Ever since we’ve optimized our checkout page, we’ve been keeping track of our shopping cart abandonment. So this, added by a request from Joost, compelled me to write a post on that very subject: shopping cart abandonment. So I started doing some digging, as I always do. And during this digging, I came across a few things I hadn’t really thought of myself. But when I started thinking about it, they sounded so stupid simple, I wondered why not.
You see, a lot of the focus on shopping cart abandonment is on why people would abandon your shopping cart, and how to prevent it. However, I think there’s one step to take into account before abandonment.
Use of shopping cart
A research by Close and Kukar-Kinney (2010) convinced me that, at first, it’s not about why people abandon your shopping cart, but about why they’re using your shopping cart in the first place! I always just assumed, as I’m sure some of you did as well, this was because people were intending to buy your products. That’s a pretty big assumption, when you think of it!
Close and Kukar-Kinney actually found that a significant number of people also used the shopping cart as a sort of ‘wish list’ or to simply check out the total price (looking for hidden costs). This is only one study, because I simply could not find any more. It seems I’m not alone in my naiveté.
However, it’s mentioned in at least one other study by Kaufman-Scarborough and Lindquist (2002) that people might use the shopping cart for other purposes than just buying directly. So this goes to show that shopping cart abandonment isn’t all there is. They say “abandonment” could well be an oversimplification.
And I think they’re right: if people use your shopping cart as a wish list, they’re not exactly abandoning your shopping cart. They’re putting it away for later use. So calling it abandonment is in itself an assumption. I think it would be better to call it shopping cart use, and understanding how and why people use your shopping cart is quite important.
I hear you thinking right now: “how am I supposed to learn why people are abandoning my shopping cart, let alone how they’re using it?”. Granted, this is hard, but it’s definitely not impossible. A survey company called iPerceptions recognized this opportunity last year, when they launched their new service. Unfortunately, this service is, as of yet, only available for businesses with an Enterprise account. And that’s way too expensive for most of us.
I’m hoping this is just an onset of development that means more of services or products focused on shopping cart abandonment or use will be released. In the meantime, there’s another way for you to at least get some information. This is an exit intent survey, which means it’s a survey that only pops up if you’re moving your cursor to close the window. If you ask people at this point in time why they’re leaving, it could give you some very useful insights.
Baymard Institute has compiled 24 different studies and found that the average shopping cart abandonment is a whopping 67.89%! So you want to be sure you’ve looked at it from every angle possible for your business. So, if at all possible, try to find out why and how people are using your shopping cart. This will give you a more total view of things.
Shopping cart abandonment
Obviously there’s still a (large) part of the people that are leaving the shopping cart that actually do abandon it. Results from surveys asking customers why they abandoned the shopping cart give useful additional insights:
This chart by Statista shows that unexpected costs were a big factor in why people abandoned their shopping cart. As always, you need to be aware that methods of doing such research, especially in surveys, can lead to some discrepancies. A study by comScore, for example, showed that “not being ready to purchase” or “saving the items for later” are the biggest factors.
However, the comScore study also mentioned as third biggest factor that customers felt the shipping costs were too high. This tells us that clarity about your prices and additional costs is probably a very important factor in shopping cart abandonment. So be sure to be very transparent about this!
Being clear about your prices and additional costs is just one of the things we mentioned as an improvement for your checkout page or shopping cart. There’s a lot of things you can do to keep people from abandoning or ‘misusing’ your shopping cart. After reading this post, one of them must seem quite obvious: offer people the use of a wish list. A lot of the big online retailers are actually already doing that, such as Amazon:
Some call it a ‘watch list’ or another creative name, but the idea is always the same. This is just a way to reduce the ‘noise’ in your statistics from misuse of your shopping carts.
And, as said, being clear about your costs and not surprising your customers with them will help decrease your shopping cart abandonment. Of course, there are loads of other things you can improve to decrease your shopping cart abandonment and increase your sales. We’ve recently started offering Conversion Reviews, which will shed light on this and much more!
Over to you
What about your shopping cart? Is it being abandoned or misused? Or do you have a shopping cart that works? Let me know!