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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : May 04, 2011

Costs and timing issues main causes of shopping cart abandonment

Consumers today are comfortable making purchases online, and website design and usability have improved over the last few years, yet shopping cart abandonment rates remain the same as five years ago. Have marketers been fixated on the wrong reasons consumers abandon their carts?

by Helen Leggatt

Most marketers fiddle with their shopping cart process to minimize abandonment. They change the color and size of buttons, chop out confusing or lengthy parts of the process and limit the amount of data requested from customers.

But are they fiddling with the wrong bits? Perhaps.

Forrester's research, reported by Linda Bustos over at, found shopping cart abandonment had little to do with how long or involved a process was. Just 11% abandoned a cart due to a long or 'confusing' checkout, 12% left because the site was asking for too much information and 14% were unwilling to register to continue with a purchase.

Instead, consumers were walking away due to "sticker shock", to compare prices, or simply because they were not ready, at that moment in time, to make a purchase.

In fact, the top five reasons for walking away were connected to timing or cost issues:

44% said shipping and handling costs were too high
41% were not ready to make a purchase
27% wanted to make price comparisons
25% said the price was more than expected
24% wanted to save items in the cart for later consideration

No matter what the reason is behind a consumer choosing to abandon a shopping cart, the end result is the same - lost revenue.

When a potential customer abandons their cart an online retailer knows two things - that the customer had a need and which products they were interested in. This information alone is a great springboard from which to develop a relevant and timely retargeting campaign.

According to a case study by SeeWhy, promotional discounts within retargeting campaigns that take consumers back to their abandoned cart lifted recovery rate significantly from 18% to 46%.

Tags: cart abandonment, ecommerce, email, online retail, retargeting

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