5 Things That Cause Reasonable Consumers to Abandon Their Shopping Carts
Even the most educated, reasonable online buyers bail from time to time. Does this sound familiar? Here's why.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The data isn't pretty. In 2016, the average cart abandonment rate was a whopping 77 percent. Then in 2017, it rose to 78 percent. Now, though the data's not yet in for the entirety of 2020, for 2019, it was 79 percent.
As far as online shopping goes, every ecommerce store has a cart-abandonment problem. And some of those lost shoppers simply can't be converted — they weren't all that interested in the first place, and no matter what you say, they're not going to finish their purchase.
But some of them can, which is why having an effective cart abandonment email is so important. More than 40 percent of cart abandonment emails are opened, 50 percent of those opened emails are clicked, and 50 percent of those who clicked ultimately purchased.
Still, how can you stop reasonable consumers — the ones who actually want to purchase — from bailing in the first place? Here are the top five reasons that people abandon their shopping cart. And fortunately, each one is pretty easy to fix on your end.
1. Unexpected Shipping Costs
According to 2017 research by Baymard Institute, the number one reason (by a long shot) that people abandon their shopping cart is because of unexpected fees, taxes or shipping costs.
If you're a reasonable consumer yourself, then that isn't all that surprising to hear. Imagine going through the checkout process on an ecommerce site for something you authentically want to buy and, when you're just about finished, that product is more expensive than it said it was going to be. There's no getting around it; that puts a bad taste in the shopper's mouth. It makes them feel like they're getting nickled-and-dimed, hoodwinked and bamboozled.
Fortunately, there's an easy fix: Don't wait to surprise people with shipping costs, taxes or other fees until the end of the checkout process. Just include all of those costs in the original price of the product. That way, when someone is about to click "Submit Order," there's no undelightful surprises that might derail their conversion.
Related: 5 Simple Ways You Can Decrease Shopping-Cart Abandonment
2. Having to Create an Account
The second most common reason that reasonable consumers abandon their shopping cart is that the site requires them to create an account. To understand why that is, you have to understand what is going through the consumer's head at the time of conversion.
When they click "Checkout Now," they want to purchase the product. The best thing you can do is get out of their way. Redirecting them to a page that says, "Create Your Account Now!" isn't just abrasive, it's also totally irrelevant to what they wanted to do (i.e. buy a product).
So ditch the mandatory account-creation (or add a "Check Out as a Guest" option), and just get their email address at the same time you get their shipping information. Most people won't mind, so long as it feels like a natural part of the checkout process.
3. Poor User Experience
We now arrive at the third and perhaps the most irritating of reasons that consumers abandon their online shopping cart — namely, because the checkout process is too long, clunky or confusing. Shockingly, 28 percent of people abandon their shopping cart for this reason.
When someone wants to buy from you, let them buy from you. Make it as easy as possible. During the checkout process, don't require them to enter unnecessary information, don't add survey questions, and don't complicate what should be a fairly simple transaction.
You can get more information from them later after they've finished their purchase. For now, make everything as smooth and seamless as possible.
If you're dealing with technical difficulties (20 percent of people abandon their shopping carts because the website crashed), then do what you need to do to get the problems fixed, even if it costs some money. You're losing money by not fixing a clunky checkout process, anyway.
4. Payment Security Concerns
Someone might love your product, they might love your site, and they might be ready to purchase right now. But if they don't trust your site with their payment information, they're not going to finish their purchase. Nineteen percent of people abandon their cart because they didn't trust the site with their credit card information.
Even though you know your site is safe, it can help to offer some proof to the consumer during the checkout process. In fact, ConversionXL did some research on what kind of security badges help conversion the most and they found that PayPal, Norton, Google and BBB Accreditation badges are the most trusted by buyers.
Why not add one (or several) of those to the payment page of your checkout process and see how it impacts your conversion rate?
Related: How Businesses Can Process Payments Without Stress
5. Return Policy Wasn't Good Enough
No ecommerce business likes to get returns. If returns just stopped being a thing one day, most entrepreneurs would probably be perfectly fine with that. Alas, no matter how you slice it, returns are a thing, and living in denial will do nothing but make your cart abandonment rate worse than it needs to be. Believe it or not, 11 percent of people leave a site before finishing their purchase because the return policy wasn't good enough.
Is yours good enough? If you don't offer at least the bare minimum for today's online shopping world — a 30-day, money-back guarantee — then your policy is probably hurting your conversion rate. And what else are you doing business online for?