The Checkout Abandonment Problem and How to Fix It

You’ve invested a lot in your e-commerce store, and you’ve worked hard to build up a steady stream of sales. So, when a customer comes online and decides to make a purchase from you, the last thing you want is the customer abandoning the checkout process just when it comes time to click “place order.” 

What many merchants don’t realize is that the solution to checkout abandonment is in their control. Although it’s inevitable that some customers will abandon their cart during checkout, there are steps you can take to minimize these occurrences.   

Let’s take a look at the checkout abandonment problem and what you can do to fix it starting today. 

Why Do Customers Leave E-Commerce Sites at the Payment Stage? 

Losing customers who have made it to the very last step of completing a purchase is frustrating. They’re obviously interested in your products, but something prevented them from completing the order.  

There are generally three components to the checkout abandonment problem: friction, lack of confidence and payment failures. 


Friction is caused by anything your e-commerce site fails to do to convert a sale. Common checkout obstacles that cause friction include: 

  • Requests for information. Are you asking not only for more information than is needed, but also for the same piece of information (e.g., shipping address) multiple times? 
  • Long checkout forms. 39% of U.S. cart abandonments result from long or complicated checkout forms. If too many clicks are required to complete the process, a customer may abandon checkout. 
  • Insufficient order information. When customers don’t see total costs – including shipping, taxes and fees – along delivery dates until the very end of the checkout process, they may rethink their purchase. 
  • No guest checkout. Customers who must complete extra steps to sign up for an account when you don’t offer guest or express checkout options may abandon checkout before completing their purchase. 
  • Non-optimized website. Sites that aren’t translated into the local language, have a high page-load time and aren’t mobile friendly can result in a frustrating customer experience. 

Lack of Confidence 

As fraud increases, customers must have confidence in your business, your site’s security and the transactions they conduct with you. Checkout abandonment reasons may include: 

  • The absence of well-respected security logos and badges on your site 
  • No explanation of how your business protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information 
  • Lack of terms of use 

Payment Failures 

  • Unavailability of local currency. Can your shopping cart display current totals in the local currency? Processing transactions in the customer’s currency can increase conversions. 
  • Number of payment options. Insufficient payment choices may drive customers away, while too many alternatives can be overwhelming. 
  • No discounts. Some customers will abandon the checkout if they can’t easily find coupons or discount codes to apply to their purchases. 
  • Connections to only one bank. If your business is connected to only one bank, you may reduce the likelihood that international transactions will be approved. Connections with multiple banks often result in an increased conversion rate and improved failover rates for rate for first-time transactions. 

 6 Simple Ways to Remove Checkout Barriers 

Despite the obstacles, it’s never too late to develop and implement checkout abandonment prevention strategies. When you’re thinking about ways to convert customers and fight rising checkout abandonment rates, consider these steps: 

  1. Streamline the checkout process, making it as frictionless as possible. This may include offering a variety of payment types, posting payment terms and simplifying the information-entering part of checkout. 
  2. Promote the simplicity of your checkout process. 
  3. Connect in real time with customers who have abandoned the checkout process. If they were close to finalizing checkout, send a simple email that shows the cart contents and includes a “buy now” button. Such emails, when sent within three hours of a consumer abandoning a cart, average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, according to Listrak. 
  4. Optimize the online experience, improving page load times and optimizing your site for mobile and desktops. 
  5. Run and analyze conversion reports to understand where your customers are leaving the funnel. Identifying where most customers drop off can help you improve the buying experience. 
  6. Review campaigns and offers to make sure you’re reaching the right shoppers and encouraging them to return. 

Improve Checkout to Increase Conversions, Reduce Abandonment 

The average checkout abandonment rate in e-commerce was 25% in 2016 — a significant missed opportunity for merchants. But if you take the time to develop and maintain a streamlined, friction-free checkout process, you can minimize shopping cart and checkout abandonment and get closer to the 13% rate achieved by top performers. 

When you’re ready to learn more about optimizing your checkout process and growing your e-commerce business, the team at ClearSale can help. Contact us today to get started! 

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