Are You Causing Your Own Shopping Cart Abandonment? Five Questions To Test Your E-Commerce Savvy


The shopping cart. A part of the e-commerce process that, to an inexperienced online retailer, would seem like the last thing to worry about. Maybe you're asking yourself why you should be concerned with the shopping cart when there are more important things to consider, such as the format and functionality of your website, or the actual product that you’re shipping to customers. After all, aren’t those the things that keep your customers engaged?

While your website brings in valuable customers, the shopping cart is arguably the most crucial part of the world of e-commerce: it’s where your customers act on their decision to purchase the product, bringing in cash to your company.

Despite its important role, the shopping cart process is often overlooked. This leads to shopping cart abandonment, that moment when your customers ultimately decide not to purchase anything and leave their items to sit in the e-cart for all of eternity. This may seem like a trivial problem, but in reality, it is a big problem when it comes to revenue:

  • According to Business Insider, about four trillion dollars’ worth of items in the online shopping cart will be abandoned in this year.

  • IMB reported a 68.95% rate of abandoned shopping carts in 2015.

Even though these percentages make it seem as if there is no hope when it comes to shopping cart abandonment, Business Insider says that 63% of items in carts can be recovered by savvy online retailers.

So how can you become one of these savvy online retailers? Here are five questions to test your e-commerce know-how and help you eliminate shopping cart abandonment.

1. Are you making checkout a pain?

The checkout process should be simple and painless. However, most online platforms require customers to create an account before making a purchase. Creating an account is a pain for those customers who want to get the satisfaction of an instantaneous purchase. Why? Because it takes up valuable time! During that time, you’re giving a potential customer ample opportunity to question whether or not they want to buy your product.

Adam Steele from the Magistrate, a top marketing group, recommends implementing a guest checkout. This will eliminate the unnecessary login and keep your customer engaged in the buying process in order to reduce abandoned shopping carts.

2. Is your checkout process broken into bite-sized steps or is it one long form?

Having one giant form is intimidating to customers because it looks like (and may well be) tedious work. Customers tend to become impatient when filling out long forms and may also feel that the time it takes may not be worth the product. The more tedious the checkout process seems, the less likely the customer will be engaged in the buying process and the more likely a customer will question whether or not they want to complete a purchase.

Alex Miller, of PosiRank LLC, a popular SEO platform, recommends breaking up the checkout process into small bite-sized steps that take no more than 30 seconds to complete. Show the steps of each process at the top of the page in order to show where the customer is in the checkout process and to keep them engaged. This confirms that the steps are easy to complete, leading to increased customer engagement.

3. What are you doing to help your customers overcome buyer’s remorse?

The checkout process is where buyer’s remorse most often occurs. As customers scroll through their cart to see whether they have all the things they want to buy, they can be scared off by the number of items that they’ve accumulated. As a result, they may abandon their cart thinking, “I don’t need all of this stuff right now,” and “I can buy it when I have more money.” Once that initial decision to delay the purchase is made, it’s uncertain and unlikely that they’ll return.

Wesley Matthews of High Level Marketing, a top SEO and design company, suggests that to combat this, companies reduce the steps involved in the buying process. One option is to have a “one-click” button that allows customers to buy just one item at the time, instead of scrolling through a long list of items and later feeling remorseful about the how many items are in their cart.

4. Are you offering enough incentive?

Even though customers may want to buy your product, they may have some doubts about whether your business is reliable, unless you have a well-known, in-demand product. If your business does not appear to be of highest quality, or of a great value, customers may go to your competitors.

Miles Jennings of, a top recruiting company, recommends that the first time that customers make a purchase, consider adding a promo code or discount. Not only will your customers be given a reason to buy your products, they will think that they are getting a great deal, and will be more likely to come back and explore the rest of your products.

5. Are you addressing buyer hesitation questions?

A leading cause of cart abandonment is unanswered questions. “When will this arrive? What happens if it doesn’t fit? How long does the return policy last? ” These last minute questions may not be fully answered within the general FAQ or in the product descriptions, or the answers may be simply too hard to quickly find on your site. If they go through your site or the shopping cart and can’t find instant, relevant answers to questions making them hesitate, they may decide to abandon the purchase and shop elsewhere.

We recommend implementing a contextual, web self-service solution, like AnswerDash, at checkout to empower your customers to answer any questions they may have about their purchase, without forcing them to search for answers elsewhere on the site. AnswerDash allows your customers to get answers on the spot, without ever leaving the page, providing them with quick and relevant answers so they can finish doing what they came for: to buy something from you. (Here's how TireBuyer increased revenue per visitor 13% and reduced abandoned shopping carts after adding AnswerDash into its checkout process!)

To learn more about how you can help your customers help themselves, check out our free eBook highlighting the benefits of web self service. 

Written by Madeleine Le

Further reading/sources: