Shopping Cart Abandonment – Online and Off


I’m constantly reading about the phenomenon of shopping cart abandonment in online shopping.

It is a very big problem. One that is addressed, analyzed, discussed and analyzed some more.

How do we get apparently interested shoppers, who came to our site, searched for products, added them to a shopping cart and then proceeded to leave without product “in hand” to follow through to purchase?

Shoppers tend to get lost along the way online, apparently. They have a sudden change of heart, they don’t trust the credit card system on the site, they’re frustrated by a slow loading page, an unsightly graphic, or perhaps the phone just rang.

Online retailers, and the support and analysis industries that serve them, try to come up with different answers and strategies to save the sale.

One that I like, is the ability to save my shopping cart. That is “visit” the store, choose my desired merchandise and then, think about it a little more, without having to start all over again. Kind of like bricks and mortar shopping, when you’re able to put things on hold for a day or two (do stores still let you do that these days?).

Anyhow, it turns out shopping cart abandonment is not the exclusive domain of the net.

“ “Canadian consumers are abandoning their shopping carts, delaying purchases and leaving stores, public transit stops and restaurants in significant numbers,” marketing research firm, Maritz Research Canada, said in releasing the results of an online poll of more than 1,300 adult Canadians.

“A whopping 86 per cent of participants polled admitted to walking out of a store frustrated with having waited too long for service,” said Maritz, which advises companies on how to improve their performance.”

Many of these disgruntled shoppers leave mid-purchase.  That is, somewhere along the checkout process. (You can read the full story on The Globe and Mail).

So, while one form of retail is certainly not looking to emulate the lackings of the other, it is reassuring to know that abandonment happens everywhere.

And when a shopper abandons, for example a supermarket shopping cart online, at least the ice cream doesn’t melt from being discarded in the aisle.


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One Response to “Shopping Cart Abandonment – Online and Off”

  1. Carla Says:

    I admit to abandoning my online shopping cart a few times. Several websites I’ve shopped at gives time limits (usually 60 minutes) before you lose the item – especially online sample sale sites where a very limited number of heavily discounted high-end clothing is being sold and can sell out in as little as an hour or sooner.

    Maybe time limits would be helpful for a lot of merchants, especially during the holiday season?

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