Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping Cart Abandonment happens when a customer begins the checkout process for an online order but leaves before completing the purchase.

Any item added to the shopping cart but not bought is considered “abandoned” by the shopper.1

Visual Representation:

abandoned cart visual representation

Causes of Shopping Cart Abandonment

  1. Unexpected Costs: Additional charges such as shipping fees, taxes, or handling fees appearing at checkout can deter customers.
  2. Complicated Checkout Process: A lengthy or confusing checkout process can lead customers to abandon their carts.
  3. Lack of Trust: Concerns about payment security or site reliability can cause customers to leave without buying.
  4. Mandatory Account Creation: Forcing customers to create an account before purchasing can lead to cart abandonment.
  5. Technical Issues: Website errors, slow loading times, or payment processing issues can disrupt purchasing.
  6. Indecision: Customers may be uncertain about purchasing or want more time to compare prices or products.2

Impact on E-Commerce

  • Lost Sales: Each abandoned cart represents a lost sale opportunity.
  • Customer Insight: Analyzing abandonment rates and patterns can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and website performance.
  • Recovery Opportunities: Strategies like email reminders or special offers can help recover abandoned carts and convert them into completed sales.3


An online clothing retailer noticed a 60% shopping cart abandonment rate.

After analyzing customer behavior, they identified high shipping costs as a major deterrent.

By offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount and clearly communicating this offer on the product pages, they saw a 20% decrease in abandonment rates within two months.

Related Terms


1. Rubin, D., Martins, C., Ilyuk, V., & Hildebrand, D. (2020). Online shopping cart abandonment: a consumer mindset perspective. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 37(5), 487-499.

2. Abandoned Cart: Common reasons + techniques to reduce lost sales. BigCommerce. (n.d.-a).

3. 14 reasons for CART abandonment and strategies to improve conversions. Bolt. (n.d.).

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