More than half of consumers who intend to buy but then abandon their carts say they would be lured to complete their purchase with a discount of up to 20%, a survey finds.

Technical glitches and out-of-stock items hinder online retailers from sealing the deal with consumers, but a new report focused on shoppers who intended to make purchases on retailers’ websites shows that most who abandon their carts are saving the products to buy later and would be enticed to complete their purchase with a discount—especially if the offer arrives after 6 p.m.

Nearly six in 10 “True Cart Abandoners” (59%) say they would complete their purchase if they could get a discount of up to 20%, and 20% of consumers surveyed said they would be more likely to buy the items in their cart if they receive notice of a sale, according to a survey by BizRate Insights, a division of retail marketing solutions firm Connexity (formerly Shopzilla). The study collected information from 61,766 online shoppers from Jan. 1 to April 30.

A majority (62%) of the 12% of those who abandon their shopping carts who save items to buy later say the best time to complete their purchase is after 6 p.m., the study shows.  The study didn’t collect details as to why the 6 p.m. deadline was important, said Bizrate vice president Hayley Silver.

How big a deal is cart abandonment? The study says that 11% of online consumers are “True Abandoners”—those who come to buy but do not.  Half of those true abandoners never put items in the cart; 18% leave after putting items in the cart but before starting to check out, and 32% leave after having started to check out.

Among abandoners, the top three reasons they ditch the cart are: 21% say they could not find the item they were looking for; 17% say the item, color or size was out of stock; and 9% say the price was too high. Many of these shoppers say they would complete the purchase if they had some help. 62% of the shoppers who couldn’t find what they were looking for and 77% of those encountering an out-of-stock say they would welcome help finding the right item. Among consumers who bolted based on price, 31% say a coupon for up to 20% off would compel them to finish the transaction, the study shows.


Of the 13% of cart abandoners who ran into technical problems, the top three problems they encountered were: 12% got an error message, 9% couldn’t add items to the cart and another 9% encountered a link that went to a wrong or unexpected page, the study shows. To boost conversion rates, Bizrate says online retailers should:

  • Improve search and browse functions.
  • Offer help finding products when search results come back empty.
  • Let shoppers request notifications when items/sizes/colors are back in stock.
  • Test checkout at least weekly on all major devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones), operating systems (iOS and Windows are the most used versions) and browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer and Safari) to ensure all shoppers can navigate the checkout process easily.