What Is an Abandoned Shopping Cart and How Do You Prevent It?

The global average for shopping cart abandonment is over 85%. It sounds staggering, but which one of us hasn’t left an item in our Amazon cart for months on end?

Every company struggles to get customers to follow through on their sales. However, a high rate of abandoned shopping carts can indicate a problem with your web service. 

If you want to lower your abandoned shopping cart rate, you’re not alone. Keep reading — this article will explain exactly why customers abandon their shopping carts, and how you can prevent it from happening to you. 

What Is an Abandoned Shopping Cart?

In online sales, shopping cart abandonment refers to a customer placing items in the online cart for purchase but not going through with the purchase. 

An abandoned shopping cart isn’t just a nuisance that decreases your revenue. It’s an important metric that reveals problems in sales websites and in apps. For online retailers, abandoned shopping carts are a normal part of business, but they’re also opportunities to learn how to increase your conversion rates and sales. 

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Shopping Carts?

If your customers are abandoning their shopping carts before making the purchase, it means that something is wrong in your sales funnel. 

There are many causes for shopping cart abandonment, which means there are many solutions as well. We’ll take a look at the most common causes for cart abandonment from the user experience perspective:

High Shipping Costs

Shipping costs aren’t the problem: surprise shipping costs are. When customers haven’t anticipated shipping costs and are surprised by them on the final checkout page, they get sticker shock and abandon their cart.

The good news is that free shipping isn’t the only solution to this cart abandonment conundrum. You can help customers get ready to pay shipping by advertising shipping costs beforehand.

Another solution: offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. Studies show that customers prefer something advertised as “free” to any other discount, so they’ll be motivated to buy more to reach the free shipping threshold. 

Non-Preferred Payment Options

When it comes to online payment, customers strongly prefer the method they are used to. Not having that method available is enough to make them abandon their purchase.

Take the example of Paypal: it has over 300 million customers and it’s popular for being secure, intuitive, hassle-free, and above all, fast. Over 87% of online buyers use it, which means they don’t want to use credit cards to shop online.

If a loyal Paypal user arrives at your checkout and doesn’t see a Paypal option, they likely won’t be willing to reach for their credit card. Instead, they’ll find a different store that lets them buy a similar product with the payment method they like.

The lesson here is that payment options can make all the difference. Invest in payment options like Paypal and Afterpay to retain customers’ interest. 

Takes Too Long

The page takes too long to load. The checkout process is too complicated. It takes too many clicks.

Web users have notoriously short attention spans. Any unexpected delay or a burdensome checkout process is enough to make your customer abandon their cart. 

Streamline your checkout process to avoid shopping cart abandonment. If your current checkout flow involves five clicks, get it down to two. Use intuitive menus, ask for as little data as possible, and keep the page’s code lightweight for maximized loading time — anything to avoid the customer losing interest and clicking away.

If you can’t shorten your checkout process, find other ways to make it feel shorter to the customer. Use progress bars to show your customer how they’re progressing through the checkout pages.

Glitchy Checkout Page

Technology can’t run perfectly all the time. However, a glitchy checkout page is more than just an annoyance. It’s a death sentence for online transactions.

You should be taking the responsibility to make your website run smoothly. If your page glitches, it puts the onus on your customers to figure out a workaround. This will frustrate them faster than you can say “bounce rate.”

Avoid cart abandonment by proactively monitoring your checkout page for problems. If a customer complains about a checkout problem, your priority that day is to fix it. 

Security Concerns

As with everything online, security concerns are at the forefront of your customer’s minds when they’re making a purchase. Any hint of unprofessionalism in the checkout process can convince your potential customers to abandon their cart.

To prevent this, telegraph trustworthiness to your customers. Include customer testimonials and other social proof throughout your site to increase your credibility. 

Make sure you have a guest checkout option. This lets potential customers build their trust with you without submitting all of their personal information to your company. 


Browsing is a shopping behavior defined by low commitment. A browser is interested enough in your products to look at them and even click the “Add to Cart” button but probably doesn’t intend to make a purchase. 

Browse abandonment rates are high. In fact, they’re pretty much a given.

It’s tempting to see browsers as annoying non-customers, but with the right strategy, you can convert these leads to sales. All you have to do is give them a reason to commit to the purchase.

Overcome browsers’ non-commital shopping habits by advertising limited-time offers. This gives your potential customers a reason to follow through.


Customers may leave items in their cart as a holding place before they make a final purchasing decision. If that’s the case, you’ll need to convince your customer that the item itself is worth buying.

Prevent your hesitant customer from forgetting about their purchase by sending clickable email reminders. If the customer still doesn’t return to make a purchase, offer an exclusive promo via email to entice them to return. 

Overcome Shopping Cart Abandonment

Every online retailer deals with abandoned shopping cart rates, but if you are seeing higher shopping cart abandonment than average, it could indicate a problem with your user experience.

Don’t let sales funnel glitches or suboptimal lead conversion strategies keep your customers from confirming their purchases. With this article, you’ll be able to prevent abandoned shopping carts before they happen. 

Did you find these tips helpful? Keep reading the rest of our blog for more top tips on business, sales, and service optimization. 



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