11 Reasons Why People Abandon Online Shopping Carts

Online Shopping

In a physical shop, it would probably take something quite drastic to make you suddenly walk out of the store, abandoning a cart full of stuff you had previously picked out and placed there. In the online world, however, it seems that consumers do this with alarming regularity – some analysis suggests that as many as 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is made. So, why does this occur?

1 – The user objected to the shipping and handling costs

Many sites don’t display the relevant shipping and handling costs until quite late on in the process, because often these are dependent on the user’s location and other options they select. Anecdotal evidence and surveys suggest that many users will walk out of the buying process if, when confronted with these costs, they think they are too high.

2 – The user simply isn’t ready to buy yet

The user may abandon the cart because they just don’t want to commit to the purchase yet. They are perhaps trying to decide whether they really want or need all of the items, just as we all do with any other kind of purchase.

3 – The user only added the item for price comparison purposes

Sometimes people add things to carts just to keep a handy tab on what price the site is offering the item they want at, so they can compare it with other sites. If the site doesn’t win the mini price battle, they’ll just abandon that cart.

4 – They were only using the cart as a “wishlist”

While some sites like Amazon let you create a “wishlist” type record of items you may buy in the future, not all do, and some people will save a cart for future consideration, sometimes never actually buying the contents.

5 – The user decides against the purchase before it is final

The user may have other ideas about completing the purchase and abandon it before they check out. Just as you might put something back in a shop before buying it if you have a better idea or see something you like better.

6 – The user can’t complete the purchase because the site doesn’t accept their preferred means of payment

A user may find, after adding things to the cart, that the site doesn’t accept a given payment method they were planning to use, such as PayPal.

7 – The user was just adding up the cost of a list of stuff

The user may not have intended to buy everything in the cart today, but used it as a way of totaling up costs for a set of items, for example all of the Christmas presents they want to buy, or all of the things they need for their vacation.

8 – The user found the interface difficult to use

If the user was experiencing problems with the site, or found the interface confusing and difficult to navigate, they may simply get frustrated and give up before buying.

9 – The cost was ultimately too high

The user may abandon their cart because they have decided that the price for the item, or set of items, was too high – either that they couldn’t afford it right now, or that they felt it wasn’t good value.

10 – Technical issues

A user may not be able to complete the purchasing process because they experience technical problems – these could be problems at the site’s end, or with the user’s own connection, computer or app.

11 – The user objects to something in the process

A user may abandon a purchase if they feel the site wants personal data they don’t feel they should have to give out to buy and pay for the items, or if it doesn’t allow them to do something they want to do with the purchase (such as have a delivery address that is different to the billing address).

Charles Henry works for Home Host one of the top hosting providers in Brazil. He is a contributor to the Home Host Blog as well.

8 thoughts on “11 Reasons Why People Abandon Online Shopping Carts”

  1. Hi Jane and Charles,

    Helpful tips!

    Make your user experience pleasant to increase purchases. I advise individuals to ask as many people as possible to go through the buying process.

    You quickly see where you need to improve.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Hey Ryan! I think people do not test enough. It’s important to test and test while watching people to see how they interact with your website.

  2. I’d like to add a 12th ! I put things in a cart that have offers and when you do actually go back the next day for one of the reasons you mention the offer has gone so you abandon the whole purchase because the amount has gone below free postage or it was the main item you wanted.

  3. Hah. As a user who has abandoned shopping carts I can say I’ve done so due to malfunction of the e-commerce site. Hate when that happens!

  4. Hey guys, I can’t tweet this out because the share bar is vertical on left and not showing on my iPad. Thought you’d want to know.

  5. I agree with all of your key points that you have given here. As a store owner i have some other clues that, why people abandon the shopping carts are
    Lack of trust(adding trust seals and social activities ,contact information with physical address
    Only one or two payment gateways(Adding other possible payment methods )
    will helps to solve this issue.

  6. Yes these reasons are very true. The cost of shipping makes the online shopping limited . Nice post thanks for sharing this.


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