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A sudden rise in shopping cart abandonment? How to identify a leak in your eCommerce funnel

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Their cart is full. They’re happy. They’re ready to checkout and place the order. And then they’re gone. 

This scenario provides sleepless nights to many eCommerce owners and managers. While a high cart abandonment rate is one of the most frustrating statistics, it’s also a very common issue across all industries. According to research from the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. It gets even higher for mobile users, reaching 85.65%.

While the high numbers here might be just a characteristic of your particular niche and target group, a sudden surge in your abandonment rate is a different thing. It’s a clear indicator that something has gone wrong recently. Here’s a couple of problems that may be responsible for this issue in your eCommerce.

Why do customers suddenly start dumping their shopping carts?

Your hard-earned traffic turns into users that start their journey across your product pages while filling up their cart. The time spent on these tasks is their investment. Yet, after spending a couple of minutes in your shop and clicking through all the product pages, when their cart is full and ready to check out, the majority of them still decide to leave. It’s a sign of a problem.

Your users love online shopping, but they love it to a certain degree. There are many obstacles that can get in their way, ranging from sketchy extra costs and a long checkout process to technical issues. Those obstacles create friction and frustration that can bounce users away from the last step of the ordering process. 

The most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Sudden bursts of shopping cart abandonment are usually connected with a particular technical problem within your system. Based on Sleeknote’s cart abandonment statistics, some of the most common causes are:

Skyrocketing loading times

We’re not used to waiting online. Everything happens so fast that we want the results instantly. Not getting that makes us angry, and you wouldn't like your customers when they’re angry.

If your shoppers have to wait three seconds for a page to load, 57% of them will  abandon their cart. That’s a crazy number that shows how efficient and scalable your system has to be to serve those customers quickly.

You can quickly check your page speed, but remember, it’s a complex thing. For instance, your back end can choke only during peaks in traffic or when using certain features. You need a proper load testing strategy to map these issues.

Changing the user experience

Have you recently redesigned your website? If so, “where’s that damn ‘Order’ button?” Your users might not know, even if it seems obvious to you. They don’t need much to get upset and bail out. 

Filling out all the details during checkout also puts a lot of pressure on the design of your user experience. All the confusing steps and additional data that needs to be entered are the holes that your sales funnel bleeds through.

According to Statista, 30% of users leave when asked to enter credit card data for the second time. A similar number leaves when asked for shipping information again.

Payment issues

Many checkout issues revolve around the payment process. It’s a fragile moment that often requires redirecting your user to another system. It can either not work properly, be poorly integrated, too slow, suspicious, or counter-intuitive.

Those problems are also easy to notice. Notifications of failed payments are an obvious red warning light. 

Bad promotion policy

Promotion policies are an entirely separate issue that can provide a firm boost to your shopping cart abandonment rate for a couple of reasons.

    1. It may be a source of confusing pricing and extra costs popping up during the checkout process. You don’t want to be surprised by these at the very end, and both of those things are in the top issues that drive people away from finalizing orders.
    2. If the discount code doesn’t work, 46% of users will abandon their cart. Who’d blame them? You feel robbed when that happens. Why would you pay extra?
    3. If you have the wrong promotion policy, customers will quickly discover that and spread the news. Some companies make cart abandonment an important trigger for activating their discounts. If every customer that drops their cart gets a 15% off redemption code, soon all of them will be dumping it.

Lack of trust

Trust issues make 17% of users leave their cart. Does something seem fishy during the shopping process? Whatever. Just leave and go somewhere you feel safe. What contributes to the lack of trust and safety is bad design, cheesy copywriting, and in general, lack of quality and consistency. You simply don’t leave your credit card data in places that feel suspicious.

The quickest way to lose the trust of your users is an outdated SSL certificate. Their browser will actively warn them about using your site. Keep it updated and active.

Making an account required

Having an account has multiple benefits, but creating an account is additional work. Forcing your users to create an account is usually in the no-go zone. It creates friction you don’t want to create at this moment.

If you force users into creating accounts, this is your problem. Consider changing this policy.

Less obvious causes for shopping cart abandonment worth checking

Issues with saving shopping carts

This one won’t be so obvious. Some users that shop online will expect their cart to stay intact after they come back to your shop. They may also encounter some other problems during the shopping process and have to refresh their session. It feels obvious for them that they’ll find the items back in their cart. They expect it to be automatically saved.

We’re not living in a perfect world. Sometimes, when you come back to your shopping session, you find your cart empty. It’s gone along with all your hard work. After this happens, it’s very difficult to win back users’ trust. There’s no way to come back to the abandoned cart if it’s been scrapped.

Losing your shopping cart is one of the most infuriating scenarios. Check if saving sessions works as it should.

Lack of proper checkout options

This is a problem that becomes visible during global rollouts. Every market is a bit different, and customers may be used to particular options being available. If you don’t offer the payment or delivery method users expect, they may abandon their cart.

Do your research before entering a new market. Conduct user tests, and map their activities on your website.

We’re the users, and we’re furious!

It doesn’t take much to infuriate a user, and if you do, they’ll dump you without giving it a thought. Those scenarios mentioned above are just a few of the possible problems. In the modern age of complex eCommerce ecosystems, the problem might be bigger or something different entirely. If you need help in finding out what your problem is and solving it, our team of eCommerce experts will be happy to help.

Published December 2, 2021