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Wednesday, Jul. 1, 2009 at 9:32 am

Shopping Cart Abandonment Woes

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 1st, 2009

Last week, Brendan tackled how to answer the 5 unanswered questions customers face in the shopping cart (other than shipping costs). According to a recent study by PayPal and comScore, 45% of US online shoppers had abandoned shopping carts multiple times in just three weeks.

Why were shoppers abandoning their carts?

46% of online shoppers said high shipping charges were a “very important reason” for emptying carts. Is free shipping a must in this economy? Have you tested personalized shipping offers based on location?

Other reasons for abandonment included:

  • Wanted to comparison shop: 37% – Are you saving their cart for at least 30 days, so they can return to it?
  • Lack of money: 36% - Can you make them an offer they can’t refuse?
  • Wanted to look for a coupon: 27% – Are you prompting them to look for coupons? It could be costing you a huge percentage of sales.
  • Wanted to shop offline: 26% - Are you offering them options to pick up items in store?
  • Couldn’t find preferred pay option: 24% - Find a way to GTC. Get The Cash!!!
  • Item unavailable at checkout: 23% – Ooooops! This has to be dealt with on the product page or it will erode your brand trust.
  • Couldn’t find customer support: 22% – This could be dealt with by using POA – point of action assurances (see the video below).
  • Security concerns: 21% – This is also handled with point of action assurances and establishing more trust in your website.

Do you think you may need a cart whisperer? How many of these have you tried to deal with recently? Are you testing and optimizing you shopping cart? If not, why?

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Comments (39)

  1. [...] Shopping Cart Abandonment Woes …Conversion Rate Marketing [...]

  2. Very good list of things to bear in mind. We are just in the process of developing our online payment (shopping cart) systems, since we are new to this, it is inevitable that we will be making mistakes. Your stats will help us reduce the chances of making mistakes. Thanks.

  3. Great post – really like the idea of saving carts for 30 days so items are still in there when they return. The idea of “re-shopping” must plague most men! I’ve expanded on the first four reasons shoppers abandon carts a bit more in a similar blog post: http://www.smbmarketingautomation.com/blog/2009/06/how-much-money-are-you-losing-when-a-shopper-abandons-thier-cart/

  4. I think the whole issue of abandoned carts is a bit of “furphy” and we should all stop obsessing about it.

    These days many people go shopping online much the same way as they go shopping in the real world.

    IE: To look, to research, try things on, kick tyres etc etc. Women especially do this. A female cleint cheerfully told me the other day that she regularly loads up her cart with things she has no intention of buying.

    She is in effect doing what many women always do when they go shopping – undertaking it as a form of entertainment and social or recreational activity.

    Now, before I get accussed of being too sexist here, perhaps some insight from Michelle Miller of Holly Buchanan might be needed if their listening.

    In any event, what I’m saying here is that abandoning the cart is not the issue. Putting things in a cart should not be taken as any sort of intention to buy.

    Even abandoning the early stages of a checkout may not be an intention to buy.

    In designing and testing our carts we should be looking to determine where “window shopping” turns into a real intention to buy and then what stops the real buyer from completing the purchase.

  5. Saving carts is really a “must”. Most shoppers today were being practical, they need time to think before spending their money. Great offers and security to shoppers gave the edge for marketing.

  6. [...] Shopping Cart Abandonment Woes [Grokdotcom] [...]

  7. Brian, it’s not always that shipping costs are too high – it’s that the costs are hidden until well into the check-out process. I object to giving personal information, sometimes even a credit card, before the costs are revealed. When I encounter such a cart, I abandon the sale before reaching the shipping cost point. A site that allows me to see shipping costs before beginning the order will get my business. If the cost varies by distance, then have function that allows one to enter the ZIP code.

  8. Pat (above) is absolutely right. I always abandon my cart when a site requires my credit card and address information prior to revealing the full cost of the transaction. I was burned once, after spending so much time filling out all the necessary credit card requirements, my address and shipping address info, and even the wording on my gift card FIRST only to find out at the end that the site required not only shipping, but hefty service and handling charges too. Of course, not only did I abandon my cart, but I went away mad, vowing NEVER to go back to their site again. Now, every site I go to, I want to see a full cost summary FIRST before I have to enter ANY information. If this is not allowed, I always move on, even if I love the site’s products.

  9. I not only design and develop ecommerce web sites, I also do most of my shopping online, even buying some groceries from Amazon! I constantly watch the checkout process and how painless it often is with the sites that do it right, such as Amazon.

