Tips on How to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

One of the challenges that online retailers have to face is the notorious “abandoned cart” syndrome. This is when a potential buyer almost makes a purchase but chooses to click away from the site at the last minute.

With an online store, more often than not, there’s no one there to ask the customer why they no longer wish to buy what they intended to purchase. 

Statistics indicate that 14.1% of all global retail sales are e-commerce sales—the competition is stiff.

The average online cart abandonment rate sits around 70%. This statistic is cause for concern, but there are a few simple things any e-commerce merchant can do to prevent cart abandonment.

Let’s take a look at 5 ways to reduce cart abandonment and help more buyers complete the checkout process successfully:

#1 Understand Buyer Intent

First of all, it’s important to recognize that it’s impossible to completely control cart abandonment in e-commerce. A merchant also needs to understand that an abandoned cart is not always a bad thing.

Gaining an understanding of why cart abandonment happens in the first place helps etailers view everything in a more accurate light. For example, only 2% of shoppers ever convert when they first visit a store, and 92% of first-time visitors to any website have no intention to buy anything at all.

That’s because people prefer to consider their purchases critically before they make them. Additionally, some people view their shopping cart as a shopping list—a record for items they’d like to have, even if they’re not quite ready to commit. 

It’s up to the merchant to learn what their site visitors want, how they like to shop, and what motivates them to click the “order” button.

#2 Keep Checkout Simple

Twenty-three percent of survey respondents claim they have abandoned a shopping cart due to a long, frustrating checkout process, according to Baymard Institute.

E-commerce stores should consider implementing a one-step checkout or a drastically simplified process to help keep abandoned-cart rates low.

Where possible, consider implementing a quick-order system that allows people to register their payment method for the future.

Also, accepting digital payments like PayPal and Apple Pay may appeal to more consumers because it let’s them make purchases with payment methods that they’re familiar with.

#3 Offer Free Shipping or Inform Buyers of Shipping Costs Upfront

Without exception, customers cringe when they encounter higher-than-expected shipping costs—this is one of the top reasons buyers abandon their carts.

A study of US shoppers shows 53% of those who’ve clicked away have done so because of high extra costs. It’s disheartening for many of these shoppers to come to the tail end of their purchasing journey, only to discover hefty shipping fees. This reason alone forces many to exit the page.

Free shipping attracts buyers like bees to honey. The top online marketplaces use this strategy. But, year-round free shipping isn’t always feasible. With that in mind, merchants might consider running regular promotions that offer free shipping to increase the average order value.

It’s worth remembering that studies show a whopping 93% of online shoppers would take the necessary actions (such as adding additional items to their cart) to qualify for free shipping. 

#4 Consider Offering a Guest Checkout Option

According to the Baymard Institute, 31% of shoppers left their full carts behind after they were prompted to create an account.

From a marketing point of view, it’s a good idea to encourage visitors to register for access to more benefits. However, this can lead to cart abandonment if the shoppers are not inclined to take this extra step.

A significant point to note is that while guest checkout works quite well in certain industries, the impact could be negligible in others. Consider the cabinet business, for instance. It isn’t crucial to allow customers to check out as a guest in this business. In any case, customers need to save their layouts and other information; therefore, almost all customers have to register.

Offering guest checkout also has a drawback in that merchants sacrifice the option of saving their customers’ shopping information for future transactions. Also, it makes it more difficult to track their orders.

Keep in mind, though, that many online shoppers are still hesitant to trust retailers with their credit card information. As a result, these users may be more likely to convert if they aren’t required to create accounts before they purchase.

#5 Inspire Confidence in Shoppers

Security can also play a key role when shoppers abandon carts. Joint research by the University of Reading and Klarna showed that approximately 23% of canceled transactions happen because shoppers became wary of the website’s security status.

Major causes for concern include:

  • design flaws
  • outdated layouts
  • missing images
  • no SSL certificate

According to another survey by Econsultancy/Toluna, trust seals are a huge factor in gaining customer trust. Trust seals are so important that they even outrank trustworthy design and peer recommendations.

Norton’s badge appears to be the most trusted, according to this survey, earning 34.6% of the votes. McAfee came in second with 22.9 percent. BBB Accredited and TRUSTe shared third place with 13.2 percent each.


Statistics found on Optinmonster show that in a single year, cart abandonment results in the loss of $4.6 trillion in e-commerce sales.

With cart abandonment accounting for so much in lost sales, it’s clear that a lot of money is out there just waiting to be made.

But unless merchants understand why customers abandon carts, it’s impossible to reduce the problem.

Start by paying attention to the items discussed above and making the necessary website improvements to encourage customers to stick around and follow through with the checkout process.

Find out how retailers like you are saving time and making money with the Rain POS system. POS, E-commerce, and Marketing all in one.

Ilija is a researcher and a writer that holds a degree in global economics, statistics and business management. He is currently acting as a content specialist helping in data collection, research, providing content guidelines and expert advice on certain topics. Subjects of interest range from personal finance, global debt all the way to blockchain and technology. As a person who likes challenges and strives for excellence his end goal is to use all that he can to create a better-informed world.