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Shopping Cart Abandonment Rises

Savvy consumers seek out the best deals.

Most consumers probably are unaware that when they don’t complete checkout after adding items to an online shopping cart, they’re becoming part of a statistic. It’s called “shopping cart abandonment,” and the trend is rising.

The shopping cart abandonment rate reportedly reached a peak average of 72 percent in 2011, with the highest abandonment rate of 89.2 percent reported on Nov. 20. The rate was 71 percent in 2010, and 68 percent in 2009.

Market analyst Charles Nicholls of SeeWhy believes one reason for this trend is the “deal seeking behavior” of online buyers.

Many online buyers will only buy discounted products, and 73 percent rate unconditional free shipping as a critical feature

“More and more consumers are becoming sophisticated Internet shoppers, aware of simple techniques to seek out the best deal and of TV-advertised price comparison websites,” he notes.

Abandonment rates typically rise during the last quarter of the year because merchants offer new products and holiday promotions meant to entice buyers. Meanwhile, buyers are shopping around and tend to abandon their carts if a better deal is found elsewhere.

Online marketers should try to offer simpler checkout processes, better security and more payment options, as well as promotional deals for consumers, Nicholls advises. As much as 47 percent of online buyers reportedly will only buy discounted products, and 73 percent “rate unconditional free shipping as a critical feature,” he notes.

During the end-of-year season, savvy buyers expect promotional offers and may abandon their shopping carts if the deals don’t stack up.

In other words, those with the most online-shopping experience are more likely to abandon their shopping carts.

About the author

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Cheryl Fahey

    I do this a lot because sometimes it is the only way to get to the bottom line price including the shipping charges. Amazing, but there are some sites out there that expect payment upfront and then will tell you the shipping and handling amount after the fact. I don’t even consider shopping at those places!

  • Lou

    I agree with Cheryl. There are many times when the only way to find out how much shipping is, is to add the item to the cart. Some times it’s the only way to even see the price of the item. Maybe some up front info would be better to avoid this situation. They seem to want all your info before they give you theirs.

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