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E-Commerce Essentials: A Short Guide to Shopping Cart Abandonment

Woman Online Shopping

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It’s a metric that strikes fear in the hearts of many e-commerce retailers. An always-shifting percentage that spurs some to action and causes others to helplessly wondering where it’s all going wrong.

We’re talking, of course, about shopping cart abandonment rates.

If you’re new to e-commerce – or you simply don’t track your KPIs as rigorously as you should – you’d be forgiven for not knowing what “shopping cart abandonment” is. But you should.

Understanding cart abandonment is an essential facet of operating an online storefront. Knowing the sources of friction and frustration in your buyer’s journey (and amending that friction!)can help you drive conversion, sales, and customer retention.

Armed with a bit of knowledge, a few stats, and the help of app development companies that understand e-commerce, you can ensure that your customer’s digital shopping carts make it past the checkout. Let’s explore.

What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is an e-commerce term using a brick-and-mortar metaphor. It refers to when a customer adds items to their cart – ostensibly intending to buy those items – and then jumps ship at the last second. Put more plainly, it’s a missed opportunity.

Was it the shipping costs that spooked them? Did the onerous checkout process wear on their patience? Was it a messy UI that put them off? Or had they not intended to buy anything in the first place? It’s impossible to know for sure what an individual buyer is thinking. Luckily, you can look to stats and surveys for the bigger picture.

 Woman does online shopping using a tablet

What Causes Abandonment?

This is the million-dollar question. Once you understand what causes shopping cart abandonment, you can work toward ameliorating the problem. Here are some commonly cited reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

Extra costs like taxes, duties, and shipping
A time-consuming or complicated checkout process
A slow, confusing, or buggy app
Purchasing hurdles, like account creation requirements
And unsupported payment methods.

Shopping cart abandonment rates routinely hover around 70% (the global average for e-commerce companies is 69.8%), but there’s a wide margin, even among successful companies. For a full list of relevant shopping cart statistics, explore this rundown from the BaymardInstitute.

How Do You Decrease Cart Abandonment?

Decreasing your cart abandonment rate requires a multi-pronged approach. To start, partner with an experienced app development company that understands e-commerce. They can build you an app that’s geared toward helping your shoppers across the finish line–intuitive UI, a simplified checkout process, support for multiple payment methods, and – critically – an app that moves quickly and seamlessly.

Finally, consider your shipping costs. Some retailers find that switching to a flat rate helps them decrease their abandonment rate (customers respond favorably to predictability). Others prefer to eat the cost of shipping, folding logistics costs into their pricing structure (which results in higher prices but lower abandonment rates). Experiment with a few options and out what works for your business.

Don’t overlook your abandonment rate. A high abandonment rate might be your customers’ way of communicating dissatisfaction with the checkout process. Take it as an opportunity to improve by reconsidering your shipping policy and working with an app development company to optimize your checkout.