How to Curb Shoppers From Abandoning Their Shopping Cart on Your Site
Woman smiling shopping on her phone

A visitor enters your eCommerce website, browses your product pages and starts to fill up their basket. Everything points to a sale so far, however, the customer gets cold feet when arriving at checkout - yet another drop in the bucket of the $4 trillion financial losses the eCommerce sector faces every year.

Shopping cart abandonment is a common issue affecting millions of sites every day. Whether you're a heavyweight in the eCommerce industry or a small online business that recently launched, this metric is bound to be your biggest challenge as it has a direct influence on your turnover.

Based on market research done by Salecycle, the cart abandonment rate for the last quarter of 2016 stood at 74.4% for all regions. A breakdown of the results reveals that the largest percentage of customers admitted that they were only browsing product pages or doing a price check before they bounced away from an eCommerce website. And, no matter how prepared your business is for the setbacks coming its way, it's difficult to influence a customer who had no intention of purchasing anything from your inventory.

But, aside from window shopping or just doing research, there are a variety of other factors that can prevent customers from going beyond the checkout page, ranging from problems with the website's payment gateway to products costing too much. Fortunately, e-tailers are able to resolve many of these pitfalls by making a few adjustments to their websites.

Here are 5 solutions that will assist you:

Offer alternative payment methods

Each customer has a preference for a specific payment method when shopping online. They could choose to pay via electronic fund transfer (EFT) because they don't own a credit card or are cautious about providing their credit card details online. Or, they could favour the use of credit cards online because this option is more convenient. Therefore, when a customer lands on your checkout page, they expect a payment option that is relevant to their needs. In South Africa the preferred payment method is debit and credit cards, according to the eCommerce Industry Report 2016. Although you may not be able to integrate every payment method here, it's best to single out your target audience's pre-existing preferences in order to encourage your visitors to make a purchase.

Improve your website loading speed

Statistics show that the average online shopper will wait no longer than two seconds for a site's content to load; when dealing with a non-responsive screen after three seconds, up to 40% will leave the site. A site's loading speed is a crucial component of customer experience that, in turn, will impact purchase decisions. Making some tweaks such as reducing your coding files, removing unnecessary plugins, editing your image dimensions and compressing large pages, will vastly improve the usability of your website, resulting in more conversions.


Make checkout mobile friendly

Visitors to your online store expect that your site will perform even better on their mobile devices and that that they will be able to access payment solutions on this platform. Worldwide, eCommerce is slowly becoming a mobile-first practice with around two billion mobile users estimated to have made a purchase online by the end of 2017. Participants in the mobile commerce segment will immediately judge a store on its ability to offer a simplified checkout process on mobile.

To optimise your site to be mobile friendly:

  1. Use a responsive design

  2. Adjust your font and button sizes

  3. Remove unsupported software such as flash

Lower your shipping costs

"Delivery costs" is the second most popular reason why shoppers chose not to complete a purchase on an eCommerce store. There are many websites that now offer free shipping on all purchases or free shipping on a minimum amount, but if this is not the most effective option for your business there are other solutions you can consider to make your delivery costs more appealing:

  1. Maintain a low shipping rate for your customers by negotiating the best deals with your shipping carrier (such as flat rates)

  2. Use packaging offered by the courier service

  3. Double-check package measurements

  4. Provide a ‘Click and Collect’ option to shoppers

Enable customers to easily resolve payment errors

Online purchases can be declined or delayed for a variety of reasons. If a customer entered their credit card details incorrectly, your website should never require that the user re-start the payment process as this can be frustrating for many shoppers. Showing an error message at the top of the payment page is also not the best way to make customers aware since they may not even notice the notification and simply assume that the website has become unresponsive. Rather, showing the error message right above the input box where the correct information should be entered and highlighting the field in red will ensure that it will not easily be missed. You can also save the payment details of returning customers to avoid future errors on the payment page.


As an online business owner, you have invested lots of time, effort and money to make your business a success but the real hard work is converting visitors into paying customers and keeping them. By implementing these strategies to curb shopping cart abandonment you will not only attract new and existing customers but also encourage them to finish their purchase.