When you’re selling merchandise online, it can be frustrating to see potential customers place items in a virtual shopping cart and then not follow through with a purchase. Barring things like their internet or power cutting out, or getting called away from the computer for a pressing family or friend issue, the reasons why customers abandon their shopping carts are fairly cut and dry. And, by anticipating their actions, you can limit the number of abandoned carts on your online shop. Here are the six main reasons why customers abandon their online shopping carts, along with what you can do to increase the likelihood that they complete their purchases.


  1. Your shipping costs are too high.

Most online shoppers are savvy enough to know that shipping costs will add a little extra to whatever it is that they’re buying, and they’re willing to accept a reasonable amount. However, if you’re charging more than, say, six or seven bucks for standard shipping on a single item, you’re going to give your customers a bit of sticker shock. It won’t turn off all of them, but it will probably turn off a significant percentage, who will either go without what you’re selling or find it for less elsewhere. The solution? Don’t overcharge on shipping; you may even be better off charging a dollar or two more for your product so customers have a clearer upfront idea of what they’ll be paying.


  1. They’re required to set up a new account.

Customers come to your online storefront to shop. They want to find the product they want and buy it with as little hassle as possible. If you require every customer to take the time to establish an account, you’re going to lose the ones who are short on time or don’t want to keep their personal information stored on your server. By allowing customers the option to check out as a guest, you’ll probably have fewer abandoned shopping carts.


  1. The checkout process is confusing.

Purchasing an item from an online storefront shouldn’t have an air of mystery about it. If your checkout process isn’t as simple as possible, you may want to revisit its design. In short, buttons and fields should be clearly labeled, customers should need to click through as few pages as possible (ideally with a line chart of the necessary steps on the top of the page), and they should know when their order has been placed.


  1. They’re using the shopping cart as a “save to buy later” method.

If you don’t allow customers to save items they’re interested in on some sort of wish list, they might use your shopping cart as a way to remember what they want to buy. So, it’s not that they’re really abandoning their shopping cart — they just never intended to make a purchase in the first place. Giving your customers the option to set up a wish list can help alleviate the problem, though you’ll probably never completely eliminate the “just here to browse” mentality.


  1. They don’t feel like their credit card information is secure.

Even though online shopping has been around for a few decades, there are still people out there who get nervous about entering their credit card information on a strange website. There are a few things you can do to help put your customers at ease. First, if you’re processing payments through your own server, you might place a badge on your site that emphasizes the security precautions you’ve taken to keep your customers’ information from being compromised. Another option is to use a checkout protocol that customers already trust, such as PayPal or Google Payments.


  1. There’s no coupon code available.

Let’s face it: we all want to feel like we’re getting a good deal, and we know there are deals out there. Lots of customers will search high and low for a coupon code before they make a purchase; if they don’t find one, they may abandon their intent to buy something. If your business doesn’t make a habit of distributing coupon codes, you might follow up with an email to customers with abandoned shopping carts. Maybe offer them a small percentage off, or maybe even free shipping on the item they left in their cart— just something to help them feel like they’re getting a deal.


Keep Sales Moving

Abandoned shopping carts are an annoyance for online merchants because they represent customers who were so close to making a purchase but backed out at the last minute. If this is happening to your business on a regular basis, look to see if any of these six things describe your website. If they do, take measures to correct the problem; we think you’ll see a drop off in the number of abandoned carts and, hopefully, an uptick in sales.