Study Unlocks Shopping Cart Mysteries

image of online shopping cartUPS recently commissioned a study to pinpoint key details regarding shipping and online purchases useful in preventing online shopping cart abandonment. With cart abandonment rates soaring at 70 percent, businesses with online stores can benefit from the information uncovered by comScore, Inc., the company commissioned to perform the study. A global leader in measuring the digital world, comScore surveyed more than 3,100 online shoppers who made at least two online purchases each within a three-month period. While participants were generally satisfied with their shopping experiences, there are clear areas of concern.

Building Trust Early Yields Sales

Respondents voiced a desire for shipping information to be clear and detailed early on in the transaction. Fifty-five percent of shoppers abandoned their carts because shipping information wasn’t presented early enough and they found, too late, that the cost of freight made the total purchase more than was expected. “I have cancelled before I bought many times due to the shipping price being given only after I have entered my address and I was ready to buy,” one shopper wrote anonymously. Those who hope to circumvent this problem can do so by making shipping options clear early on in transactions with customers. This will build trust between company and customer.

The comScore study was also able to define the top four factors that prompt a recommendation from customers. The number one reason why customers have recommended a site is the offer of free shipping, followed by timely arrival of the order and easy returns. One surprising fact rising from this portion of the research was that 70 percent of online shoppers have actually added items to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping in the event that there is a minimum order that must be met to earn free freight. Adopting a shopping cart that includes free shipping with a particular minimum purchase can help drive sales and, in turn, reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Finally, online customers cited the availability of free return shipping as being an important question in their buying decisions. Online companies that specify in the shopping cart that return shipping is complimentary have a much higher customer retention rate from first click to final purchase. The complete comScore findings can be downloaded online at