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3 reasons why customers are abandoning their carts (and how to fix them)

2022 is just around the corner, and it’s safe to say that shopping online is here to stay. Why? Because consumers en-masse have discovered the one-click-from-the-couch ease of an online purchase.

Although the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders of 2020 are behind us for now, social distancing requirements are still in effect and consumers are constantly searching for new ways to shop without having to leave their homes.

With 56% of consumers worldwide choosing to shop online in 2021 due to being able to shop at any time of the day, the popularity of ecommerce is fully apparent.

Even with an increase in online traffic, it’s important to note that conversion isn’t a slam-dunk. Abandoned cart rate is an increasingly hot topic among ecommerce merchants, with a study by Statista finding that over 66% of desktop online shoppers and over 80% of mobile online shoppers are leaving shopping sites before completing a purchase.

So, why are online shoppers avoiding transactions – especially after they’ve spent time on a site and added products to their cart? While there isn’t just one explanation, looking into most popular reasons behind this behavior will certainly help your brand in the long run.

Without further ado, here are the three top reasons for cart abandonment in ecommerce:

1. A long, confusing checkout process

While it’s necessary to gather accurate information from the customer, too many steps or forms to fill out during the checkout process can deter consumers from purchasing a product – research found that 18% of online shoppers abandoned their carts because the checkout process was complicated.

In today’s digital age, instant gratification is everywhere. Consumers want the easiest, quickest methods of online shopping, and when they’re ready to make a purchase, the last thing they want is to get overwhelmed with an endless list of fields to fill out.

How to fix it:

To distance your brand from a frustrating checkout process and a lost sale, implement the below changes to optimize checkout flow and ensure a smoother experience:

  • Reduce the number of fields. For example, create a “full name” field instead of first, middle initial, and last name fields. Also, hide the fields that most customers are least likely to utilize like “address 2” or “company address.”
  • Offer a guest checkout. Forcing customers to sign up for an account is extremely off-putting when they just want to make a purchase. If you really want them to sign up as a member, you can include it in your confirmation email or any other post-purchase email campaigns.

2. Extra or hidden fees

Another key reason why customers may be leaving your site without purchasing are the additional fees that provide an unwanted surprise as they’re completing the checkout process.

Perhaps the customer didn’t anticipate how much shipping would cost, or they didn’t realize they’d be paying so much in taxes for the purchase.

Either way, online buyers are more likely to abandon cart when these additional costs appear without warning.

How to fix it:

One way to avoid extra fees is to offer free shipping to your customers. Keep in mind that you may have to front the cost, so it’s important to determine if free shipping is fully worth it, i.e., does it make a big enough difference in your conversion rate? You can always explore hybrid solutions, such as implementing a free shipping threshold or including it as a loyalty perk.

Also make sure that your user interface is designed so the customer can clearly see all fees as they’re completing the checkout process. Additionally, you should have a page in the footer that details the shipping costs and taxes that your customer may encounter. This way, there are no surprises right before they purchase.

3. Limited payment options

Lastly, an increasingly important way to combat a high cart abandonment rate is to investigate diversifying the payment options on your website. With the rise of online shopping, customers are interested in newer, safer, and easier ways to pay digitally.

How to fix it:

One way to streamline the buying experience in a safe and secure way is to provide digital wallet options at checkout. Some of the most popular examples include Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay, which safely store user information for online purchases.

By bringing these digital wallets into the equation, there’s an added layer of security and convenience, since customers don’t have to type their credit card information directly into a form on your website.

Alternatively, exploring Buy Now, Pay Later options (BNPL) can be beneficial for consumers who want to purchase your product but aren’t ready to pay the full price upfront. In fact, this payment method grew by an exciting 215% in 2021. It’s in particularly high demand among online stores, meaning it can bring in loyal customers who otherwise wouldn’t have purchased your product.

There will always be customers who head to the checkout and, for some reason or other, change their mind before making a purchase. But given how easy it is to scare consumers away, it’s imperative to make the appropriate updates to optimize sites and checkout flows.

Staying in the know about your audience’s wants and needs while consistently working towards refining your user interface will create a wonderful customer experience. And the best part? Even the smallest of changes can have a positive effect.

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