Top reasons customers abandon carts & how you can address them

Cart abandonment, the act of shoppers adding items to their online cart but never checking out, is one of the biggest frustrations for online merchants. Especially after all the work they’ve done to get their store live and attract customers. 

The stats behind this problem are truly staggering as well.

It’s estimated that globally between 55% and 81.4% of online carts are abandoned, with the average percentage across dozens of studies being 70%. That’s just over two carts being abandoned for every cart that successfully makes it through checkout. 

This results in literally trillions of dollars worth of merchandise left abandoned every year in online carts. 

So why is this occurring? What is causing two out of every three shoppers who add items to their cart to fail to complete their purchase? 

This post will take you through the top reasons for online cart abandonment and suggest some practical solutions to help reduce your cart abandonment rate. 

The most common reasons for cart abandonment

While cart abandonment is a major problem for online retailers, the good news is that we have a very clear understanding of why customers abandon carts. A customer experience study by UPS and comScore found that the top reasons are:

  1. Unexpectedly high shipping costs
  2. Comparing prices across multiple sites
  3. Not yet being ready to purchase but wanted to save the cart for later
  4. The cart total was not high enough to qualify for free shipping
  5. Shipping and other fees being presented too late during checkout 
  6. Having to create an account to complete the purchase 
  7. Preferred payment method not offered
  8. The customer getting distracted and forgetting

How to reduce your cart abandonment rate

Understanding why online shoppers abandon carts alone is not useful. To start reducing your cart abandonment rate, you’ll need to implement changes to address these underlying causes. To have the biggest impact, make sure you’re doing the following:

Be upfront with your shipping costs

If cart abandonment is the bane of online retailers then shipping costs are the bane of online shoppers. 

Obviously, the easiest solution to reduce your cart abandonment rate is to offer free shipping, especially on all orders regardless of the cart total. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why this is simply not a possibility for many retailers. 

If you’re not in a position to offer free shipping, then make sure you’re upfront with your shipping costs so that customers know what they can expect to pay for shipping before the last step of checkout. 

Send abandoned cart emails

The abandoned cart email is one of the most essential email automations you should set up. These are simply email follow-ups that send to people who abandon their cart reminding them to complete their purchase. 

This effectively addresses the issue of people getting distracted and forgetting about their cart, as well as those who were not quite ready to purchase when they created their cart. To help convince shoppers who are just comparing prices between sites, these emails often also include a special offer like in the example below. 

Top reasons customers abandon carts & how you can address them

You can also create different abandoned cart email flows depending on the customer’s cart value. So if someone has just missed out on qualifying for free shipping, you might want to consider offering it anyway to address the fourth top reason for cart abandonment. 

To set up abandoned cart emails, install the SmartrMail module from the PrestaShop Addons Marketplace here

	SmartrMail Email Marketing

SmartrMail Email Marketing

SmartrMail is the easiest way to send email that delights your customers and gets more sales. We're the email marketing app for merchants who want to do better email marketing, but don't have the time or resources.

You can also learn more about abandoned cart emails including best-practice strategies and how to set them up here

Make your checkout as simple as possible

One of the top reasons for cart abandonment is customers simply getting distracted. To help address this you’ll want to make your checkout process as simple as possible. 

The more steps involved and the longer it takes someone to checkout, the more likely something is going to distract them during the process and they’ll abandon the cart. 

One of the steps you’ll definitely want to avoid including is forcing someone to create an account before they can purchase an item.

While there are several benefits to having customers create an account, forcing them to do so is one of the top reasons for cart abandonment. So if you include this step, make sure it’s obvious that it’s optional and not required. 

Offer plenty of payment options

While being upfront about shipping and extra fees and making your checkout process simple will reduce the number of cart abandoners, and abandoned cart emails will help recover those comparing prices or getting distracted, there is one other thing you should do: offer plenty of payment options. 

The more methods for payment that you offer, the less likely it will be that a customer will abandon their cart because their preferred method wasn’t available.

To reduce the chances of this happening with your customers, expand the number of methods you provide during checkout. To achieve this, consider installing some additional payment options modules.


Cart abandonment is, unfortunately, a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon for online merchants. But that does not mean you should give up hope.

By implementing the above suggestions, you’ll reduce the number of sales you lose to cart abandonment and make your store more profitable. 

And with these changes being quick and easy to implement, there’s no reason to put them off any longer.

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