Top 10 reasons shoppers don’t complete purchases online – Part 1 | Varn


12 September 2019

Top 10 reasons shoppers don’t complete purchases online – Part 1

We are going to take a look at why online shoppers abandon their shopping cart purchase before completion – after they have decided to buy an item from your online store, and made the first click to complete the purchase. From here on in there are ways to optimise your checkout process so that it achieves the highest conversion rates possible – but first, you need to know the main reasons why people don’t complete their purchase.

There are separate reasons why people add products into a shopping basket and don’t end up buying them all, or anything, and we will cover these in part 2 of this blog on ‘Uses of the shopping basket and how to achieve the highest sales’.

This blog is specifically about optimising your checkout functionality after a shopper has decided to buy, so let’s take a look at the top issues and what you can do to improve your processes.

Top reasons for shopping cart abandonment

1. Unexpected charges or extra costs too high

Very often it is only when users get well into the checkout process that extra costs like delivery charges are added to the total charges. If the consumer thinks these are too high, or they are not what they were expecting, you are at a high risk of losing the sale. Make sure that your delivery costs are as competitive as possible in your market place and you don’t leave it until the last moment to add them in. What your customer can expect to pay for delivery should be competitively priced and visible before they decide to purchase.

2. Delivery options are limited
Online shoppers often don’t think about how their purchase will get to them until after they have entered the checkout process. Try giving more than one option of delivery to home during standard hours – delivery to a workplace, weekend and evening delivery slots, safe place to leave instructions etc. And similar to point 1, your customer should already know how long it will take for their purchase to be delivered before they enter the checkout process.

3. Having to create an account is a big bugbear for many online shoppers
There are many business benefits to getting customers to create accounts but this must be optional and not a mandatory part of the checkout process – buyers may simply not want this kind of relationship with you or have to create and monitor another password.

4. Having an overly long or complicated checkout
Try collecting a minimum amount of customer information with the fewest steps and see if this improves abandonment rates. You may find you can overcome the biggest stumbling blocks of time and effort with a short and simple checkout. Or you may simply need to make it clearer how many steps there are in the process to get the majority of buyers through it successfully.

5. Buttons and data entry working properly on all device sizes
You need to thoroughly test each step of your check out process on a multitude of different device sizes and operating systems to make sure everything is readable, clickable and fillable.

6. Just calculating total costs
We see this all the time due to poor UX on e-commerce shopping carts. A user often goes through to checkout simply to find out what the total cost of their basket is. This can also often happen if a site is running a promotion with a price point – free delivery over £xx amount spent for example. In order for this type of shopping basket modification not to skew abandonment rates, it is better to enable users to make these purchasing amendments before checkout is entered.

7. Trust issues
We have found that the final click to actually submit a payment can also be a big stumbling block if you don’t have the right assurances in place to get buyers over this final hurdle. Secure payment assurances, product return policies and money-back guarantee promises should be repeated here so the buyer can feel more confident pressing that final button.

8. Could have got this cheaper
A feeling of not having got the best deal often creeps into the checkout process before making the final commitment. Having visible ‘promotion code’ data entry fields, for example, can be detrimental to overall sales. If a buyer doesn’t have a promotion code they assume they will be paying more than others and may well leave the site to try and find a better deal elsewhere. When presenting the final costs to a buyer always breakdown the charges into individual items and highlight any savings that have been made on multi-buy or sale items. If there are no savings don’t show these fields! And remind the buyer of the other key sales points, like last items in stock, order now for delivery tomorrow, service ratings etc.

9. Payment problems
There is not much you can do if your buyer cannot actually fund the final purchase – but having multiple payment options and functionality for changing to another method of payment after a card was declined, or there were connection problems with an online bank, will minimise this type of lost sale.

10. Distractions/Lost the buying impulse/changed my mind/time-wasting
Lastly, we have a large chunk of ‘not a serious buyer in the first place’ issues. We are going to look at the issues surrounding how people use shopping baskets in part 2 of this blog but they also creep into shopping cart abandonment. Many reasons given for abandoning a purchase are things like ‘decided I didn’t need it after all’, ‘ wanted to do more research’, ‘found it cheaper elsewhere’, ‘decided to look for it instore’ and ‘I was interrupted’. Sometimes the best way to deal with these issues is by providing a wish list, with advanced communication options, as well as a basket.


What else can I do to minimise shopping cart abandonment?

Apart from the specific issues and remedies outlined above, there are three main things you should be doing regularly – check-out process testing, using exit surveys and advanced e-commerce tracking:

Checkout process testing
And not just on your own site – when you have got your checkout working so you are sure you have minimised any obvious UX or UI issues then set time aside each year to research what other e-commerce sites are doing to improve user checkouts. You should be looking at what direct and non-direct competitors are doing. The largest e-commerce sites in your country are a good place to start as they have the most revenue gains and therefore budgets to continually test and make improvements to the shopping cart experience.

Exit surveys
Your websites users can be very helpful when it comes to feedback – it is easy to set up a quick online survey where you can simply ask them directly why they are leaving. Not everyone will want to do it but the information you gather from even a few respondents could be key to identifying more widespread issues.

Advanced e-commerce tracking
You can’t accurately assess areas for improvement or the impact of any changes without being able to measure each step of the checkout process. To do this you need to set up use google tag manager in analytics – the guide on how to implement this is ‘Enhanced E-commerce (UA) Developer Guide’.


For further help on e-commerce tracking or combatting shopping cart abandonment, get in touch with the team at Varn today.


Article by: Tom, Managing Director of Varn Digital Marketing More articles by Tom

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