How to Tackle Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

In the world of online shopping, shopping cart abandonment represents a genuine threat to profits. Regardless of the type of business, customers have plenty of reasons and opportunities to “abandon” their shopping carts. Just as in a retail outlet, they can walk away from the checkout process anytime they like, often just before clicking on “Purchase” (much to the chagrin of businesses that depend on these sales).

According to Multichannel Merchant, 75% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts prior to purchase. Of course, there’s always the possibility shoppers will, for their own reasons, change their minds to buy at the last minute, but all too often negative elements in the purchasing experience result in shopping cart abandonment.

Here are common shopping cart issues and suggestions on how to improve the mobile shopping experience.

Lack of Optimization

Your website should be optimized for use among all types of mobile devices. Otherwise, potential customers on their smartphones might grow frustrated by slow loading times or by buttons that are too small to use. Optimization doesn’t mean shrinking your existing web pages, but rather the process by which your site becomes more easily navigable across a variety of platforms. It also significantly enhances the likelihood that customers doing research will encounter your business on Google and other search engines.

Too Many Obstacles to Overcome

In an effort to collect data on prospects and customers, online merchants sometimes place too many obstacles in their path. Read on for the common roadblocks to be aware of.

1. Requiring Registration

Not everyone wishes to surrender a lot of personal data when they make their first purchase. Instead, make it possible for buyers to complete the ordering process without requiring registration. Don’t scare them off by demanding they fill out forms.

2. Requesting Unnecessary Information

In the same vein, you’ll want to avoid asking for nonessential information. Look closely at your data fields and see if something can be eliminated (as unnecessary data for your business). This helps streamline the shopping experience.

3. Not Maintaining Information Already Inputted

It’s also important to maintain information that’s already inputted. Sometimes a shopper starts to fill out required fields, then becomes distracted by something else and leaves your site temporarily. Making them start all over again from scratch (that is, re-entering data already supplied earlier) is obviously a source of potential aggravation and cause for abandonment.

4. Not Tracking Progress in Shopping

Lastly, many shoppers abandon their carts because they don’t have a sense they’re nearing their ultimate purchasing objective. Each “next step” might bring them closer to that goal, but (particularly for visitors who are new to a site), there’s no indication that progress is being made. One solution is to devise a clearly visible progression as each step of the purchasing process is completed.

Slow Loading Process

Buyers are just like everyone else. They don’t want to waste their time waiting for a web page to appear due to slow-loading images or other features. Any system that overloads the front-end experience is likely to drive away prospective customers.

Doubts About the Security of Your Site

If at any point shoppers have cause to feel their personal or financial information might be compromised, you’ll likely lose their business. It’s vital that a user has complete confidence in your digital payment process. Only work with respected and established payment providers that guarantee the most up-to-date security features and options, including:

  • The ability to handle cross-border transactions.
  • Use of widely accepted verification icons.
  • Payment options that work for your target customer base.

Not only will a lack of proven data-security safeguards cause shoppers to abandon their carts; any data breach or infringement on customer information can irretrievably tarnish a company’s reputation and wreck its prospects for growth.

Lack of Easy-to-Understand CTAs

Many shoppers like being guided through a transaction, particularly if they’re new to the site or the process is complicated. Here’s where a well-placed and clearly articulated call to action (CTA) can work wonders.

Don’t clutter your page with multiple CTAs. Instead, determine the one CTA that can move the process forward and highlight it through color and other eye-catching graphics. You’re leading a trusting customer toward the final click — whatever you can do to ease the process will encourage, rather than frustrate, that customer.

Staying On Top of Shopping Cart Abandonment

As noted above, there’s no one reason for widespread shopper cart abandonment. Rather, this unfortunate trend can be traced to multiple causes, if only because shoppers don’t come in a one-size-fits-all form.

Shopping cart abandonment can be minimized if you conduct a comprehensive assessment of the entire process on your site and fix anything that gets in the customer’s way. According to, a seamless checkout process “is the soul of every e-commerce business, so yours needs to provide the great user experience that will prod them to click the order button.”

Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi is a veteran freelance business writer specializing in exploring the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in the U.S. today. A former senior writer for Vistage International (a global membership organization of CEOs), Lee regularly produces articles, white papers, blog posts and more for the diverse small business audience.

See all posts by Lee Polevoi
  • All views expressed on the published articles at are those of each of the authors, and do not in any way represent the opinions of Mastercard International Incorporated or any of its affiliates (“Mastercard”). Mastercard is not responsible of the information contained in these articles.