how to avoid shopping cart abandonment

You may think your marketing and website strategy is rock solid – and it may be near flawless – but the fact of the matter is, 68% of buyers abandon their shopping carts and leave your website without purchasing. And 68% is too high a number for e-retailers not to take notice and seek out ways to reduce that statistic for their ecommerce websites.

A survey report from Statista reveals why most shoppers abandon their cart:


Reasons for Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

Source: Statista


Shoppers overwhelmingly jump ship when they discover unexpected costs, while the remaining complaints seem to fit into two categories – it costs too much, and the website sucks. Here are three easy fixes on how to avoid shopping cart abandonment and encourage conversions.


Market to the right audience.

The second most prevalent complaint amongst shoppers who abandoned their purchases was that the products they were looking at were too expensive, or priced better elsewhere. To solve this, you have to take a conscious look at your target audience – who are you talking to, really? You may think you have your audience down pat, but are you marketing to the right group, in the right medium?

Take, for example, two very similar retailers – Zara and H&M. Both are trendy, edgy and catered to a fashion forward audience. However, at their very different price points, each retailer must curate their website and marketing efforts to garner the attention of the right buyer.


How Ecommerce Retailers Can Get Away With Higher Prices


With an original price difference of $100 (which becomes greater when you factor in sale price), both retailers have figured out the minute differences between their audiences. Both market groups have similar tastes, but their economic status varies fairly significantly. If you take a look at where these retailers do the bulk of their social media marketing, you begin to see the strategic differences.

On Instagram, Zara has a total of 1.9 million followers and 423 posts. H&M, however, has 4.6 million followers and over one thousand posts. Both post similarly – images of well styled product displays, clothing, and models.


Comparing Ecommerce Marketing Strategies of Major Fashion Retailers


So why does H&M have more Instagram followers and spend more time marketing there? More than 90% of Instagram users are under 35 – and when you take a look at the socio-economic status of that age demographic – it makes perfect sense that Instagram would be their best entrance into the hearts and wallets of fashion forward shoppers on a budget.

Take a good look at where you are currently focusing social media marketing efforts, and do some research about the demographics of each site. You don’t just want “likes,” you need conversions.


Fix your product pages.

The biggest complaint of online shoppers who ditched their purchases relates to unexpected costs. While to you, it may seem odd that costs should appear out of nowhere, this could be an issue of buyers not being properly informed of product details.

Detailed and clear product pages will provide buyers with all the relevant information they need to know, right away, before spending their time going through checkout. Are you drawing attention to the price immediately? Do your buyers know that prices don’t reflect shipping charges? If there is a site-wide sale, is that sale price reflected on the product page, or do buyers have to wait until checkout to see how much they’re going to spend?

Make sure you draw immediate and intentional attention to your prices. This doesn’t have to be gauche – there are plenty of creative (and effective) ways to highlight prices without compromising your creative integrity.

Check out these examples below:

Detailed Product Page For Ecommerce Retailers

Source: United Pixelworkers


United Pixelworkers draws very obvious attention to the key factors buyers want to know – Is it in stock? When will it ship? And – How much? They’ve also included that the listed price does not include shipping (as most online retail sites do not), which is a practice to consider.

Detailed Product Page For Ecommerce Retailers

Source: Greats


Greats has figured out how to incorporate price into their innovative product page design – it looks seamless.

Best Ways To Edit Ecommerce Product Pages

Source: Luhse Tea


Don’t forget to clearly articulate price on your general product pages. It will help shoppers compare items and feel informed, which will make it easier for them to purchase now.

Make sure item images are still visible at checkout.

Good pictures of the product in checkout increases conversion rates by 10%.

See below for an example from

Best Ecommerce Shopping Cart Checkout Pages

Be transparent about added costs.

Studies have shown that 58% of people who have abandoned their shopping cart did so because of the total cost of their purchase was higher than expected. In order to combat this issue, it’s important for companies to be transparent (being honest and forthcoming with information about your business).

Customers are more business savvy than ever before, and will more than likely find out if your business is trying to hide costs from them.

You can eliminate hidden costs by adding a sales estimator or a sales tax calculator so that customers are not surprised by the total when they are ready to check out. If you want to know more about how to add your own sales tax calculator this article can help give you some further insight.


Create a wish list option and reminders for saved shopping carts.

While hidden costs are the number one reason why an individual doesn’t complete a transaction, a close reason is that 55% of individuals (from the same study above) also stated that they have abandoned a shopping cart because they were not ready to buy at that time, but wanted to save the items they picked out for a later time.

This can be confusing for a business owner because you may have no clue when to count an abandoned cart as a loss or as a potential sale later on.

You can deal with this problem by creating a wish list or an option for a customer to save their shopping cart for a later time. Once that is created, and a customer doesn’t come back after a long time, sending a reminder email can get them to come back and complete their transaction. Studies have shown that 46.1% of shopping cart reminder emails are opened and 13.1% of those opened emails are clicked resulting in over one-third of those clicks resulting in a sale.


Provide different payment options.

A reported 25% of customers have stated that the reason they abandoned a shopping cart was because the website they were shopping on did not have their preferred payment option.  You can easily fix this by accepting different types of credit cards and accepting other online methods as PayPal and Google Wallet to reach a larger number of potential customers.


Clean and simplify your site.

When you combine the individual percentages of website related complaints that lead to shopping cart abandonment, the total number of buyers who bailed due to these issues is 85%. Complicated website navigation, crashing websites, slow loading and website time outs are all avoidable with (sometimes) minor tweaks to your site. To optimize your website for quick and error-free loading, run your site through this checklist:

  1. Are your pictures too small or too big? Full-size and large pictures can clog up your site and decrease site latency. Read how to avoid these deadly sins when it comes to adding images to your site.
  2. Do you have unnecessary links and long text? Condense everything you can.
  3. Are there too many typing tasks? Minimize these (i.e. install a dropdown menu to select State when checking out, as opposed to filing it in. Offer a click option if shipping address is the same as billing to reduce typing repeat information).
  4. Can buyers check out as a guest, or do they have to register? 75% of buyers who are forced to register to complete checkout leave the site. Avoid this – add a guest checkout option.
  5. Consider optimizing your site for mobile. This will reduce load time on desktop and make buying via smartphone easier for the 30-45% of buyers now browsing on their phone.


Offer free shipping.

Since customers have already stated that hidden costs are their number one reason for leaving a shopping cart, most of the hidden costs that the people who abandon are speaking of is the unexpectedly high shipping costs that can accompany a purchase.

A way to stop customers from running for the hills when faced with shipping costs is to offer free shipping. Studies have shown that 81% of customers will buy a product from a business that offers free shipping.  We have already talked about ways to get free shipping, in our articles, “How to Guarantee Hassle-Free and Easy Shipping,”  to help guide you to being profitable while offering free shipping options.


Shopping cart abandonment can be devastating for a small business seller or someone just getting started that is trying to build their customer base. Fortunately, if you follow the guidelines above for smarter marketing, website optimization and product pages, it’s absolutely avoidable.

What do you do to avoid the dreaded heartbreak cart? Any creative tips?


Better eRetail eBook
Better eRetail eBook

We teamed up with other ecommerce industry experts to put together 75 tips to help your boost online sales. It’s perfect for the beginner and advanced retailer alike.

You will receive an email with your download shortly!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This