Shopping Cart Abandonment

Definition of Shopping Cart Abandonment

The occurrence of a visitor to an e-commerce or paid membership site abandoning the checkout process after indicating an intention to purchase one or more items by selecting it and adding to their digital shopping cart.

Shopping Cart Abandonment in Depth

This term is primarily relevant to sites that monetize by selling physical goods or memberships. Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a visitor fails to complete the checkout process, meaning that the site owner misses out on potential revenue.

Though it is a remnant of brick-and-mortar retail outlets, the term “shopping cart” has also come to be associated with the non-physical location where online shoppers gather goods they intend to buy. Almost every site that allows the purchase of physical goods utilizes some variation of the “shopping cart” term:

Example of an Online Shopping Cart

Most studies indicate that shopping cart abandonment rates are extremely high, meaning that it is fairly common for online shoppers to take the first step towards completing a transaction but ultimately give up before the process is complete. There are a number of best practices that can be put in place to combat shopping cart abandonment and increase conversion rate, which ultimately leads to more revenue.

Based on a study by the Baymard Institute, the industry-wide shopping cart abandonment rate is approximately 68%.

Abandonment Solutions

Reducing shopping cart abandonment can result in a meaningful increase in revenue for sites that sell physical or digital products. There are a number of strategies that can be employed to do this, including:

  • “Remarketing” to known shoppers with targeted ads
  • Offering coupons
  • Streamlining checkout process

There are a number of ways to implement each of the above, especially the third bullet point. Often, the easiest way to reduce shopping cart abandonment involves eliminating frustrations and roadblocks from the actual checkout process. This can include:

  • Reducing the number of fields required
  • Reducing the number of pageloads between item selection and payment processing
  • Maximize number of payment options (including PayPal, Bitcoin, and others)