For all the coverage this subject gets, I would argue that it’s not enough. Checkout abandonment is a global phenomenon that impacts online sellers in all industries and markets.

It happens when someone starts the buying process but does not complete it, for any number of reasons. For some companies, as many as 80% of visitors who make it to the first step in the checkout process will abandon before completing the purchase.

That’s a problem. But the good news is that for most of us, it’s a fixable one.


The first thing to do is diagnose what might be going wrong. While there are some best practices that you can implement, it’s best to identify what is making people leave the checkout process before trying to fix it. Otherwise you might ignore the biggest issues and start fixing problems you don’t have.

Here are some potential issues and the solutions you should implement. Remember that the key to this kind of conversion rate optimization is continual testing. Measure the impact of your changes so that you know the right formula for success.

  1. Your visitors don’t trust you. They may think your site is insecure, or your offering is a scam of some sort. If that’s the case, they’re likely to second guess themselves and go running for the hills. To combat that, add trust indicators like third-party verification to the checkout pages.
  2. Your visitors are surprised by hidden fees. If you add shipping and handling or other charges after the fact, you might be sending the wrong message to your customers. To combat that, offer free shipping wherever possible or show the full price at the very beginning of the process.
  3. Your visitors are impatient. They all are. To ensure more of them make it to the final step, cut out any unnecessary time spent in the process. That means reducing pages, forms, and load time of pages.
  4. Your visitors are using their phones and your checkout was designed for a desktop. Nobody has time to zoom in and out and retype all that information on their phone. To combat that, create a mobile-friendly checkout process.
  5. Your visitor does not have the time to complete the checkout process right now. Either that or they don’t have their credit card on them. To combat that, make it easy for someone to save their cart and come back to complete the purchase later.
  6. Your visitor has last minute questions they need answered before they buy from you. To combat that, offer an obvious phone number or live chat option so that they don’t have to leave the shopping cart to get their questions answered.