Shopping Cart Abandoners - Why do We do it

January, 29 2019
Tamara Edgar
Written By
Tamara Edgar
SEO, Strategy


It’s 2019 - if you sell anything at all you should be advertising it online and if you do, you probably track your user activities too. They come to your website, they browse, select, add it to the cart and just before the final click they change their mind. And this is when remarketing comes into the play.

Every ad is designed to make the customer buy something but remarketing ads even more so.  Remarketing is more expansive and mostly works as a display ad so you pay per impression, not a click. However, the higher price is justified by the fact that the customer is one step closer to buying, they just need a bit more persuasion.

I am fascinated by understanding the psychology behind changing your mind at the last moment. Also, have to admit to being the biggest shopping cart abandoner out there. I even do it in real shops, put stuff in my cart and carry it around only to walk the same route out to put them back on the shelves, changing my mind before I check out.

In terms of digital marketing, the Shopping Cart Abandoners are the most desired customers, they want the product you offer, they can afford it and they are just one click away from buying it.



As a full time working mom to a toddler I did most of my Christmas shopping online and abandoned more shopping carts then ever before. The entire internet is full of my stranded carts now. So I thought it would be interesting to break down the reasons why we do it:

  1. Website trust factors - I would say this is the biggest one. I will get an ad on Facebook, like what I see, click, go to the website and obviously start checking how it looks. If the prices are too good to be true, or it asks for too much information or has way too many good reviews, I become suspicious. Questions start popping up in my head - “Do I know this website? Do I trust this website? Do I actually need whatever I am about to buy? Can I buy it from a more secure platform? You know what, I just confused myself so I don’t want to buy this at all. I’ll watch cat videos instead.

  2. Bigger choice, easier access - even when I am actively in-market for a product there is one crucial difference between shopping online and shopping in a store. Online shopping gives me access to millions of similar products within seconds, while in a store if I decide to continue shopping around, I need to get in the car, drive to the next one, park, get out, get into the shop only to understand that the first one was better, so I am less likely to go through all this trouble. When curled up on my couch I easily decide to go check again, as I only need to move my fingers.

  3. Delivery costs - look, it might be just that I am stingy, but I hate paying for postage. The moment delivery is added I get annoyed and decide to find the free delivery option instead. Even if it is only £2.99, I will go on Amazon and spend £20 to get it all delivered for free. In fact, 47% of US buyers said free shipping was a deciding factor when choosing where to buy from and 55% say free shipping is the most important factor.

  4. Premature buyers remorse - We all get it, you buy it and then you regret. But with internet shopping, you can get it before you buy. As I am going through the check out process I can change my mind because my brain’s giving me all the reasons why I shouldn’t. In my personal opinion, there’s something more tempting when you actually hold the item, in comparison to a picture on the screen.

  5. Big decisions, big money - if you are selling something that costs more, most people need to come back a couple of time before they decide to buy and very often they might go all the way to the cart, only to then decide to check prices.

The reasons listed above are not fully representative. You might say these are just thoughts of a digital marketer overanalysing her Christmas shopping, however, the fact is that 92% of website users, visiting for the first time are not there to buy and that’s when remarketing comes into play. Remarketing ads should do the trick of persuasion, making you click on the buy button, trigger emotional want and make it beat the rational need. While 69.89% abandons shopping carts, 24% want to save their selection to purchase or consider later.

The purpose for remarketing is to influence that big step for your brand and a small step for your customer that leads from consideration to conversion. By analysing user flow on your website you can see patterns, look at the landing and exit pages and make sure your remarketing campaign is designed not only with best practices in mind but also perfectly tailored to you and the products on your website. But as listed above, small decisions can be influenced by many small reasons. So when you remarket to your shopping cart abandoners, it is important to remember, that you are dealing with people, not just website stats and the campaign needs to be built with their purchasing triggers in mind. 

View all posts
New call-to-action