Top reasons (and solutions) for shopping cart abandonment

Is there a bigger frustration in ecommerce than cart abandonment? Sure, running a business always has challenges, but there’s something especially disappointing about almost making a sale and then falling at the last hurdle. 

Of course, cart abandonment happens in all online businesses. In fact, data shows that almost 70% of carts are abandoned, and online shoppers are expected to leave behind more than €4.5 trillion worth of products this year alone.

What drives checkout process cart abandonment?

Preventing shoppers from dropping out of making a purchase is crucial to increasing your conversion rate. But to do so you need to understand the triggers that cause abandonments.

To help, we conducted research with consumers across Europe to discover the main drivers of cart abandonment during the checkout process. We surveyed 3,000 European consumers in five countries. Here's what we discovered:

As you can see, the data shows that the main reason consumers abandon their shopping cart during checkout is high shipping costs or taxes, with more than 3 in 5 consumers (61%) saying it would cause them to abandon a purchase.

Payments and security are also top of mind for online shoppers. 54% of consumers say they would leave a sale if they didn’t feel the payment was secure.

The third-biggest digital shopping cart abandonment trigger was a retailer not offering consumers their preferred payment method. 

All of the findings are taken from our European Ecommerce Report, which surveyed 3,000 consumers across Europe to learn what retailers need to offer to increase sales, reduce cart abandonments, and build brand loyalty. 

Download the report to see what we discovered.

Top shopping cart abandonment reasons

Here we'll discuss each reason in more detail and look at some solutions to help reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate and increase sales.

1. High shipping costs or taxes

Seeing unexpected or high costs during the checkout process is the main factor driving potential customers away from a purchase.

It sounds obvious, but seeing a charge you were not expecting when checking out is not a good user experience. And in a world where many businesses offer free shipping, high delivery costs (or taxes) can be a big put off.

How to solve this: Think about displaying any costs associated with a purchase early in the customer journey to make sure that any visitor knows exactly how much the transaction total will be. Try to keep these costs low (or even offer free shipping) to increase conversions.

2. Worries about payment security

When it comes to money, security is always top of mind. Shoppers need to know that a site is secure and feel like their data (and funds) will be protected before making an online purchase. And there's plenty of things that can cause concern for consumers, including poor design, broken links, and long load times. At checkout, you need to provide shoppers with the right signals to give them the confidence to pay.

How to solve this: One great way to offer a seamless, on-brand, and trustworthy checkout experience is by working with a payment service provider (PSP). The best PSPs help you offer an exceptional, secure payment experience to drive conversions. Also, think about displaying badges to show your security credentials and reassure shoppers that you work with trusted payment partners.

3. Not offered preferred payment method

Every online shopper has their favourite ways to pay, whether that's using a local bank transfer method, a credit card, or a buy now, pay later option. So it's no wonder that when they aren't offered their favourite ways to pay at checkout they drop out of a purchase.

How to solve this: To offer shoppers their preferred payment method you need to have a deep understanding of the consumers in the markets you operate in, the capabilities to offer the payment methods they favour, and the technology to easily add those options to your site. How can you do that? Partner with a PSP who can help you effortlessly integrate a payments solution to offer the right payment methods for your business.

4. Website shares details with a third party

Personal data has been a hot topic for many years – even more so since GDPR was introduced in Europe. Nowadays people are more conscious than ever about making sure their data is protected, so it's no surprise that they drop out of a purchase when they think it might be shared with another party they don't know.

How to solve this: A simple solution is to be totally transparent about how you use and store your website visitor's data. Explain the process and make assurances that their data won't be shared without their consent (or at all if possible).

5. Card was declined

Payment processing errors such as declined credit cards will always increase cart abandonments. And there are many reasons a card payment declines, including incorrectly entered details, overly secure fraud defence measures, and processing issues. Even if the error isn't your fault, shoppers who can't pay may start to question your site's trustworthiness, and many will drop out rather than try again.

How to solve this problem: Use tools that can help your shoppers automatically enter their card details when making card payments. Also, work with a payment processor that offers advanced fraud tooling and low downtime to make sure you avoid ‘false declines’, which happens when a shopper’s purchase on a credit card is declined when it should have been approved.

A good payment provider should also help your customers pay with ease – and help them enter the right details. For example, we offer a hosted checkout page with single-click payments, which means your returning customers can automatically enter the details of any credit cards they previously used to make a purchase. This helps to reduce friction during checkout, and ensures their card isn’t declined due to incorrect details. 

6. Complex checkout process

A complex checkout usually results in shoppers abandoning their online shopping cart. The more steps (and pages) that your visitors have to navigate to make a purchase, the more unsure about their buying decision they become.

How to solve this: Offer an easy-to-understand, single-page checkout. If you offer a multi-page checkout, use visual guides to show the customer where they are in the checkout process (and when they will complete it). Think about using tools and features such as Google Autofill, site breadcrumbs, and a live chat function to help your visitors over the sales finishing line.

7. Redirected to another site to pay

A redirection payment gateway is one where a shopper gets sent to an external page to complete a payment. Usually, they are redirected to the company’s site that manages the gateway, such as a payment service provider's checkout page. Of course, leaving a site you trust and being sent to another doesn't offer the best customer experience (and can create distrust).

How to solve this: Work with a payment partner that can allow you to offer a direct, on-brand checkout page that's optimised for conversion. Your customer will remain in one payment environment from start to finish, removing the need to be redirected between pages, increasing sales and building customer trust.

8. Forced to create an account in order to make purchase

When a shopper has browsed and selected a product to buy, adding another step in their journey can seriously disrupt the purchase cycle. And creating an account is usually a fairly time-consuming process in which they might need to complete multiple steps. That's why it's no surprise to see this on the list of reasons people abandon a purchase.

How to solve this: Simply allow people to add items and then use a guest checkout function. That way, they only have to enter the relevant delivery and payment details when buying. Think about including an easy option that enables guest users to create an account, which could be linked to their existing social media or Google accounts.

9. Checkout process takes too long

Ever clicked 'buy' and then waited a lifetime for a payment to go through? Nothing says worry like not knowing whether a payment has completed (and wondering if the funds have left your account or you need to start over).

How to solve this: Partner with a payment provider who offers industry-leading uptime and a great checkout experience so that your payments work without any issues. The best partners also offer other benefits – like support teams who speak your language – that can help you constantly improve what you do.

Reduce cart abandonments. Sell more.

Now we’ve looked at some top cart abandonment reasons – and the solutions. Of course, you won’t ever be able to entirely stop some shoppers from dropping out of a sale. But, with the right strategy and by identifying the key things driving abandonments, you can make sure that your cart abandonment rate is as low as possible and – more importantly – that you’re making the most of every sales opportunity.

Maximise your sales with Mollie

Using our payments solution allows you to accept more than 25 payment methods, including major card schemes and localised European methods. We’ll also help you offer a seamless checkout page that drives conversions, and provide a range of other benefits that simplify doing business and increase sales.

Sign up to Mollie and you also get: 

  • Improved conversion with direct checkout and Mollie Components
  • Seamless chargebacks, re-orders, and cancellations
  • Access to the Mollie App and Dashboard
  • Support from expert, multilingual teams across Europe
  • A suite of integrations to help do business better

We offer all this with transparent pricing, no hidden fees, and no lock-in contracts for total flexibility. 

Find out more about payments with Mollie, or sign up to start accepting payments with us. 

Get better payments now.