An astounding 75% of online shopping carts are abandoned by shoppers, leaving a vast number of potential sales just lingering at the final stage. Imagine the potential revenue spike if organizations could correct the issues causing shoppers to walk away right before making a purchase. To do so, it’s important to understand the primary drivers of shopping cart abandonment.

Why customers abandon their shopping carts

There are a variety of reasons why a customer might fill up their cart and then ditch it at the last moment. Among the most popular: they’re doing research. When they’re shopping, consumers do a lot of research on cost-related factors as they seek the best available deals.

According to ChannelAdvisor, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases, with Amazon (55%) and Google (28%) the most frequent starting points. Seventy-nine percent of shoppers look for free return shipping and 71% of shoppers use online carts to evaluate shipping fees and return policies.

The Baymard Institute found shoppers abandoned their carts because extra costs were too high, including shipping, taxes and fees (60%) and they “couldn’t see/calculate total order costs up front (23%).

Of course, there is a host of other reasons shoppers abandon their carts, like forcing customers to register to make a purchase, unnecessary coupon forms, checkout errors, overly-complicated checkout processes, stock availability issues, waning brand loyalty and the demand for price-match guarantees. But with the majority of shoppers abandoning carts over concerns with shipping costs and options, a smart approach is to leverage smart shipping technology to help close more sales.

Preventing shopping cart abandonment with flexible shipping options

“Free shipping” is often the top reason why shoppers choose certain e-commerce stores, but is it the only reason? Not according to Fulfillment Service which reports free shipping is important, but not as important as low prices. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed want free and discounted shipping, while 28% want a choice of shipping options. A good portion of shoppers are willing to accept longer delivery windows for free shipping and it’s still important to provide expedited shipping as an option.

Essentially, both fast and free shipping options create incredible incentives for customers and can dramatically increase sales. The question is, do they increase sales enough to be worth it? Shipping costs typically account for 5% or more of…