5 Reasons Customers Abandon Their Shopping Cart (and How to Prevent It!)


Share on LinkedIn

Have you ever visited a business website, only to abandon your shopping cart before completing the order? Many people have found themselves in this situation. It’s a common trend across all industries and can cost business owners in a big way.

What you need to know is that when people abandon their shopping cart, you’re losing out on sales and a chance to build rapport with a new customer. Similarly, if repeat visitors leave before paying for their order, you’ll see your retention rate and customer lifetime value drop.

Luckily, there are ways that you can reduce the number of people that leave before completing their order or bring back users that already left.

We will explore several of the most common reasons people leave websites without paying for their order and give you some actionable advice you can use to secure more sales.

Poorly Functioning Website

The first reason someone may leave your website is it doesn’t work correctly. Poorly functioning sites are the number one reason businesses struggle to improve their SEO rankings, secure new customers, and close sales. Both consumers and Google refuse to associate with companies that have a poorly designed website.

We suggest optimizing your site for traffic from all sources, especially mobile. Smartphone users are responsible for 58% of organic traffic, so if your site doesn’t work on the latest devices, you can expect quite a few dropped sales.

You can then run a speed test and assess your mobile and desktop performance. Page loading times can determine whether someone finalizes their order or hits the back button. The recommended loading time for most pages is 2 seconds or less.

Once your website is up to par, you can start looking at other causes of shopping cart abandonment.

Unexpected Costs

There’s nothing quite as devastating to an online shopper as a dramatic shift in price. A whopping 56% of consumers admitted to abandoning their shopping carts due to unexpected costs.

So, what fees qualify as “extra?”
-Shipping costs
-Product insurance
-Support fees

All of these additional fees result in more people leaving before they wrap up their order. We’ve found that the best way to overcome this barrier is to include as many of the costs upfront as you can.

For example, you can show the shipping cost on the cart widget across your website’s pages. Now, when users are browsing and decide to check their cart, they can see the final total before they click-through.

You can incentivize users to spend more by adding a banner that lets them know that they can get free shipping if they spend a predetermined amount. If a customer meets these criteria, don’t just remove the shipping cost. Put a slash through so people can see how much they are saving.

Lack of Trust

Another common reason shoppers leave without looking back is they don’t trust the company selling the product or service. You can build social proof throughout your website with testimonials and reviews, but you need to take an extra step to stop people from leaving during the ordering process.

Adding a trust seal to your checkout page is an excellent way to encourage your audience to trust your company and move forward with their order. Research shows that when trust seals are adding to forms, they see an impressive 42% boost in conversions.

Big-name companies like McAfee allow businesses to add their seal of trust to the company website if they meet specific circumstances. You can check with the McAfee plugin to see if your business qualifies for a security seal.

Alternatively, you can get seals of approval from other reputable businesses and publications in your industry. Focus on getting badges from recognizable companies that are trusted in the community.

Clunky Checkout Page

The design of your checkout page can have a significant impact on whether users decide to stick around. Many customers want to go through a quick and easy checkout process and move on with their day.

It’s your job as a business owner or web designer to build a responsive checkout page that meets their needs while guiding them through the sales process.

We like to remove all distractions from our checkout process. Sidebar widgets, menu navigation, and advertisements are all hidden while a customer is in the process of buying a product. Clunky checkout pages result in consumers getting confused and backing out because they feel overwhelmed.

Make the process as pain-free and straightforward as possible, and you’re bound to reduce your cart abandonment rate.

They Got Distracted

Finally, let’s face the facts, sometimes people get distracted. We all have friends, family, children, work, and plenty of other things that pull us away from our phones or desktop computer. You have to anticipate that some of your visitors will leave before they complete their order, and take precautions so you can bring them back.

Retargeting is the perfect way to continue building rapport with people that engage with your site but don’t sign up or buy a product. Essentially, retargeting is when your website leaves a browser cookie on a visitor’s browser. Because of the presence of this cookie, users will start to see more advertisements about your product on social media, Google, and even while browsing other websites.

Make the most of your retargeting campaign by creating various promotions for your audience segments. For example, if you sell 5 totally different software types, you may need to create advertisements that go out to consumers based on the product they had in their cart when they left.

When you use retargeting to keep consumers engaged in your product and brand, there’s a good chance that they will come back later to complete their order.

Final Thoughts

It’s impossible to stop all customers from abandoning the checkout process on your website, but you can convince many of them to follow through and make a purchase. The key is to understand why users are leaving and make changes that correct some of these issues.

Simultaneously, you should develop a retargeting campaign designed to pull people back that left due to reasons outside of your control. In this instance, you can’t stop them from leaving, but you can get them to come back.

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here