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Customers place an order then leave without paying?

 1:03 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

How many of you have had orders placed on your ecomm site and then the customer never pays. This has happened to me more than once, i have emailed them to ask if their was something in the checkout process that may have went wrong but i just get no response...

I have doubled checked that my checkout process works fine, paypal ipn works fine. And paypal is the payment process they select.



 4:10 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

The fact that a consumer changes their mind about making a purchase should come as no surprise.

It happens in retail stores all the time, a customer picks up an item, decides to buy it, then puts it back on the shelf.

Just walk down any supermarket aisle, and look for discarded items on the shelf.

Online is no different.

As to why, who knows. It is just business.


 4:43 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

My usual reason, online anyway, is shipping costs are too high.


 5:47 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Once a customer has filled in their billing and shipping information and gotten to the payment selection screen, their abandonment rate on our site is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2%. Of those that abandon, a fair number of them are due to declined credit cards.

We offer PayPal - somewhere between 5-10% of our customers use it. Haven't noticed any significant difference in abandonment rates between it and credit cards.


 12:37 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I test shopping carts all the time.


 12:46 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I do it sometimes to check final costs.

Usually there is a big difference between the "splash" price and the final price due to: shipping costs, taxes, handling costs, taxes on shipping and hadling costs, packing costs, insurance, taxes on packing and insurance costs...


 12:46 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

The reason I'd abandon a shopping cart is because I was only trying to find out what the postage and packing is.

Too many sites do not have a clear link giving these details and the only obvious way is to go to the checkout.



 3:52 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's an older thread that you might find interesting.

20 Tips to Minmize Shopping Cart Abandonment [webmasterworld.com]


 8:14 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

As a customer I'll often to go to different sites, add stuff to the basket and then get to checkout and abandon the cart. The reasons are:

1. I get distracted and never get chance to go back or do go back on a different day and start all over.
2. I want to see the final price and then decide that I'm only adding extra items to get the free shipping and decide that I really don't need them.
3. I'm testing competitors shopping carts.

The customers that make me laugh (not that many fortunately) who add a couple of things to their cart and then remove everything before they leave the site. do they think i know who they are and are going to bill them?


 8:24 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess i understand but these people are going all the way with the transaction.. short of actually paying on the paypal website...


 9:09 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe they're befuddled by PayPal or turned off by it. I am... both.

Like many old timers on here, PP still reminds me of Beanie Babies in '98.

Corey Bryant

 12:28 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

From your last statement, I am assuming that Paypal is not your only choice? Or if it is, do you have that everywhere - what types of payment(s) you accept? Sometimes I get thru a checkout only to find out that the merchant only accept Paypal and I'll leave at that point. Or maybe I am using AmEx and they do not have anywhere on their page(s) that they only accept Visa / MasterCard



 7:48 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

How is your checkout set up? I've seen some sites where the checkout for PayPal payments is set up in such a way that the customer sees an "order complete" page before they are sent over to PayPal. You should review your pages and see if there is anything that might confuse customers into thinking they have already paid before they get to the PayPal website, when that is their choice of payment option.

(PayPal's Express Checkout is designed to address issues like this, by allowing the customer to go to PayPal first to log in, and then return to your website to finalize the order and pay. If you are able to add API integrations into your checkout, you might consider adding Express Checkout instead of your current PayPal checkout.)


 3:42 am on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd say about 10% of the people abandoning their order do actually return at a later time and complete the order. There's lots of ligitimate reasons why they would do so - most of which even the best websites cannot discourage


 4:17 pm on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

We have contact info first, then pick shipping method, and then approve order.

If they abandon after step #1 we call them on the phone (unless it was some cheap $20 order). I'd say we save about 15% of abandoned carts by doing this.


 4:51 pm on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Last night I tried to buy some Christmas gifts online from one of my wifes favorite stores.

During checkout the system kept returning me to the same page when I hit continue. They didn't give me a single clue why. All the reuired fields were filled.

So I abandoned the cart and the merchant lost a $105.00 sale.

The moral of the story is to be sure to tell the customer what is missing, or what needs to be changed to continue.


 10:04 am on Jan 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

What do you do BradleyT?, convince them to proceed with the order. Do they end up placing the order on the phone when otherwise they would have abandoned and never called?


 3:01 am on Jan 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they abandon after step #1 we call them on the phone

but isnt that a bit intrusive? How do they react to this?


 4:31 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ive been doing research on orders which result in returns or other problems. One thing I have found is that orders which are received with minimal customer contact (just ordered over the web and shipped without any customer invlovement) are far less likely to have any problems. The other group are orders which occur by phone. Phone orders have a high incidence of some sort of problem. This could be because questions are invariably asked during the ordering process which result in misinterpretation or faulty recall (delivery time, details about the product, etc.) which are more difficult to be misinterpreted through written policies on the site. Or, it could be that people who order over the phone and ask many questions are in a sense doubting or deliberating the purchase anyway, so the later problems are stemming from this. I wonder if it is better to refer people to the written policies on the site and risk coming across as crass, or try to explain things in even more detail which increases the chances of every detail not being accurate.


 5:35 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

but isnt that a bit intrusive? How do they react to this?

15% of them buy. That is 15% more sales than if they did not follow up.

Remember, our job is to sell something.

Our job is NOT to avoid offending someone.

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