Top 6 Reasons Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate is High on Mobile (and How to Fix It)

To many e-commerce retailers, mobile shoppers represent a frustrating customer segment. More and more consumers are picking up their devices to browse products online, yet the data shows that they are far less inclined to make a purchase when they are using a phone.

Retailers are left scratching their heads — as traffic from mobile devices continues to increase, what are the best ways to improve the customer experience such that visitors are more likely to complete a purchase on the device they have in hand? And where is the best place to start, given the complexity of mobile optimization?

The good news is, there’s one part of your website you can start optimizing which will deliver immediate and guaranteed improvements in your mobile metrics. It is, of course, the mobile shopping cart.

You can make some really key, tactical improvements to the shopping cart alone that are likely to give you a decent boost in conversion rates for mobile (and especially smartphone) transactions.

Below, you can check out the top 6 reasons why mobile shoppers are abandoning your shopping cart. Try choosing one (or more) areas to improve upon in your next mobile development cycle!

Reason 1: Distracting Design

The most common reason for mobile shopping cart abandonment is distracting, overwhelming design.

Mobile shoppers can be very impatient and are mostly focused on completing the action at hand. So once your customers are ready to buy, the best thing you can do is get out of their way.

This is why you need to remove all obstacles on your customers’ path through the checkout process, both visually and functionally.


Online retailer Stella & Dot knows how to focus shoppers’ attention.

For example, there is no need to keep your standard navigation or footer on the checkout pages. You should try to reduce the number of “leaks” by removing elements that could get shoppers distracted and leave.

Reason 2: Unreasonably Long Forms

Filling out long forms is one of the most dreaded actions for a mobile visitor.

Touch keyboards are almost impossible to navigate blindly and require switching back and forth between text and number layouts. You can ease your shoppers’ pain and improve your mobile conversion rates at the same time by asking for only the necessary information.

In most cases, all you need is confirmation that the right items in the right quantity are being purchased, then billing details and shipping info, and that’s it. This is not a good time to interrupt a user’s process with a survey or anything else non-critical.

Bonus points: Take the experience to the next level by offering people the option to create an account using the information they’ve already filled out. It doesn’t take up much of their time and will make the checkout process much more fluent the next time they’re on your website.

Reason 3: Forcing People to Sign up

It’s great to offer users the ability to create an account with your site. On the other hand, forcing them to do so is a bad idea that will cause your conversion rates to drop drastically.


Zappos forces its customers to sign up to complete a transaction. We’d recommend testing an alternative flow.

You see, many shoppers may view your mandatory signup request as a point of friction and anxiety. How long will it take? Is it worth it? What about my privacy? — they may wonder, and rightfully so. After all, they’ve come to your website to buy and anything else would seem like a distraction (see point #1).

Reason 4: Unpredictable Checkout Flow

An unpredictable shopping cart is an abandoned one. It creates too much anxiety in any shopper, especially if she’s on the go.

Splitting up the checkout process into multiple steps usually improves the user experience. It makes the process less overwhelming for the buyer and allows you to save parts of the entered information in case something goes wrong.

However, a new concern may be introduced if steps in the conversion path aren’t labeled well and the calls to action are unclear.


Online retailer Perfumania uses a progress bar to indicate where the user is in the checkout flow.

For instance “Next” is a shady, unspecific CTA that doesn’t say much about what actually happens next. “Continue to Billing” would be a much clearer one.

And if you add a sort of a progress bar on every page in the flow, your customers will know exactly how many steps they need to complete.

Reason 5: Looking Insecure

No, not you personally, but your shopping cart!

The thing about many mobile users is that they still perceive buying on mobile as a less safe option than desktop.

It may have something to do with shopping in public, or the wireless connection, or the way media portrays mobile security, or all of the above.

The underlying reasons aside, to win over a worried customer, your checkout flow needs to make an impression of being the most impenetrable fortress in the world.



Online retailer Burton uses a trust seal to reduce customer anxiety.

Use trust seals and security assurance messaging in your checkout flow, particularly on the billing pages. You may even want to experiment with a mobile-specific message to see how that affect conversion.

Reason 6: Not Conducting A/B Testing

The points listed above are typical to any e-commerce retailer. But, since every site is unique, in order to maximize conversion rates and revenue on mobile your team should experiment with solving customer experience challenges through A/B testing.

It’s the most effective way to measure the impact of user experience changes and drive smart, data-driven decisions about how to structure the mobile experience so it works the best for your customers.

While many e-commerce sites are running continuous A/B testing programs on their desktop site, mobile has not received the same treatment. If you haven’t already brought A/B testing to the mobile version of your website, you should definitely make it a priority. Only then will you know whether more general best practices are actually the right solution for your business.


For many online retailers, shopping cart abandonment on mobile is still a significant challenge.

To solve it, companies should seek to remove friction and anxiety from the conversion path, focusing on the specifics of customer behaviour on mobile.

Resource ad

Subscribe to the Mobify Insights Blog

Stay in the know on the latest in ecommerce so you can effectively engage your customers and drive revenue.