If you own an eCommerce website and have any kind of insight into your traffic (which you should), you’ll know that your potential customers don’t always complete transactions, and leave their virtual shopping cart abandoned.

I’d guess that you have at least a 50% abandonment rate; the documented average is over 69%.

Obviously, to figure out how to improve your abandonment rate (or turn it into an opportunity), we need to understand why people don’t go through with their purchases.


Reasons For Shopping Cart Abandonment

reasons for checkout abandonment

Baymard’s checkout study.

In text, that’s

61% ‒ Extra costs too high

35% ‒ Registration required

27% ‒ Checkout process is too complicated

24% ‒ No up-front total order cost visible

22% ‒ Website had errors or crashed

18% ‒ Didn’t trust the website with credit card details

16% ‒ Delivery would be too slow

10% ‒ Returns policy not satisfactory

8% ‒ Not enough payment methods

5% ‒ Credit card was declined


Do any of these jump out to you as something your business could improve upon?


Obviously the extra costs being too high, the returns policy not being satisfactory and the delivery being too slow are things that some small companies can’t change, but it’s always good to shop around different couriers to get the best deal. Unfortunately, the card being declined is something you can’t help, so that’s 5% lost through no fault of your business.

Looking at that graph, there are still plenty of customers who would buy from you if your site was up to scratch. So, let’s break these issues down, and discuss the reasons for shopping cart abandonment that you can improve just with your website…


Registration Required


Everyone hates being forced to register before you can buy – so why force it on your customers? Guest checkouts are the saving grace of eCommerce websites, and being able to retroactively create an account once the purchase is completed is just the cherry on top.

Customers who were happy with the service can choose to register to your brand, and those who just wanted a one time purchase have still given you money – not abandoned their cart for a competitor with a guest checkout.

All of these tips are about improving the User Experience, and making it easier for people to buy from you is so important that it will come up again.


whs cart checkout

WHSmith’s checkout.


How Can You Improve Your Guest Checkout?



  • Offer discounts to members – whether it’s a discount when you sign up, or discounts through emails – everyone likes spending less money.
  • Mark password fields as optional – obviously this is integral to actually having a guest checkout, but make sure it’s super clear to your users that this option is available.
  • Choose your words wisely – copywriting is always important, and even more so in eCommerce when we get down to the psychology of buying.
  • Highlight the benefits of registration – order tracking, faster checkout, discounts, leaving feedback… let users know why they should become a member!

The Checkout Process is Too Complicated


This problem requires some introspection – what do you think is necessary to a checkout process?

Obviously, the simpler it is for a customer (to a point!) the more likely they are to buy from you.

  • Full Name
  • Email Address
  • Payment Details
  • Address

These are all pretty important. Most other things should have (optional) next to them.

Anything that is deemed integral to your process needs to have autofill enabled. Forms that pre-populate are great for usability – just make sure your fields are marked correctly so they can be properly configured and auto filled by Google.


No Visible Total Order Cost Is Available Upfront


You may have genuinely not thought this was an issue, or you may think you’re being sneaky and tricking people into buying from you without checking their order cost – either way, customers want to know how much they’re spending, otherwise you can almost guarantee that people will abandon their cart when they see their total is way over what they anticipated.

The solution to this is simple; show a ‘cart total’ on every page to remind users of their total totting up, including the postage and packaging (or prompting them that they can spend a certain amount to get free p&p!)


misguided cart

Missguided shopping cart.


Don’t try and skirt around the issue of money with your customers – they need to be comfortable with how much they’re spending, or there’ll be another case of shopping cart abandonment.


Website Had Errors or Crashed


This is a pretty blanket issue that can be fixed simply by staying up to date with the latest version of your software / plug-ins, and making sure your security is up to scratch so you don’t get hacked or taken down!


I don’t trust the website with my bank/ card details


This may be an issue of your website simply not looking up to scratch, or using the right language. This article is a great starting point for improving your language and content to show that your website is trustworthy.

However, it could also be an issue of actual security. This may have been covered broadly in the previous point, but if we’re talking eCommerce websites improving their integrity we also need to include HTTPS.

There are three levels of HTTPS so deciding what’s best for you may take some time but having that little green symbol in the corner will guarantee that you’re capable of handling your customers’ details securely.


HTTPS security

Not Enough Payment Methods Available


This is something that isn’t necessarily considered by shop owners as an issue.

“I have a paypal account and so do most other people!”

The trouble here is, if your customer doesn’t have a paypal account, they aren’t going to make one just to work with you.

You need to figure this out on an individual basis depending on the type of shop you have. It might be best to contact your development team or ask us what your best options are.


I hope these tips on how to tackle the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment on your eCommerce website were helpful. Your website can always be improving and gaining you more traction and revenue – it’s simply about figuring out the right way to do that for your brand and business.

Thanks for reading!