6 Reasons Shoppers Abandon Their Cart (+ How to Stop it from Happening)


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Cart Abandonment
Source: Adobe Stock

Are you wondering why people add your products to their cart and then leave without checking out? If so, you are far from alone!

Cart abandonment is a major issue that business leaders and marketers across all industries have to deal with regularly. On average, 70% of shoppers who add an item to their cart will leave before finalizing their order!

Shocking, right?

This statistic may sound discouraging at first. No one wants to feel like they’re losing almost three-fourths of their sales. The good news is you don’t have to settle. The right strategies can help you dramatically boost your conversion rate and turn more casual browsers into loyal customers.

In order to understand how to fix cart abandonment, you need to know why it’s happening. Today, we will discuss six common reasons shoppers leave without clicking the checkout button and what you can do to fix this problem.

Let’s dive in!

Unexpected Costs

The number one reason shoppers leave with items still in their cart is unexpected costs. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. People who go through the process and decide to add an item to their cart are genuinely interested in your product or, at the very least, learning more about it.

Imagine how you would feel if you were in this position and considering purchasing a $50 pair of shoes. You go through the ordering process, and on the very last page, the price jumps to nearly $90 after taxes, shipping, and other costs.

Suddenly, the $50 pair of shoes you had your eye on is almost double the cost. This shocking shift will turn away most shoppers, especially if this is their first time buying from the company.

You don’t want to put your audience in this position. My advice is to add an ‘always on’ shopping cart so users can always see what their total will be before they hit the checkout page. This strategy manages expectations and ensures transparency.

Giving your customers free shipping if they spend a specified amount is also a good idea. In my experience, his seemingly small incentive can have a noticeable impact on cart abandonment.

Your Site isn’t Optimized for Mobile

If you don’t optimize your site for smartphone users, your abandonment rate will be well above average. For context, there are nearly 5.5 billion mobile users worldwide, and over half of all website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

A site that looks clunky or doesn’t function properly on phones will see significantly more bounces and instances of cart abandonment. In this case, people cannot follow through and make a purchase, even if they are genuinely interested in what you’re offering.

The best way to optimize your site is to use a website builder that comes with an option to create a mobile version of your site. Most popular builders come with this feature, but not everyone uses it.

When building with smartphone users in mind, keep text spacing, image size, and button placement in mind. People browse differently on mobile than they do on desktop. Accommodating those who prefer browsing on their phone will reduce abandonment and create a better user experience.

Long or Complicated Checkout Process

Another common reason shoppers leave their carts without taking action is due to a long or complicated checkout process. No one wants to spend more time going through the payment page than they did browsing your store.

Ideally, you want to streamline your checkout page so there’s as little friction as possible when visitors decide to place an order.

Here are a few quick tips that will help you create a short, straightforward payment page:

  • Enable autofill – If a visitor already has an account, autofill can help them complete their order in around one minute.
  • Allow for guest checkout – On the other hand, a guest checkout option should be available for new visitors who aren’t ready to create an account.
  • Add multiple payment options – Don’t lose out on sales because you don’t have a customer’s preferred payment method. I suggest covering major debit cards, PayPal, plus Apple and Samsung’s payment options, at the very least.
  • Limit form fields – Don’t ask for unnecessary information. Stick with what you need to know to finalize the order and ask for additional details later via email if needed.

Lack of Trust Signals

Now, let’s talk about how a lack of trust signals, like reviews, trust badges, and live sales alerts, can significantly impact your abandonment rate.

Most online shoppers are unwilling to engage with a business unless they see clear signs of social proof. Simply put, social proof in marketing is a trend where shoppers want to see others enjoying the same products and brands before they commit to an order.

Think of it this way: you’d be inclined to try the new restaurant down the street if everyone in your neighborhood told you how much they love their food. On the other hand, if a new restaurant opened up with no online reviews and none of your friends mentioned it, you’d probably avoid the place or at least be hesitant to try their food.

Imagine how you would feel as an online shopper if you made it all the way to the checkout page without seeing a single review or trust signal. Odds are, you’d rethink your decision and may decide to leave without taking action. I believe this is tied to the fact that the average person wants to read at least 10 user reviews before placing an order with a new company.

You can reduce cart abandonment by showing trust seals on your payment form, adding reviews from real customers to key areas of your site, and enabling live sales notifications so visitors can see what other customers are buying.

Waiting for a Discount

If the explosion of online shopping taught us anything, it’s that there is always a deal around the corner. Many shoppers flat-out refuse to buy a product at full price because they know there’s a seasonal deal coming up or they can join their email list and get a promotion.

Instead of letting these people wait forever, consider ways to give them discounts that encourage action. One way we do this is by offering a limited-time offer in the form of a lead magnet. Visitors can subscribe to our email list and instantly save 20% on their annual subscription.

This strategy has helped us reduce abandonment because if a prospect has to wait too long, they may move on to a competitor with a better deal, which means you lose out on a sale.

If you’re thinking about trying this method, I suggest using personalized offers to entice new subscribers. Research shows that 80% of shoppers say they’re more likely to take action on a site if the promotions are relevant to their needs.

I suggest hosting monthly flash sales so you can work on converting users who have items in their cart but still haven’t committed to the purchase.

Comparing Products

Finally, some shoppers add items to their cart to compare products. People can do this if they want to explore more than one product under the same brand, but most often, it’s because they are comparing what you’re offering to a competitor.

My advice for this situation is to create a product landing page that perfectly highlights the benefits of what you’re offering. Potential customers should be able to go down the list and understand how investing in your brand is the right decision.

I noticed a significant drop in cart abandonment when we added multiple types of content to our landing pages. For instance, we have a full video tutorial where users can see our product in action before they buy.

You’ll want to think of ways to make your brand stand out from other industry competitors if you want to convince window shoppers to take action.

Final Thoughts

Despite your best efforts, some users will still abandon their carts. There’s no way to stop everyone from leaving. However, if you understand why it’s happening and take steps to remedy these roadblocks, you can convert a significant portion of would-be abandoners and turn them into loyal customers.

The strategies outlined today have helped us dramatically reduce the number of people who leave our site after adding our product to their cart. I believe you can experience the same benefits if you’re willing to take the next step.

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.


  1. To tackle the challenge of cart abandonment and create a more enjoyable online shopping journey, it’s important for retailers to adopt a comprehensive approach. This involves prioritizing transparency in pricing, providing flexible payment methods, ensuring robust security measures, streamlining website navigation and checkout processes, and incorporating features that resonate with customer preferences, such as price alerts or ‘save for later’ options. By addressing these aspects, retailers can effectively reduce cart abandonment rates while enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

    Additionally, many online retailers are turning to personalized product recommendations as a solution to combat cart abandonment. By harnessing data on customer behavior and preferences, these recommendations offer shoppers a personalized shopping experience. Not only does this help customers discover items they’re more likely to buy, but it also assists in overcoming any uncertainties or hesitations they may have, ultimately encouraging them to complete their purchase with confidence.


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