Practical Ecommerce

Chart of the Week: Reasons for Abandoned Carts Vary

Shopping cart abandonment is gradually increasing, according to research conducted by SeeWhy, a firm that offers abandonment recovery services. “The abandonment rate for October averaged 71 percent, an all-time high for 2009,” says SeeWhy founder Charles Nicholls. Even last week when sales and promotional offers were kicking in, shopping cart abandonment averaged 65 percent. Nicholls says that rate is several percentage points higher than last year.

Nicholls has his theories on why abandonment rates are edging higher. He believes the trend is due to more knowledgeable and discerning customers-and while the economy may have triggered the trend—he’s doubtful that the trend will reverse itself once the global financial crisis has passed.

Regardless of across the board movements, ecommerce merchants wanting to maintain their competitive advantage would be well-served to study the most common reasons cited by consumers for shopping cart abandonment.

For this “Chart of the Week” we look at data from Forrester Research’s North American Technographics online survey, which shows factors involved in shopping cart abandonment.

Kevin Patrick Allen

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  1. Franky December 1, 2009 Reply

    As far as i can tell shoppers are trading down due to the economy. I work in medical supplies so my experience is a little different than most other e-merchants–in that people who shop with me don’t want to or cant trade down reliably. However, my contacts in electronics and other areas seem to have the opposite problem bec of the number of reliable options people have access to.

  2. Robert Farago December 1, 2009 Reply

    I’m not sure we should trust shopping cart abandonment stats from a company that makes it living by telling companies how to avoid shopping cart abandonment. I mean, what are they going to say? The issue is disappearing and with it our raison d’etre? I don’t think so.

    But if we are going down that road, take it from a guy developing a sales engine: the number one reason why people bail from an e-commerce transaction is that they weren’t properly sold in the first place.

  3. Mike December 8, 2009 Reply

    I agree with Robert Farago, "the number one reason why people bail from an e-commerce transaction is that they weren’t properly sold in the first place."

    I’d like to add that abandoned carts might be viewed as a fact-of-life rather than some sort of error on the part of the merchant. In 2009 / 10 everyone has Google and can use it to comparison shop.

    I’m not so interested in abandoned carts as I’m interested in getting the buyer back when they are finally ready to make the purchase.

  4. Alex Mulin December 21, 2009 Reply

    abandoned carts is not something we should be concerned about. Most of people go through checkout just to see shipping/handling/etc fees and check for special offers and just to see how it works after all :)

    What an online merchant should care about is "bumping" prospects who took almost entire path through checkout, left their contact details, but didn’t place an order. This can add some sales IMO.