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Have you ever been shopping online and run into a non-functional website or encountered long load times that caused you to exit the site before completing your purchase? This is an occurrence that many online retailers know all too well. It is called shopping cart abandonment.
For online retailers, shopping cart abandonment is a troubling, yet common circumstance that results from problems customers have while shopping online.


We can reasonably assume that when customers abandon carts, it is hurtful to a company. However, this isn’t necessarily 100% true. While cart abandonment statistics show when a company is beginning to produce lower conversion rates, the underlying effects of shopping cart abandonment actually highlight rewarding information that can save a business.

What Led to Shopping Cart Abandonment?

This 21st-century phenomenon has become prevalent only in the past two decades due to the rise in the number of online retailers as well as the option to complete online purchases from the comfort of your own home. Within the past 2 years alone there has been a drastic increase in the use of online shopping because of the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world in early 2020. When this unprecedented time began, consumers were not able to leave their homes to purchase items of interest. They instead turned to the internet.


According to the United States Census Beaureu, “e-commerce sales increased by $244.2 billion or 43% in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, rising from $571.2 billion in 2019 to $815.4 billion in 2020”. This statistic demonstrates how 43% fewer consumers were shopping in person, causing online retailers to shift gears to accommodate a higher volume of transactions.

Online shoppers commit shopping cart abandonment when they visit an eCommerce store, put items in their shopping cart, then leave the site without purchasing their items. There are several reasons why customers leave an eCommerce site purchase-less. We will soon comprehensively dive into these reasons.

Why is Shopping Cart Abandonment So Common?

When customers began turning to the internet to make their online purchases, online stores had to take steps toward ensuring that their sites ran smoothly in order to accommodate the increase in shoppers. Sites that did not take the necessary steps to accommodate a high volume of customers often saw an increase in website malfunctions, which is a large reason for cart abandonment.

Since consumers have recently begun making more purchases online, web security is another important factor that can make or break a sale. If a customer doesn’t feel comfortable inputting credit card information into a company’s website, that company will miss out on the potential conversion.


However, the reasons for shopping cart abandonment are more than just sketchy websites and long load times. These are some of the most common reasons for cart abandonment a customer may have.

1. High Shipping Costs

Most times, a customer will think they are going to pay one price for the item and then get bombarded with expensive shipping fees. When online stores have unexpected shipping costs towards the end of the checkout page, many customers back out of their purchases.

Shoppers don’t like being unaware of the full costs upfront. This results in feelings of uncertainty when it is time to pay. Online stores need to take caution when luring customers in with a low price but then have high prices for shipping options because this results in a high loss of sales.

2. Bad Checkout Flow

It is common for customers to arrive at an online store with low buying intent. When they face problems on the website, they are more likely to abandon their carts because the process becomes too much of a hassle.


When customers are finished placing their chosen items in their shopping carts, they expect to go through an easy checkout process. Poor site speed can be a large indicator of an agonizing checkout page. Additionally, when websites are not user-friendly and include pop-ups, customers can easily become overwhelmed and want to ditch the checkout process in its entirety.

3. Not Enough Payment Methods

When customers are faced with too few payment options, it might result in abandoned carts. Customers will only purchase an item if their preferred method of payment is available to them.

This is why it is important to provide numerous options for payment to make it possible for more customers to complete their online purchases. The most popular payment methods include Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Amazon Pay.

Providing multiple payment options for your shoppers can decrease the likelihood they will back out of their purchase immediately.

4. Ambiguous Return and Refund Policy

Shoppers abandon carts at the end of a checkout page when they are faced with unclear return policies. If an online retailer offers free returns, a customer will put more trust in the purchase because they know they have the option to change their mind risk-free.

If an online site is not clear on whether or not they accept returns, there is a high chance customers will choose to take their business elsewhere where they feel more secure.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Your shopping cart abandonment rate can tell you if your company’s website is too difficult for your customers to navigate, causing them to leave before they fulfill their purchase.

So, you might be wondering… How do I know my company’s shopping cart abandonment rate?

To find your average cart abandonment rate, follow the formula in the image below.


Your average abandonment rate can tell you if you need to make changes to your online store. If more than half of your customers are abandoning carts before making a purchase, it is evident that your site likely has one of the problems listed above.

How to Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment

After all this discussion of the main reasons customers are abandoning their carts… let’s talk about how an online retailer can prevent this from happening.

There are several steps an online store can take to reduce shopping cart abandonment. This is an important step to take for any business because it can help reduce the number of lost sales that happen when shopping cart abandonment occurs.

1. Non-Transparent Shipping Costs

Being upfront with shipping costs can greatly help reduce shopping cart abandonment.

If a shopper knows they are going into a purchase with free shipping or a price that seems reasonable to them, it will not affect their purchase when it comes time for them to pay. We recommend either having a page dedicated to explaining your shipping policies, or including the shipping cost or calculator on the item’s page.

2. Eliminate Complicated Checkout Process

This is the main place where shopping carts become abandoned!

If you have found that your shopping cart abandonment rate is higher than preferred, it could be time to design a better checkout flow. There are several ways to do this.

For one, your site can offer shopping cart recovery. This means that if after shoppers place all their items in their cart and the website malfunctions or they leave, it will still remember what items were saved. This prevents the customer from having to re-add all their items manually–which could result in them leaving the site instead of going through the trouble to recover the items.


Another trick to improve the checkout experience is to implement progress indicators on top of the webpage. This will help the customers keep track of where they are in the checkout process, and remind them how close they are to completing their purchase. This reduces the need for customers to leave the webpage before completing their purchase.
Lastly, a website can offer guest checkout options instead of requiring shoppers to sign up for rewards programs and email lists. A lot of times, shoppers only visit an online store once and don’t feel the need to start earning rewards. Additionally, many people don’t like having an over-crowded email inbox. These can both be cause for shopping cart abandonment if an online retailer is requiring these for purchase.

3. One-Click Checkout

This one is plain and simple. If the checkout experience is easier, you will have better success at following through with purchases. Luckily in our day and age of technology, this is made easy with digital wallets. Just one or two clicks from your phone and you’ve just ordered an item that will be delivered to your doorstep!


Large online retailers like Amazon store user payment information making it easy to purchase items without having to retype in credit card information every time. Their ease of purchase and a wide variety of product makes them one of the largest retailers in the world.

4. Redesign Your Interface

Whether a customer is shopping on a laptop, tablet, or phone, having ease of navigation on a website goes a long way in ensuring completed purchases.

Making sure that your webpage is suitable and optimized for all platforms ensures that lost sales is an entirely preventable problem.

Want to reinvent your marketing efforts?

You always have the opportunity to update your checkout design. This can be incredibly helpful in making the checkout process easier for your customers. eCommerce stores can greatly benefit from the use of digital marketing, and luckily for you, Social Eyes Marketing is here at your service!


Social Eyes is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in web design, SEO, video production, and more. If you have found that your site is running slow or lacking seamless functionality, Social Eyes has the skills and tools you need to redesign your website and improve the shopping process with your customers.

Visit our website today to get in touch with our web design team to discuss how we can help you give your website a makeover!

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