How To Stop Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Written by Nick Leffler | 4 Comments | 7 min read

Home » The Online Presence Blog » eCommerce » How To Stop Shopping Cart Abandonment?

When visitors come to your eCommerce store, there is some mystery about what’s going through their head. A visitor may find a product, add it to their cart, and go all the way to the checkout page. Once they’re at the checkout, they may vanish and that is the elusive cart abandon that’s so common in eCommerce. The challenge is how to stop shopping cart abandonment.

Among some large stores, according to Baymard Institute, their abandonment rate for the shopping cart is an average of 69%!

Analytics tell you part of the cart abandon story, but they only tell part of the story and it can be a difficult one to read. The majority of the story can’t be told by looking at data only, there is an imperfect science to visitors. Data and analytics often can’t relate to the imperfect science of a visitor’s mind and what their particular reason was for abandoning.

Abandonment could happen for a number of reasons including reasons you can control and those you cannot. If a visitor just wants to compare prices or perhaps wants to see the total of all the items they wish they could buy, there’s not much you can do.

Though there are many things you can look at to reduce cart abandonment rate. The abandonment could be because the add to cart button isn’t easily seen, or perhaps there are too many clicks to complete their order. These are all things you are in complete control of and what we will look at here.

I’ll start with a list of reasons visitors abandon their cart and then go into more detail about what you can do to fix this. I’ll then cover one big thing you should be doing which may also help you stop visitors from abandoning their cart.

Here are some of the biggest reasons visitors abandon their cart according to Stastica:

  • Unexpected costs.
  • Found a better price elsewhere.
  • Website navigation too complicated.
  • Web site crashed.
  • The process was taking too long.
  • And More!

There are just some of the top reasons, all which you have control over. Let’s take a look at these in detail to see what you should be doing about it.

Unexpected Costs

People don’t like to be nickel and dimed. When you see a price at a store, that should be the final price too, excluding the normal sales tax which is typically standard anyway. These unexpected costs can range from shipping charges to convenience charges.

Have you ever been to a website to buy tickets and towards the end of checkout find that there’s a “convenience” charge? I have, and I immediately abandon the cart unless there’s no way around it.

Unexpected costs create a shocking variation to the ordering process, and it’s not a positive shock. Ideally, this shock would be removed by setting expectations with visitors up front and sticking with that.The goal is to turn visitors into customers,

The goal is to turn visitors into customers by getting them from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Putting up speed bumps in their path isn’t the ideal way to get them there faster.

Found a Better Price Elsewhere

There are a limited number of things you could do for this one. The first thing you can do is to shop around a bit to see what your competitors are charging for similar items.Even if there’s not an exact product to compare to yours, there may be something similar that a customer has a hard time

Even if there’s not an exact product to compare to yours, there may be something similar that a customer has a hard time understanding how it’s different. If the customer can’t tell the difference and the other is cheaper, you either need to lower your price or differentiate your product better so customers understand the difference.

If you do these things then the better price elsewhere shouldn’t be an issue, although it can be a moving target because the Internet is a fast-moving place.

You’ll need to check and revise regularly.

Navigation Too Complicated

Products need to be easy to reach, and the navigation structure of your site should make sense. Put it down on paper if you have to to make it easier to manipulate.

Finding a product should be simple and without too many steps. If all else fails in the navigation, a search option should always be available.

A great tool to figure out how easy your website is to navigate is User Testing. You can give some questions to a complete stranger of your target audience and see what their experience is of your website usability.

Website Crashed

Make sure your server has enough resources to manage the amount of traffic you receive. If you don’t, your website will be slow, and the possibility of crashing always lingers over your stores business.

Process Took Too Long

How many steps does it take to complete an order? Unlike a Tootsie roll pop, the checkout process is not something you want to prolong. The fewer steps it takes to complete an order, the better off you are.

Visitors aren’t going to try to figure out your store, it’s either going to be easy or visitors will never become customers.

Analyze your checking process, make sure it’s easy and there’s no confusion. This leads us to the process that will help you solve many of your eCommerce problems.

Map Some Tasks

One way to figure out where problems lie in your store is to create several scenarios of common tasks visitors might do. Create an exhaustive list of every task a visitor could do, everything you can think of.

List what their goal might be and where on your website they start (not many begin from your homepage!).

Once you have listed all of these out, it’s time to go to work mapping the paths a visitor might take for each goal. Don’t just do each task, list out all the steps involved and make as detailed of a map as possible.

Look for snags a visitor could experience, trying to think outside of your familiarity with your website. If you’re anything like me, you’ve most likely been pouring over every detail of your website, this makes you so familiar with your website you become immune to seeing difficulties others may experience.

A perfect example of this is the hamburger menu in many apps. You know, those three little horizontal lines you’re supposed to tap to expand the menu. Many people know what it means, but not everyone. We assume because we’re so close to it and it seems so obvious, but it’s not.

Back to the scenarios for you to map out, I’ve made a list of some of the basics, although there will be a lot more on your list specific to your store.

Here they are:

  • Purchase a product.
  • Find the XYZ product.
  • Favorite a product.
  • Return to a favorited product and purchase it.
  • Create an account.
  • Use a coupon and check out.

Look at things beyond just the process too, squint your eyes a bit and see if the add to cart button stands out. Are color contrasts on your site good enough for those with seeing difficulty?

Mapping out helps decide where the customer friction lies in your process. You will be surprised how much you learn about your website in this process.


There are many different things that could cause a visitor to abandon their card. Tracking them down with data alone isn’t easy, but if you pair data analysis with experience analysis, you should be able to see a bigger part of the picture.

What are some of the things you do to stop shopping cart abandonment? If you have any tips from your experience, I’d love to hear them!

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Author Bio:


Nick Leffler

Nick Leffler is the owner of Exprance, a Sacramento web design and digital marketing agency which helps businesses reach their customer online. Nick has grown his online presence with a small marketing budget by blogging, organic social media posting, and email marketing.


  1. Ryan Tracey on February 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I most common reason for abandoning a shopping cart is the shipping cost. Free shipping typically applies to North America only. Outside of that region, the cost is usually exorbitant.

    • Nick Leffler on February 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      That is a big one. Typically people don’t like shipping above $5 but it does depend on the item though. I also expect free shipping on any order over ~$20-50 depending on how expensive items are.

      Is it sometimes hard to find some items close to you where you don’t have to pay the exorbitant shipping costs?

      • Ryan Tracey on February 17, 2016 at 2:08 am

        The main problem is the vast majority of the good shopping is in the US (eg Amazon). Having said that, it is often cheaper to buy something from US, including shipping and package forwarding, than it is to buy from a local supplier!

        • Nick Leffler on February 17, 2016 at 2:31 pm

          That’s no fun, just doesn’t make sense either! Well, I guess it helps make you less susceptible to reckless consumerism and it kind of shows given Australia has one of the best quality of life index scores in the world :)

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