Why Customers Reach Checkout But Don’t Complete the Purchase (And How to Fix It)

Murali Gottumukkala
Co-founder, COO
May 25, 2024

Have you ever found yourself celebrating a surge in traffic to your e-commerce site, only to be disappointed when those potential customers abandon their carts at the last minute?

It’s a common issue many online retailers face, and it can be incredibly frustrating. You’ve done the hard work of attracting visitors and guiding them through your products, only for them to leave without completing the purchase.

Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern where shoppers consistently reach the checkout page but don’t finalize their orders. This is a critical stage where a small oversight can lead to significant lost revenue. Understanding why this happens is the first step toward fixing it.

Consider this: according to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is a staggering 70.19%. That means nearly 7 out of 10 potential customers who add items to their cart will leave without buying.

Moreover, a study by Statista shows that in 2024, the global cart abandonment rate was around 70.19% for mobile users. These statistics highlight a significant opportunity for improvement.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the common reasons why customers reaching checkout but not completing the purchase** and will provide actionable solutions to turn those almost-sales into actual conversions.

Whether it’s simplifying your checkout process, addressing hidden costs, or building trust with clear communication, we’ve got you covered.

Stay with us as we explore the strategies that can help you transform your checkout process and boost your sales. Let’s turn those near-misses into success stories!

Understanding Cart Abandonment

What is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment occurs when a potential customer adds items to their online shopping cart but leaves the website before completing the purchase. It’s a major pain point for e-commerce businesses as it represents lost revenue and missed opportunities.

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

Understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment is crucial for developing effective solutions. Here are some common factors:

  • Unexpected Costs: Hidden fees like shipping, taxes, and other additional charges can deter customers at the final stage.
  • Complicated Checkout Process: Lengthy or confusing checkout procedures can frustrate users and cause them to abandon their purchase.
  • Security Concerns: If customers feel that their payment information is not secure, they are less likely to complete the transaction.
  • Lack of Payment Options: Limited payment methods can discourage customers who prefer alternative payment solutions.
  • Website Performance: Slow loading times, crashes, or other technical issues can drive customers away.
  • Comparison Shopping: Shoppers often use carts as a comparison tool and may leave to explore other options.

Types and Categories of E-Commerce Customers

Understanding the various types of e-commerce customers is crucial for developing effective strategies to reduce checkout abandonment.

Each type of customer has unique behaviors and expectations that influence their purchasing decisions.

By tailoring your approach to meet these different needs, you can enhance the shopping experience and improve conversion rates.

First-Time Customers

First-time customers are individuals who are making their initial purchase from your online store. They typically require more information and reassurance throughout their shopping journey. Key characteristics and needs include:

  • Trust Building: These customers may be hesitant and need to feel confident in the legitimacy of your store. Displaying trust signals such as secure payment icons, customer reviews, and clear return policies can help alleviate their concerns.
  • Detailed Product Information: Providing comprehensive product descriptions, high-quality images, and customer testimonials can help first-time buyers make informed decisions.
  • Easy Navigation: Ensuring your website is user-friendly with intuitive navigation can prevent frustration and encourage these customers to complete their purchase.

Returning Customers

Returning customers are those who have previously purchased from your store. They are familiar with your brand and have had a positive experience, which increases their likelihood of making repeat purchases. Key characteristics and needs include:

  • Quick and Efficient Checkout: Returning customers expect a seamless and quick checkout process. Implementing features like saved payment information and address details can streamline their experience.
  • Loyalty Programs: Offering rewards or discounts for repeat purchases can incentivize these customers to return. Personalized recommendations based on their past purchases can also enhance their shopping experience.
  • Consistent Communication: Keeping returning customers engaged through email newsletters and updates about new products or promotions can help maintain their loyalty.

Impulse Buyers

Impulse buyers make spontaneous purchasing decisions without extensive deliberation. They are driven by emotions and immediate gratification. Key characteristics and needs include:

  • Simplified Checkout Process: A quick and easy checkout process is essential for impulse buyers. Reducing the number of steps and eliminating unnecessary form fields can prevent them from abandoning their purchase.
  • Urgency and Scarcity Tactics: Creating a sense of urgency through limited-time offers or low-stock alerts can encourage impulse buyers to act quickly.
  • Visual Appeal: High-quality images and engaging product descriptions can capture the attention of impulse buyers and persuade them to make a purchase.

Deliberate Shoppers

Deliberate shoppers take a more methodical approach to their purchases. They spend time researching and comparing products before making a decision. Key characteristics and needs include:

  • Comprehensive Product Information: Detailed product descriptions, specifications, and comparisons are crucial for deliberate shoppers. Providing answers to common questions and in-depth information can help them feel confident in their choice.
  • Customer Reviews and Ratings: Displaying honest customer reviews and ratings can provide social proof and assist deliberate shoppers in their decision-making process.
  • Transparent Policies: Clear information on shipping, returns, and warranties is important for these customers. They need to understand the terms and conditions before committing to a purchase.

By recognizing and addressing the unique needs of these different types of e-commerce customers, businesses can create a more personalized and effective shopping experience.

This not only helps reduce checkout abandonment but also fosters customer loyalty and satisfaction.

1. Strategies to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Simplify the Checkout Process

One of the most effective ways to reduce cart abandonment is by simplifying the checkout process. Here’s how:

  • Minimize Form Fields: Only ask for essential information to make the process quick and easy.
  • Guest Checkout: Allow customers to make purchases without creating an account.
  • Auto-Fill Options: Use auto-fill to speed up the form-filling process for returning customers.

Provide Clear and Transparent Pricing

Unexpected costs are a major reason for cart abandonment. To address this:

  • Upfront Pricing: Display all costs, including taxes and shipping, upfront.
  • Free Shipping: Offer free shipping if possible or highlight any promotions that include free shipping.

