In our latest SaleCycle Academy video, Matt Marchant looks at why some sites have higher abandonment rates than others. 

Shopping cart abandonment happens when visitors to a retailer’s site add items to their online cart but leave the site without buying. Around 77% of shoppers add items to their carts but don’t complete the purchase.
It can be a problem for all retailers, but some have higher abandonment rates than others. This can be because of factors such as poor website design, but the biggest differences in abandonment rates are often between different sectors.

Retailers in general have abandonment rates of around 76%, but fashion retailers have much lower levels of abandonment, around 10% lower than the average.

Some sites have much higher rates though. On travel sites more than 82% of people leave without buying the products they’ve selected.

So why the difference? Let’s look at some reasons:

It can be about how easy it is to buy. On a fashion site, I can find a shirt and pay for it in a few steps.

By contrast, car insurance quote forms require lots of details, and can be frustrating to complete, so people are more likely to leave without finishing.

Travel sites have abandonment rates similar to finance, and a big factor is the length of time it takes to decide.

The top three reasons for booking abandonment are around research, price comparison and checking with other travellers.

Buying a shirt can be an easy decision, but holidays can be one of the most expensive and important purchases for people, so they want to take time, check with their friends or family, and make sure they make the right choice.

So what can sites do about abandonment? Well, travel sites are always likely to have higher abandonment rates than fashion, but there are ways to minimise the problem, like making forms easier to complete.

Also, once a customer abandons a purchase, it doesn’t have to end there. They may just be taking their time, and useful prompts via email or SMS can help to bring them back to the site.