Half of Online Shoppers Ditch Carts

High shipping costs are the top reason buyers don't follow through.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Jun 24, 2009

High shipping costs have kept some online shoppers from checking out in recent weeks—but they might have completed transactions had they known the shipping costs upfront, a PayPal survey finds.

In fact, although 46 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. abandoned their full carts before making a purchase, 40 percent said they would have completed the checkout process had they known what shipping was going to cost beforehand, the survey reports.

"To get shoppers to buy, it's critical merchants make the checkout experience easy and cost-transparent," notes Eddie Davis, senior director of PayPal's services for small and mid-sized businesses.

The average cost of abandoned goods was $109, PayPal reports.

Security concerns and not having shoppers' preferred method of payment were other reasons given for leaving carts in stores' virtual aisles, at 21 percent and 24 percent, respectively. But the survey also showed that the current state of the economy is having an impact.

More than 33 percent of those surveyed said they didn't finalize their purchases because they "didn't plan for all the expenses," and more than 25 percent left the sites they were on to look for coupons.

Problems checking out were also cited as turnoffs. For instance, 23 percent of respondents left after discovering the item was unavailable at checkout, and 22 percent cited their inability to find customer support.

Merchants who don't welcome back abandoners with open arms are leaving hundreds of dollars per shopper on the table

PayPal conducted the same survey in Canada and found that shoppers there are even more likely to abandon their shopping carts, with 56 percent of them doing this, CanadaOne reports.

Payment options proved decisive for this group, and 40 percent attributed abandoning their carts to their preferred payment option not being available. But 43 percent also said entering credit card information took too long.

Merchants should not get frustrated, though, Davis says. Instead, they should do their best to woo buyers back.

"Merchants who don't welcome back abandoners with open arms are leaving hundreds of dollars per shopper on the table," he says. "Merchants need to remember the items that customers abandon and make it easy for them to buy when they return."

He suggests "sweetening the deal" by offering free shipping, coupons or other discounts to encourage shoppers to come back.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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