    Getting surprised by high shipping fees at the end of the process is a sure way to abandon an online transaction.

    Having to provide too much information about myself is another way I leave. I like a a quick and relatively painless way to shop and try to convince my clients of the importance of this.

    There is always another ecommerce web site selling something similar.

    Keep up the excellent research – I love it!!

  10. very good :)

  11. this is an incredible article.
    it is insightful,
    In my opinion,great offers and security to shoppers gave the edge for marketing.

  12. The most important thing that I decide to abandon my chopping cart is the credit card requirements from the untrusted website.

  13. Great Post! I think free shipping is certainly a must. I am surprised to see that 25% of shoppers abandoned because they couldn’t find a preferred pay option. That should be fixed immediately with changing to another payment merchant.

  14. Sweetening the deal with free shipping, coupons and special discounts is a great way to encourage online shoppers to complete their purchases.

    And makes leaving carts behind a little bit harder.

  15. In my opinion,great offers and security to shoppers gave the edge for marketing.

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  17. I like the post with nice information. The writer point of view is really very nice. It shows the writer’s good knowledge over the topic. Thanks

  18. Its really a good information and very thrilling as well.

  19. Saving carts is really a “must”. Most shoppers invert today were being practical

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  21. I like the post with nice information. The writer point of view is really very nice. It shows the writer’s good knowledge over the topic. Thanks

  22. I think that sometimes when they ask for a missing field and it makes the browser hang up and you have to re enter the information like wrongly entered captchas this could really discourage people from completing their shopping.

  23. As a consumer, I can’t stand it when they don’t tell you important details such as the post of postage unless you place the item into your shopping cart and go through the checkout process.

    Another thing I hate is when they give you too many options for upgrading. I abandoned my purchase from GoDaddy a few years because I was totally confused.

  24. Great post, interesting!
    However, I am currious to know what type of questions could be interesting to ask to our customers having left/abandomned their carts?

    Is there any best practice on that? As the source of the problem might be different from one site to an other. We would like to send emails to our customers not to have them buy, but to understand why they have left their cart! I think that this is the first phase before moving to phase 2: optimizing shopping and cart process and then phase 3: retarget empty carts.
    Thanks!

  25. Great article. I’ve started to send email with an offer to people who did abandon my shoppingcart. Within 5 minutes I had one of my customers to complete their order.

  26. I like the post with nice information. The writer point of view is really very nice. It shows the writer’s good knowledge over the topic. ShoppingThanks

  27. We have tested an email after the kart abondonment for a few days on our website selling Tyres and we have found that most responses were very useful for us! I clearly encourage all websites to implement this functionnality, as depending on the website business the responses will vary.

  28. this is an incredible article.
    it is insightful,
    In my opinion,great offers and security to shoppers gave the edge for marketing.

  29. Great article, I like to bookmark this article

  30. I also do most of my shopping online, even buying some groceries from Amazon! I constantly watch the checkout process and how painless it often is with the sites that do it right, such as Amazon.

  31. Very nice article and a good little video but…
    Whats if I have covered all of the above and offer a range of payments options and have promo codes all over my site (and in the last steps) whats next?

    I can try and signup to resource pages with my promo codes but will this help if I’m still not getting many visitors to my checkout?

  32. Don’t even abandon the cart. It is how you get paid.

  33. I would recommend simple carts, and also highlight payment gateways such as Paypal and Google Checkout, easy to install. Shopping online should be a simple process, therefore flow of data must always be consistent.

  34. Nice video. At this moment my main shoppingcart has got a 4 page checkout. Now I’m testing a 1 page shoppingcart. It seems results of the one page shoppingcart are better than the 4 page shoppingcart. Downside is the steep fee I’ve got to pay for the 1 page shopppingcart.

  35. Actually i’m always complaining about high shipping prices. I’m in middle east and when i want to buy something from usa, shipping prices almost reach the goods prices. It’s really boring issue.

  36. [...] Photo Source: FutureNow [...]

  37. In my experience, I ask my customers and visitors, most of them leave the shopping cart because of the shipping costs, sometimes the shipping is more expensive that product itself.

  38. Great article. I’ve started to send email with an offer to people who did abandon my shoppingcart. Within 5 minutes I had one of my customers to complete their order.

  39. Threadless has a great feature where they will e-mail you if an item in your abandoned cart is about to go out of stock. I’ve made a purchase many times for this! I think it’s a great idea since I usually use a cart to store items for later.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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