Banner image of shopping cart with products for blog article on cart abandonment on Shopify ecommerce stores.

Understanding 'Abandoned Carts' in Shopify

So you’ve got your Shopify store set setup, with a lot of regular visitors. You're set up to build a really successful online business – you’re living the dream right now, and life is good. But there’s a lot of money slipping through the cracks right under your nose and you probably didn’t even notice.

If you are an ecommerce website user yourself, and if you have been involved in the practice of online purchasing, you’ve probably added something to your cart, but never really ended up completing the purchase, for some reason. No, it’s not just you, this is a widely known phenomenon, known as “abandoned carts”.

This phenomenon occurs whenever people add a product to their carts and end up abandoning their purchase. They end up being a lost sale on your Shopify store, and a lost opportunity for the business owner. This means that you are also losing money whenever it happens and trust us – it is happening.

According to a study released by Shopify, as much as 67% of sales are lost because of this abandoned cart phenomenon, which means that over two thirds of your sales are simply disappearing, as people decide not to go through with them. Can you imagine what this means for huge ecommerce giants such as Amazon? Can you even imagine what it means for your business?

Why people abandon their carts

Shopify didn’t just tell us about what was going on, they even included a lot of information regarding the reasons why people were abandoning their carts and making ecommerce website owners suffer from the losses.

According to the data released, there were quite a few reasons why people didn’t go through with their online purchases. In fact, some people didn’t even intend to buy anything in the first place, they were just doing a little bit of research.

The study did find, however, that a lot of people ended up finding a better price elsewhere, that they found the final price to be too expensive, or that the website navigation was too complicated or simply ended up crashing.

Clearly, we can tell that a website’s stability is extremely important for a purchase to be completed, and that a competitive price is one of the main reasons why someone would end up completing a purchase – but we honestly already knew all of that. Who would trust a website that doesn’t even hold up? Who would want to buy something on a website when they can get it cheaper elsewhere?

After all, we do need to keep a competitive edge over other websites, and that means having a better website, a more responsive UI (user interface) and a competitive pricing. If we can’t offer all of that, e-commerce shouldn’t really be our business now, should it?

But all of these weren’t the biggest motive why people end up abandoning their shopping cart on online purchases. According to the study, the number one reason that made people abandon their purchases, with over 56% of abandoned carts related to it, is because they were presented with unexpected costs.

It’s that simple.

People were presented with costs that they did not expect, that wasn’t within their budget, and that made them give up on the whole deal. A lot of ecommerce websites are losing business because of this – they want to get a few extra dollars out of shipping costs or other fees, and simply lose the whole thing.

The thing is, we can easily understand why such a thing would happen if we just put ourselves on the customers’ side. If you were trying to buy something online, were about to finish to grab your credit card to seal the deal, and all of a sudden were greeted with some unexpected costs, what would you do? Answer is: you’d probably walk out and let it go.

Most people would do this at regular stores if the clerk told them they need to pay more than what they were expecting to pay. It’s just human nature. We don’t have unlimited money, so we need to manage the money we have to the best of our ability.

What to do about abandoned carts

Now that we know what causes people to abandon their carts on ecommerce websites, we need to take a look at the solutions, which are obviously related to the causes of the problem.

Your Shopify store needs to be responsive, easy to use, user friendly, simple, straightforward and safe. That’s all it takes to get rid of most of the abandoned carts websites deal with.

That might, of course, mean you need to be a little more honest about the costs, and tell people you’re going to charge fees before they decide to checkout. Another strategy would be to add the fees in front of the price of an item, which would simplify everything and keep it straightforward.

On a final note, we’d like to say that a way to get rid of abandoned carts is to simply tell people where they left off, and ask them to please grab their cart and finish the purchase. We’re talking about email marketing.

After people leave their carts on your website, ask them to pursue their online purchase by sending them a friendly reminder through the email regarding their purchase. Tell them where they left off, ask them to keep going and, if you are really serious about picking up those lost sales, do something nice for them – cut the fees in half once a month, for example.

This abandoned cart function is included free in every Shopify store so make sure to check it out and start reducing your abandoned carts today.

Team Milk Bottle Labs

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