Why is Your Shopping Cart Being Abandoned?

- July 10, 2009

If only this simple question had a simple answer! Online Retailers’ across the nation would be ecstatic. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer. Think of it this way, if you were at the grocery store and your shopping cart was full of groceries you had just selected, you wouldn’t say, “It sure was fun putting all of this stuff into my cart, but I don’t want to actually buy it…” and then walk out of the store without checking out at the register, right? My guess is that you’d also be even less likely to go through the checkout line, have all of your items scanned and then change your mind when it comes time to pay. Unfortunately (as far as retailers are concerned) online shoppers have the luxury of doing just that; they place items in their shopping cart and then simply choose not to complete their transaction. All online retailers are faced with the dilemma of shopping cart abandonment and it is no doubt frustrating to not know why it is happening. Whether you’re Zappos or a small, family owned business, if your site includes a shopping cart, there will definitely be a percentage of shoppers who abandon your cart.

In an effort to shed some light on the reasons for cart abandonment, here are a few important factors that you ought to take into consideration.

– Is your site 100% secure? Many people will not shop on a site which does not clearly indicate that measures have been put into place to prevent fraudulent activity. Concerns with security are a huge factor and you want to ensure that your site is fully protected. In addition, place a prominent icon or image conspicuously on every page, which signifies that your site is safe and secure.

– Price comparison shopping has always played a factor, but more so now with the current state of the economy. Many shoppers will place items into their cart and then do some comparing on other sites prior to making their purchase.  It is advisable to let your shoppers know that you will save their items for up to X # of days,  which will facilitate an effortless shopping experience when they come back to buy.  Also, if you are competitively priced, clearly state this information where your shoppers can see. If you are able to offer a best price guarantee, that would be ideal.

– The steps in your cart should be as minimal as possible. In addition, it is helpful to provide an indication of which step your shoppers are in as they checkout; you should make it seamless for your shoppers to make a purchase.

In my opinion, the best way to determine what works best is through testing. Employment of an analytics tool will provide you with a clear funnel analysis as to where you are losing your shoppers in the checkout process and then afford you the ability to tweak your shopping cart accordingly.

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