Why shoppers chicken out of the checkout

Why shoppers abandon their carts, and how to prevent it.

Inconvenience to indecision – there are various reasons for consumers to jump ship when they’ve already added a product to their shopping cart. The oh-so dreadful cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges e-commercers face, especially when digital competition is higher than ever. 

And although we can’t completely eliminate online window shoppers, we can implement some tactics to re-engage shoppers to finished what they started. 

Why do shoppers really abandon their carts? 

The online shopping experience for a consumer is the meat and potatoes when it comes to complete purchase. Many things on a website impacts peoples decision to buy or not, and one very important thing to keep in mind is that the majority of visitors don’t even have any purchase intent at all. 

In fact, 59% of online shoppers browse retail sites with no plan to buy anything, and if they finally do, it normally takes up 3-5 visits before they actually complete their purchase.

The main reason for abandoned carts is extra costs that aren’t revealed until it’s time to click “complete order”.
Tip: Even if there are shipping fees and taxes that can only be added while the cart is in check-out, try to be as transparent as possible and display these costs upfront.

Reasons for consumers to abandon cart:

  • 50% due to high shipping costs 
  • 41% due to indecision 
  • 25% due to high product price 
  • 24% due to wanting to save product for later consideration

Other reasons can be no guest checkout option, slow website, slow shipping and not enough payment options.

Ways to give consumers a little nudge in the right direction

If you offer free shipping then be sure to promote it on your site even before the online shoppers reaches the checkout. No extra fees or shipping costs are good incentives for retaining costumers as most people like freebies, and therefore will shine a positive light on how your brand is perceived.
To go further, you can look over your CX by for example highlighting free shipping in green in the checkout, and consider your copy throughout your website. Some CTA:s can feel intimidating or too much of a commitment, so if your checkout button says “Pay now”, you might want to change it to “View Cart”. 

Mobile user = High bounce rate

It might come as a surprise, but the highest abandonment rates actually comes from mobile users. Almost 4 out of 10 shoppers leave their cart behind when browsing a site through mobile.

A crucial factor is how a brand actually uses their space to promote product discovery for a consumer, which is, as we know, a limited plot of land. 

Tip: Carefully adapt your mobile site with image placement, site navigation, CTA:s and text to ensure your visitors have a smooth way of converting. 

Another factor is the fleetingness of being on the go, which can make it difficult for a shopper to stay engaged and not be distracted by other factors. 

Adding video to your product sites is a great way to keep shoppers intrigued and actually raises the chances to buy with 35%. If the video is also interactive, you can increase the purchase intent by 9x. Read more about shoppable videos here. 

When it comes to the actual site, we can’t stress enough the importance of smooth and decluttered navigation, and accordion menus can notably reduce the abandonment rate. 

Accordion menus are elements that are stacked on top of each other, that expand to show more choices or information that would otherwise be invisible. This way, shoppers won’t be overwhelmed with too much content and thus can focus on their shopping process. 

Recovery emails 

One of the most effective ways to make shoppers change their mind about leaving their shopping carts behind is: recovery emails. They can be pre-programmed to be sent out as soon as a consumer leaves the website which reminds and re-engages them to complete their purchase. When asking consumers about marketing emails, 59% stated that they affect their choice to purchase. A good example is a retail company who sent out these types of emails, saying that the items were still available as well as including a 5€ discount when they proceeded to checkout. This strategy increased the brands conversions by 28%. 


While we can’t prevent shoppers from leaving their carts behind completely, there are definitely ways we can significantly reduce the bounce rates. With transparent fees, seamless websites, easy checkouts, engaging content such as interactive, shoppable videos and focus on retention, there’s a good chance you’ll see far less of those poor, orphaned shopping carts in the future. 

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