The top 5 reasons for abandoned shopping carts – and what shops can do about it

and what shops can do about it

68 % of all shopping tours in online shops are abandoned (Source: baymard). As a result, e-commerce companies lose considerable revenue every year. But there are some simple and effective counter actions: Optimize your shopping cart!

Reason 1: Your shopping cart isn’t user-friendly enough

Before proceeding to the checkout, customers want to have a look at their selected products again – after all, mispurchases are just annoying. It’s frustrating for users, if, as in this case, details about materials or care instructions are not clearly visible in the shopping cart, or the product image is too small or not displayed at all. The total purchase price including shipping costs should also be clearly communicated at this point. In this example, customers miss details on how long shipping will take as well as a „Delete and add products“ function.

In the shopping cart below, most of these points have been implemented in an exemplary manner:

Reason 2: The order process takes too long

The perfect order process is completed after a maximum of five steps! This also applies to „guest buyers“, meaning not yet registered customers. Any more steps are regarded as cumbersome and too time-consuming. This leads to customers abandoning their shopping carts.

In the following example, customers would save a lot of effort if the data entry page had a clear layout and if they only had to enter data that are necessary for a correct order/shipment:

It’s also helpful to tell your customer during the process how many steps still have to be completed (e.g. by displaying „Step 2/5“). Trust-generating signals such as „trust“ certificates and privacy notices support their purchase decision and are therefore appropriate at this place as well.

Reason 3: The customer gets to know about payment options way too late

Unfortunately, many shopping carts look like this:

There is no information about possible payment methods, of which credit card, direct debit, purchase on account or Paypal are the most common. Although customers are already on their way to the checkout, they will still decide to not buy the product – customers neither have the time nor the nerves, to try and go for it haphazardly only to find out their preferred payment method isn’t available.

Communicate payment methods early via clearly visible icons, for this is a very simple and customer-friendly solution:

Reason 4: The handling of technical problems is not professional

Scenarios such as links that don’t go anywhere or problems with coupon codes happen. But that doesn’t change the fact that this influences the customer’s purchase experience in a negative way. It also reduces their trust in your shop and leads to abandoned shopping carts. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly check all the features you need for placing an order (e.g. by doing test purchases).

Staff-members working for the service hotlines of big shops should be informed about errors and breakdowns as quickly as possible to react appropriately. We also recommend a live chat function in which users can solve their problems during the order process in real time together with technically experienced employees.

Reason 5: There is no wish list

Some customers use their shopping cart as a kind of shopping list for “later on”. But often they forget about it and never return to your shop. This also counts as an abandoned shopping cart, as the order process has never been completed.

Items can be saved separately on a wish list but can be moved to the shopping cart with just one click. Coupon codes and discount campaigns are proven incentives.


Very simple, convenient and transparent: that’s how the ideal order process should be.

The following shopping cart is a splendid example: It also informs the customer of all the advantages of the shop, shows elements of trust such as the “trust” seal and offers further purchase incentives such as product suggestions and discounts.

Checklist for reducing abandoned shopping carts:

  1. Is your shopping cart user-friendly?
  2. Does the order/purchase process have a maximum of 5 steps?
  3. Does the customer know from the beginning what the payment options are?
  4. Is there a regular technical check of the purchasing process?
  5. Is there a wish list in addition to the shopping cart?

Optimizing your shopping cart is pure money – don’t waste it.

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