8 Negative Effects of Shopping Cart Abandonment

17 February 2022 ~ 18 min read 1917 views
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Claspo Blog 8 Negative Effects of Shopping Cart Abandonment

Once upon a time, a handsome, young merchant ran an online store. The revenue was not spectacular, but the business was profitable and everyone around kept telling him that he was coping well. Yet, being teased by his ambitions, he longed for more. 

One day, he noticed that even though the visitors of his website were excited about acquiring things at first, they often had a change of heart later, quitting the platform and leaving the carts’ content behind. Naturally, it inflicted damage on his income. But it also tampered with his major stats, inventory, site’s performance, and marketing tactics. It was causing true havoc in his domain.  

Whether it was an enchantment cast by his rivals or some mundane impediments, he was determined to detect the source of this malfunction and put an end to the devastating effects of cart abandonment.

8 Shopping Cart Abandonment Side Effects

1. Inability to Form a Bond with Customers

2. Barren Efforts to Lure Buyers In

3. Addled Supplies

4. Additional Retargeting Expenditures

5. Low Level of Website Accessibility

6. Inefficient Advertising

7. Incorrect Stats

8. Tarnished Reputation

Viewers frequently refrain from placing an order, there is nothing abnormal about it. Many people do idle shopping with nothing particular in mind. 

For instance, you’re having a rough day at work and decide to take your mind off endless responsibilities by imagining that your vacation is not months away, but waits for you just around the corner. Hence, you look for accommodations, plane tickets, sights to see. You get carried away and start a booking process, but an urgent call, a slammed door, or something else brings you back to reality. So, you flee the website to escape the temptation of making these purchases. 

Analysts call this behavioral pattern a “cart abandonment”. Essentially, if it’s an isolated incident, it would be a drop in a bucket. However, as stated by the Baymard Institute report, the average cart abandonment rate in the e-commerce sphere is 69.82%, which draws a very bleak picture of the situation. 

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What are the damaging effects of shopping cart abandonment? This question immediately pops up in business owners’ minds, as soon as they encounter this phenomenon and start investigating it. If you want to study the notions of cart abandonment and its rate first, we have very nuanced articles covering these topics here and here

So, why is cart abandonment bad? Usually, when publications address this question, they don’t expand the gravity of the consequences further than the evident revenue loss. Yet, with a cohesive and comprehensive approach, you can see that dropped shopping carts actually become the source of significant collateral damage to multiple areas, including your site’s performance, crucial statistical benchmarks, and marketing efforts.   

When these problems gather around you, like the clouds around the sun, your performance can start to feel under the weather. That’s why if you seek a solution to neutralize harmful shopping cart abandonment effects, you should explore what you’re up against first. 

1. Inability to Form a Bond with Customers

Basically, cart abandonment indicates that shoppers visit your platform, get infatuated with your products or services, but then decide that they are not ready for a commitment. Sparks fly, yet they never turn into something serious. 

These people represent an opportunity that you failed to seize. If you could grant them a more comfortable, smooth, and stress-free shopping experience, this fling could transform into mutually beneficial long-term relationships. 

How does it affect your KPI?

If the average order value reflects the amount of income you lost within one particular abandoned cart, customer lifetime values measure the profits you could have gained if this visitor opted for becoming a client. This index continuously goes down because shoppers do not turn their back on a single basket, they walk away from the future purchases altogether.   


2. Barren Efforts to Lure Buyers In

Cart abandonment can sabotage plenty of work that your sales and marketing departments put not only into retaining but also into attracting customers. They spend hours exploring promotion channels, experimenting with techniques to nurture leads, or brainstorming creative advertisement ideas, and all of it is in vain. 

How does it impact your KPI?

When you vote for quantity over quality, you risk spending your money on the wrong cause. If you manage to create an environment that induces people to without hesitation, you eventually gain more because your customer acquisition costs become lower.

3. Addled Supplies

The average cart abandonment rate in the e-commerce sector is 69%, which signifies that shoppers drop 7 out of 10 digital baskets. Picture this within the walls of a mall instead of a website. Honestly, it would be a quest to simply enter the premises.      

All these carts are filled with things that you are now unable to sell until they go back into stock. This means that a little girl will not get a cute unicorn costume for her birthday party or a very romantic woman will not fly to Paris because when she finally got the courage to book a flight, all the tickets were gone. It is devastating to even think about it. 

How does it influence your KPI?

You cannot maintain the balance between demand and supply. As a result, not only do you say farewell to the customers who intended, yet decided not to buy, but you also lose the clients who were ready to place an order but could not do it. 

4. Additional Retargeting Expenditures

Retargeting implies that you have an agreement with certain platforms (e.g., Google, Facebook, etc.) that they will use cookie files to display your company’s banners to your former visitors. This is a viable cart recovery strategy. Still, those ads will not be free. If you want to get these customers back, you will have to pay extra.   

How does it modify your KPI?

When you first tried to procure shoppers to visit your site, you’ve already paid for the advertisement. This means that the total cost of acquiring this clientele would be composed of both standard ads and retargeting ads. 

5. Low Level of Website Accessibility

In a world where you can order a pizza while taking a subway train, so it would arrive right when you get home, people are not willing to wait for your website to download. If it’s not up and running within seconds, they will take off to find an alternative.   

How does it alter your KPI?

Therefore, cart abandonment has a crippling effect on your performance in two major ways:
- When your page-load time & execution speed is already low, a vast number of users will just flee the scene.
- In case your site is flooded with full carts that do not transit to the next stage, those parameters will go down on their own. Thus, visitors will be unable to access the store or dissatisfied with the waiting time.

