The most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment – and how to get them under control

trbo survey of 1,000 German internet users

Nowhere else in the Customer Journey are visitors as valuable as in the checkout process. Shortly before the imaginary finish line, when products have already been carefully selected and placed in the shopping cart, the purchase is within reach. But this core element of every online shop is also the most sensitive area that can mean some sleepless nights for online retailers.

Losing your most expensive visitors at this very moment is particularly painful. Depending on the industry, there are high dropout rates between 40 and 80 percent on average. Knowing the numerous reasons for this is worth a fortune. The topic is not recent and was examined by experts more than once, but thanks to the enormous potential it is worthwhile to have another look.


First, we asked 1,000 German Internet users about their motivations for cancelling a purchase. The main results show that many aspects can be identified and prevented by online merchants well in advance. 


For example, every fourth German online shopper (25 percent) has already abandoned his purchase because he lacked the last spark of motivation to buy. If the online retailer had recognized this hesitation earlier, he would have been able to spark the fire with targeted incentives such as discounts or emotional triggers like limited availabilities to persuade the customer to buy – ultimately like a shopping assistant in brick and mortar shopsl who can act directly and respond personally.


A total of 39 percent also stated that creating a customer account was too time-consuming for them. And that despite the fact that they had already added products to their shopping cart. A long and complicated purchasing process in general was a reason for a quarter of all users (23 percent) not to complete the order.


A further 13 percent of all respondents become bargain hunters shortly before making a purchase. They would hunt for available discount codes and do not return after an unsuccessful search. They are usually inspired by prominently placed references to possible vouchers. In order to reduce the number of bounces, shop operators should reduce this tempting reference to a simple link – Visitors who have a coupon code will find it. Merchants should also recognize when their visitors want to leave the shop to go on a discount hunt – and offer them personalized incentives, so that only the selected shop visitor can redeem the coupon. Further misuse is therefore excluded and user engagement is increased considerably.


Other important reasons for cancelling a purchase are excessive shipping costs (57 percent) and the lack of a suitable payment method (53 percent). Every third (33 percent) had already seen the product at a cheaper price in another shop and 24 percent considered the indicated delivery time to be too long. Technical problems in the shop caused one in five (21 percent) to cancel a purchase.


Dr. Daniel Kirchleitner, Managing Director of trbo GmbH, sees great potential for expansion in optimizing online shops: “Particularly at this important stage in the customer journey, retailers should do everything they can to ensure that the purchase is not cancelled shortly before completion. The reasons for this are manifold, but can often be handled by the merchants themselves. Even downsizing the registration process can significantly reduce the number of shopping cart cancellations. With intelligent solutions such as trbo’s technology, many other reasons for cancellation, such as high shipping costs or a lack of motivation to buy, can be identified quickly and easily before the customer is lost. An individual approach in real time can turn a non-buyer into a buyer after all.”

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