Enhance Website Security

Building trust with your customers is crucial. Ensure your website is secure by:

  • SSL Certificates: Use SSL certificates to encrypt transactions.
  • Trust Badges: Display security badges from recognized authorities like Norton or McAfee.
  • Transparent Privacy Policy: Clearly communicate how customer data is protected.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Cater to diverse customer preferences by offering various payment methods:

  • Credit/Debit Cards: Accept all major credit and debit cards.
  • Digital Wallets: Include options like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Integrate services like Klarna or Afterpay.

Improve Website Performance

A seamless shopping experience is vital. Ensure your website performs well by:

  • Optimizing Load Times: Fast loading pages keep customers engaged.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your site is mobile-friendly, as many shoppers use their phones to make purchases.
  • Regular Testing: Continuously test for bugs and glitches.

2. Implementing Recovery Strategies

Even with the best efforts, some cart abandonment is inevitable. Here are recovery strategies to bring those customers back:

Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails are an effective way to remind customers of their pending purchases. Tips for successful emails:

  • Timing: Send the first email within an hour of abandonment.
  • Personalization: Use the customer’s name and mention the items left in the cart.
  • Incentives: Offer a discount or free shipping to encourage completion.

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads can remind customers of their abandoned carts as they browse other sites. Effective retargeting includes:

  • Personalized Ads: Show the exact items left in the cart.
  • Compelling Offers: Include discounts or promotions to entice customers back.

3. Enhancing the Customer Experience

Provide Excellent Customer Support

Accessible and responsive customer support can make a significant difference. Ensure you offer:

  • Live Chat: Provide instant support through live chat.
  • Clear Contact Information: Make it easy for customers to reach you via phone or email.
  • Comprehensive FAQs: Include a detailed FAQ section to address common concerns.

Use Social Proof

Social proof can reassure potential buyers and reduce cart abandonment. Strategies include:

  • Customer Reviews: Display positive reviews and testimonials.
  • User-Generated Content: Share photos or videos from satisfied customers.
  • Influencer Endorsements: Partner with influencers to build trust.

4. Analyzing and Adapting

Monitor Cart Abandonment Rates

Regularly analyze your cart abandonment rates to identify trends and areas for improvement. Tools like Google Analytics can help track this data.

Conduct A/B Testing

A/B testing different aspects of your checkout process can reveal what works best. Test variables like button colors, checkout layouts, and call-to-action phrasing.

Gather Customer Feedback

Direct feedback from customers can provide valuable insights. Consider:

  • Surveys: Send post-abandonment surveys to understand why customers didn’t complete their purchase.
  • Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews about their shopping experience.


Reducing cart abandonment is a continuous process that requires understanding your customers’ needs and refining your strategies accordingly.

By simplifying the checkout process, ensuring clear and transparent pricing, enhancing website security, and offering multiple payment options, you can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates.

Additionally, implementing recovery strategies and continuously analyzing customer behavior will help you turn more browsers into buyers. Remember, the key to success lies in creating a seamless and trustworthy shopping experience for your customers.

FAQ’S on Reached Checkout But Don’t Complete the Purchase

1. Why do people add to cart but not reach checkout?

There are several reasons why people add items to their cart but do not reach checkout. Some of the most common reasons include unexpected shipping costs, having to create a new user account, complicated checkout process, lack of payment options, and website errors or crashes. Additionally, some people use the shopping cart to save items for later consideration, with no immediate intention to buy.

2. Why do people abandon checkout?

Checkout abandonment often occurs due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Unexpected costs: These can be shipping fees, taxes, or any other additional costs that were not clearly communicated to the customer.
  • Complicated checkout process: A checkout process that is too long or confusing can deter customers from completing their purchase.
  • Security concerns: Customers may abandon their carts if they feel that the website is not secure or if they are asked to provide too much personal information.
  • Lack of payment options: If customers cannot find their preferred payment method, they are likely to abandon their purchase.
  • Website performance: Slow loading times or technical issues can also lead to checkout abandonment.

3. How do you fix shopping cart abandonment?

Fixing shopping cart abandonment involves addressing the issues that cause customers to abandon their carts. Here are some strategies:

  • Transparent pricing: Ensure all costs (including shipping and taxes) are clearly communicated before the checkout process.
  • Simplify the checkout process: Reduce the number of steps in your checkout process and only ask for necessary information.
  • Offer multiple payment options: Providing a variety of payment methods can cater to different customer preferences.
  • Improve website performance: Ensure your website loads quickly and functions smoothly.
  • Build trust: Use security badges and customer testimonials to reassure customers about their purchase.

4. What is a good shopping cart abandonment rate?

A good shopping cart abandonment rate varies by industry, but as a general rule of thumb, an acceptable rate is typically between 60% and 70%. However, it’s important to note that this is just an average. Some industries, like fashion and travel, tend to have higher abandonment rates. Therefore, it’s crucial to benchmark your abandonment rate against industry standards and strive to continuously improve it.

5. How can I reduce my cart abandonment rate?

Reducing your cart abandonment rate involves improving the overall shopping and checkout experience for your customers. Here are some strategies:

  • Offer free shipping: High shipping costs are a common reason for cart abandonment. If possible, offer free shipping to your customers.
  • Provide guest checkout options: Forcing customers to create an account can lead to cart abandonment. Allow customers to check out as guests to streamline the process.
  • Implement cart abandonment emails: Send reminder emails to customers who have left items in their cart. These emails can also offer discounts or incentives to encourage completion of the purchase.
  • Optimize your website for mobile: A significant number of online shoppers use their mobile devices. Ensure your website and checkout process are mobile-friendly.

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