3 Fixable Reasons Why People Abandoned Shopping Carts on Your Site

It’s no secret that abandoned carts are a very real problem for eCommerce sites. There have been numerous studies to shed light on the how common it is for your potential customers to ditch you at the last minute. But, what are you doing about it?

The average eCommerce site has a 73% abandonment rate, based on a report from SalesCycle that pulled data from 200 global brands. So, if so many people are leaving without buying, why are they doing it?

A recent survey from Statista may hold the answer.

The survey highlights the 14 most common reasons buyers aren’t following through with their online purchases.



Many of the common culprits are somewhat out of your control as a retailer. If someone is just browsing or just decides not to buy, you may not play an active role in those decisions. That being said, there’s a lot eCommerce sites can learn from this data and from some best practices around the web.

Addressing the Top 3 Conversion Killers on Your Website

Of the reasons listed in Statista’s survey, there are a lot of ways you as the retailer can turn things around.

Here’s a deeper look at a few of the key problems customers are facing and what you can do about them.

1. Hidden Costs

Hidden costs like taxes and shipping can be conversion killers.

As a consumer, you do your research to discover the costs of certain products. But when it comes to checkout time, 56% of people say they ditch the cart because those extra costs weren’t what they expected.

For retailers, this can be one of the hardest challenges to solve since you have less control over shipping costs. That explains why it’s the number one reason people abandon carts. Free shipping, like Zappos, is eCommerce nirvana, of course. One way to move towards free shipping while still being profitable is to only offer it for certain order sizes.


2. Sign In Obstacles (Process Taking Too Long)

21% of people said they leave without buying because the checkout process takes too long. Requiring account creation before check out is a win for the retailer, who now acquires the users’ email address and now has access to a highly personalized and data-driven marketing channel. Users, however, now have another account name and password to remember. Sometimes you just don’t feel like going through the burden of setting up a brand new account at Sephora just to buy a measly ounce of perfume.

There are two alternatives to a clunky check-out process.

Guest Check Out

Macy’s does this well. They simply collect your information through your checkout process while later offering the option to “create an account” with the personal info you provided.


Social Sign-In

Social sign-in is the capability to log in to a website with your social media account or Google account.

Companies like Janrain offer social login technology. Alternatively, you can use a Shopify app like the Social Login app to install this on your site.

3. The Customer Was Just Browsing

The second most common reason people abandon carts is that they were just doing research and not seriously thinking of making a purchase right away.

So, you’re off the hook right? Wrong.

Without knowing how serious (or casual) their search was to begin with, you could be making a huge mistake by not following up with each and every customer. It’s still a good idea to follow up with these potential customers using email nurturing and and ad retargeting.

How It’s Done:

Here’s how Birchbox uses strategically timed emails for their abandoned cart nurturing.

Same Day Email: On the same day that I was thinking about making my first purchase from Birchbox, I decided against it because it’s too much money. But, I left without canceling my cart because I was absolutely sure I didn’t want it. I received this email later that day reminding me it was there.


Here, Birchbox is lighthearted about their approach, they told me exactly what I had forgotten about, included the price, and also included at the top that free shipping is available on orders over $35.

Some of the most effective aspects of this email are the two details at the bottom – the “Checkout Now” and “Edit Cart” options. They remove friction and allow customers to go straight to their carts without having to navigate around the site. And, if I was in fact having a problem with my purchase, they’ve included a help email just in case.

One Day Later: I received another email from Birchbox the following day. This time, reiterating a sense of urgency.


This simple message works because it got my attention and prompted me to go back to the site and finalize my checkout.

Get Started

These are not all the reasons customers leave their carts. However, if we’re talking low hanging fruit, these are big problems that have some fairly simple solutions on your part. When you’re not a giant store and you don’t have so many resources at your fingertips, it’s best not to get overwhelmed by all the problems and their countless solutions. Figure out where your customers are getting stuck and see where you can make a simple change. As with anything, you’ll never know unless you test.

Photo Credit: rolnitzky via Compfight cc

What abandoned cart tactics have you tried? Share your successes (or blunders) in the comments! 


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