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Monday, August 24, 2009

DIY Tip: Fighting Cart Abandonment

Posted by @ 4:57 pm

If you run a retail/ecommerce website, cart abandonment is the one of the most frustrating parts of your business.

Imagine getting someone all the way to your web checkout with a cart full of products or services – only to have them change their mind and quit the order. So close and yet so far.

Cart Abandonment isn’t an issue any of you are alone with. According to a new report by the e-tailing group, nearly 60% of US online retailers experience cart abandonment rates above 20%.


According to the eMarketer post:

A study by PayPal and comScore found 45% of US online shoppers had abandoned shopping carts multiple times in just three weeks.

Most importantly from the merchants’ point of view, the average cost of abandoned goods in those shopping carts was $109.

If you do the maths, that’s a significant amount of potential revenue going begging for online retailers, and obviously cause for concern.

So the question every online retailer should be asking is “Why are customers abandoning my online shopping cart?

According to the report, here are the main reasons for abandonment:

  • High shipping charges: 46%
  • Wanted to comparison shop: 37%
  • Lack of money: 36%
  • Wanted to look for a coupon: 27%
  • Wanted to shop offline: 26%
  • Couldn’t find preferred pay option: 24%
  • Item unavailable at checkout: 23%
  • Couldn’t find customer support: 22%
  • Security concerns: 21%

Okay, so how do you combat these reasons for abandonment? Let’s look at ways to take each one head on:

  • High shipping charges:

This is simple. Offer free shipping. Chances are your competitors will be offering it, so there’s no point being competitive on the product price to lose out at the cart.

  • Wanted to comparison shop:

Buyers will instinctively shop around. You need to give them a reason to stop shopping around and start making a decision.
Limited time offers work a treat in motivating people to act. Try something like “This hour only – 10% off all orders” and watch them stop comparing and start converting.

  • Lack of money:

You can’t exactly give your customers money, but it’s important to try and speak to them before they leave. You might have a different product/service that better meets their budget. Test online help tools, and exit surveys to engage abandoning customers.

  • Wanted to look for a coupon:

Most customers are bargain hunters and when they see a coupon code area, they’ll wonder what offer they’re missing out on. To appease their need for a bargain, have a nominal special offer with relevant coupon code handy on your site. You’ll might have to give away from discount, but often it’s better to lose 5% than to lose the whole sale!

  • Wanted to shop offline:

Many people still prefer the offline world. If you have an offline store, then give customers an incentive to visit your store for the product/service. Try using messaging like “If you come in-store, mention our Web Special Offer to claim the xxxx discount”. At least you’ll get the sale eventually.

  • Couldn’t find preferred pay option:

It’s important to ensure all the payment options you offer are clearly displayed on your site and easy to find for customers. Offer as many payment options as is cost effective and feasible for your business.

  • Item unavailable at checkout:

All businesses will experience inventory issues. Where you might be out of stock, make it easy for customers to register interest in new deliveries, or pre-order on the next batch. The challenge will be convincing them to wait for your next delivery. Something a small incentive should help with.

  • Couldn’t find customer support:

There’s no rocket science here. Add a link to your support option in the cart and have it open in a new window, so they don’t have to navigate away from the cart to get help.

  • Security concerns:

I’m actually surprised but encouraged that this featured so low. ineedhits uses services such as TRUSTe and Verisign in the cart to allay any security fears. There’s many other companies out there that will validate your security/privacy and these will minimize security fears on your cart.

There’s plenty of other ways to address these cart abandonment issues, so if you’ve got other ideas to share with our readers – feel free to add them via our comments below.

Now go put your shopping experience through its paces and see if you’re doing everything possible to minimize your cart abandonment.

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

Discussion (4 - comments)

Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. Somtimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information.
Nice post. Thanks

By Car Insurance Guy - November 10, 2009

[...] DIY Tip: Fighting Cart Abandonment [...]

By Improve Your Online Shopping Cart Conversions | The Ultimate Resource List | ineedhits - October 11, 2010

[...] DIY Tip: Fighting Cart Abandonment [...]

By Improve Your Online Shopping Cart Conversions | The Ultimate Resource List | RM2 Project - October 11, 2010

[...] DIY Tip: Fighting Cart Abandonment [...]

By Improve Your Online Shopping Cart Conversions « Web Designs Tricks & Tips - October 28, 2010

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