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10 reasons people abandon carts on e-commerce sites

The most common reasons why consumers don't make it over the final hurdle to make a purchase on your site, and 5 expert tips on how to reduce your abandoned cart rate...
Tips to reduce abandoned cart

1. The number one reason shoppers abandon their e-commerce carts at a whopping 61% was that they felt 'shipping charges were too high*'. I talk about this again and again with clients and on my #smallbizquicktips on Instagram – shipping rates have the biggest impact on conversion rates. Especially if you have shipping rate that tips a spend into the next price bracket. i.e. a £36 t-shirt with £5 P&P suddenly becomes a ‘£40’ price bracket item.

2. 35% of people abandon their purchase because they didn't want to create an account. A really simple one to fix by just making sure customers can checkout as a guest on your site.

3. 27% of online shoppers said the checkout process was too long and too complicated, making them enter too much data manually, or with fiddly multiple steps. In e-comm speak we call the solution to this 'frictionless' shopping; you want to put as few steps between a customer deciding to purchase and completing their order as possible. Before they have time to talk themselves out of it!

4. 24% said they abandoned because they couldn't see the total order amount up front. So that links back to number one with the additional shipping costs. If people are whacked with tax or shipping and it bumps up their overall total order amount, 24% of people will abandon their cart.

5. 22% abandoned because the website they were shopping on crashed or was just really slow. Check your site speed using Google Pagespeed Insights tool; it will rank your site for desktop and mobile site speed out of 100 (over 80 is optimal), plus give you reasons why it might be slow. Even if this report is jargon to you, it's a great starting point to pass on to a web developer to help you speed things up.

6. 18% didn't trust the site to put in their credit card information – perhaps they were unsure of the returns policy, or didn’t feel it was a legitimate website. Things like ‘no quibble guarantee’ messages, SSL certificates, customer reviews, Payment symbols (Visa, Paypal etc) – all help build trust. Especially with first-time buyers.

7. 16% felt that the delivery timeline was too slow for their needs. Thanks to Amazon Prime people often shop online expecting it to come next day. It's okay for standard free shipping to be 3-5 working days, but try to offer a paid-for express option to stop that 16% abandoning.

8. 10% abandoned their carts because they felt the returns policy wasn’t fair. If they had to pay for returns or they felt it didn’t meet their expectations in that it was too short or unclear. Again, Amazon has paved the way with their 'try before you buy' model and consumers like to try on in the comfort of their own home. Return rates in UK fashion retail sit around 35% avg in the current climate which is a crippling figure for small businesses. Giving ample info around sizing and fit before purchase, product videos and responsive customer services will all help you drive down this number.

9. 8% abandoned their purchase because they didn’t see their preferred payment method – something I’ll cover in my quick tips below. Keep reading!

10. 5% abandoned because their credit card was declined, which you can’t do much about but that ends the top 10!

Those are the top 10 reasons why people abandon their carts and here are my 5 top tips to reduce those…

M-commerce (mobile e-commerce) accounted for around 70% of all e-commerce purchases in 2021 - without a doubt you need to be mobile first in your online store design, especially through your purchase pathway.

Get rid of any unnecessary clutter on your mobile wireframe. If you don’t have a mobile app, the next best thing is to just have a really stripped back, mobile experience for shoppers which links me into that checkout process - make sure it is as seamless, quick and easy as possible.

Digital wallets are another huge conversion factor, which comes back to the 8% stat of people not seeing their preferred payment method and also links into not being able to trust the site to put in their credit card details. A lot of people want to be able to pay using Paypal, Amazon Pay or Apple Pay because they feel there’s that layer of safety if they’re doing it through one of those digital wallets. And especially on mobile, it can triple your conversions. If you think about somebody out and about, they don’t want to be putting in their credit card details or they may not have their credit card with them. They want to be able to pay using biometrics such as face ID or their thumb print on Apple Pay or on Paypal.

Make sure that there is no doubt in your copy or with how descriptive your imagery is before somebody adds to cart. You’ve got to make sure that when people add it to their cart, they’ve been given all the information they need for that buying decision. So they need to know what the shipping’s going to be upfront, if they get to checkout and they realise shipping is going to be extortionately expensive to them, that’s when they will abandon - 61% in fact. If they know upfront, they can make the decision themselves whether they’re still willing to pay that and then add to their cart. So just be upfront, make sure they know all they need to know to make that purchasing decision.

Number 5, free shipping. 61% abandon because they felt shipping was too costly. That’s my biggest tip. You will see a massive reduction in that abandoned cart rate.

So following on from that, is perhaps my 6th tip which is how to follow up abandoned carts. You can follow them up with paid ads, you can remarket to anyone that’s added to cart but not purchased in your Facebook and Pinterest ads, for instance.

You can also obviously follow them up if they got to the point where they input their email address with an automated email. With abandoned cart emails I’m often asked if it’s worth adding an incentive in there and I would say no. I feel it’s training people to abandon carts and they’ll quickly clock on, 'if I abandon my cart, I’ll get a discount'. So, the things you can do to incentivise people is give them that sense of urgency, so limited stock, limited edition, buy now so you don’t miss out. And position it that they’ve abandoned their cart because they were interrupted like, “Do you want to pick up where you left off?”. Make it feel like you’re trying to make their life easier.

So those are some hopefully useful stats.

I hope that was useful!

*Stats taken from the Baymard Institute 2021


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