Why Shoppers Abandon Ecommerce Carts and What You Can Do About ItUp to 70% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned before the shopper completes the purchase. An article on Internet Retailer tells us that shoppers abandon carts for the following reasons:

  • 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 payment option, 24%
  • Item was unavailable at checkout, 23%
  • Couldn’t find customer support, 22%
  • Concerned about security of credit cart data, 21%

You can’t do much about a shopper’s lack of money or the fact that they wanted to shop offline. You also can’t do much about a shopper’s inclination to comparison shop. However, you CAN affect your site’s cart abandonment rate for the remaining six reasons:

1. High shipping charges. If 46% of shoppers are turned off by shipping charges, you can proactively respond to that by:

Publishing your shipping charges and make them available early in the buying process. Don’t leave shipping charges to be a dirty secret at the end of the transaction. Call out heavy or oversized items as requiring additional shipping costs. 

Offer free shipping for orders over a set amount. Offer ground shipping for free for orders that exceed a certain total. (Note: This can be a great way to increase your site’s overall cart average as well. If your average order total is $59, offering free shipping on orders of $99 or more gets customers to think about buying just a little bit more to so that you will cover the shipping.)

Offer free shipping on heavy or oversized items. Make sure that your customer knows that these heavy and/or oversized items qualify for free standard shipping

Offer a “free shipping” promotional code. (See #2 below.)

2. Wanted to look for a coupon. 27% of shoppers leave carts behind in search of a coupon. Consider running a promotion on your site that offers shoppers free shipping or a particular discount, but only if they enter the coupon code they get on your site. If you make a coupon available, shoppers don’t have to leave to find one of their own.

3. Couldn’t find preferred payment option. They were totally ready to give you their money, but they couldn’t find their preferred payment method, so they bailed. Bummer. Make sure that your payment gateway accepts all major credit card options, including AMEX, as well as gift cards and alternate payment methods like PayPal, Google Checkout, and Bill Me Later.

4. Item was unavailable at checkout. If your customer gets all the way to the checkout process and they’re told that the item they want to purchase is unavailable for some reason, they are likely to abandon your cart and go search elsewhere. Instead of telling the customer that an item is “out of stock” or “unavailable,” tell the customer when the order WILL ship (e.g., “Your order will ship complete in 3 days.”)

5. Couldn’t find customer support. This one seems like a no-brainer, but 22% of shoppers leave a cart behind because they can’t find a way to contact customer support. In the words of Homer Simpson, “DOH!” Eliminate this one by making your customer service contact information a standard part of each page of your site including your cart summary and checkout pages. Make it EASY for your customer to talk to you.

6. Concerned about security of credit card data. No one wants their credit card information just hanging out there in cyberspace for someone to steal. Your ecommerce site has to instill a sense of safety and security in its customers or you will never close the sale.

Enlist the services of a trusted third party security company. Companies like VeriSign, Trust-Guard, Authorize.net, and ScanAlert are globally known and trusted. Partnering with one of them and displaying their security seal can help shoppers feel more at ease buying from you.

Utilize standard checkout security features. Using credit card security features such as asking for the 3-digit security code on the back of the card and address verification will increase the customer’s confidence in you.

Make sure you are PCI or PA-DSS Compliant and tell your customers. While maintaining PCI or PA-DSS Compliance is optional as I write this, it is likely that it will soon become the industry standard. Get a jump on the competition and start the certification process now. And when you get your approval, let your customers know about it.

Bonus idea to combat a shopper’s lack of money: Offer the ability to create a “wishlist” on your ecommerce site, preferably with the option to email the list to someone. Creating a wishlist will likely keep a shopper with more interest than money engaged with your site and your brand!