According to a new report from Catchpoint, shopping cart abandonment costs online retailers between $15-20 billion annually in lost sales. Shopping cart abandonment rates have traditionally run between 60 and 80% of all online shopping experiences. If a customer places an item in their cart on your site, there’s a 60-to- 80-percent chance they won’t buy the item, book the flight, complete the hotel reservation, etc, says the report.
Shopping cart abandonment refers to online customers placing items in their shopping carts on e-commerce sites, but not completing the transaction to buy the items, then eventually leaving the site and their carts altogether. According to the report, smartphones have created a new channel and more buying opportunities for customers; but many of those customers may just be putting items in their cart to buy later from their desktops. Or, save a product to their mobile site shopping carts to eventually buy in a brick-and-mortar store, a sort of “reverse-showrooming.”
Shopping cart abandonment may not signify a lost opportunity as much as precursor to a future sale on a different device or through a different channel, concludes the report.
Some causes of shopping cart abandonment, like page and interface design and performance issues, are within the retailer’s control, says the report. Some customers, though, aren’t so much abandoning their carts as saving purchases for later. In many cases customers are buying multiple items and aren’t ready to check out yet, and may not be ready until days or even weeks later.
And there’s the classic shopping cart abandonment scenario caused by comparison shopping as customers have multiple browser tabs or windows open to multiple e-commerce sites to buy the same products, says the report. They only complete the transaction at the site that has the lowest total price, including shipping fees. This phenomenon is especially common for travel booking sites, leading to the rise of travel aggregator sites which search multiple sites for customers.
Finally, notes the report, shopping cart abandonment studies over the years have typically shown that the No. 1 cause of shopping cart abandonment is shipping charges or other unexpected costs at check-out. That’s why tens of millions of Amazon customers pay for Amazon Prime service and never worry about shipping charges again, opines the report.
Transaction completion is a mission-critical activity for all retail e-commerce sites, so finding out why customers are abandoning their shopping carts becomes of paramount importance. However, concludes the report, no online retailer should rely only on the various studies and surveys on shopping cart abandonment as the dynamics of retail business can vary from site to site, at different times of the year, week, or even day.
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