6. Inefficient Advertising

Sometimes cart abandoners turn out to be the audience that you should not strive to convert. Maybe a shopper accidentally clicked that “add to cart” button and did not notice or pay attention. Perhaps, a user decided that this particular style does not coincide with his or her image. Still, you will be paying for advertising your products or services to a similar demographic. 

How does it interact with your KPI?

Customers’ history and cookies are the basis for your targeting ads. If your target audience is incorrect, you will not accomplish your primary goals. Plus, you will be paying more money per click for the advertisements than you should have.

7. Incorrect Stats

In the era of sophisticated technology, cyberattacks are something you should always be prepared for. That is why it should not come as a surprise to you that sometimes it might not be real people who abandon their cart, it can be malware programs. Naturally, bots’ actions have no value in terms of assessing your performance or deducing customers’ behavioral patterns. 

How does it change your KPI?

Generally, it affects every benchmark due to a vast amount of traffic that should not be taken into consideration. Did you think this product was visitors’ favorite? Wrong, they were not real people. Did you suspect that something was wrong with this page because users frequently quit the platform there? Wrong again, bots just happen to exit at the same time.

8. Tarnished Reputation  

If you bought something on the Internet, you probably know that in the case of online shopping, reality and expectations rarely match. Forrest Gump compared life to a box of chocolates because “You never know what you're gonna get”. This holds for Internet purchase as well. This experience can be funny, exciting, satisfying, or disappointing. You can even get scammed. People love to share these emotions to warn or stimulate others to use the same service.    

How does it tamper with your KPI?

On the Internet, being reliable, trustworthy, and user-friendly means everything. Former visitors will not hesitate to say that your website seemed shady, you did not provide tracking information, your refund policy is complicated, you have no free shipping, and it takes forever to complete checkout. They might not write a review because they did not acquire anything, but they might write a comment on a forum or a social network, besides mentioning it in a face-to-face conversation. You might invest a fortune in your advertising, but people will not buy from you if they already have a prejudice against you.

Constructing a Shield against the Damaging Effects of Cart Abandonment

So, we answered the core question: “What are the effects of shopping cart abandonment?” But acknowledging issues does not equal solving them. Thus, let’s see if there is anything that can compensate for this undermining influence. 

There is a wide range of impulses behind peoples’ cart abandonment. Surely, you have to be incredibly resourceful to address obscure motives behind people’s choices. Still, Baymard Institute reports that although plenty of customers were “just browsing/not ready to buy” (58.6%), many companies’ policies and actions are among the major instigators of cart abandonment. 
The most common reasons for abandoning online shopping carts in 2021.png

Of course, your ability to remove the obstacles or resolve the issues significantly depends on your budget, staff, expertise, etc. It often seems like it’s not worth the effort to brainstorm a separate strategy for this aspect of your work. Marketing Charts published the research, stating that only 26% of business owners approach the negative effects of shopping cart abandonment.

But this turns out to be a very shortsighted policy. It’s displayed in another one of their reports that a simple upgrade of your shipping and return policies can inspire more than half of the respondents to buy from your store or even recommend it to their friends. 
How shipping policies affect customers' behavior in online retail.png

John Milton taught the world that even the darkest clouds have silver linings. Of course, he was a poet, not a scientist, but his metaphor of optimistic attitude can form a solid ground for a practical cart abandonment recovery policy. Let’s see what you can do, when the weather says: “Cloudy with a high chance of revenue loss”. 

  1. Make customers feel welcome and appreciated. Present them with limited-time offers, personalized coupons & discounts, recommendations, etc. This is effective if you would like to greet them or when they express an intent to close the site’s tab. You can easily reach out to your visitors through pop-up messages designed with Claspo’s functional & creative pop-up builder
  2. Be open and straightforward with shoppers about your costs, shipping options, and refund/return policy. They deserve to know all the essential information before they proceed with checkout. 
  3. Incorporate review/testimonials section and show trust seals.
  4. Offer multiple payment methods. Remember, that they have to be secure.
  5. Use follow-up emails & retargeting to remind users about the content of their abandoned carts. Make sure that your emails are as personalized as possible because customers value the individual approach. 
  6. Conduct site maintenance and usability testing regularly.  
  7. Install bot protection.
  8. Design a separate section that visitors could use to store products and services that caught their eye (e.g., “Favorite” or “Wishlist”).

A discount offer with a data collecting form..png

These are the most obvious, yet effective maneuvers you can perform to fight the crippling online shopping cart abandonment effects. If you want to linger on this subject, you can read more about it here and here.

Ironically, every time you take an umbrella with you, it never rains, despite the forecast. So, use these recovery measures to compose an umbrella you can put up and scare the cart abandonment clouds away. 


In the end, the merchant realized that he does not have to slay a mythical dragon, called “shopping cart abandonment”, he just has to rearrange the things that permitted it to take its toll on his domain.  

Life is not a fairy tale, so there will be no happy ending if you dream of a zero cart abandonment rate. You shouldn’t chase every single lost cart. For all you know, it might have been a cat jumping on the laptop and closing the session. But if you focus on the obstacles, you can remove, and the incentives you can provide, you will be surprised with how many improvements you can make.  

At first, handling a whole plethora of impacts in multiple areas, including marketing, customers’ acquisition, software, and statistics, might seem overwhelming and challenging. That is why, you need to design a set of tools that you shall utilize as countermeasures (e.g., personalized recommendations, discounts & coupons, bot protection, enhanced platform accessibility) gradually, and you’ll witness the signs of progress soon. You can use it as a protective charm against the negative effects of online shopping cart abandonment and always keep your visitors in a sunny mood.

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