Psychology of Cart Abandonment

By Michael Auger

Cart AbandonmentAs long as online shopping sites have been around, site owners have been plagued with the issue of recapturing shoppers who did not complete the order process. Nothing pains store owners more than seeing a list of abandoned orders and the associated lost dollars. I touched on some of the methods for addressing cart abandonment a few months ago, so this month let’s look a bit deeper at why customers abandon the order process.

Thousands of statistics and articles can be found about the prevalence of mobile devices today. Anything that can be done on a computer can now be done on a tablet or smartphone…including shopping. If your site does not include a mobile friendly version, you are losing money. Customers may browse your site, attempt to checkout and then abandon the order because your checkout screen does not accommodate for mobile/tablet devices. Quick fix for this issue: responsive design. Sites that employ responsive design look great on any type of device. Separate mobile design themes/templates aren’t necessary when responsive design is used on your site. Is site design really tied to lower cart abandonment rates? Yes, yes, and again, yes. Look at your site on your phone. Does it look awesome? Does everything work? Is it easy to checkout? If any of these answers are no, it’s time to reexamine site design, which should increase your overall conversion rates.

Cart AbandonmentWhy else do shoppers fail to complete a purchase? Complexity. Too many steps/clicks to get to the all-important payment screen. Are you still requiring customers to create an account before completing a purchase? This step is unnecessary and creates a barrier to order completion—stop doing this immediately. Gathering data on your customers is valuable for remarketing at a later time, but not at the expense of order completion. Get the order first, and then through email marketing or messaging on the order receipt create a call to action for the customer to come back to the site and complete their account.

Another area to examine is your actual payment completion process. Do your customers have to leave your site to enter credit card data and then return to your site to complete the order? This method is not ideal either—there are way too many points for the customer to fall out of the order completion process. Consider using a payment method that doesn’t require customers to leave your site. Lower cart abandonment rates have been documented when using onsite payment methods.

Understanding the “whys” of cart abandonment can ultimately help to determine changes and improvements made to your site.

Happy Selling!