What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment? Know the Reasons

LimeCall Team

November 24, 2020
minutes to read

Merchants across the globe know that shopping cart abandonment is a real problem and has to be dealt with. The only good part here is that when a website user does not complete the purchase and leaves the website, 63% of abandoned merchandise is potentially recoverable.

And the bad part is that the rate of abandonment is increasing. The recent figures show that 70% to 80% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, resulting in almost $4 trillion in lost sales.

Table of Content

1 . The shopping cart abandonment problem

2. Here are the top reasons why shopping carts are abandoned. 

3. How to reduce shopping cart abandonment or recover abandoned carts

While we want to explain how can retailers reduce shopping cart abandonment and recover sales, let us find out why are shopping carts abandoned at all? 

The shopping cart abandonment problem

There are window shoppers all around the globe. People dont visit your website with intent to buy. Sometimes, they just want to see what’s new in the market and adding products to the cart is the easiest way to save a product and view or buy the products later when the research is over. 

In a 2017 study of over 1,700 online shoppers, the Baymard Institute revealed that nearly 59% of people abandon their shopping carts because they’re just browsing and aren’t ready to make a purchase. The study segmented these browsers out so they could focus on the real reasons that people abandon their carts and a lot of these reasons aren’t surprising.

Here are the top reasons why shopping carts are abandoned. 

There are ten reasons listed in the Baymard study, and we’re going to review the top four reasons since most of them can be easily fixed with the exception, perhaps, of shipping costs. Although one can by offering users flat-fee shipping, some type of discount or requiring a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping.

1 . Cost of shipping

The major reason why people abandon their shopping cart is because they see the extra costs – probably the shipping, tax and other charges. This may or may not be easy to fix for many retailers. But you need to understand the hard truth – people don’t want to pay any additional charges, be it for shipping or anything else.

In a recent survey of 1,400 shoppers, a staggering 91% of consumers indicated that free shipping would make them a repeat customer and 67% indicated they would add more items to their cart to receive free shipping.

2. Compulsion on creating an account

37% of people abandon their carts because the app or the website would not let them finish the purchase without creating an account. They are forced to create an account before completing their purchase. In another study by moovweb, it was shown that conversion rates for shoppers who use guest check-in and those who were logged in were the same and that logged in users spend only 10% more than guest users.

Interesting Read : Your Conversion rate can grow 2x more than it is currently: Here’s how

This explains as to why your e commerce platform should have a guest checkout option. The study also  revealed that mobile shoppers are 1.2x more likely to select guest checkout rather than logging in and that guest checkout tends to improve mobile conversion rates.

3. Complicated checkout process

The third reason according to the barnyard study was a long or complicated checkout process. Researches in the Barnyard study did a large-scale usability study on the checkout process. It was found that ecommerce platforms could simplify the check out processes to 12-14 form elements (7-8 if only including form fields), but most US ecommerce sites contain over 23 elements (14 if only including form fields).

4. Hidden costs

23% of people involved in the study by Baymard said that they abandoned their shopping cart because of the unclarity in cost. They couldn’t get their total order cost up-front.This is directly tied to the #1 reason for cart abandonment – extra costs, particularly shipping costs.

How to reduce shopping cart abandonment or recover abandoned carts

1. Send checkout recovery emails 

Send mails Checkout recovery emails (e.g., Hey, you forgot something!) are an effective way to recover sales from abandoned carts. According to Omnisend, 46% of people with open cart abandonment emails, 13% click on the email and 35% of people who click end up buying something Here are a few ways you can sweeten the pot for undecided shoppers:

Offer a discount (e.g., 15% off all items in your cart)

Keep the message short and sweet (e.g., Still shopping?)

Communicate urgency (e.g., Get your items in 2 days if you order today!)

To do send checkout recovery emails, you of course need the shopper’s email address. You can capture it through onsite displays like pop ups or flyouts that are triggered upon exit intent (also known as a cart saver). 

2. Simplify your checkout process

Use a progress indicator if you, like most retailers, have a multi-stage checkout process and try to keep the checkout process to less than 5 steps (5 steps is the average length of the checkout process among the top 100 online retailers).

Interesting Read : What you need to know about Sales Automation in less than 10 minutes

3. Incentivize customers with a discount

People love a bargain. Over 25 million Americans are using mobile coupon apps to find discounts each month and emails containing coupons offer a 48% increase in revenue per email (an important statistic to consider when crafting your checkout recovery emails).

4. Don’t require users to register to complete a purchase

In the retail world, all users would happily create an account before completing their purchase. However, we live in an imperfect world where people crave options. One option, as mentioned above, is to offer guest checkout. Another is to allow people to login via their Facebook, Google, or another social media account.


While we focused on the top four reasons people abandon their shopping carts, it’s important to look at the big picture when considering shopping cart abandonment. Familiarize yourself with all of the top issues listed in the Baymard study, and try to address each one of them.

When you discount the window shoppers and tire kickers, many true abandonment issues are connected to each other. When taken together, the various issues tell a larger story. Shipping prices and other added costs may not be a dealer breaker (for example), but when combined with other road blocks such as website errors, slow delivery times, and a poor or nonexistent return policy, lack of free shipping may be what causes a consumer to ditch their cart.

The good news is that potential is huge to recover some of those abandoned carts. By crafting recovery emails with great subject lines, offering incentives such as discounts or free items, and ensuring that the checkout process is simple, mobile-friendly and secure, you can recover some of those potentially lost sales and gain new, loyal customers in the process.

, November 24, 2020, LimeCall Team

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