Jan 13, 2022
Sara Gómez
UX Specialist
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Why People Abandon Online Shopping Carts and What We Can Do

Home > E-Commerce > Why People Abandon Online Shopping Carts and What We Can Do
The abandonment of online shopping carts worries many professionals and makes them doubt the efficacy of their website. However, the information we extract from users that interact with the shopping cart, even if they don’t buy at first, is very useful for creating new opportunities.

There’s no doubt about it: the rate of shopping carts abandoned online is one of the main metrics of a digital project that marketing and sales professionals must consider. It’s a necessary KPI for ecommerce, but we must know how to interpret and analyze it so we don’t lose time or resources.

According to a study from Baymard Institute, the average rate of shopping cart abandonment is 69.82%. This can seem like an intimidating number, but it’s also a business opportunity, if we change our perspective. In addition, we have to keep the following point in mind: shopping cart abandonment is different from abandonment during the shopping process. Shopping cart abandonment happens when the user has chosen to add a product to their cart and leaves without purchasing it. On the other hand, it’s possible that the user is simply checking out the site, browsing the products, and gathering information. If they leave at this point, it’s called shopping process abandonment. To make it clear: abandoning the shopping process is the same as entering a physical store to see what they are offering but not buying anything. Abandoning the shopping cart would mean leaving the products at the register without paying because the total cost was too high or you were not pleased with the customer service.


Reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Why would someone abandon their shopping cart? It’s the question that many UX professionals ask themselves while they rack their brains trying to explain why possible clients are leaving the site without buying anything. The Baynard Institute sums up the main 6 reasons why people abandon their shopping cart:

  • 49% of users abandon their cart because of high added costs (shipping costs, taxes/fees)
  • 24% did it because the website asked them to create an account to complete the purchase
  • 19% of users said slow delivery times made them abandon the process
  • 18% mentioned that the buying process was too long and complicated
  • 17% of possible buyers stopped because they didn’t trust the website with their credit card information
  • Another 17% stopped because they couldn’t calculate the final cost from the beginning

All of these factors about the online shopping experience must be considered along with COVID during the last two years; we must also consider how consumption habits and user behavior has changed.  Recent events like transportation strikes and supply chain problems have spurred a lack of trust in online sales for some users. 

That said, a product added to the shopping cart provides valuable information. It’s  a declaration of interest,  just like “liking” a photo or post on social media. The important part is using this information about the user to facilitate their shopping experience in the future and make the conversion happen from both mobile and web apps


What can we do? How can we improve the user experience in online shopping? 

Transparency in information and buying without an account 

To counter the reasons for shopping cart abandonment,  there are various things we can do and communicate with web development. Information transparency  is very important; showing the final price of the product can save us unnecessary abandonment. Sometimes we think that hiding the less “attractive” information until the end will help us capture clients that wouldn’t otherwise choose the product. However, it doesn’t always work and the price to pay is high, given that the user can feel cheated. 

It’s true that shipping costs and taxes are sometimes calculated depending on the address; in these cases, we can show the price range to give the clients an idea. And, if it’s possible, we can offer discounts on shipping or even free shipping through promotions. Zara Home is a great example, as we’ll see below. It shows the final price with taxes included and lets you know what you need to spend to get free shipping (if you don’t already have it).  


ecommerce shopping experience

User experiences online can come to a halt if they need to create an account to make a purchase. A good policy is to have the option to access the shopping cart as a guest, clearly and visibly, without needing to register. An example would be the following: 

ecommerce shopping cart abandonment


Delivery time clarity, simplicity, and trustworthy reviews  

Just like with price ranges, the user needs to know when the product is going to be delivered. It’s a very important, decisive factor when launching a product, especially when buying presents that need to arrive before a specific date (birthdays, Christmas, and more). And, of course, ensure that you meet these delivery dates so that the user’s first experience is good and they will purchase from you again.

Spending too much time filling in forms might discourage a possible buyer, so you have to limit the amount of personal information that is requested and ensure that users don’t feel overwhelmed. And so their purchase process seems trustworthy and transparent, we can add client reviews and use known payment platforms

Use remarketing

Have you noticed that once you show interest in a product online, you get ads for that product on other websites or even Facebook? This is called remarketing. It’s not a spy or a magic technology; it’s a tool that we all have in our reach using Google Ads

Remarketing works in the following way: 

  1. You visit an online store and do something that’s relevant from a commercial point of view, like putting a product in your cart

  2. This store leaves a cookie (a small file) for you on your computer with the reference information of the product you’re interested in. For legal reasons, logically, this information is anonymous. 

  3. You visit another site that has ad space on AdWords. 

  4. AdWords, through the cookie on your computer, sees that you’ve seen the product that you were interested in and shows you ads for the same thing. 

The store knows that the chance of you buying it is high, given that the ad is only shown to users who, although anonymously, are definitely interested. 

To sum it up, it’s time to change it up, bet on Design Thinking, and think of abandoned carts not as a failure, but a sales opportunity. With the right analysis of the reasons that led to this abandonment, and keeping in mind the suggestions that this article has, there’s a good chance you can improve your conversion rates. Our job is to show users the advantages of shopping in our store and providing value to our product and the buying process. 

At WAM Global, we can help you personalize the online buying experience and increase conversions in your online store. We use our experience as a digital consultancy and all of our business knowledge to give you solutions that optimize your online store and fill shopping carts with sales and profits for your project. 

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