Conversion Optimization, Marketing

Why Your Customers Abandon Their Carts and What You Can Do About It

Here are the top reasons for checkout cart abandonment and the solutions to the problem. Source Way back in 2017, sales from...

Written by Kelly Madison · 5 min read >

Here are the top reasons for checkout cart abandonment and the solutions to the problem.


Way back in 2017, sales from retail e-commerce recorded an impressive earning of roughly $2.3 trillion, with the number estimated to hit $4.88 trillion by 2021.

Unfortunately, it’s already 2019, yet shopping cart abandonment remains an issue that plagues retailers as a whopping 74.2% of retail orders online are abandoned instead of checked out.

Needless to say, high shopping cart abandonment rates means lost sales.

More alarmingly, mobile shopping cart abandonment rates are way higher on compared to other platforms. Data from Barillance’s study revealed that desktop abandonment rate is at 73%. Meanwhile, abandonment rates on tablets are at 80.7%, while mobile phones recorded a worrying 85.6%.

Despite these bleak figures, e-commerce retailers shouldn’t lose hope. While it’s true that shopping cart abandonment rates are at an all-time high, there are a number of solutions to this issue. The key is to understand the reason why customers decide to abandon their carts.

Here are the three leading issues behind this e-commerce situation.

Issue #1: Exorbitant shipping fees

Did you know that 63% of shoppers in the United States abandon their carts once they realize how high the shipping fees are?

Shipping has always been a big issue in online retail, with 80% of shoppers identifying free shipping as their primary motivation to shop online.

As a result, failure to offer this incentive turns off the majority of customers and pushes them to simply abandon their carts.  

Issue #2: Poor website experience

Although the checkout page plays a crucial role in a buyer’s journey and in your sales funnel, the overall website experience of your visitors has a major impact on whether customers purchase your products or abandon their shopping carts.

A poor performance on site navigation could cost you 16% of your shoppers, with 20% of customers leaving the site (and their carts) the moment the page crashes or shows errors. Online shoppers get put off if they can’t easily find the items they’re searching for or the brands they want to shop.

The bottom line is: If your e-commerce consumers can’t conveniently figure out how to find what they need, then they’ll simply leave. Online shoppers don’t have the patience to try to understand how to work out problematic or complicated websites.

Issues #3: Failure to optimize website for mobile

More and more consumers are doing their shopping on their mobile devices, turning mobile user experience into one of the most critical factors in decreasing your shopping cart abandonment rate.

With 85% of customers installing shopping apps on their mobile and 66% actually using those apps to purchase items online, it is imperative to make your site as mobile-friendly as possible.

More importantly, the number of shoppers who started their buyers’ journey on their computers and completed them on mobile jumped by an astounding 259% from the measly 16% when the cross-device shopping started becoming a trend.

Inasmuch as these stats offer exciting possibilities, e-commerce retailers must bear in mind that these very same mobile users wouldn’t think twice before abandoning their shopping carts if the sites prove to be too tedious to use.


Customers’ reasons for leaving the page could vary from sites that load slowly to too-small buttons that fail to show up properly on their mobile screens. Many online retailers still haven’t optimized their sites to be responsive to mobile, with some forcing users to zoom in and out to navigate the pages.

Other e-commerce business owners fail to get rid of popups, which usually work well on desktops but could be torture for mobile users to handle. Given the limitation of mobile, the minor inconveniences on computers are typically intensified when customers are using their mobile devices.

Tips to lower mobile shopping cart abandonment rates

Here are a few tips that can help you reduce your checkout cart abandonment rates and convert your visitors into loyal customers.

Tip #1: Optimize your customers’ website experience

Practically all e-commerce stats lead to the same points: customers demand an online shopping experience that provides them with quick service, accessible and relevant information, and personalized options based on their needs.


Most importantly, people want to have a seamless experience regardless of the type of device they are using to make their purchase.

Here are suggestions on how to personalize the shopping experience of your customers:

  • Categorize the users based on the items they’re interested in on your site. To do this, you can present them with an option to share with you which section of your site caught their attention and retained their interest.
  • Customize the navigation and the searches of your customers according to the items they checked out. Conversely, hide the products that do not interest them or are irrelevant to their needs.

Aside from that, ensure that users can conveniently navigate your site and quickly work out how to use it.

For every visit to your site, customers should feel their confidence grow in terms of mastering how everything works. This means you must optimize the navigation and search functions well.

Audit your site and check for technical issues, particularly in the checkout process. Keep in mind that anything that obstructs a buyer’s shopping experience – no matter how minor – will turn them off from your site and cause them to abandon their carts.

Tip #2: Focus on mobile optimization

As stated earlier, an increasing number of people complete their purchases via mobile.

But what does that mean when it comes to e-commerce shopping cart abandonment? It’s simple – it signifies that your site should be optimized for mobile to keep up with the competition and retain your customers’ attention.

Here are some suggestions on what to address when optimizing for mobile:

  • Check your site speed. Slow load time is a no-no for online shopping, and your customers are not going to wait around for your site to finish loading. A load time of more than 3 seconds will drive your customers away from your site.
  • Make sure that you offer mobile-friendly navigation. Unlike desktop, which allows visitors to click on things, it would be more convenient for mobile users to be able to tap, pinch, and zoom.
  • Ensure that your visitors can easily add products to their carts as well as pay for them via multiple payment solutions. Remember – long forms can be extremely tedious on mobile, so consider other options for your customers, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Tip #3: Send abandoned cart recovery emails

One of the most effective strategies for abandoned cart recovery is sending emails to your visitors to remind them of the items they left behind. In fact, sending cart abandonment emails within the same day can help you recover 60% of otherwise lost sales.

Here are suggestions on the frequency and content of your shopping cart abandonment emails:

  • A few hours after the customer exits your site and abandons their cart, send an email asking about technical issues or other errors that might have halted their shopping experience and stopped them from completing their purchase. This email can also be a reminder of the products they left behind.
  • Within 24 hours of the exit, send another reminder of the contents of their abandoned shopping cart. If possible, offer a discount to encourage them to complete the sale.
  • Within 48 hours, send an email that offers (or reiterates) discounts or any other alternative incentive you can give in exchange for the customer completing the checkout. You can also try using the “scarcity” persuasion technique of reminding your buyer that their cart will soon expire.


You can take advantage of the various automated lifecycle email marketing tools available today to ensure that you don’t miss out on the chance to win back your buyers.

These platforms can help you automatically draft and send out shopping cart abandonment emails, provide you with metrics that will guide you in measuring your success, and allow you to tweak your system along the way.

Final Thoughts

The advancement of mobile e-commerce signifies the need for marketers to work double time in upgrading the customer experience.

A marked improvement in cart abandonment metrics can easily be spotted as soon as you apply more dedicated mobile-centric strategies to refine the buyer’s journey.

Implement the strategies at the earliest stage of the customer experience and never stop analyzing each touchpoint – be it the product discovery phase or the checkout purchase.

Constantly seek ways to assess the buyer experience and take notice of the “triggers” that motivate them to engage, acquire, and convert into paying customers.

More often than not, e-commerce business owners focus solely on the final stage of the conversion funnel when looking for reasons that lead to shopping cart abandonment.

However, the reality is that there are a lot of contributing factors that cause basket abandonment, none of which should be analyzed in isolation.

Bear in mind that customers do not care how much you spent on an individual touchpoint. All they care about is how much you’ve invested on their overall buyer experience.


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