No Detail Too Small For Cart Abandonment Mitigation

Retailers that neglect facilitating customers along the path to purchase might not see more significant results of their inattention than in shopping cart abandonment. A unique complication of the continuously burgeoning eCommerce world, customers who research items, add them to carts and then navigate away at the last possible second cost online retailers already operating under thin margins untold billions in potential revenue.

However, mobile path-to-purchase consulting firm Moovweb has put a number on the cost of shopping cart abandonment: $18 billion.

Haresh Kumar, vice president of marketing at Moovweb, told Small Business Computing that the proliferation of mobile eCommerce sites has dramatically decreased retailers’ windows of opportunity to convert on sales. In fact, according to Kumar, the sheer number of distractions on smartphones and the ease with which shoppers can leave a transaction has limited the average consumer’s attention span to a space of just eight seconds.

It might not even take that long – Moovweb also found that if retailers’ sites take longer than 3 seconds to load between pages, 40 percent of customers will start sending their clicks elsewhere.

“Research shows over two out of three users who add items to their online shopping cart leave without making a purchase,” Kumar wrote in a column for “The numbers are even worse on mobile where conversion rates are 70 percent lower than desktop. So why are consumers leaving right at the point of sale and what can companies do about it?”

For Moovweb and Kumar, the issue of optimizing the mobile checkout path to purchase involves a bit of light social engineering. In the average mobile checkout process, customers usually have to fill in or check off more than 400 distinct information fields or selectable lists. With so many individual tasks to complete the mobile path to purchase, Kumar strongly urged retailers to integrate the solutions focused exclusively on how shoppers interact with their mobile devices — instead of clicking, smartphone users more often swipe; instead of long product descriptions, screens can only present so much information at a time.

“To meet expectations for fast and easy transactions, brands must provide experiences that match the mobile users’ contexts with smaller touch-based screens and in-the-moment needs,” Kumar wrote. “Save mobile users time and taps by auto-detecting card type based on their card number and auto-detecting city and state based on zip code. Disable auto-correct for name fields and provide numeric keyboards for phone and credit card information.”

Kumar also urged eCommerce retailers to weigh the pros and cons of various path-to-purchase interventions that can do more harm than good. For example, Kumar emphasized account registration notifications as a particularly troubling double-edged sword. Of course, signing more customers into an internal system can help maintain sales, but as many as 30 percent of shoppers will abandon their purchases as soon as any pop-ups disrupt their activities and prompt them to fill out yet more fields.

Because of the severely limited conversion window for consumers on mobile, Kumar finally stressed the importance of testing consumer-facing checkout processes for any speedbumps that might turn fickle shoppers away.

“You should not call tests before you’ve reached a 95 percent confidence interval or higher,” Kumar wrote. “Run your tests for at least 1-2 business cycles. Determine the sample size in advance and run the experiment until the predetermined sample size has been reached.”

The morale of the mobile path to purchase story is to leave nothing to chance. Whether retailers annotate field with easy-to-follow instructions or help shoppers move along with auto-fill and search suggestion features, it all helps to avoid the dreaded churn of shopping cart abandonment.