How to Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment at Checkout

By | March 25, 2013

You think you’ve done everything right. Your landing page is clear, polished, and easy to navigate. Your product descriptions and images sparkle, and you’re offering an irresistible promotion-but are you? You may be finding that people are putting things in their carts but never following through with the purchase. Why? The reasons for shopping cart abandonment are numerous, and some you can’t help. For example, a shopper simply changes their mind, their payment method is declined, or their internet connection goes down. But there are some reasons you can do something about, like design issues, support issues and technical problems on your site. Let’s take a look at some ways you can decrease abandonment at checkout by increasing shopping cart functionality.

Website Design

There are some things a website needs to be concerned with before a potential customer even adds an item to their shopping cart.  Nothing kills a users website experience and causes them to leave a site like a bad website design. If they can’t find what they are looking for or are bombarded with pop-up ads or newsletter sign up forms, they may get annoyed and simply go elsewhere to make their purchase. This is something to consider in your website strategy and planning. Your site should have all of the following:

  • A clean design with minimal distractions from ads and sign up forms. If you want to incorporate ads into your site, make sure they blend in and complement your design, and practice moderation. Don’t try and shove as many onto your page as you can. Website usability will suffer, and Google doesn’t like it either.
  • Plenty of bandwidth and server space. It’s crucial that your page loads quickly and smoothly. Make sure your server can handle the traffic and doesn’t bog down during the checkout process.
  • A universally friendly layout. People shop on their phones and tablets as well as their computers these days. Make sure your site displays on all devices, and that the checkout process is smooth. Consider a mobile friendly layout to account for touchscreens and fat fingers!

Checkout Process

Your checkout process needs to be fast and simple. Keep it to one page whenever possible, and avoid pop ups. Make sure your customers have all the info they need upfront. Your online shopping cart functionality should let them calculate their shipping and taxes in their shopping cart rather than making them wait until they input their payment info. When it comes to payment info, offer as many options as possible (credit cards, debit cards, Paypal, Amazon Payments, etc).  Although some places even accept checks and money orders, you may want to avoid that as it tends to give customers a chance to change their minds and never send the payment. The technical aspect of the shopping cart needs to run seamlessly. If your website is using old technology like a flash shopping cart software you may need to reconsider and update your software. Most shopping carts are now built on a Magento shopping cart platform that are adapted to new technologies, like smart phones and tablets.


A very common reason shoppers abandon their carts is because of technical issues. Already frustrated, they won’t have much patience when it comes to looking for help and if it’s not easy to find, they’ll be gone. If your customers run into an issue they should have a way to contact live e-commerce support and services technical support.

Some sites may want to include a large chat now button on site along with your customer service phone number. It’s fine to offer email support, but make sure you are able to respond to the customer as quickly as possible. Don’t just provide a “knowledge base” or FAQ. While these can be helpful to visitors who want to learn more about your business, they’ll only frustrate those having problems trying to purchase from you.  Offer a human, personal touch to them and they’ll reward you!

Shop With Confidence

With identity theft as a real concern for shoppers, websites need to provide their customers with a secure shopping experience. Including privacy notices or accreditation badges can help ease customers minds when entering personal information during check out. Popular privacy badges include the Better Business Bureau, Bizrate and an SSL certificate.

In the end, sometimes the external factors that cause customers to change their minds and abandon their carts play a more dominant role. But there are certain best practices that are well within your control that you should stick to for a seamless checkout. For more information on what types of ecommerce solutions can help you recapture these lost customers, read more here!