Skip to main content

The determinants of consumers’ online shopping cart abandonment

Abstract

Despite placing items in virtual shopping carts, online shoppers frequently abandon them —an issue that perplexes online retailers and has yet to be explained by scholars. Here, we identify key drivers to online cart abandonment and suggest cognitive and behavioral reasons for this non-buyer behavior. We show that the factors influencing consumer online search, consideration, and evaluation play a larger role in cart abandonment than factors at the purchase decision stage. In particular, many customers use online carts for entertainment or as a shopping research and organizational tool, which may induce them to buy at a later session or via another channel. Our framework extends theories of online buyer and non-buyer behavior while revealing new inhibitors to buying in the Internet era. The findings offer scholars a broad explanation of consumer motivations for cart abandonment. For retailers, the authors provide suggestions to improve purchase conversion rates and multi-channel management.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    ρ = .43, p < .01

  2. 2.

    ρ = −.13,  < .05

References

  1. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, David A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bellenger, D. N., & Korgaonkar, P. K. (1980). Profiling the recreational shopper. Journal of Retailing, 56(3), 77–92.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bloch, P. H., Sherrell, D. L., & Ridgway, N. M. (1986). Consumer search: an extended framework. The Journal of Consumer Research, 31(1), 119–126. doi:10.1086/209052.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Forrester Research. (2005). “Rethinking the significance of cart abandonment.” Carrie A. Johnson, Charles P. Wilson, Sean Meyer, (Ed)

  5. Hoffman, D. L., & Novak, T. P. (2005). Beyond the basics: Research-based rules for internet retailing advantage. Vanderbilt, TN: eLab.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Holbrook, M. B., & Hirschman, E. C. (1982). The experiential aspects of consumption: consumer fantasies, feelings, and fun. The Journal of Consumer Research, 9(2), 132–140. doi:10.1086/208906.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Howard, J. A., & Sheth, J. N. (1969). The theory of buyer behavior. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Laroche, M., Zhilin, Y., McDougall, G. H. G., & Jasmin, B. (2005). Internet versus bricks and mortar retailers: an investigation into intangibility and its consequences. Journal of Retailing, 81(4), 251–267. doi:10.1016/j.jretai.2004.11.002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Li, S., & Chatterjee, P. (2006). Reducing shopping cart abandonment at retail websites. Working Paper.

  10. MacKenzie, S. B. (2001). Opportunities for improving consumer research through latent variable structural equation modeling. The Journal of Consumer Research, 28, 159–166. doi:10.1086/321954.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Magill, K. (2005). Building a better shopping cart. Multichannel Merchant, 1(8), 18–19.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Mathwick, C., Malhotra, N., & Rigdon, E. (2001). Experiential value: conceptualization, measurement and application in the catalog and internet shopping environment. Journal of Retailing, 77(1), 39–56. doi:10.1016/S0022-4359(00) 00045-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Miyazaki, A. D., & Fernandez, A. (2001). Consumer perceptions of privacy and security risks for online shopping. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 35(1), 27–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Moe, W. W. (2003). Buying, searching, or browsing: differentiating between online shoppers using in-store navigational clickstream. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(1–2), 29–39. doi:10.1207/S15327663JCP13-1&2_03.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Nedungadi, P. (1990). Recall and consumer consideration sets: influencing choice without altering brand evaluations. The Journal of Consumer Research, 17(4), 263–276. doi:10.1086/208556.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Nelson, R. A., Cohen, R., & Rasmussen, F. R. (2007). An analysis of pricing strategy and price dispersion on the internet. Eastern Economic Journal, 33(1), 95–110. doi:10.1057/eej.2007.6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Novak, T. P., Hoffman, D. L., & Duhachek, A. (2003). The influence of goal-directed and experiential activities on online flow experiences. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(1–2), 3–16. doi:10.1207/S15327663JCP13-1&2_01.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Oliver, R. L., & Shor, M. (2003). Digital redemption of coupons: satisfying and dissatisfying effects of promotion codes. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 12(2), 121–134. doi:10.1108/10610420310469805.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Rayport, J. F., & Sviokla, J. J. (1995). Exploiting the virtual value chain. Harvard Business Review, 73(6), 75–85.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Tarasofsky, J. 2008. Online Reservations: Increasing Your Site’s ‘Look to Book’ Ratio. Hotel Marketer. Retrieved from http://www.hotelexecutive.com (accessed October 30 2008)

  21. Tellis, G. (1986). Beyond the many faces of price: an integration of pricing strategies. Journal of Marketing, 50(4), 146–160. doi:10.2307/1251292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Weinberg, B. D., Parise, S., & Guinan, P. J. (2007). Multichannel marketing: mindset and program development. Business Horizons, 50(5), 385–394. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2007.04.002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Wolfinbarger, M., & Gilly, M. C. (2001). Shopping online for freedom, control and fun. California Management Review, 43(2), 34–55.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Xia, L., & Monroe, K. B. (2004). Price partitioning on the internet. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(4), 63–73. doi:10.1002/dir.20017.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Xie, E., Teo, H.-H., & Wan, W. (2006). Volunteering personal information on the internet: effects of reputation, privacy notices, and rewards on online consumer behavior. Marketing Letters, 17(1), 61–74. doi:10.1007/s11002-006-4147-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Zhou, L., Dai, L., & Zhang, D. (2007). Online shopping acceptance model—a critical survey of consumers factors in online shopping. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 8(1), 41–62.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

The authors sincerely thank Heather Reineke for her help with the pilot studies, as well as the four reviewers, Michael Mejza, Bill Messier, Kent Monroe, Patricia Norberg, Koen Pauwels, David Stewart, Matt Thatcher, Richard Watson, and George Zinkhan for their peer reviews and thoughtful suggestions.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Angeline G. Close.

Additional information

The authors contributed equally.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kukar-Kinney, M., Close, A.G. The determinants of consumers’ online shopping cart abandonment. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 38, 240–250 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-009-0141-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Online shopping cart abandonment
  • Online buyer behavior theory
  • E-tail
  • E-commerce