Shopping Cart Abandonment Still A Major Issue For Businesses

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Shopping cart abandonment has plagued ecommerce businesses for years, and you might think that things would have gotten better as more people have grown accustomed to shopping online, technologies have improved, and a vast array of solutions have become available. However, things have only gotten worse, and shoppers have gotten choosier about their shopping habits.

Do you consider shopping cart abandonment to be one of the biggest obstacles your online business faces? Let us know in the comments.

Baymard.com recently calculated the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate based on 29 different studies containing statistics on e-commerce shopping cart abandonment. The study with the lowest rate (55%) was from Forrester and Shop.org in 2010. The one with the highest (80.3%) was from Rejoiner in 2012. The average from all of them was 68.07%. That's still pretty high.

One of the top reasons that people abandon their shopping carts is that shipping costs are too high. Last fall, UPS and comScore partnered on a study, which found that as many as 81% of online shoppers in the U.S. indicated free shipping played a major role in their experience. 9 out of ten shoppers said they abandon shopping carts, while 6 out of 10 said they've done so after finding out that shipping costs made the price higher than expected. Half said they abandoned carts because their order value wasn't large enough to qualify for free shipping.

Other reasons included people not being ready to purchase, but wanting to save the cart for later or wanting to get an idea of the cost for comparison, getting distracted and forgetting to complete a purchase, and preferred payment options not being offered. eMarketer put together this chart looking at these reasons across different regions based on the study:

They also note research from Visual Website Optimizer, which found unexpected shipping costs to be the most common reason for abandonment in the U.S. and a poll from the e-tailing group, in which 64% cited high shipping costs.

Nextopia recently put out this infographic looking at shoping cart abandonment based on information from Shopify, Econsultancy, and CPCStrategy.

Last month, Business Insider put out a report looking at shopping cart abandonment, and finding that as much as $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, but that as much as 63% of that is potentially recoverable by "savvy online retailers".

"An abandoned shopping cart does not automatically translate to a 'lost sale,' because three-fourths of shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts say they plan to return to the retailer's website or store to make a purchase, according to data from SeeWhy," says Cooper Smith, a senior analyst for BI Intelligence. "Online-only retailers are at a disadvantage to "omnichannel" retailers in this respect because they have fewer channels through which to recover lost sales."

"Retailers can reduce the rate of abandonment and increase conversions by streamlining the checkout process and also by retargeting shoppers with emails after they've left a website," he adds. "Initial emails, sent three hours after a consumer abandons a cart, average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, according to Listrak."

The BI study also found that that the number one reason people abandoned shopping carts in 2014 was because shipping costs were more than expected.

"Another way of bringing your visitors back to the site is with retargeting ads," writes Heidi Pungartnik at DesignForFounders. "Amazon does a great job with those — have you ever browsed for a, say, bento box only to end up only seeing ads for different bento boxes all over the web?"

She also points to a Compete study, which found that in addition to improving cart abandonment rates, 93% of shoppers buy more when it's offered.

Shipping costs are only one issue. The rise of mobile use is not helping shopping cart abandonment. 84% of mobile uses use their devices for shopping, according to Nielsen, but that doesn't mean shopping sites are catering to these users as well as they should be.

As you may know, Google is getting ready to implement a mobile-friendly ranking signal to its mobile search results, lighting a fire under sites to get their acts together. This could help in the shopping cart abandonment department as well, as a mobile-friendly checkout process should lead to more conversions.

As it tries to get sites using Google Wallet, the company says, "Typically, mobile shoppers have to fill out up to 25 fields to checkout. It's no wonder up to 97% of them abandon their shopping carts."

Have you been able to improve your shopping cart abandonment rate or is it getting worse as time goes on? Discuss.

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.