Most of the time shopping cart abandonment is referred to negatively.

If you work in e-commerce or digital marketing, you have likely read a blog post or looked at an infographic which discusses shopping cart abandonment as a big problem for online retailers. Frequently, this is followed up with a reference to $18 billion in lost income. There’s even a report from Business Insider that reported the problem at $4 trillion in 2015. While shopping cart abandonment can be an issue, the problem isn’t as big as some would lead you to believe. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of work for brands to do.

Most of the time shopping cart abandonment is referred to negatively. But, what about the instances of shopping cart abandonment when:

1. The person never intended to buy online from you in the first place.

2. The person ended up buying the same thing at your retail store instead.

These aren’t necessarily bad things, are they? Let’s take a deeper dive into these two issues.

The role of reverse showrooming in shopping cart abandonment

Google defines showrooming as “the practice of visiting a store or stores in order to examine a product before buying it online at a lower price.” Often, customers will go into a store looking for an item and perform a price comparison from their mobile device, while shopping. This is one reason given for the recent downfall of so many retailers: They are losing sales to online shoppers.

So, what is reverse showrooming? Instead of going into a store and using the information you find to compare prices online, you do all of the necessary research online before purchasing in the store.

Business Insider reports reverse showrooming at least as far back as 2014. Their report indicates that more people practiced reverse showrooming (69%), when compared to those shoppers who engaged in showrooming (46%). If this is nothing new, why do so many retail brands with ecommerce stores fail to think holistically about their customers path to purchase? This failure to identify their customers’ omni-channel habits leads to a poor communication experience, poor channel attribution, and ultimately, wasted budget.

Understanding how the decision tree to purchase impacts shopping cart abandonment

Why would someone leave items in their cart online, only to buy from your retail store? In an informal poll conducted across my social networks, two predominant reasons emerged:

Shipping costs were too high: High shipping costs and longer lead times were the main culprits

Shoppers wanted to see an item before buying: How clothing fits, the fit and finish of a higher-priced item, or the anxiety of buying something without seeing it first were all reasons given for this behavior

One thing to consider when evaluating the reasons behind shopping cart abandonment is the proximity of shoppers to physical retailers. If shoppers are close to brick-and-mortar stores, they may be more likely to shop there instead of making purchases online. Here are a few real-life examples showcasing the normal thinking behind shopping cart abandonment and how it can be a hindrance to a good brand experience.

Lead time issues and shopping cart abandonment

To better understand the issues that accompany shopping cart abandonment, let’s take a look at Joe and the decisions that contributed to his abandonment issues (of the shopping cart variety).

Shopping cart abandonment: Real World Example #1

The numbers below illustrate the fantastic results just 4 months after redesign launch.

Overall Performance:


Increase in Sessions


Increase in Page Visits per session


Increase in Time on Site


Increase in Transactions


Increase in Conversion Rate

SEO Performance:


Increase in organic search sessions


Increase in Conversion Rates


Boost in Revenue

Mobile Performance:


Increase in New User sessions


Increase in Mobile Transactions

Like those numbers?
Get in touch with us to discuss what we can help your business achieve.

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