Top Reasons Your Customers Are Abandoning Their Carts (And How to Fix It)

The ecommerce industry certainly isn’t new (check out this history of ecommerce for a quick lesson), however, despite ecommerce retailers’ best marketing efforts, cart abandonment rates are still at nearly 70%. Everyone in the ecommerce industry has to deal with this to some extent, but that doesn’t mean you should make peace with the majority of your customers leaving your website without making a purchase; especially the ones that go so far as to select items to purchase. In fact, there are several things you might be doing that are actively turning your customers away.

You will never have an abandoned cart rate of 0%, or a conversion rate of 100%, but there are plenty of things you can do to improve upon your current situation, whatever it happens to be. In particular, you need to be aware of these five main reasons why customers decide to abandon their carts. Thankfully, there are things you can do to overcome each of these reasons, so don’t panic just yet if your website is guilty of any of these mistakes.


Shipping Costs

While it is true that nobody likes paying for shipping, and in fact research shows that more than 60% of customers at least consider abandoning their order because shipping isn’t free, a larger problem exists when you don’t disclose the cost of your shipping. It should go without saying that any sort of hidden fee is not going to make a customer happy, and this happens all too frequently when it comes to shipping charges.

Additionally, if your shipping costs are too high, even if you disclose the value you may turn customers away who do not want to pay such a high price. Take a look at some of your competitors and see what they are charging for shipping. If they are charging less than you, there’s a good chance you customers will switch and become customers of your competitor.

Fix it: Be transparent about costs and consider free shipping

The easy fix to this problem is to simply make it known what you charge for shipping. Do not wait until the final moment to add in the shipping fee. If your shipping varies based on certain factors, consider implementing a feature on your website that allows a user to calculate shipping in advance depending on where they live or what they are ordering. If you use WordPress and Woocommerce, for example, you can install the Flexible Shipping plugin to handle all of this information for you.

Also, consider offering free shipping when you are able to. You may choose to make domestic shipping free, offer free shipping if a customer spends a certain amount of money, or even include it as a perk to joining your rewards program (if you have one). You don’t have to make shipping free 100% of the time, but you should strongly consider offering it in certain scenarios in order to make your customers happy. The added value in the long run of gaining more customers outweighs the shipping costs you have to cover.


Long Checkout Process

Once a customer does make the decision to purchase something from your website, they want the process to be as quick and painless as possible. A long, detailed checkout process is a really easy way to turn customers away. Customers will only be understanding to a certain extent when providing their information. If you include a bunch of extra steps, you risk losing a lot of orders.

Customers are also very wary these days of how companies use the information they provide. Fears of their email or phone number ending up on spam lists is a major concern, leading some customers to refrain from ordering if they are required to provide a bunch of additional information for seemingly no reason.

Fix it: Be clear about how you use information, and provide other checkout options

It is fine, and in fact necessary, to request information from customers when they are placing an order. However, be sure to include a notice that the information a user provides is kept confidential and will not be used or sold to another company.

one click ordering cart abandonment
Image Credit(s): RetailWire. One click ordering is a feature customers love.


Keep your checkout process short, and give users the option to checkout as a guest if they are not already a member. The additional steps to sign up for your website may deter some users. If possible, consider implementing a “quick purchase” option (like the above example from Amazon) for users. This option allows a user to store their payment info so that during future purchases they can quickly go through the checkout process (learn more with this selling on Amazon guide). This is incredibly convenient for users and helps encourage repeat purchases. And as you know, customer loyalty is crucial for success.

Absence of Site Security

Customers are not just wary about giving out information, they are also wary about overall site security. People are very aware of the dangers of hackers stealing credit card and other important info and will not make a purchase on a website they feel is not safe. This is especially true for smaller ecommerce businesses.

Fix it: Convert to HTTPS

http vs https cart abandonment
Image credit(s): LinkedIn


Installing an SSL certificate is the best way to make your website more secure. Without this secure connection, your business will seriously suffer. Not only will customers not trust your site, you can also suffer in terms of SEO value. Right now, Google lists HTTPS as a light ranking signal, but you can easily expect the signal to increase in importance as more and more sites make the switch.

Note: For you web push users out there, you also need to be using HTTPS in order to send notifications to just about any browser, with the one exception being Safari.


Bad Return Policy

One of the biggest issues ecommerce retailers have to overcome is the inability to interact with customers in person. Without looking at a product in person, it can be difficult for a customer to make a definitive decision that a certain product is in fact what they are looking for. The way around this? Having a solid return policy. Unfortunately, many ecommerce sites either don’t list a return policy at all, have a strict no returns/refunds policy, or don’t have a clear policy that users can see before making a purchase.

The lack of a policy, or a bad policy, is a major negative that can easily turn customers away. You need to instill confidence in your customers when they are making the decision to purchase a product, and not giving them the option to change their mind is sure to have the opposite effect.

Fix it: Clearly state your policy and allow customers to reach you

There is no one right answer for what your return policy should be, but above all else, you need to make sure that you clearly list the policy on your website where people can view it before making a purchase. Similar to the free shipping debate, it is a good idea to have some type of return or refund policy in place in order to please customers. You can determine the specifics based on your specific business. This might entail limiting the amount of time a customer has or only allowing for an exchange or store credit. Anything is better than nothing in the eyes of your customers.

Also, make sure your customers can contact you should they have any questions. This makes a big difference in whether a user will continue with their order or give up and look elsewhere. This expands beyond abandoned carts, as not allowing users to contact you is just simply a bad business mistake.


Lack of Motivation

Finally, keep in mind that a user might not make a purchase simply because they aren’t motivated to. They might not be convinced they need the item, they might think the cost is too high, or they may simply be browsing and forget they even put the item in their cart in the first place. You could very well be doing everything right on your website, and you will still have plenty of customers who simply aren’t in the frame of mind to buy. However, thankfully, there is something you can do to try and convince these users.

Fix it: Re-target via web push notification

Cart abandonment
Triggered abandoned cart notifications can help encourage users to return and complete their order.


Web push notifications are a great way to recapture users who have abandoned their carts. Not only is this an incredibly easy tool to set up, it is incredibly effective. These notifications have a much higher visibility than other types of abandoned cart notices, like emails, and deliver to both desktop and mobile devices.

A user might not have been motivated to purchase when they were originally at your site, but they clearly had some amount of interest in a product or products you had for sale. Oftentimes, all it takes is a small nudge to get them to make the purchase.

Make your web push notifications even more enticing by offering a discount (like in the above example). Price is a major factor for consumers, so getting a percentage off is often just the incentive a user needs.

If you can correct these five issues, you will lower your cart abandonment rate. Did we forgot to mention any other reasons why consumers abandon their carts? Let us know by commenting below or sending us an email.

To start using web push notifications, click here.

Tags: abandoned carts, cart abandonment*, digital marketing, ecommerce, web push notifications.
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