Why do customers abandon carts?

October 29, 2012 by Paul Byrne

You’ve probably seen your cart abandonment rate statistics that tell you when and how many shoppers bail on you. However, it doesn’t necessarily tell you why. I saw an infographic posted by the good people at Milo that can help merchants start to tackle the ‘why’ behind it.

The top reasons they cite are:

  1. They were just browsing.
  2. Unexpected delivery charges, or the cost of shipping was more than anticipated.
  3. They expect free shipping.
  4. There doesn’t seem to be a clear commitment to a delivery schedule.

I spent 5 years in strategic retail and restaurant marketing at PepsiCo and Pizza Hut and we knew the value of convenience and the disincentive of surprise. In fact, when we simplified our pricing so that customers could easily calculate the price of their pizza from the menu, sales went up measurably. While I couldn’t go into all of the research here, the basic rule of thumb was that surprises are BAD.

It seems simple, but, if you’re ordering a 1/2 cheese, 1/2 supreme pizza on Hand-Tossed dough with extra pepperoni and you have to calculate that in your head, chances are you will just give up and go next door.

The same principle applies to purchasing online. If you order an item worth $20 and get to checkout and an extra $6 in shipping and handling and another $1 in tax are added, you feel like you’ve been given the old bait-and-switch routine and you will not like it! Your customers don’t like it either. And, if they are new customers, chances are you have just lost their trust, even if you aren’t doing anything ‘wrong.’

So, to combat the ‘bad surprise’ issue, Razoyo recommends you consider a couple of strategies:

  • Use FREE shipping. Not only does this eliminate the surprise, but, it can help seal the deal on those who were just browsing.
  • If you can’t offer free shipping, use a simple shipping table and make it clear. For example, Overstock charges $2.95 for shipping on just about everything.
  • State your shipping charges on your item detail page. While the up-front disclosure may turn away some shoppers, they probably would have abandonded their cart, anyway. The sooner you disclose a fee or charge, the more likely you are to build trust.
  • Commit to a delivery schedule and follow it. I’ve seen stores that quote 10 to 20 business days shipping. While that may make sense for some customized products, try to lock down the shipping time. For example, if some customizations require more time, make it clear on the product information page.

Again, the key to building trust is up-front disclosure and simple, easy-to-understand business practices. If you would like a consultation on your store, click over to the Razoyo Shop for merchants and chat with us!

Subscribe to our newsletter for regular community updates, case studies, and more.