The Science Behind Shopping Cart Abandonment

The Science Behind Shopping Cart AbandonmentOne of the most significant problems for online businesses is not always how to get the customer to the brand, but how to get them to complete their purchases. Shopping cart abandonment can be a significant barrier to successfully making sales.

There are ways for your online business to entice those customers back to your store to complete the order. These strategies include automatically sending a follow-up email where you remind a customer what they’ve recently put into their cart but have not purchased. But for these strategies to be successful, you need to know precisely why your customer has abandoned the cart.

The Science Behind Abandoned Shopping Carts

In April 2014, comScore did some research on why consumers abandoned carts. Their findings are highly useful in creating automated sales campaigns. Their first finding was that a surprisingly high number of internet users not only abandon carts, but they will also add products to their shopping cart with no intention of making a purchase.

It can make it challenging to determine what the customer wants. When an abandoned cart contains half a dozen or more products, and you want your emails focused on one or two items, how can you or your software decide which is the best product to promote?

Wingify surveyed in October 2014 and asked why consumers abandoned their carts. The number one response was unexpected shipping costs. Another reason was that consumers want to know the total cost of a cart when they bought multiple products, or discounts weren’t taken into account until later on in the purchasing process.

Customers can also become annoyed with over-complicated purchasing paths. If it takes more than a few clicks to complete the order, then you might find that people feel it isn’t worth the effort. It is one of the main reasons why Amazon installed the ‘one-click buy’ function on their website.

Your site’s speed might also play a role in limiting your sales. For every second it takes your website to load, you lose 7% of your revenue. If this were applied to Amazon, this would mean that a one-second delay could cost the business $1.6 billion in sales.

Other reasons why customers might abandon their shopping carts include needing to register or the lack of payment options. The first can be highly troublesome since it gives you no way to know where to send follow-up emails.

The Follow Up

The next stage of your business’ sales growth needs to concentrate, among other things, on increasing the re-engagement of cart abandoners. How you can do this is up for debate. You could send your customer an automated email reminding them the product is in their shopping cart. However, with no real reason in this email why they should buy your product, you probably won’t achieve a high conversion rate.

Instead, what you want is to consider is the reason why they abandoned the cart in the first place. Then you can send a tailored message that addresses their initial concern and offers them a solution. For instance, if they wanted to pay via other methods, including a section in the email about other payment options can seal the deal.

How can you determine this? It’s all about monitoring wherein the process your customer abandons the cart. If they do so when you’ve announced shipping costs. Or when they are on the payments screen – you’ve got a clear indication of what disrupted their purchase. From there, you can create the content to target them specifically and convince them to come back and buy.


Abandoned shopping carts are particularly troublesome for online businesses. They can be part of a considerable section of lost revenue and deny businesses the funds for investment and growth. Knowing why a customer has abandoned the cart and then sending follow-up emails. Specifically targeting their concerns, can help bring a customer back to the website and complete the purchase.

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