Things To Know: How To Avoid Abandoned eCommerce Carts

For merchants, getting customers to visit their websites is difficult enough. Getting customers to stay and make a selection is even tougher. It’s frustrating, then, when a shopper goes through the process of browsing a merchant’s catalog, choosing a product and putting it in his or her shopping cart only to abandon the process before the checkout is complete.

What are customers seeing during the process that makes this happen?

The Checkout Conversion Index™ has some ideas about the friction points shoppers are encountering online that cause them to abandon their digital shopping. It also has some insights into which industries are making things easy for its consumers — and which are making online shopping more difficult than it needs to be.

According to the Index findings, these are the elements of the online shopping experience that have customers leaving before they make a transaction:

Fewer Clicks Lead To More Successful Checkouts

The more time a shopper spends completing a checkout process, the more time he has to reconsider his purchase or become frustrated by the number of steps needed to finalize a transaction. Driving down the amount of time consumers spend between browsing and checkout should be a priority for any online merchant. And, for many, it already is.

Merchants that received an “A” rating from the Index, the top 20 performers, averaged a checkout time of 102 seconds and 15 clicks. Compare that to 160 seconds and 21 clicks for sites run by the bottom 20 performers and it’s clear that many merchants have plenty of space to make significant improvements.

Hidden Fees Scare Shoppers Away

Hidden fees and delivery charges are consistently among the most commonly cited reasons for abandoning shopping carts. In fact, a recent Paysafe survey found 42 percent of respondents had canceled transactions because of those added costs. With that in mind, it appears disclosing additional charges early in the checkout process should be a goal for online merchants.

And, statistics bear that out, with the Index finding 100 percent of top 20 merchants offer free shipping to customers. In comparison, just 63.3 percent of merchants who received the lowest ranking offered the service. Free shipping is expensive for online retailers, but implementing it can be a major spur for successful checkouts.

A Lack Of Discounts Can Be Costly

The prospect of savings draws consumers onto websites and can even take the sting out of delivery fees. As such, offering coupons and promotional discounts can be a major boon to any merchant looking to boost conversion. In fact, this metric really separates the best from the worst performers, according to the Index. Of the top 20 companies, 90 percent offered coupons for online shoppers on their websites as opposed to just 34.4 percent of the worst performers.

Tech Issues Are Frustrating 

Connectivity and software issues are unavoidable when conducting business online. The best way to deal with tech problems is to minimize their occurrence as much as possible, but it’s important to checkout conversion rates that merchants offer live customer support for when customers inevitably experience issues. For merchants who perform best and rank highest in the Index, though, this is obviously already a priority. One-hundred percent of the top 20 surveyed merchants offer live site help to customers. By comparison, just 59.7 percent of bottom performers offer the same service.


Online retail grew by 15.6 percent in 2016, the Index reported. In addition, figures from a 2017 Deloitte annual holiday survey report more than half of consumers expect to do most of their holiday spending online this year. Despite that growth, most merchants continue to leave money on the table. According to the Index, 40 percent of online shoppers abandon their carts in the space between visiting a merchant’s website and completing a transaction. Fixing even just a few of these common issues should help turn things around for merchants who want to recapture those missed customers.

The Checkout Conversion Index™ measures the payments conversion problems that arise when consumers encounter friction in their digital shopper experience. It is based on a team of “shoppers” shopping at more than 650 U.S.-based eCommerce sites in 14 merchant categories. We identified more than 55 attributes and used them to score merchants on how easy (or hard) it was to go from discovery to final payment on their sites.