Why do people abandon the shopping cart?

Main reasons for the shopping cart abandonment

There are several reasons for this behavior. Some of them stay out of the control of the online shop, however many of them can be controlled and eliminated in the checkout process. Let’s take a look at the main reasons for the shopping cart abandonment:

1. People get distracted

The situation takes place where the customers are distracted during the purchase process. Some distractors are external and have nothing to do with the website such as telephone ringing, children crying or boss calling for the meeting. However, many distractors are actually on the website. The checkout process should be as simple and clear as possible. Showing other offers or proposing products to the customer, calling them to sign up to your Newsletter or give their opinion, can lead to the cart abandonment and not completing the purchase.

2. Customers are afraid of the complicated checkout process

The observations show that many people are simply frightened when they see huge, complicated form with many inputs to fill in. That’s why having a simple, short and user-friendly checkout form is so important. It’s not easy to combine two different needs: the ecommerce managers wanting to collect as many information as they can and the customers wanting to fill the form in in a short time. However, this compromise should be achieved and the simple form is a crucial factor in the customer satisfaction and minimizing the abandonment rate.

3. They simply didn’t intend to buy

There are several cases when people just add chosen items to their shopping cart just to check the final price and shipping costs, however they are not ready to finalize the purchase - they want to do it later, they are comparing prices in different stores or they prefer to make a purchase in a non-online shop.

4. Customers feel insecure

People asked for the reasons to abandon the checkout process, often indicate the lack of security. The online shop should put much effort to give their customers the feeling that the transaction is secure - SSL protocol, safety icons, information about the safety issues can be provided in order to make their fear lower. 

5. People want to try the products on before buying

There are still many people who simply search the items in the Internet, compare the prices, but are willing to try them out in the store before actually buying them. Online shops that offer free delivery and the possibility of free return in case the customer doesn’t want the product try to cope with that situation, however it is still present.

6. Technical problems appear

The very common reason why people abandon the checkout process are technical problems such as long loading time, images not loading, unreadable  error messages that block the possibility to proceed, errors in the website behavior or even website not working on mobile devices. It is crucial to optimize the checkout process in all the details to be sure that this situation will not make people resign from your online shop as they will never come back.

7. Customers are frightened by additional costs

Not having clearly stated shipping costs and adding additional costs after placing items in the shopping cart make people feel cheated by the online shop. The best solution is to offer different shipping options with one standard option of free shipping, however it depends on the type of business and shop’s policy.


“28 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics" Baymard Institute

"E-Commerce: Why customers abandon their shopping cart?”, Jamie Applessed

“Why online retailers are losing 67,45% of sales and what to do about it?”, Mark Macdonald

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