Eliminate barriers at checkout: Top reasons for cart abandonment

Imagine this: you’re comfortably lounging on your sofa, perusing your go-to marketplace while binge-watching the latest bingeworthy series. During the course of your viewing, you leisurely add several items to your shopping cart. However, when the moment of truth arrives, do you proceed to checkout?

This critical juncture, which we fondly term the ‘Browser to Buyer Cliff,’ carries immense significance for online marketplaces. Having a surge of visitors on your marketplace is great, but if they’re not converting into customers, all you really have is website traffic. Remember, it’s the conversions, not visits, that will impact revenue.

Cart abandonment statistics

To emphasise the severity of shopping cart abandonment for marketplaces, let’s take a look at some of the numbers.

The Baymard Institute meticulously examined 41 studies and unearthed that almost 70% – a startling seven out of 10 shoppers – abandon their cart prior to completing their transaction.

Focusing on mobile users, the statistics are even more disheartening with a nearly 86% cart abandonment rate. A survey conducted by Barclaycard divulged that UK shoppers abandon baskets valued at £30 each month, amounting to a staggering loss of over £18 billion in sales annually.

Looking at shopping cart abandonment statistics by industry, the automotive sector takes the dubious crown with a whopping 96.88% of individuals bailing out at the last minute when contemplating a new car purchase.

Exploring the reasons behind shopping cart abandonment

1. Just Browsing: One piece of research uncovered that 34% of visitors abandon their online shopping cart simply because they were only browsing without any intention of making a purchase. Think of it as the digital equivalent of window shopping.

2. Trust Deficit: Would you entrust your hard-earned money to an entity you don’t trust? If your answer is no, then you stand with the 17% of shoppers who prefer to abandon checkout rather than inputting their personal or financial details into a marketplace they’re skeptical about.

3. Shipping Fees: While special offers might attract shoppers, excessive shipping costs can surely repel them. 25% of baskets are abandoned due to unanticipated shipping fees, and a whopping 60% quit if the additional expenses are too steep.

4. Overly Complex: Nobody relishes waiting in line to pay. When you’re prepared to purchase, you just want to wrap up the transaction swiftly. Hence, a convoluted online checkout process prompts 87% of shoppers to call it quits. Even more concerning is that 55% of those individuals would never revisit that website again.

5. Limited Payment Choices: Shoppers have preferred payment methods. If a marketplace doesn’t accommodate their preference, there’s a risk they’ll seek alternatives. This is the primary reason 8% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts.

6. Technical Issues: It’s a familiar scenario. You’ve chosen your items, provided your shipping details, entered your payment information, and then… nothing happens. When technical issues like website timeouts or crashes ensue, your visitors are left in a state of uncertainty, unsure if the transaction was successful or if their payment was even processed. Rather than attempting the process again – risking double charges – they’ll likely opt to leave the site.

7. Poor Customer Support: A substantial portion of the 34% of visitors who are ‘merely browsing’ desire to conduct further research before committing to a purchase. So if a marketplace fails to offer easily accessible additional information about the product or service, chances are the shoppers will navigate away from the site to seek those details elsewhere.

Strategies to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Don’t despair. Having identified the top seven reasons behind online shoppers leaving their shopping carts, we’ll now look at some of the solutions.

Present the full cost upfront

Nobody appreciates unpleasant surprises. Hence, it’s best to provide transparent information about payment, shipping, VAT, and any extra costs early and repeatedly throughout the customer’s journey. This approach enables the customer to make a well-informed decision rather than being surprised with a final cost at checkout.

Enhance the user experience

Any measure you take to alleviate shopper’s frustration will be beneficial for your brand. After all, satisfied shoppers are the ones who spend money. The following suggestions aim to streamline the buying process, reduce your checkout abandonment rate, and ensure your customers leave your online store feeling positive.

1. Checkout forms: The average form requires completion of up to 15 fields. Who has the patience for that? Remove all non-essential sections and aim for a maximum of six to eight fields.

2. Make it clear: Simplify the process for the shopper with clear instructions or call-to-actions. For instance, when asking for date of birth, provide an example of the requested format.

3. Progress bars: If the checkout process is cumbersome, you risk losing customers. Including a progress bar helps the customer understand their progress and reassures them.

4. Pre-fill forms: If the checkout page requests information already provided by the customer (like their email address or name), pre-fill the forms to save the customer’s time and effort.

5. Offer choices: If you can’t reduce the form fields, indicate which are optional. Some customers’ privacy concerns are strong enough to cause them to abandon the process.

Remember, even the best optimised checkout process still has an abandonment rate of 20%. So give yourself some leeway.

Improve buyer trust

There are subtle cues that buyers instinctively look for when evaluating a site’s trustworthiness. Luckily for you, these trust signals can be relatively quickly and easily integrated into your marketplace platform. The first is social proof such as user reviews and ratings, which 92% of online shoppers seek before making a purchase.

The second is displaying security certification badges prominently on your site. It’s akin to asking for someone’s ID before letting them into your house. Including recognised logos such as ‘PayPal Verified’ increases the chances shoppers will trust your marketplace and choose to shop with you.

Include a guest checkout option

28% of shoppers abandon an online purchase if the only available option is to create an account. This could be due to time constraints, privacy concerns, or simply not wanting to subscribe to another email list. Therefore, a ‘Checkout as a Guest’ option can significantly boost sales.

Send abandoned cart emails

Sometimes the cause of an abandoned cart is beyond the marketplaces control. Perhaps they were covertly browsing at work and had to close the browser when their boss approached. In such situations, a well-timed email can effectively prompt the shopper to resume where they left off. In fact, a timely series of abandoned cart emails has been found to reclaim 29% of lost sales.

Provide multiple payment options

The 8% of shoppers who abandon baskets due to a lack of payment options may seem like a small figure, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. A striking 83% of the world’s top 60 grossing eCommerce sites currently offer at least one third-party payment option, proving that a diverse range of payment options can indeed drive profitability.

Support your customers

As mentioned earlier, one major obstacle preventing many browsers from becoming buyers is a lack of information. Hence, strive to offer as many customer support channels as possible to guide them through the process. This could include a comprehensive FAQ page, a Helpdesk, live chat, and customer messaging options. Providing accessible and effective support can be the crucial difference between an abandoned cart and a successful sale.


Shopping cart abandonment is a widespread challenge in the marketplace industry, impacting both the user experience and the bottom line of marketplace businesses. Understanding the primary reasons for cart abandonment – which range from high and unexpected shipping costs, lack of trust, overly complicated checkout processes, limited payment options, technical issues, and insufficient customer support – is the first step in addressing the issue.

It’s crucial to adopt strategies that not only enhance the buyer’s journey but also foster trust, such as being transparent about costs, simplifying the checkout process, demonstrating clear security measures, and providing multiple payment options. Meanwhile, supporting your customers with readily available and comprehensive information and offering a guest checkout option can significantly reduce abandonment rates.

Lastly, employing strategies like sending abandoned cart emails can reclaim potential lost sales. By acknowledging and addressing these factors, marketplace businesses can substantially lower their shopping cart abandonment rates, improving their conversion rates and ultimately, increasing their profitability.

It’s a journey that requires constant attention and optimisation, but with the right tactics, the climb from browser to buyer can be a successful one.

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