Digital Marketing

Why Shoppers Ditch Their Digital Carts & What You Can Do: eCommerce Problems & Solutions for Cart Abandonment

Patrick McCarthy

Attention digital merchants! Lost revenue alert!

As an industry, ecommerce business loses $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment (1). 

That figure is enough to grab anyone’s attention, but if you’re a digital merchant, this directly impacts your business, so it’s crucial that you know everything you possibly can about the issue of abandoned carts. 

Take 5 minutes to read this article to get the stats, the facts, and the solutions on one of the most irritating consumer behaviours for ecommerce owners.

The 5 W’s of Cart Abandonment

Before the Internet, cart abandonment primarily happened in grocery store parking lots or in ditches following a rebellious, after hours joyride. Now they get dropped in the digital ether and added to the long list of lost revenue metrics ecommerce owners face every day.

To ease the blow, we’ll investigate the following questions and then outline some solutions:

How are consumers abandoning their cart?

What are they ditching at checkout?

Where are they located?

When are the highest rates of cart abandonment occurring?

Who are those consumers?

Getting some insights on these questions can direct your analysis of your business’ metrics and help reveal potential solutions. Let’s take a look.

How? What Devices are Most Prominent?

It’s helpful to know what devices shoppers are using when they abandon their carts. Check out these recently updated stats from Baymard (1):

  • Desktop: 69.75% 
  • Mobile: 85.65% 
  • Tablets: 80.74%
  • Average: 69.82% abandonment rate

Where Are Those Devices?

Shoppers’ physical location offers some insight on cart abandonment. Interesting data show that some nationalities are more likely to just window shop, throw a few things in their cart, and then click away before completing their order. Shopify reports that browsers in the Netherlands are more likely to follow through with purchasing. US shoppers, on the other hand, may be less likely to complete their order.

What Aren’t Consumers Buying?

Shopify reports that women’s knitwear, leather goods, and lingerie categories are subject to higher cart abandonment than other types of products (2).

But there’s an additional factor to consider when looking at niche. Shoppers may be more likely to follow through with purchasing high-ticket items. 

In today’s fast-paced, highly-consuming society, there is a general ease with which people toss low-priced items in their cart and then get distracted or decide they’re unnecessary. We don’t generally do that with higher-priced items. 

A possible reason is that consumers tend to do more research and thus show more commitment to purchasing an item that requires a hefty financial investment. 

When Aren’t They Buying?

The highest cart abandonment rates happen during the busiest and most profitable times of the year: in November during Black Friday, and in December during the Christmas holidays. 

Calculate your Cart Abandonment Rate, with this quick and easy formula from Bolt:

“Not Ready To Buy” & Other Reasons for Cart Abandonment during Checkout

As you can guess, the reasons for abandoning digital shopping carts are many. The most prominent reasons have to do with common browser behaviour: doing window shopping, making price comparisons, saving items for later, and exploring gift options. 

According to a Shopify source, 58.6% of US online shoppers have abandoned a cart within the last 3 months because they’re just browsing or not ready to buy (2).

But if we could blame it all on the consumer, the issue would be a lost cause. As ecommerce website specialists, we like to believe that every problem has a solution. So, digging a little deeper into the research, this is what we discover about why consumers are ditching their digital carts:

  • 48% report that additional costs (shipping, taxes & miscellaneous costs) are too high.
  • 24% didn’t want to create an account (most people want a friction-free checkout experience)
  • 22% reported that delivery was too slow 
  • 18% didn’t trust site with their financial info (in 2020, nearly 1.4 million people in the US reported being victims of identity fraud (2)
  • 17% reported that the buying process was too long or complicated
  • 16% reported that they couldn’t see the total order cost clearly (for example, import taxes & currency conversions)
  • 13% reported that the website crashed or had too many errors to continue
  • 12% weren’t satisfied with the brand’s return policy
  • 9% thought the payment methods were inadequate
  • 4% of consumers’ credit cards were declined

(Source: 1)

You’ll notice that the large majority of those reasons relate to the merchant, not the consumer. So solutions are possible. 

And while that’s a lot of reasons, the good news is that they’re easy fixes. Most of them require some simple design changes (we can help). According to one source, conversion rate kickback on such changes for the average large-sized ecommerce site is as much as 35% (1).

Where Do They Go?

More good news! 31% of shoppers who abandon their cart in your shop return later that day and make a purchase (2). But don’t get too excited – an near equal number (26%) make a purchase from a competitor. 

Optimise, Shoptimise

Whether you’re on Shopify or an alternative ecommerce platform, there are several ways to optimise the shopping experience, starting with trust.

Build Trust

Highlight testimonials, showcase warranties, install an SSL certificate & use trust symbols, i.e. relevant security icons.

Create a Friction-Free Checkout Experience 

Include progress indicators to provide visual reinforcement to continue with a purchase. Make the entire shopping experience easy and effortless between cart and store so they can get back to browsing and return to their cart effortlessly.

Be Transparent about Costs

There are two opinions on factoring additional costs into the price versus adding them on at checkout. As experienced analysts, we recommend including extra costs where you can in the advertised purchase price, while highlighting that inclusion. 

Offer Alternative Payment Options

As we’ve seen, payment methods matter. Visa and Mastercard payment options are the most popular and accessible forms, but there are more, and they differ in popularity by country. Check out our resources section for the details on the 10 Top Payment Methods in Europe (3).

Highlight Your Returns Policy

While you don’t want to make this information front and center (that might raise eyebrows), ensure shoppers can find it quickly and easily. You may also consider offering a 30-day risk-free trial, similar to that offered by Amazon. This gives buyers peace of mind and more impetus to buy knowing they aren’t committed if your product doesn’t meet their standards.

Use Email Marketing to Regain Interest

Email retargeting is one of the most effective ways to get shoppers back to their carts and completing their order. According to Shopify, an abandoned cart email sequence has a 45% open rate (compare that to a general sales email rate of 18%).

Of course, email copy and design are critical features, but your sequence should include a few reminders to complete their purchase with a preview of what they added to their cart. Highlight the previous solutions mentioned and then consider including these elements in your sequence: Offer discounted or free shipping, employ social proof with testimonials or industry awards, and implement 1-click checkout to increase the speed of their transaction and decrease the potential for buyers to change their mind.

Offer Live Chat Support 

Offer multiple communication channels, but make an in-browser online chat function your primary go-to source for shoppers. Other popular and preferred channels include WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. See our recent blog on how to make your customer service hit the mark

Recoup Your Lost Sales

Feeling motivated? Keep in mind – reducing your abandoned cart rate isn’t just about improving your metrics and increasing your revenue in the short term. You want to find those areas of business that need improvement so you get more loyal customers. 

We can help make it happen.. As Shopify and ecommerce website specialists in Dublin and the rest of the world, we’re committed to helping our clients meet their business goals. Give us a call today to book your free strategy session


  1. 46 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – Cart & Checkout – Baymard Institute
  2. 30+ Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistics and Strategies for Recouping Lost Sales
  3. 10 Top Payments Methods in Europe for 2022 | FinXP

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