get the best deal, eager to get free shipping, and careful about checking all financial options before buying something online. Statista’s study on consumer behavior and reasons for cart abandonment provides fascinating insight into this. Not all the reasons are necessarily relevant to your business but the chart below gives a good idea of what consumers are concerned with when they buy online – costs, costs, security, price comparisons, ease of use…

1. Presented with unexpected costs

This oft-cited report by Statista shows that the top reasons are almost all cost-related, the number one reason being “presented with unexpected costs”. This most likely ends up being shipping costs. Many shoppers will cite free shipping as a huge motivation for choosing one vendor over another. In fact, according to a ComScore report some years ago, as cited here by TechCrunch, 61% of consumers are “somewhat likely” to cancel an order if faced with shipping costs during a purchase.

2. I was just browsing

Strangely enough, the second reason cited is virtual window-shopping, and this may explain a high percentage of abandoned carts, which is good news because it means that your website or your services are not necessarily at fault. You may be losing buyers simply because they’re enjoying window-shopping on your website. Most research mentions increasingly higher abandonment rates as the years go by, but before we start reading too much into it, we have to take into account the digital age and how much time consumers spend browsing the net. Window shopping in brick-and-mortar stores has moved into the digital space, only now people are far more likely to add things to their cart to compare prices and products and final costs online which seems like “abandonment” but is actually the online equivalent of somebody walking into your store, and just looking at stuff and prices, for the sake of knowing. They had never intended to buy anything in the first place.

3. Found a better price elsewhere

Another reason for cart abandonment is today’s very informed consumers who will look at ten different sites to compare prices, shipping costs, final costs, after-sales service, brand notoriety and shipping time to make the final decision. It is inevitable that you lose some consumers to price comparison shopping – you cannot compete with everybody on pricing, shipping, after sales service, discounts and freebies, and whatever else it is that makes a consumer choose one e-retailer over the other.

4. Overall price too expensive

No matter what led to this increase in the price once the customer reached checkout, it is another cost-related factor that shows that people are browsing all sorts of sites and trying to find the right combination to get the right deal and pay less. Lack of clarity on additional costs before they get to the checkout phase appears to be a big turn off for consumers. Shipping costs added to other hidden costs is a definite killer, as demonstrated by this infographic based on a ComScore survey.

5. Decided against buying

As vague as this sounds, it shows how online shopping allows customers to indulge in far more wishful and “almost-finalized” window shopping than they do in a brick-and-mortar store. They may actually never even have wanted to buy anything in the first place. This is one reason why some retailers provide a separate Wishlist feature on their shopping sites, to avoid high abandonment rates on shopping carts so they can actually target only relevant consumers. People also decide to not buy because of unsuitable shipping time, return policies, not finding specific information regarding the product, and so on.

Understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment on your site will be your first step in rectifying your sales process, so you can ultimately catch as many visitors as possible and convert them into happy, loyal customers.

Watch this space on more reasons for cart abandonment and what you can do to turn things around.


What is VideoDesk? VideoDesk is a leading live chat software that uses text, voice and video to provide the same quality of human interaction on your online store as in your brick-and-mortar store, making it easier for you to catch your customers before they abandon their cart and click away to another site. 

We have a plan for every business!

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