Cart Abandonment – A Lesson in User Experience


We first met our new client when they came in for a meeting about their online business. Although already a renowned musician, the online aspect of their business was very important as a revenue stream.

They were clearly quite frustrated with their experience with their existing website and the developer. They had done some homework and were able to show their online store had a cart abandonment rate of 99%! That means 99 out of every 100 customers chose a product, added it to the cart, then did not buy. Their money remained on the table, or more correctly, remained in their wallet when they were interested in buying the product.

The reasons for cart abandonment could be one or many. The site looks quite old, is visually unappealing, and overall navigation experience is confusing. Yet, people were managing to find the products they were interested in, they just were not purchasing. During our meeting, I played the role of the user, I managed to navigate the site (challenging), find a product, add it to cart, then I hit a User Experience (UX) road block.

The checkout page was quite “messy”, it had the same off-putting look and feel as the rest of the site, lots of black background, unnecessary information written in a chunky bold font. The biggest issue was a small checkbox to create a password. Why do I need to create an account to buy a product?

I explained this UX roadblock to the client. Shoulders dropped and frustration expressed itself, they had tried to make this issue smoother with their previous developer, but did not get what they were asking for. Worse, they had a would-be purchaser make her frustration known by emailing them complaining about the difficulty of the checkout process, declaring that she would never purchase their products, and she would tell her social and professional networks all about it. Alarm bells.

I asked the client, do you NEED your purchasers to create an account to access your website? No. So why are you forcing them?

Long story short, we took over the site, reinstalled it, simplified the purchase process and email notifications while we developed their new site. Straight away, in the days and weeks following, purchases were being made and their cart abandonment rate has fallen to around 40%. Not bad when the average is around 70%. Yes, 70% is the average. The client is very happy they have been able to start the transition from the previous developer to HyperWeb with such a positive result with their existing website. Wait until their new, modern looking, UX focused website goes live!

Why are cart abandonment rates so high in general?

We have written previously on things to avoid in e-Commerce, but reiterating some of those points:

  1. Introducing additional costs in the checkout screen (such as shipping, or credit fees). Make them known at the start.
  2. Lack of security trust. Is the checkout page secure?
  3. Shopping information off-putting, i.e., a note saying the product won’t be delivered as fast as the user requires.
  4. The checkout process is too complicated.

If you believe you are not getting the sales you should with your online store, get in touch with us for a review of your website and online shopping experience to see if we can reduce your cart abandonment rates and lift your revenue.

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