In a brick-and-mortar shop, it’s rare to see an abandoned shopping cart stocked full of items and sitting in an aisle. When we do see it, we can’t help but wonder what happened to make that shopper walk out of the store without completing the purchase. After all, they spent time walking through the store and placing items in the cart. Were they called away by an emergency? Did they have small children with them who were tired of shopping? Or, did they forget their wallet at home? We don’t necessarily attribute it to a poor shopping experience.

In the digital retail space, however, abandoned shopping carts are far more common. Research from SaleCycle shows the average e-commerce shopping cart abandonment rate is about 84%. Think about that for a moment: less than 20% of customers who visit an e-commerce website complete a transaction, even after spending time choosing items and placing them in a cart. The problem is so pervasive, there’s now an entire genre of technology tools aimed at retargeting consumers with ads featuring their abandoned items. 

Sometimes, the reason behind cart abandonment is outside of the e-commerce merchant’s control. Perhaps the consumer wasn’t serious about wanting to make a purchase yet, and placed items in the cart to review in more detail at a later date. But other times, the consumer met some kind of hurdle on their way to the checkout page.

Flow commissioned an extensive report examining global consumers’ e-commerce expectations. Cart abandonment was one of the topics we wanted to explore since it continues to be a significant challenge for retailers. Each of the global markets we surveyed had a total of 385 respondents. We learned that almost 4 in 5 respondents across all 11 markets surveyed in the study said they have abandoned their shopping cart online. It’s important to note that cart abandonment rates vary by country. For example, within the top 11 global markets we surveyed, Canada, Japan, the U.S., U.K., and France have the highest cart abandonment rates. Meanwhile, India, China, and Germany have the lowest rates. 

Consumers in global markets cited many reasons for shopping cart abandonment. At the top of the list: high shipping costs, which was the top-ranked reason for 47% of all respondents. It’s not surprising to hear that consumers will abandon shopping carts after facing unexpected costs associated with making a cross-border purchase. Unpleasant additional fees for international shipping, relevant duties, and in-country taxes can add more to the total amount of an order and turn off a customer. One way to combat this is by providing transparent pricing information upfront.

The consumers we surveyed cited other shipping concerns as well, such as the purchase didn’t qualify for free shipping and shipping costs were shown too late in the checkout process. These are certainly factors that e-commerce merchants can and should control. International shipping is complex, but cross-border retailers must craft an international shipping strategy that offers fast, accurate and affordable shipping options for their customers.

Shipping wasn’t the only friction point that stopped our survey respondents from clicking the “Buy Now” button. Other reasons included the product price and a lack of preferred payment methods. Again, these are hurdles that a cross-border e-commerce merchant must eliminate as part of creating a seamless, localized customer experience

To learn more about international e-commerce consumers and their expectations, download our free report, Global Consumer Insights. If you’d like to speak with a Flow expert about steps you can take to fine-tune your e-commerce site’s checkout experience and improve cart abandonment rates, get in touch today.