Why Consumers Abandon Carts

Seeing a cart full of groceries left by the checkout line is an uncommon site, yet in the eCommerce world this happens all the time. In fact, research shows that around 68 to 70 percent of all online shopping cart interactions end with abandonment.

To understand why this phenomenon happens with alarming regularity, eCommerce brands have begun to diligently research consumer shopping behavior. These insights can help interpret the causes of shopping cart abandonment and how to curb the astronomical rates at which it happens.

The Mindset of the eCommerce Consumer

Many eCommerce brands fretting over shopping cart abandonment have to realize that this behavior can be a natural extension of the switch from physical to digital shopping. As consumers shop online, they must cope with the differences between brick-and-mortar store browsing.

In-store customers can instantly price and feature compare simply by looking at two products on the shelf. When they are unable to translate these habits online, they must use unconventional means as a substitute.

Shopping carts can often become “placeholders” while the shopper price compares, performs more research or decides whether they want to buy at all. A shopping cart can also give a subtotal without the user having to crunch the numbers, allowing them to arrange a basket of goods according to their current needs and desires.

Often, eCommerce sites appear like a glorified menu or cash register system, trying to force buyers to move to the last step of their purchase without thinking. Instead, many sites have begun seeking to emulate the browsing experience of physical shopping by offering feature comparisons, price checking and “holding baskets” as a substitute for shopping carts. Holding baskets in particular are an excellent analytical tool for trying to seek out targeted offers that may better meet the needs or the price range of the consumer.

Why You Gotta Make Things So Complicated?

While around 40 percent of eCommerce customers claimed to be using carts for research or bookkeeping, other consumers indicated that their decision to abandon was more directly related to the eCommerce provider.

According to one survey:

  • 37 percent claim that the item they were considering was too expensive altogether
  • 24 percent stated that the item on the site was too expensive, so they found a cheaper competitor
  • 7 percent were confused at the checkout process

Another survey that allowed participants to check off multiple reasons found:

  • 57 percent cited too high of shipping and handling costs
  • 48 percent discovered their basket of goods was too expensive
  • 19 percent didn’t want to wait for the estimated shipping time
  • 15 percent were frustrated or confused by the checkout process

How Brands Address Abandonment Issues

While not every abandoned cart is a legitimate lost purchase, many are. eCommerce brands have been working hard to discover ways to encourage customers to complete their transactions and prevent this lost revenue. Some of the more notable practices include:

  • Simplifying checkouts with fewer actions or registrations
    • Integrating one-click PayPal payments and one-click Facebook signups have proven popular
  • Including site features like product comparisons, price checks and “holding baskets”
  • Offering free shipping and expedited shipping options for every order
  • Retargeting abandoning customers with PPM, email or Exit Popups with discount offers, loyalty program offers or stronger CTAs and value propositions
  • Price match or competitive pricing
  • Transparency about delivery charges or surcharges upfront to avoid “turning off” aa consumer from the idea of purchase
  • Chat windows to emphasize personal connections and answer detailed questions

These ideas have been implemented with mixed success, but as research and analytics improve, more effective methods are being discovered. Ultimately each brand will have to make decisions according to their own business culture and brand promises in order to capture their target market with greater efficiency.

A large percentage of cart abandonment comes from customers that leave during the checkout process to find a deal or coupon. When your customers leave the website, they often find third party affiliates known as “coupon affiliates.” If you are lucky, your customers are redirected back to your site and your brand most likely pays these coupon affiliates a commission. If are you are unlucky, the coupon affiliate redirects your customer to a competitor. Thrive Commerce’s unique deal management platform solves this problem for you. Visit our website to learn more.

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