In the online world, when a shopper starts the purchase process, but does not complete it, it is referred to as “abandoning the shopping cart”.

The purchase could be for a product, service, subscription or any other transaction, where an individual has to pay money via an online form.

Shopping carts abandonment is the single biggest cause of lost revenue for commercial websites.

Yet few website owners take steps to reduce it.

How Bad is The Problem?

Very bad…and getting worse!

The latest research from eMarketer suggests that 59.3% of shopping carts were abandoned in the first three months of 2008. This figure is up from 57.9% during the same period the year before.



Just think about how much money is being lost!


The Impact of Abandoned Shopping Carts on Your Business

Let us assume that your business is average for the industry and is losing 60% of its customers during the buying process.

How would much more money would you make if you improved this figure by just 10%?

Let’s say your website is making $6,000 a month.

If you reduced shopping cart abandonment by 10% you would make an extra $900 a month, or $10,800 a year.

Put another way, if you reduced shopping cart abandonment by 10%, you would make 15% more money (900/6,000 *100).

And the really good news making a 10% difference is not hard … and is free to do.


Why Do People Abandon Their Shopping Cart?

The top ten reasons for abandonment, according to research done by MarketingSherpa, in order of importance, are:

  • Hidden charges at the checkout

  • Having to register before buying

  • The buyer was comparison shopping and found a better deal

  • The shipping costs were too high

  • The buyer didn’t have time to complete the checkout process

  • The product was out of stock

  • There were no clear delivery details

  • No phone number was provided

  • The checkout process was too long

  • The buyer was uncomfortable with the checkout process

Any website with a checkout should continually test and redesign the process, until the dropout rate is minimized.

There is no single right answer to creating the perfect checkout design, but there are many things that can be done to make the process better.

Ten Simple Ways You can Improve the Checkout Process

  • Avoid adding hidden costs during the checkout process. This breaches trust and makes people question the value of the product or service you are selling

  • Provide all the information a customer could possibly need at the beginning of the checkout process, including confirmation of what they are buying, the total cost including postage and packaging, delivery times, availability, links to the terms & conditions and returns policy, as well as contact details for a real person.

  • Don’t make people register or give personal details until they are ready to make a purchase and pay. Many websites still make the mistake of demanding personal details as soon as a visitor wants to add something to their shopping cart.

  • Limit the choices that people have to make when checking out.  Research has shown that the more choices people are given, the higher the dropout rate.

  • Ensure that any shipping costs are fair and reasonable.

  • Ask for the absolute minimum of information required to process a transaction. Every extra piece of information you ask for increases the chance that your buyer will not complete the purchase.

  • Ensure you have clear contact details on EVERY page of the checkout process. Most people won’t call you, but it reassures them that someone is available if they need help.

  • Clearly state that all transactions processed through your site are secure and encrypted. Also make it clear that you have a privacy policy, which protects the buyers’ identity and data. The statement linking to the policies could read “We take your privacy and the security of your data very seriously. Click here to read our security and privacy policies”.

  • The first piece of information you should collect is an email address. This gives you the chance to email people who don’t complete a transaction, to ask if there was a problem, and if you can help them complete their transaction.

  • Make the checkout form visually appealing and very, very simple.

Studying and improving the checkout process on your website can have a dramatic impact on the revenues you make. Many of the changes are simple and common sense, while others will only come to light through continual testing.

Above all else, you should make a trial purchase every time you make a change, and at least once a week to ensure everything is working properly, and so that you can experience what your customers are experiencing


Making simple (free) changes to your checkout process could instantly reduce the number of potential customers who abandon their shopping carts by 10% and thereby increase the money you make by 15%.

Make changes now and start making more money immediately.