Mobile Shopping Cart Abandonment in Online Shops

Shopping Cart Abandonment on mobile devices
Author: Haydar Yuece // 9min

You hear it from all sides: Smartphones are changing the buying behavior in e-commerce. However, the growing importance of mobile commerce (m-commerce) raises a number of questions regarding conversion optimization. As is known, shopping cart abandonments have a wide variety of causes. Although the common reasons for cart abandonments also apply to smartphones and tablets, mobile commerce deserves special attention.

The factors influencing shopping cart abandonments are different from those on the desktop. It makes a big difference how big the display is and whether I shop on the go or in my own home. In order to understand mobile users and motivate them to complete a purchase, we first ask ourselves the question of why. For the topic of shopping cart abandonment, this means: Why do customers abandon the shopping cart on mobile devices in the middle of the buying process?

Why Online Shops should pay special attention to mobile

The increasing acceptance of mobile shopping is reason enough to take a closer look at the segment of shopping cart abandoners on mobile devices. After all, the growing popularity of mobile commerce over the past few years offers online shops significant opportunities to increase sales.

This circumstance alone brings enormous advantages, because customers now shop on the way to university or at work, for example. After all, we always have our smartphone with us wherever we go. This gives busy and therefore often strong-selling customers more opportunities to shop online.

The following data clearly shows why it is worth taking a closer look at mobile shopping cart abandoners:

cart abandonment mobile devices
mobile devices turnover
transactions mobile devices ecommerce

At the same time, however, the probability of a cart abandonment on a mobile device is significantly higher. It is true that mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular. But it is also a fact that the abandonment rate is higher and the conversion rate on mobile devices significantly lower. Online retailers should be aware of these risks so that they can actually benefit from the opportunities.

mobile shopping cart abandoners

Different device, different reasons for abandonment?

In principle, all common main reasons for shopping cart abandonments also apply to smartphones and tablets. Device-independent abandonment reasons such as missing payment methods, long delivery times and high shipping costs play an important role in many shopping cart abandonments.

In the case of smartphones and tablets, however, it is worth taking a separate look at the reasons for abandonment. Why are the factors influencing shopping cart abandonment on mobile devices different?

mobile shopping cart abandonment reason
  • Mobile devices are often used for research.
  • The display is much smaller than on the desktop.
  • The shop visitor may be on the move.
  • Building trust is much more difficult in mobile commerce.
  • The smartphone as a means of communication bears a high risk of distraction.

In the shopping cart abandonment guide we list all common reasons for abandonment as well as procedures and best practices for reducing the abandonment rate.

1. Mobile research, purchase on the desktop?

It is true that many users use mobile shopping for product and price research in order to complete the purchase on their desktop afterwards. Up to 68% of mobile online shoppers use their mobile device for research. This is not so much a shopping cart abandonment as a touchpoint in the customer journey.

The ideal case: The shop visitor browses the online shop, finds interesting products and leaves the website quickly to complete the order process on the desktop. As it is, however, the ideal case rarely occurs. There is no guarantee that the user will actually return. Perhaps he is distracted or simply finds a better offer from the competition.

As far as possible, customers should be convinced to buy directly on their mobile devices – even if the device was originally intended as a research tool.

2. Poor User Experience-Design due to smaller displays

The popularity of smartphones and tablets for mobile commerce has its price, because the display is much smaller. This fact leads to certain problems in user experience design (UX design). What is the reason for this?


  • Buttons are difficult to click
  • Navigation is unclear
  • Product search is complicated
  • Product pictures are too small
  • Product information is missing
  • Font on the product pages is too small


For the reasons mentioned above, a responsive web design and, at best, an additional web app is indispensable if you want to keep up with mobile commerce as an online retailer. Thus, you adapt your online shop to all kinds of devices with any display size.

Not all problems can be solved with this, because pictures and fonts will still be smaller than on a notebook. Nevertheless, the shopping experience will be enormously enhanced, which will lead to more satisfied customers and fewer abandoned purchases.

3. Shopping on the road provides increased reasons for abandonment

It is true that the majority of mobile shop visitors shop in their own homes. Many people still do their shopping at work, on the train or in the waiting room at the doctor’s. In these situations, special circumstances prevail.


  • Lack of time: It’s in the nature of things: customers who visit an online shop on the way are often in a hurry. If I am on the train, I have to get off at my destination at the latest and put the smartphone in my pocket. If I surf in the waiting room at the doctor’s, I will be called sooner or later. If the user does not shop at home, a lack of time is therefore a major factor in aborting a purchase.
  • Unfamiliar environment: Another reason for mobile shopping cart abandonment is the unfamiliar environment in which users often find themselves. Hardly anyone enters sensitive data such as name, address or even bank details as long as, for example, you are sitting next to people you do not know on the train. So even the often unfamiliar environment can prevent users from successfully completing the order process.

4. Lack of trust

Another reason for shopping cart abandonment on mobile devices is the lack of trust in an online shop. Security aspects and lack of trust are a concern for 48% of mobile shop visitors. This problem is certainly not exclusive to mobile devices.

For online merchants, however, trust-building measures on smartphones and tablets prove to be much more difficult, as seals of approval and other trust elements are not immediately visible due to the smaller display. In addition, users have problems getting information about customer service quickly.

Potential customers can only find out with difficulty whether an online shop is trustworthy. Above all, this has a negative impact on the acquisition of new customers on mobile devices.

5. Risk of distraction

The last significant difference between mobile and desktop devices is the increased risk of distraction. Especially on smartphones we have installed a lot of apps that make communication with our loved ones easier.

Whether social networks like Instagram or messenger apps like Whatsapp, we are always available and can be distracted much faster. This is even more true when we communicate and shop on the same device, which is definitely the case with smartphones. Any further distraction increases the probability that the user will leave the shopping process.

Fewer mobile shopping cart abandonments

To successfully convert mobile shopping cart abandoners, online shops rely on solutions that are also compatible on smartphones and tablets. These solutions have different approaches. To reduce mobile shopping cart abandonment, a three-step process is recommended:


1. A responsive web design strengthens user-friendliness and thus prevents shopping cart abandonments. The shop visitor will have a much more pleasant shopping experience. However, this does not eliminate all reasons for abandonment.

2. Exit Intent popups developed especially for mobile devices prevent a shopping cart abandonment shortly before the visitor leaves the online shop. On mobile devices, the Exit Intent technology recognizes if and when the user wants to abort, for example by switching tabs and apps. Subsequently, a personalized message is sent to the person who canceled the purchase, giving the appropriate incentive or assistance for a successful purchase.

3. If the user cancels the purchase due to lack of time, for example, online retailers can use abandonment mails, which, like the Exit Intent popups, create personalized incentives. In this way, cart abandoners can be brought back into the purchasing process. Here you will find examples and templates for abandoned cart emails.

Mobile device compliant conversion optimization

The growing popularity of mobile commerce is bringing benefits to online merchants and customers alike. Online purchases can be made virtually anywhere and at any time. At the same time, the probability of shopping cart abandonment is much higher on mobile devices, due to the special circumstances. A mobile online shopper often has even more reasons to abandon a purchase.

Accordingly, solutions for conversion optimization should definitely be compatible on mobile devices. This applies to both technical features and the responsive design of the solutions.

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