Cart Abandonment


What is cart abandonment?

Author profile image
Team Storyly
June 22, 2023
0 min read

What is cart abandonment?

Cart abandonment is when customers add items to their online shopping cart, but exit without completing the purchase. Various reasons contribute to this behavior. 

These may include unexpected costs (like shipping, taxes, etc.), a complicated checkout process, website errors, a requirement to create a new user account, or simply a lack of intent to purchase and just browsing or comparison shopping.

Cart abandonment is a significant issue in e-commerce, as it directly impacts the conversion rates and revenues of the business. Therefore, companies use various strategies to reduce cart abandonment, such as providing clear pricing information, simplifying the checkout process, offering various payment methods, or using email marketing to remind customers of their abandoned carts.

Common reasons for cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment can happen for a number of different causes. Here are a few of the most typical:

  • Unexpected costs
  • Complicated checkout process
  • Website errors or technical issues
  • The requirement to create an account
  • Payment security concerns
  • Lack of payment options
  • High product prices or better alternatives elsewhere
  • Just browsing

Unexpected costs

Customers may remove items from their shopping carts if unexpected charges, such as shipping, taxes, or other fees, are too high. Customers might not be able or willing to pay these additional expenses, especially if they weren't made clear at the start of the shopping process.

Complicated checkout process

Cart abandonment may also result from a difficult or lengthy checkout process. Customers may feel that the transaction isn't worth the effort if there are too many steps or requests for information. For this reason, a lot of e-commerce websites try to make their checkout procedures as simple as possible by providing options like one-click ordering or the option to check out as a guest.

Website & app errors or technical issues

Customers may decide to abandon their carts if a website or app crashes, loads slowly, or has other technical issues. They can opt not to complete their transaction because they are annoyed or concerned that the website is not secure.

The requirement to create an account

Customers may abandon their shopping carts if they are required to register for an account before they can make a purchase. Some customers might not want to take the time to complete all of the required fields when setting up an account or they might not want to provide personal information.

Payment security concerns

Customers may choose to abandon their shopping cart if they are concerned about the security of their payment information. This is why it's crucial for e-commerce businesses to employ secure payment methods and openly explain their security policies to users.

Lack of payment options

Customers may remove items from their shopping carts if an e-commerce site doesn't provide a wide range of payment choices. Each person has a distinct preferred form of payment, therefore if that method isn't offered, they can decide against making a transaction.

High product prices or better alternatives elsewhere

Customers may remove items from their shopping carts if they believe the prices are too high or if they discover better alternatives on another website for a lesser price. In e-commerce, comparison shopping is quite widespread, and many customers will visit multiple websites before making a purchase.

Just browsing

Sometimes shoppers will add products to their carts without planning to buy anything. They can be exploring products, making comparison purchases, or simply daydreaming about them. In such instances, there isn't an issue with the website or the purchasing experience that led to the abandonment.

What is the cart abandonment rate?

The cart abandonment rate is a metric in e-commerce that indicates the percentage of online shoppers who add items to their virtual shopping cart but then leave the site without completing the purchase.

A high cart abandonment rate is often a signal that there is friction in the checkout process or other elements of the user experience that are discouraging people from completing their purchases. Understanding this rate and the reasons behind it can help businesses improve their site and reduce the likelihood of potential customers leaving without buying anything.

How to calculate cart abandonment rate

Use the following formula to calculate the cart abandonment rate:

Cart abandonment rate = (Number of completed transactions / Number of shopping carts created) x 100

This gives you the percentage of shopping carts that were created but not converted into a sale.

Formula to calculate the cart abandonment rate: Number of completed purchases divided by the number of shopping carts created. The result is multiplied by 100.
Formula to calculate the cart abandonment rate

How to reduce cart abandonment

Here are some strategies that can be used to reduce cart abandonment:

Simplify the checkout process

Customers are less likely to abandon their carts if your checkout experience is more straightforward and intuitive. Avoid steps that aren't necessary and streamline the procedure.

Transparent pricing

Common reasons for shopping cart abandonment include hidden fees, unforeseen prices, and delivery costs. Make sure all charges are explicit and specified in detail as early as the purchasing process.

Offer multiple payment options

Giving customers a choice of payment options can reduce cart abandonment. This covers payments done with credit/debit cards, PayPal, mobile devices, and other popular methods.

Improve site and app performance

Customers are more likely to abandon their carts if your website or app is slow to respond or unresponsive. Make sure the performance of your website and app is optimal, especially for mobile visitors.

Offer guest checkout

Mandatory account creation can deter customers. Offering a guest checkout option can increase the chances of purchase completion.

Provide assurance of security

Utilize trusted badges and secure server connections (HTTPS) to reassure clients that their personal and financial information is secure.

Implement retargeting and remarketing strategies

Use email campaigns or targeted ads to remind customers of their abandoned carts.

Free shipping

Free delivery can be an effective incentive for customers to complete a purchase if it is practical for your business

Offer a save for later option

Customers may save items they are considering buying but aren't quite ready to do so, which lowers the risk of cart abandonment.

Clear and detailed product information

Providing customers with thorough and detailed product descriptions and high-quality images can help them make more informed purchasing decisions and decrease cart abandonment.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.