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6 Reasons For Your High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

By Pritesh B

Posted | 6 min read

businessman with high cart abandonment rate

According to a study by Baymard Institue, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%. That’s a lot of lost sales! If you are just starting in e-commerce, it can be disheartening to see all that efforts and marketing spends going in vain without any fruition.

This article will help you in understanding what is cart abandonment, what are the leading causes of it and how can you recover abandoned cart to sales.

Understand Shopping Cart Abandonment

Before jumping right into the causes of shopping cart abandonment, let's try to understand what it is in the first place and human psychology behind abruptly dropping a purchase decision.

Shopping cart abandonment is a problem that occurs when customers abandon their shopping carts in stores. This can result in lost sales and reduced customer loyalty. In general a series of actions by website visitors on e-commerce stores leads to a purchase. More than often these series of actions are not aligned to the visitors mindset.

For example, a recent survey showed that one in three users first look up for a product on popular marketplace Amazon or on Google before thinking about making a purchase. A majority of decision making is based on previous customer reviews.

On an average, a visitor looks up to five reviews before making a purchase decision. In this process, many start with an intention of buying and leave the thought somewhere in middle. This may not necessarily due to the fact that product may not have enough reviews on search engines but also other important factors like overall shopping experience on the website. Let's try to identify common causes of cart abandonment in e-commerce.

Identify the Causes of Shopping Cart Abandonment

The below infographic shows the major reasons of cart abandonment by digital users in 2021. Although e-commerce market flourished throughout the pandemic, the sheer percentage of users changing their buying decisions seconds before purchase is astonishing.

Let's go through these causes in detail.

top shopping cart abandonment reasons

1. Unexpected shipping costs

Unexpected shipping costs is by far the most common cause why users are abandoning their cart. A large number of websites do not reveal the shipping costs on the main product page. Nor are they explicit about the shipping policies and pricing upfront on the website. This sudden surprise in total order amount leads to cart abandonment.

For example, if you are selling home decor items like bed linens and sheets which is worth $39.99 and you charge an extra $25 at the checkout, a visitor would immediately add up the numbers and see if they can buy the same product offline by avoiding shipping expenses.

Many online sellers include shipping costs in product price itself. That way they can offer incentives like free shipping, which is can be a delight to the user while making purchase.

Asos does this very well by offering free shipping on order values greater than some amount; that way they also push users in buying more products to avail free shipping.

online store offering free shipping example

2. Mandating user account creation on your website.

Gathering customer data is important for your business, but you should look out for more subtle ways to capture information rather than asking them for their details and forcing them to create an account when they have made a purchase decision.

The checkout process should involve as many fewer distractions as possible. Anything which distracts visitors while purchasing is kind of like hampering your conversion funnel.

CFM offers a simple guest checkout process with almost no distractions when users are about to make a purchase. They just get the basic user shipping information followed by a payment screen. That's all.

CFM market linkages guest checkout

3. No intentions of buying now.

A majority of users spend their time on the Internet while window shopping, browsing for products which they may buy in the future but have no intentions of buying now.

This can be a good opportunity for you to ask them to sign up for the newsletter. It gives you an opportunity to create a hook in the visitors mind about your brand and your offerings. Eventually if the visitor makes a decision to make a purchase, they already have enough information about your products. That way you can reduce one more hop in the sales funnel.

Depending on the amount of time a user spends on the website, now a days, several websites show a pop up, giving an opportunity for users to sign up for newsletters. You can also offer a discount for those who subscribe, making it even more of a incentive.

sign up to newsletter popup example

4. Poorly designed/ Non secure website

Another leading causes of shopping cart abandonment is a poorly designed website. Visitors have no idea how to make a purchase and end up leaving because they can't get past the checkout process.

Fulcrum Home Decors has gone above and beyond to make their checkout process as simple as possible. The only required field is the shipping information, and the website takes care of the rest. There are no hidden fees, and the checkout process is secure. This gives users a sense of security and a seamless experience throughout.

secure website of fuclrum home decors with simple checkout process

5. No coupon codes available

Online sellers are used to experience of searching coupon codes. More than often, the purchase decision is made by looking coupon codes for the website. Provide coupon codes and discounts through newsletters, coupon websites or having a referral scheme.

Some websites also tie up with big players as partners and offer exclusive deals when a purchase is made through a partner.

Although discounts help in improving conversions, use them judiciously as your marketing strategy. Do not let your users build a habit of purchasing only when they have a coupon code. This may affect your revenues negatively.

6. No express shipping options

Sometimes, users want to make a last minute purchase. There's no time to wait for orders to arrive. This is very common during the holiday season when everyone is in a rush to to buy the last moment gift for their loved ones.

You are at a disadvantage if you don't offer an express shipping option on the website. You may charge premium for this option, but atleast give your visitors an opportunity to make that purchase.

express shipping option example on ecommerce website


Shopping cart abandonment can be costly for your business. By following the steps in this blog post, you can prevent shopping cart abandonment and recover any lost sales. Each online store built on Storeplum comes with performance features to improve on cart abandonment rates. Storeplum's dashboard will not only help you with best practices while setting up your store but will also recommend you actions on how you can improve your conversions.

Find it for yourself by giving it a try without any commitments for 14 days.

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Pritesh B
Pritesh B

Ecommerce advocate and Co-founder at Storeplum. I like to write about current trends in ecommerce, best practices and innovative ways on improving online store conversions.

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