Cart abandonment is the bane of online retailers’ existence and new research highlights just how easily discouraged American shoppers are from completing purchases.

According to a study conducted by ecommerce fraud prevention firm Forter and OnePoll, American shoppers only purchase 58% of the items they add to their shopping carts.

That might not come as a surprise to those in online retail, but Forter and OnePoll’s data highlights how important convenience is to consumers: 50% are less likely to complete a purchase if the checkout process takes longer than 30 seconds.

When evaluating specific aspects of the checkout process, Forter and OnePoll found that shoppers are a largely unforgiving bunch. For example, the average shopper will think twice about a purchase if checkout requires more than four clicks.

Having to re-enter a shipping address or credit card number are often deal-breakers. A quarter and a third of shoppers, respectively, have abandoned a cart after having to do so. And then there’s the issue of shipping costs. More than six in ten consumers have bailed after seeing a shipping cost that they
found unacceptable.

The worst news for retailers is that the costs of cart abandonment often extend well beyond the revenue associated with the items that were in cart. In fact, a whopping three-quarters of shoppers who have had a poor checkout experience are unlikely to ever return to their sites.

Why are retailers still coming up short?

The Forter-OnePoll research highlights pitfalls that have been common knowledge in online retail for years. For example, the importance of page load times, particularly during checkout, are well-known. But the study demonstrates that retailers are still falling short when it comes to the basics.

The question is “why?”

Ironically, it’s worth considering the possibility that some retailers aren’t sweating checkout experience because they now have so many tools for dealing with cart abandonment outside of checkout.

For instance, many retailers use retargeting to engage shoppers who have abandoned their carts. In many cases, retargeting appears to be highly effective, with many retailers achieving double-digit recovery rates.

But how many of the sales retailers are capturing through retargeting could have been captured initially had the retailers optimized their checkout experiences? Retailers that can’t answer that question would be wise to invest in finding out.

After all, retargeting isn’t free. In addition to the direct costs of retargeting, which primarily consist of the cost of retargeting ads, there can be indirect costs as retailers sometimes offer discounts to lure shoppers into coming back and completing a purchase. And then there are the risks of retargeting,
which can be seen as creepy and even drive away some shoppers.

With this in mind, retailers should take a second look at the performance of their checkout experiences and establishing KPIs that look at cart abandonment and retargeting-driven sales holistically. In some cases, retailers may find that the efficacy of their retargeting efforts are masking checkout experience problems that can be addressed by following best practices and applying a number of tried and proven techniques.

Econsultancy’s Ecommerce Best Practice Guide