E-Commerce Improvements – Part 2: Shopping Cart Abandonment Best Practices



Has this ever happened to you?

You’re in the middle of shopping at a store but then you decide to check your email, make a couple of calls, and look at some cute puppy photos. You’re so distracted that you forget why you are even at the store (even though your cart is loaded up), so you just leave the cart right there in the middle of the aisle and head home.

Though this probably hasn’t happened in your real life, it has most likely happened in your virtual life. People abandon carts online all the time for even the most random reasons.

In Part 1 of this series on e-commerce improvements, we discussed shop page optimization methods that improve conversions. In this article, we’ll look at how to decrease shopping cart abandonment since it’s such a huge hurdle for conversions.

Here’s a scary stat: The average rate of cart abandonment across the globe is 75.6%, and that increases to 85.65% on mobile devices. As frightening as that is, it’s not a given, so let’s dive into some solutions.

What Contributes to Shopping Cart Abandonment & How to Fix It

Let’s tackle this problem head-on by looking at 7 of the top reasons people abandon their carts, plus tips for fixing those issues so you can increase your conversion rates.

Slow Load Times

A slow loading page is the kiss of death for e-commerce businesses, and it is the biggest cause of shopping cart abandonment, increasing the problem by an additional 75%!

Here are the best ways to overcome this issue:

Required Registration

A whopping 35% of cart abandonments occur as a result of required registration prompts. We all want to collect data on our customers, but we can’t do that if they don’t actually become our customers.

The way to fix this is to offer guest checkout. The cool part about this is that it actually entices shoppers to set up an account the next time they purchase from you. By making the purchasing process easy, convenient, and frictionless, you turn them into loyal customers, especially when you provide incentives to having an account.

Hidden Costs

Another 55% of people abandon the cart because of costs they were unaware of, such as shipping costs, surcharges, taxes, etc. There is no debating it; it’s shady to tack on fees at the end.

Shipping is one of the biggest culprits. People hate paying for shipping. In fact, according to UPS data, it is the biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment. But even more than that, online shoppers hate being surprised by shipping costs, especially outrageous ones.

Here’s what you do:

Complicated Checkout Process

A staggering 27% of people abandon their carts because the checkout process is overcomplicated. You know how you feel when there is only one checkout line open at Walmart? You stand there for a few minutes and if that line isn’t moving fast enough, you start evaluating if it’s worth the wait. When shopping online, it’s even easier to leave because all you have to do is click away—you didn’t even waste the gas to get there.

Here’s how you avoid this:


Roughly 35% of people leave because they feel the site isn’t secure. No one wants to hand sensitive information about themselves to strangers if they aren’t sure it’s safe to do so.

Here’s how to demonstrate security:

Return Policy

About 80% of consumers won’t make a purchase because the company doesn’t have a good return policy. Making a purchase online is more difficult than in stores because shoppers can’t touch the product or even really see it. They are relying on information and photos to make a decision. That’s why, when we purchase online, we want to feel secure in knowing that if we come to regret our purchase, we can get our money back.

Here’s the way to resolve this:

Delivery Time

An estimated 16% of people leave because the delivery time to receive the item is too slow. When we make a purchase, we are excited, and we want to receive it as soon as possible. Fast delivery times aren’t always possible, but you can reduce shopping cart abandonment by doing the following:

Website Layout Tips for Improving Shopping Cart Abandonment

The above issues are key, but wait, there’s more! The layout of your e-commerce site is a huge reason why your customers either follow through or jet. Here are 5 ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment through the layout and functionality of your site:

Use Thumbnails

When we are standing in line at a store, it’s common to look over the items in our shopping carts. We are reminded of how excited we are to have found the items, and it reinforces our desire to own them.

The same thing goes for shopping online, but it’s more difficult to do. The only user-friendly way to do this is to add thumbnails for your products so that when they are in the shopping cart, the customer can view them at a glance.

Improve Cart Navigation

You’ve probably experienced the issue of being in the middle of making a purchase and then realizing you need to change something on a previous screen, and when you hit the back button, all of your info is lost. That sucks! And it leads to disgruntled shoppers who abandon their carts.

Avoid this issue by giving shoppers an easy way to navigate back and forth between their cart and the store. Also, make it easy for them to save what is in their cart for a later purchase. Ensure the whole process is easy and intuitive.

Offer Several Payment Options

It’s maddening to get to the last stage of a purchase only to realize the site doesn’t allow you to pay the way you want to pay. If you don’t offer multiple payment options, you are increasing your cart abandonment rates.

More and more payment systems are entering the market, and people are excited about using them, so make sure you include them. Consider adding Apple Pay and Google Wallet to your payment options, especially if your customers tend to be younger, and make sure to offer all credit card options and PayPal.

Use Active Call to Actions

Just because shoppers have gotten to the checkout page doesn’t mean they won’t abandon their carts. Don’t abandon your customers at the most critical time! Continue to use call-to-action (CTA) buttons and include actionable words that are in alignment with the CTA buttons elsewhere on your website.

Make your buttons clear and look at it as though you are guiding your customers along the path to a completed purchase, giving them the easiest, most enjoyable way to do that.

In Conclusion

Overcoming shopping cart abandonment is all about creating an experience that engages your customers, makes their lives easy, and gives them what they want. You can’t avoid it altogether, as some of it is just the nature of online shopping, but with the tips presented in this article, you can dramatically decrease those abandonments and increase your conversions.


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Filed Under: E-Commerce & Sales

About Jon Maday

Jon recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a degree in marketing and economics. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and loves his Chicago sports teams. Jon found his passion for marketing while in college and decided to pursue a career in the digital side of marketing. He is an eager learner and started with Viral Solutions as an intern before accepting a position upon graduation. Outside of work, Jon enjoys hanging out with friends and watching sporting events.