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Why do customers abandon shopping carts?

What is shopping cart abandonment?

There are times when customers add products or items to their online shopping carts but fail to complete the purchase. They bounce off the website for one reason or the other. This phenomenon is called shopping cart abandonment, as products are abandoned by the customer before purchasing them.

shopping-cart-vector-image Shopping cart abandonment - vector created by studiogstock - www.freepik.com

Shopping cart abandonment is a nightmare scenario for retailers and brands as the reasons for abandonment can be hard to understand, making it all the more essential to track and decipher. Ecommerce sites spend a lot of time and care to tackle this issue because once optimized it makes a difference not only to sales and revenues but also to site performance.

Top reasons why shopping carts are abandoned

Online browsing and search

Customers at times use online stores to browse through, get information and compare products. They might also wish to see if there are discounts or easier financing options online. This can hinder the sales process making it difficult to optimize for this type of particular user, as they have a wavering purchase intention.

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Website performance issues

Lagging websites and errors like broken links can derail a user's experience and break their assurance for the intended purchase. There is nothing more annoying to a customer than a website that loads slowly or doesn’t load at all. This leads to an increase in abandonment rates and a poor performance to your search scores.


guest-signup-vector Guest signup - vector created by vectorjuice - www.freepik.com

Unnecessary web page elements

It’s important to reduce unnecessary elements on essential pages. E.g. having unnecessary information, forceful signups, excessive upselling. Such elements take more time and can potentially get in the way of a quick and successful purchase. At the end of the day, excessive elements will do more harm than good.

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Keep processes simple - Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Complicated selling process

If a website has too complicated a process from start to finish, the customer will lose interest and move on to another site. Many a time, customers find what they are looking for, add items to the cart, only to drop out because the latter process of purchase turns out to be more complicated. Having a smooth and functional payment process is something every customer expects. Furthermore, having multiple payment options leads to a quick resolution from the customer’s side in case they prefer one method over the others.

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Oberlo mcommerce sales

Lack of mobile-friendliness

Mobile is an indispensable channel and many websites tend to ignore the traffic that comes from mobile commerce. Oberlo says that mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $3.56 trillion in 2021. When it comes to younger consumers, mobiles are part of their DNA, as is shopping on social media networks.

Ways to reduce abandonment and recover

Optimize browsing to selling

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Product Guides and Advisors

The most important thing to remember is that online selling needs to be easy as well as functional. Your sales funnel needs to tick every point in the customer’s journey. In terms of optimizing this journey, Guided Selling software is highly beneficial for Ecommerce. Recommender systems such as Product Guides and Advisors, allow you to set up individual journeys instead of a centralized one. This ensures you don’t lose any customers in the early stages.

At the same time, you have the flexibility to set up an optimum product page, by also recommending the right cross-selling products. Product recommendations are AI-driven and based on the immediate needs of customers. As the Product Guide understands immediate customer needs, upselling naturally becomes more transparent as you provide valid reasons for it.

Payment and omnichannel options

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Integrate popular options

The reliance on online shopping has now facilitated more touchpoints for the consumer. Omnichannel is now part and parcel of Ecommerce and your strategy must reflect this. Another major barrier that is ignored is a fast and efficient checkout process. Guest checkouts are an important option and while there should be various payment options available, it’s crucial to have the most frequently used ones. These preferences can also change according to region and market.

Retargeting ads

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What is retargeting, really? - Unbounce

A popular method to recapture a lost customer is to use retargeting ads showcasing the products that were abandoned, ones that are similar, or recommended products based on purchase history. Ads can be personalized for lost customers with various retargeting softwares. These ads can also be configured to run on social media platforms. The probability that consumers will click on a product ad they’ve viewed before is much higer than that of introducing them to one from the start. This is becuase they are already a couple of steps down in the sales funnel, and retargeting is an efficient reminder. It's a solution that loops back to the attention and interest stages.

Email marketing

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Use an efficient email marketing strategy

The good old-fashioned way to recover a lost lead or customer is still email marketing. Email marketing is a solid recall device to remind lost customers about carted products as well as provide them with offers and discounts. Guided Selling also gives you PDF and lead generation capabilities, giving the customer the option to revisit their recommendations. These mechanisms can also collect essential customer information without the need for complex forms or lengthy registration processes. This in turn is extremely beneficial for your sales teams.


Detail your strategy based on the specific problems encountered when customers are led through your sales funnel. Different strategies work well for different kinds of websites and brands. It might take some time to understand which one works best and why, but regular tracking of such campaigns is quintessential. There are so many tools that can help, but understanding the why and what remain the most crucial first steps.


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