Add Product to Cart? Check. Do I Really Want It? Eh, Maybe Not

For many consumers, abandoning products in an online cart is part of the digital shopping experience. But what’s really causing them to rethink that pair of shoes they absolutely needed seconds ago?

According to a November 2018 study from Forter, an automated fraud prevention solutions provider, many variables affect whether a consumer completes a purchase. For one, most consumers—across all age groups—are impulse shoppers. Roughly 80% of US shoppers surveyed said they had second thoughts about buying a product they added to their cart.

And many had those second thoughts less than a minute after adding items to it, Forter found.

But impulsivity isn’t the only factor that can lead to cart abandonment. Many times, consumers are ready to checkout, but are discouraged by the shipping cost. Others encounter unnecessary steps—like reentering credit card information, having to take a picture of an ID or attempting to add a discount code that doesn’t work.

Research from Namogoo mirrors some of Forter’s findings. Nearly 61% of US digital shoppers surveyed said they abandoned a cart because of site errors or crashes, and nearly as many bailed because the site required them to create an account.

“Window-shopping is a fact of life in ecommerce, and putting items into your cart is often a way to bookmark what you’re interested in—even when you don’t really intend to buy,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst. “What retailers really need to watch out for is creating unnecessary friction for an intended purchase because that’s leaving real money on the table. Failing to streamline payment and checkout options or having surprise shipping costs at the end of the checkout process are simply unforgivable mistakes for online retailers in this day and age.”