Reasons for shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce

Browsing for hours in an online store, consulting items we like, selecting them one after the other to add them to the cart… then nothing else happens. The basket is out. We’ve all been through this scene before. This is called in e-commerce jargon: cart abandonment.

For marketing teams, whether DNVB brands or traditional e-commerce, it is very annoying and frustrating to see shopping carts full of items and not result in a sale. Why do consumers abandon their shopping cart along the way, when they take too long to browse the site and make their selection? What could be going on in their heads? We explain all the reasons for shopping cart abandonment on ecommerce sites.

What are the impacts of abandoned shopping carts?

It seems to be a bad habit that many consumers have when they fill up their shopping cart after a considerable amount of time has passed. This one is quickly overlooked.

The statistics also confirm the reality of shopping cart abandonment. In fact, it appears that a percentage ranging from 55 to 80% of e-commerce baskets are abandoned by consumers, and this statistic varies according to the sectors of activity and the user experience offered by online sales sites. On average, therefore, 70% of the baskets are not finalized, that is, two abandoned carts for one validated and paid cart. This represents billions of euros in unsold goods every year.

Ranking of e-commerce sites

Why are online shopping carts abandoned along the way?

According to a study carried out by the carrier UPS and the company ComScore on the online shopping experience by consumers, the various reasons that lead consumers to abandon shopping were identified. Here are the main big reasons.

Reason #1: The obligation to create a customer account before being able to place an order

The obligation to create a customer account before being able to definitively validate the basket online is a brake for the consumer. In fact, after a lot of time browsing the site and selecting all the articles, having to create an account and fill in all the boxes can act as a cold shower, for consumers who are more and more in a hurry, and push a part of the users to give up their purchase desires.

Reason #2: The paid shipping threshold is too high or the cost of delivery costs is too high

Consumers often summarize ecommerce free shipping. However, merchant sites pay to ship your order and are sometimes required to pass this cost on to the customer. However, the amount of delivery costs can put off future customers, especially if the total value of the shopping cart does not allow them to benefit from the free delivery costs. Also, some websites advertise the amount of delivery costs only at the end of the order, instead of indicating it from the beginning, causing an unpleasant surprise for the consumer.

Reason #3: Leave your cart aside to validate the purchase later

A large number of users fill their baskets with a view to making a purchase, but not immediately, due to lack of time or funding. They therefore use the e-commerce site’s shopping cart as a “wish list”, to keep them under their elbow for later.

Reason #4: Browse multiple sites at the same time to compare prices for similar items

Most shopping cart abandonments are caused by shopping carts, which the user makes by browsing other websites, looking to buy the same items but for a cheaper price. Therefore, it is important to monitor prices, particularly on best sellers, to ensure that the displayed price is always consistent with competitors.

Reason #5: The payment method picklist is limited

The lack of flexibility in choosing payment methods can be an obstacle for consumers (payment by bank transfer, check, credit card, PayPal, etc.). It is important to offer a wide choice tailored to your target audience: for example, seniors sometimes want to pay by check or bank transfer, especially for large amounts, while young people want to opt for quick fixes or even through the use of cryptocurrencies.

How to reduce online shopping cart abandonment rate?

To minimize the online shopping cart abandonment rate, it is advisable to have a numerical analysis of your traffic, do not hesitate to get help from a data scientist or web-analytics specialist. . In any case, it is important for the e-merchant to be transparent about the amount of shipping costs, announcing it well in advance so that the user knows what to expect. Of course, in the shipping part of the order, it is best to offer delivery costs, but this is not within the reach of all e-merchants.

It is also important to allow consumers to choose whether or not to create a customer account. The consumer will feel free to choose, and this will save them from having to create an account when they don’t want to at the moment… especially during a first “trial” purchase.

It is also essential to offer a wide variety of payment types to prospective customers. Some consumers are very reluctant to provide banking information when shopping, even if the site appears secure. Do not hesitate to communicate with your customers and future customers through personalized emails, offering, for example, discounts or promotions. These personalized emails will make a difference.

By implementing all these tips, you will be able to reduce your online shopping cart abandonment rate and increase sales on your e-commerce sites.


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