Shopping Cart Abandonment On Mobile

Why do customers abandon shopping carts -- and what makes the mobile experience so different? The average shopping cart abandonment rate is 72% across all devices. But according to our recent study, mobile devices (excluding digital downloads) have an astounding 97% abandonment rate. Here are some techniques for improving the mobile shopping experience.

Why visitors abandon mobile shopping carts

There are two main reasons that customers place items into shopping carts but then don’t complete their purchases.

Price: There may be a price objection -- in particular the cost of shipping and handling -- as well as the desire to look for a promo code or better deal somewhere else.

Timing:  Consumers may not be ready to buy, but are putting items in a shopping cart so they can easily find them when they are ready.

While both of these apply to mobile devices as well, there are three additional factors that marketers must consider to better understand mobile’s inflated abandonment rate:



1. Device purpose

Consumers who own a PC, tablet and smartphone use each device for different things and at different times of the day:

Desktop:  Primary purchasing device, the desktop is safe, secure, and stores their information

Smartphone: Getting up-to-date information on the move; keeping in touch, socializing

Tablet: Browsing and entertainment

Generalizations are always risky, and it would be wrong to say that there are no purchases made on smartphones. Mobile ecommerce is growing very fast, but from a small base.

2. Device usability

Two times out of three, a tablet will be used for a mobile purchase; the screens are larger. Larger fingers don’t mesh well with small touchscreen keyboards on phones, as we all know only too well from our own experiences entering passwords.

However, there are practical optimization techniques you can use to make it easier to enter data on mobile devices. For starters, understanding where a customer’s attention goes on mobile devices can help predict better call-to-action button placement. The top, left-hand corner gets the highest attention. For example, if customers are focused on finding store opening hours and locations on their mobile devices, then make this information prominent in the top, left-hand corner.

And if customers are adding items into their mobile carts, there’s a good chance they are saving that purchase for later. So it makes sense to send them a mobile-optimized email reminder, with a link back to their cart, that they can use to purchase once back at their PC.

3. Payments

The absence of mobile payments contributes significantly to the 97% abandonment rate. Entering payment details and getting it all right the first time is far too difficult on a mobile device.

The payment industry is working to address this problem, but if you store credit card information with customer account details, you can make it very easy to purchase for existing customers.

If this doesn’t work for you, I suggest you don’t waste your time trying to optimize the mobile purchase process until there are better payment options available.


It is important to consider that adding an item to a shopping cart is a step toward the purchase process -- a signal of intent (so make it easy to do on all devices). And following up with email remarketing will ensure you get the sale -- although through a different device.


2 comments about "Shopping Cart Abandonment On Mobile".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, October 1, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

    Not sure about this 97% abandonment figure. It doesn's seem consistent with reports such as this:

    I wonder whether the issue is that mobile users multi-task more. If there are any long delays when they are not using the eCommerce site's shopping cart (for example if they answer a phone call from to a friend and are prompted to use Facebook a bit), its remarketing software is going to report them as abandoning their cart.

    But I suspect that many people from this 97% figure wouldn't consider themselves as abandoners at all - they simply fit their shopping in with busy social lives, and will get around to buying in their own time.

  2. Brendan Behan from Glancepoint, May 16, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

    Agreed with Pete. The 97% statistic is not sourced to the original data, making it highly suspect. Google identifies the source of that statistic as which itself lists its source for the 97% stat as coming from "*Source: SeeWhy Conversion Academy" - yet there is no direct link to where SeeWhy Conversion Academy is stating this or how they arrived at that number. Without a link to direct data, that makes the statistic essentially unsourced in my view. It also seems inconsistent with the data on ecommerce that Forrester recently published (

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