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Does Cart Abandonment Really Come Down to Cost?

Customers cite shipping and cost of order

January 24, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

Cart abandonment is a major concern for online retailers, and according to new research, shipping costs and overall price are the two major factors that are causing digital shoppers to abandon their items.

US Digital Shoppers' Reasons for Cart Abandonment, Q4 2016 (% of respondents)

According to a Q4 2016 study from FuturePay, which asked consumers about their top reasons for cart abandonment, 86% of respondents said "cost of shipping," while 72% said that the "cost of order became too expensive." Other reasons such as "hassle of return," "lack of payment options," and "security concerns" had much less of an influence on shoppers.

Another study done in August 2016 by Market Track also found that shipping and price were critical to completing digital purchases. When US internet users were asked to name the most important factor that influences them to fulfill a digital purchase, 27% said "free shipping," and another 27% said "best price."

Most Important Factor that Influences US Internet Users to Complete a Digital Purchase, Aug 2016 (% of respondents)

Retailers are tackling cart abandonment with tactics such as retargeting ads, live chat and email reminders, but shipping costs seem to be an issue for digital shoppers in general.

FuturePay's study found that when it comes to overall concerns among digital shoppers, expensive shipping tops all other issues, including those of security, payment options and website speed. Approximately 85% of digital shoppers told FuturePay "shipping is too expensive."

One reason why consumers have come to demand free or low-cost shipping is because leaders in the retail space—specifically Amazon through its Prime program—are already offering customers it, putting pressure on other online retailers to do so the same. When cg42 asked US Amazon Prime subscribers why they subscribe, 91% said they did so for the free 2-day shipping.

—Alison McCarthy

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