3 Jul 2014

Shopping Basket Abandonment

Ever added something to your online shopping basket then changed your mind about buying?
Well, you’re not the only one.

In fact, you’re one of a growing audience, between 60-70%, of internet users who’re contributing to the rise in the number of abandoned online baskets.

Basket abandonments are on the rise. Internet users are getting more and more savvy with the way they use the tools at their disposal and we’re now open to much more choice than we’ve ever had before. This, coupled with the range of devices now available to purchase on, means more abandons.


It would be great if no one ever abandoned their shopping carts and every purchase was followed through until complete, but unfortunately things don’t always work that smoothly.

Being presented with greater choice and having access to more devices to buy on contribute massively to higher abandonment rates. But there are a number of other reasons consumers will leave their cart at the checkout.


  1. Being presented with unexpected or hidden costs
  2. Overall price is too expensive 
  3. Decided against buying
  4. The website navigation is too complicated
  5. The website crashed during the process
  6. The process was taking too long or was too long-winded
  7. Excessive payment security checks
  8. Concerns about payment security
  9. Unsuitable delivery options
  10. Website timed out


We’ll discuss sales recovery another time, but before you think about how to recover those lost conversions you need to look at how you can minimise the number of abandons you see in the first place. Getting those all-important conversions the first time round is your priority and there are various factors you can consider to keep your abandoners at bay.

There are a number of elements you can optimise within your purchase process to discourage those unwanted drop outs, used alongside your sales recovery cycle to catch the ones who slip through the net.


Use a guest checkout

To make the purchase process as quick and easy as possible for your customer, offer the option of a guest checkout. In an ideal world your new customer will sign-up for an account, but this could be annoying for someone wanting a quick purchase, who can’t have one because they need to set up a username etc.

Signing up for an account should never be compulsory - you can still obtain key information relevant to the order through a guest checkout. You can also use the opportunity to ask for email opt-in from your new customer so that you can request for more details or to set up an account at a later date, when they have more time.

Be upfront

According to Statistia, 56% of online shoppers cite hidden or unexpected costs as the number one reason for abandoning their shopping carts. Be upfront and honest about what you’re going to charge for delivery, credit card fees and anything else you may need to add on at the end. Make sure you state this clearly around your website and that someone browsing can access this information easily, before they get to the final transaction screen. That way, your customer will be fully aware of what to expect as a
total cost and there’ll be no nasty surprises, or abandons… win, win!

Make the payment easy

Research from Econsultancy shows us that 58% of online shoppers have concerns regarding payment security when using their cards online. A customer’s preferred payment type being unavailable is also another reason why they’ll abandon. Looking at alternative methods adds extra security to the payment process, with research indicating 83% of online retailers that implemented PayPal on their site saw an increase in sales of up to 18%. Not just Paypal, but using other payment methods, like sending an invoice in with the package, is a great way of encouraging that final push needed at the last stage of a transaction.

Be mobile friendly

This includes using mobile optimisation tips in your website’s design to ensure the optimum customer journey for someone purchasing on a mobile or tablet device. Badly designed web pages mean a lot of zooming, scrolling and pinching for your buyer to make sense of what’s on their screen, resulting in a lot of frustration and higher abandonment rates.

Website time-out

If your website has a time limit for some items, like concert tickets, then be clear in letting your buyer know that this is the case. Make sure you state that the transaction will be timed and show your countdown in a prominent place on the screen – this will encourage your buyer to go through the process at the speed needed to complete.

Keep it short and sweet

If the purchase process is lengthy and time-taking, that’s another reason your buyer will abandon. Once they’ve clicked to purchase, the following steps should be kept to a minimum. Make your purchase process straight forward and clear in order to keep your buyer focussed on what they’re doing and not to annoy them with an ill thought-out set-up.