Shipping Cost Is The Primary Reason For Online Cart Abandonment

Seven out of 10 shoppers prefer to shop online versus going to a store, according to new research from UPS and comScore.

However, online cart abandonment has increased over the past 12 months, the study indicated: 88% of consumers said they placed items in digital shopping carts then left the sites without making purchases, versus 81% over the same time period in 2012.  Higher than expected shipping costs was the main reason cited for cart abandonment.

For the second annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper: A Customer Experience Study, released June 2013, comScore surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers. Responses revealed e-Commerce trends, customer preferences and key reasons for shopping cart abandonment.


According to the study, the top factors encouraging shoppers to abandon their online purchases included:

  • Shipping costs made total purchase amount more than expected (54%);
  • Consumers wanted to know the total cost with shipping for comparison against other sites (50%);
  • Consumers wanted to save the cart for later (49%); and
  • Order values weren’t large enough to qualify for free shipping.

Consumers make their buying decisions based on retailers’ ability to provide flexible delivery and return options, the survey noted. Consumers said they were more likely to buy from a specific retailer if they had the ability to buy items online and pick them up in-store (44%), as well as buy online and complete returns in-store (62%).

To that end, consumers said the following returns-related elements were imperative to creating an excellent online shopping experience:

  • Free returns provided for each shipping option (65%);
  • A “no questions asked” returns policy (58%);
  • A return label included in the box of the original purchase (53%); and
  • Refunds applied automatically to debit/credit cards once retailers receive a returned item (47%).

Should flexible return options be provided, consumers said they would shop more with a specific retailer (67%), recommend the merchant to friends (64%), and even focus less on price and more on the quality of service (36%).

Better delivery options also played a role in online shopper satisfaction and loyalty: 44% of consumers said they would shop more with retailers allowing them to buy online and pick-up in stores. In addition, 62% of consumers desired the option to buy items online and return them to stores.

Click here to download a complete version of the survey report.

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