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Ecommerce sales are booming and yet 88% of shopping carts are abandoned before customers complete the checkout. With ecommerce forecasted to keep growing, this means that lost sales due to abandoned shopping carts will also hit the ceiling.

Online shoppers are more likely than ever to abandon their purchase, even after taking time to choose the products. And this costs you money. Reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate by half could double your sales.

So why do potential customers abandon their purchase?

7 Shopping Cart Conversion Killers

Here are the main reasons that customers abandon their purchase.

1. Shipping

Shipping costs are the biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment.


Shipping costs are the biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment. Try to show any shipping costs, delivery options, timeframes upfront. Nothing frustrates customers more than not showing them the shipping details of how long delivery will take and the cost until the very end of the checkout process. Nearly 50% of shopping carts could be salvaged this way.

2. The Power of Free Shipping

85% of consumers rate Free Shipping as the No.1 purchase incentive.

61% of consumers will cancel their order if free shipping is not offered.


Consider using Free Shopping for selected items, or building shipping costs into the price of an item. Free shipping is a powerful incentive and can drive more conversions. Equally not having free shipping or high shipping costs could put buyers off.

76 percent of Online shoppers added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.

3. Make It Quick

57% of customers will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. 80% of them will never return.


Check on your website speed using Google’s Page Speed Tool. Simply enter your web address to find out how fast your site is on a desktop and mobile and see advice on how to speed it up.

4. Delivery Expectations

Consumers are prepared to wait one week to receive their online purchases, with 24% prepared to wait 8 days or more.

21% of shoppers abandon their cart if not given an estimated delivery date

Only 8% of online shoppers are “high urgency” shoppers and are not willing to wait longer than 3 days for shipments. The likes of Amazon, Google, eBay are experimenting with new Same Day Delivery options which will appeal to these impatient buyers.


Even if the timing isn’t important for a purchase, like buying those flowers for Mother’s Day, customers prefer to have some information around how long to expect delivery and this can be included easily at the end of a product description.

5. Off-site checkout

One of the common conversion killers is when you take your customers away from your site to complete their purchase. It is a big source of confusion for the less savvy customer.

A staggering 1 in 5 customers abandon their checkout if the checkout process takes too long or is confusing.

It is especially a conversion killer if this off-site checkout has tons of fields that the customer has to fill in before completing a purchase, or is asked to register.

Both of these are common criticisms of using traditional PayPal Buy Now buttons on a website. (This is why the PayPal app on Selz was designed to overcome this and keeps buyers on your site!)


Use a shopping cart that doesn’t transfer the buyer away from your site. Check to see if your shopping cart solution can keep customers on your website even if they purchase using PayPal.

5. We all like to feel safe and secure

80% of consumers feel safer seeing trusted card logos on an online store.

The ability to track packages is an important factor in customer satisfaction, 50% of online shoppers think that package tracking is an essential service. Shoppers were happy to receive a link to track their order if included in the email order confirmation.

Returns, refunds, and warranties play a major part in reassuring buyers. It is often considered first when someone visits a new online store. Two-thirds of customers will look for the return policy prior to making a purchase online. You are at risk of losing customers if you don’t make it easy to find on your website.


Use a Hosted Shopping Cart (rather than hosting the software yourself) means you’ll have fewer worries with credit card security, managing SSL certificates and PCI compliance. You also don’t need to worry about optimizing the speed of the checkout.

6. Everyone’s Going Mobile

Tablets have reached a level of adoption in just three years that took smartphones nearly a decade to reach. 160 million people in the US own a smartphone, and 42 percent of US adults now have a tablet.

The way people shop online has changed for every now that people take their smartphones and tablets almost everywhere with them.

32 percent of all online purchases are made using a mobile device.

The biggest annoyance for consumers shopping on mobile is poorly loading sites. A whopping 84% of users will fail to complete their purchase on a mobile device if it is slow or they have trouble with the shopping cart checkout.

If you’re not taking mobile ecommerce seriously you should do, read why mobile ecommerce should be at the top of your list.


Make sure your “buy button” or “checkout” is easy to find on your website if using a mobile device. Check that your shopping cart uses Responsive Design, which means it is optimized for different screen sizes.

Mobile ecommerce is about having a simple and easy to use checkout process.

Don’t ask customers to complete any more fields than is absolutely necessary. It is a lot harder to type on a mobile device, and a lot of your customers will abandon a checkout if its ask them for unnecessary information. The classic conversion killer is when you’re asked for your address and phone number when buying something digital like an ebook.

It is because mobile ecommerce is becoming so important that the Selz checkout has been designed to be so simple and uses Responsive Design to show correctly on mobile devices with different sized screens. You need to maximize your conversion rates on mobile devices.

7. Opinions Count

90% of users who read online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.

Reviews can be a great help to guide visitors decision-making process and assure them that the product of offer is the right one – just look at Amazon. Not having any genuine reviews or testimonials on your site might be costing you lost sales.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great sources for shopping ideas, wish lists, recommendations and influencing purchases. The main conversion killer if selling via social media is having too many steps before the person can complete the purchase. The intent to buy based on a social recommendation is fragile and can quickly evaporate.


We all know the power of good testimonials. But bad, weak testimonials like “It’s a great app, Beth” look fake and these could work against you. If your testimonials or reviews look inauthentic you might be better off not showing them. Look at using tools like Yotpo to capture genuine reviews.

If selling via social media, make sure that you’ve made it easy to purchase with as few clicks as possible.


Think about the lost sales each month if 88% of your customers abandon their purchase. Now imagine the difference in your revenue if you could reduce the number of customers that abandon your checkout by a few percent.

Try identifying if any of the 7 conversion killers applies to you, and think about the easiest way you could solve them. It might be as simple as choosing a shopping cart solution or showing more information about shipping on your store or product descriptions.

Let us know in the comments your experience of checkout conversion killers.

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About the author

Geoff Austin

I talk and write a lot. Some of it about ecommerce, selling online, startups, SEO, digital marketing.

Currently, head of analytics for an automotive business in Sydney, facilitating a culture of data-driven decisions. Delivering data-based insights and intelligence.

Chauffeur to twin daughters and a pizza chef master.


  1. Dylan Simpson

    Many thanks for your shopping cart software review, very interesting and useful article on e-commerce.

    1. Melissa

      Thanks for reading Dylan, glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Vidhi

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for such an informative article!
    According to me even creating a multi-step checkout process can help in reducing the cart abandonment rate. This can help in capturing a potential customer’s email address and do away with the pain of filling in a long form.
    I will like to hear your views on this!

    1. Geoff

      Hi, a multi step (if less than 6 steps) probably would be better than a long form as long as you have a clear progress UI. The simple fact is that we crave simplicity, so the simpler you can make a checkout the more likely people will complete it.

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