IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 5 Jan 2015

Shopping Cart Abandonment


The term shopping cart abandonment describes the process in which online shoppers put items in their online cart, but then fail to finish the transaction – this habit is rapidly becoming the bane of the online retail industry.

I was surprised to learn that almost 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Every time a shopper leaves a retailers website and abandons their shopping cart retailers lose out on a potential sale. Put this in the context of the UK as a whole, and we are talking a lot of lost sales.

After further research we were astounded at the total of potential lost sales. With the total online spend for 2014 as noted by IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index at £107 billion and the average abandonment rate for online shopping carts at 68%, it means that the total lost sales figure is 72.76%.

73% of UK shoppers buy online at least once per month and this total spend could be much higher if shoppers actually completed the checkout process – but what is stopping them??

Today more than ever shoppers want ease and convenience and this is expected at every stage of the omnichannel journey, but especially during the online process. If any unexpected situations arise, shoppers are quick to rethink their purchases and abandon their online shopping cart.

If the online shopping journey is interrupted, or shoppers switch from one device, e.g. smartphone, to another, e.g. laptop, will their basket survive? Most shoppers will agree that if their basket has been emptied on their first session they simply won’t bother searching for the items again.

Another turn off for consumers is time consuming forms. Customers don’t want to waste time filling in numerous details if they don’t deem them relevant. Transparency is key at every stage of the shopping journey and unexpected delivery costs will be a massive no no for many shoppers. Ensure all costs are calculated upfront to minimise the risk of transaction termination.

Platform incompatibility – Many shoppers express an interest in spending online at certain retailers, but if the retailer’s website doesn’t support the device they are using then shoppers are unable to complete the transaction. This will also have long lasting implications, with these shoppers deterred from returning in the future.

Retailers can reduce the rate of abandonment and increase customer spend by streamlining the checkout process and also by re-targeting shoppers with emails after they’ve left a website.

Approximately £2.57 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers, according to BI Intelligence estimates.  Shopping cart abandonment is increasing, and it will continue to do so as online retailing continues to enjoy strong growth; just saving a small percentage of shopping carts from being abandoned could result in a significant increase in sales.

However, it is also important to remember that an abandoned shopping cart could also be seen as part of the increasingly complex series of steps a consumer might take before finally making a purchase – a strong indicator of consumer interest in a product or brand.

If you are interested to find out how Retail Assist could benefit you and your business then please take a look at our website: You can also get in touch with us via email: or call us on: 0115 853 3910. To see all of our latest news and updates just search ‘RetailAssist’ on Twitter and Instagram.

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