Reducing Cart Abandonment in the Mobile Market

Bryan GudmundsonReduce Cart AbandonmentLeave a Comment

Mobile Cart Abandonment


Mobile Cart Abandonment

Reducing cart abandonment has remained a consistent challenge for online retailers the world over. Currently, the average shopping cart abandonment rate among desktop users is 70.1%. While this number is high enough to churn the stomachs of some online retailers, mobile abandonment rates average 98%.

Now, let’s discuss the question you’re probably asking yourself right now:

Why are mobile cart abandonment rates
so much higher than desktop rates?

The answer, in typical ecommerce fashion, is multi-faceted.


Mobile Cart Abandonment

First, let’s talk about something unique and painfully obvious about mobile devices: they’re mobile. With the freedom to take your device anywhere comes a lot of utility. According to a 2014 UPS/comScore report, 36% of shoppers use smartphones to compare prices while shopping in-store.

Unlike consumers using desktop devices, a significant portion of mobile shoppers use their device as an researching tool. To ensure they get the best possible deal, in-store shoppers turn to their phones and visit online stores to check prices. More often than their desktop counterparts, mobile shoppers don’t have the initial intent to purchase when landing on your product page–they’re just looking for a price-check.

However, assuming that every mobile shopper who lands on your site is simply researching won’t help you reduce cart abandonment. The mobile marketplace is still very flawed in its execution and, in a big way, the heightened abandonment rate can be attributed to poor performance on the part of merchants.

There are some prevailing pain points that have users sticking with desktops, and they fall under four categories:

  1. Browsing Capabilities
  2. Security Concerns
  3. Accessibility
  4. Clunky Payment Methods

1. Bolster Browsing Capabilities to Reduce Cart Abandonment

The limitations of mobile devices are evaporating as technology gets more sophisticated (the iPhone 6 has the same display resolution as most laptops), but for those without the newest gadgets, the divide is still very real.

Within the previously mentioned UPS/comScore report is a very revealing question that asks consumers, “What reasons lead you to shop on a desktop or laptop instead of on a mobile device?”

The top three responses were:

  1. Can’t get a clear or large enough image of the product (43%).
  2. Product information cannot be easily viewed (34%).
  3. Hard to compare products (31%).

All of these reasons are the result of mobile limitations and a failure to design with those limitations in mind. To reduce mobile cart abandonment rates, remember the following when designing a website for mobile browsers.

  1. Make photos scalable, scrollable, and sizable.
  2. Keep your copy simple, uncluttered, and large.
  3. Design a handy product comparison tool that doesn’t get bogged down with competing windows.

For every shopper that switches devices due to retailer shortcomings, count on dozens more who never return on any device. Do what you can to make the mobile browsing experience simple and functional.

2. Abandoning Carts Over Mobile Security Concerns

With a desktop computer, you know where your connection is coming from and, if you’re a networking guru, you know precisely who has access to your data. With mobile devices, however, you jump from one wireless connection to the next, transmitting data across 3G networks between WiFi hotspots.

As a result, users are hesitant to send payment information through mostly unknown channels. In fact, recent studies suggest that 69% of users would store personal payment information online more often if they felt confident that their information was secure.

Although your website may be reasonably secure regardless of device, it’s up to you to convey that message to the shopper. In most cases, reducing shopping cart abandonment due to security concerns is about making the consumer feel safe.


Although small trust seals and reinforcing language (i.e. buttons labeled “Secure Checkout” and so on) are enough to keep desktop users feeling safe, mobile users sometimes require a more direct approach. Samsung’s example above shows off their screen-wide security banner that’s placed just before above the CTA. This kind of attention to security helps visitors feel more at ease.

3. Mobile Accessibility and the Shopping Cart

A 2013 study from Jumio Inc. found that 34% of surveyed consumers have made a retail purchase on a mobile device. The study also found that 68% of users have attempted to make a purchase from a mobile device, meaning approximately half of users have tried, failed, and given up on shopping through phones and tablets altogether.


This isn’t a shortcoming on behalf of consumer computer savvy. According to the Adobe 2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, 45% of marketers do not have a mobile-optimized site. The general consensus is that mobile is on the rise, and yet many retailers are lagging behind when it comes to welcoming mobile shoppers. For reasons unknown, big-time retailers aren’t proactively reducing cart abandonment and leaving conversions behind in the process.

officed_mobile_cart_thumb Allow users to increase item quantities in the cart with large plus and minus buttons instead of using a drop-down menu. When asking for numeric values, display the dialing screen instead of the typical keyboard. There are plenty of usability features built-in to smartphones–by neglecting to work these shortcuts into the mobile user experience, you’re isolating an eager segment of users to your detriment.

4. Payment Methods and Cart Abandonment

Finally, we come to payment methods. While most other tips for reducing cart abandonment on mobile devices surround a central theme of adapting desktop practices for the mobile experience, payment methods are an entirely different case.

Currently, in the US and Canada, 71% of online transactions are completed with a debit or credit card. However, when shopping on a phone, not everyone wants to slowly key in first and last name, card number, expiry date, and so on. In recent years, alternate payment methods have gained traction, especially on mobile devices, because they’re faster and require less repetitive input.

If you’re looking to reduce cart abandonment, consider adapting Checkout with Paypal or Log-in with Amazon to let shoppers bypass much of the input phase. Also be ready to implement mobile-targeted payment methods, like ApplePay, which lets shoppers pay with a quick fingerprint scan.

Reducing cart abandonment among mobile users is no simple task, but there’s no need to be afraid of a high average. By thinking mobile-first and designing a site that caters to the specific usability of touchscreen devices, you’ll be able to lower abandonment rates and generate additional conversions. For more information on reducing cart abandonment, contact UpSellit!


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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