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Top 5 reasons for eCommerce cart abandonment


Cart abandonment is an issue for all online retailers. Each abandoned cart is a lost opportunity for a sale. 

According to Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters report, cart abandonment rates in the UK are increasing. In 2020 they were at 90% compared to 87% in 2019. In the same report, 39% of UK shoppers admit they abandon carts very frequently instead of 37% in 2019.

After abandoning a cart, more than a quarter (26%) of consumers purchase the same product on a different online store. This is a significant loss. So let’s take a look at the top reasons why shoppers drop off at this crucial point and what eCommerce merchants can do to increase conversion.

1. Unexpected costs at checkout

When a shopper reaches the checkout, virtually holding their desired items in their hands, the last thing they want to encounter is additional cost. Being confronted with unanticipated fees, taxes, or high delivery charges here is the top way to frustrate the customer enough for them to walk away from the purchase.  

86% of UK shoppers prefer when retailers offer a variety of delivery options

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The number one reason for cart abandonment has remained the same for the last 10 years – dissatisfaction with the delivery charge. In 2020 39% abandoned their cart due to the delivery charge. However, the solution isn’t necessarily that delivery should be free; offering a range of delivery options at checkout is proven to increase conversion.  

2. Being forced to create a new user account

Preventing a shopper from completing a purchase unless they register for an account first is a sin. It demands time, energy, and information from customers who just want to buy their items as soon as possible. Studies show this is the second-highest reason for customers to abandon carts.

28% of all shoppers say requiring to create a new user account is a reason why they’ve abandoned carts.

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Retailers should ensure that checking out is as easy and accessible as possible. The best practice would be to offer the option of registering for an account or to ‘continue to checkout as guest’. Shoppers are more likely to share info after the purchase is complete when presented with a registration window than before. 

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3. Overly long checkout process

This one is closely related to the reason above. Added complexity at the checkout can cause annoyance or even confusion for a willing customer. Any additional steps when completing a purchase causes unnecessary friction in what should be a seamless interaction with a brand. 


28% of shoppers to abandoning their carts.

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It’s advised that the number of steps in the checkout journey is reduced by combining steps and reducing the number of fields shoppers have to fill out in forms. Cleary displaying what stage of checkout journey a customer is at is really helpful to the shopper. Showing their progression of how far through the process they are and how close they are to the end gives the customer full transparency. 


4. Lack of trust at payment stage

Most shoppers are aware that online scams and hacks of personal details are on the rise. If they don’t fully trust a site with their payment credentials, they will not only abandon the cart but also never return to a site they consider unsafe.


Customers need to know that adequate security measures are in place and that they can trust the brand. Retailers should be transparent at the checkout and display security badges and information. Other ways to build trust are by having verified customer reviews and social proof highly visible on your site, let your satisfied customers help boost newcomers’ confidence. 

5. Delivery speed

We already mentioned above that low-cost delivery is a priority for shoppers, but the timescale of delivery is also crucial for many, and inadequate delivery options are at the heart of their cart abandonment. 

Tracking updates are important to 81% of UK shoppers 

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Customer expectations around delivery are ever-increasing. Customers want to be offered a range of delivery speeds and services e.g. standard, next day, evening or Sunday delivery. Not having this choice is a major turn off for many would-be purchasers. 

Further options such as click & collect, environmentally friendly delivery and parcel tracking are among customers expectations when it comes to delivery. 


Ease and convenience are why people love online shopping, and the expectations of how easy it should be are increasing all the time. Cart abandonment occurs whenever something gets in the way of that ease and convenience, and shoppers encounter friction. By identifying where these abrasive areas exist in the process, retailers can iron out the kinks and create a harmonious experience for the customer and push that purchase over the line. 

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