Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges for an online retailer to overcome. Almost 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned — the customer places items in their cart, but never completes the order. There are tons of reasons a customer might abandon their cart, but one particular factor stands out above the others: shipping!

How does shipping cause cart abandonment? It actually contributes to this problem in multiple ways. In fact, the majority of abandoned carts are due to surprise shipping costs. Another significant portion of customers abandon their carts because their purchase wouldn't reach the minimum amount to qualify for free shipping. Many customers feel that shipping and handling charges need to be shown earlier in the checkout process to help them make their decision. There are many more reasons customers abandon their carts, and they don't all have to do with shipping, but shipping issues are by far the number one cause of cart abandonment.

Solve Shopping Cart Abandonment with Better Shipping Options

Since shipping is such a huge factor, it's the first thing you should address when working out your strategy to stop shopping cart abandonment in your online store. Fortunately, there are ways to handle every commonly-cited shipping-related cause for abandonment, provided your eCommerce software supports such solutions (and not all platforms do).

If you're seeing a high number of abandoned carts on your store, here are the features you should be using:


  • Real-time shipping costs visible in View Cart page – This prevents a customer from being surprised by shipping charges added at the end of the order, and eliminates the biggest part of the problem.





  • Disclose handling charges – If you need to add a handling charge provide this information clearly in the checkout process. 

    Handling fees that are separated from delivery charges, such as extra packaging for fragile items, ice packs for heat-sensitive items, etc. shouldn't be presented as one shipping charge since this can be deterring to shoppers. 

    Instead, present the handling fees as such, so customers are aware of this being a separate charge and the reason for it. Also, if the handling fee is the same regardless of the quantity of products ordered, communicate this to the shopper since it can help increase the average order value and reduce the cost per unit to the customer.


  • Offer a choice of shipping carriers – Some customers abandon carts because they realize their order can only be shipped by a carrier they've had a bad experience with in the past.


  • Provide more shipping options – Give customers more options for how their items are shipped, including delivery speed and rates. This overlaps with a choice of carriers.



  • Evaluate your usage of free shipping – If you've implemented free shipping for orders above a certain amount, try to balance the minimum purchase so most customers can reach it while still increasing your average order value.




If you'd like to learn more about optimizing your online store's shipping procedures, check out our free Beginner's Guide to eCommerce Shipping. It's full of tips you can use, whether you're just starting out, or just want to get a better handle on this vital aspect of selling online.

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