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Shopping on mobile devices: prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment

Shopping on mobile devices: prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment

To the German article

Ecommerce is changing and more and more people are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to shop online. Many online merchants are responding to this change in shopping behavior by optimizing their online stores for mobile devices, creating the basis for successful mobile commerce. 

However, this isn't the end of the story, because shopping cart abandonments occur much more frequently on mobile devices than on desktops. There are reasons for this, which online merchants can take action to prevent. Every abandoned shopping cart can quickly become a lost potential customer if they don't come back.

Find out how you can prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment and exploit the potential of mobile commerce. With these 5 tips, you're guaranteed fewer shopping cart abandonments on mobile devices.


Why you should prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment

Whether it's a podcast on the way to work, a tuner app for a guitar or a navigation app for the next road trip: mobile devices are our constant companions, serving more and more purposes. So it's not surprising that the mobile traffic share of online stores is becoming larger all the time and that online purchases on mobile devices are also increasing as a result, accounting for a consistently larger share of ecommerce. After all, we have our smartphones with us all the time and don't have to sit down in front of our desktop or open up our laptop before making a purchase.

Mobile shopping plays an increasingly important role in ecommerce

More than one in two online shoppers now make purchases using their smartphone and more than one in four using a tablet. In the five years between 2014 and 2019, the proportion of online shoppers who made a purchase using their smartphone increased from 20 to 52 %. It's a similar situation with tablets: here the share rose from 14 to 26 %.


This statistic represents the percentage of online shoppers (age 16-29) shopping via mobile devices.

It's important to react appropriately to this change in shopping behavior. Many store operators already started doing this quite early on. Between 2014 and 2017, for example, the proportion of online stores with a responsive design that was optimized for all display sizes rose from just under 27 % to almost 60 % (ECC Köln: e-KIX 2017). Responsive design, however, is only the beginning when it comes to creating a mobile-optimized website.

Significantly more shopping cart abandonments on mobile devices

Mobile shopping cart abandonment proves that optimizing mobile commerce isn't just a matter of responsive design. While the abandonment rate of filled shopping carts on desktops was just under 71 % in Q2 2021, the proportion of mobile shopping cart abandonments on smartphones was significantly higher. Here, 82.5 % of filled shopping carts were abandoned in the same period. This shows that shopping cart abandonment occurs much more frequently on mobile devices than on desktops. There is also a higher abandonment rate on tablets, even if it's not nearly as high as on mobile devices, at just under 74 %. 


 This statistic shows the average abandonment rate by device type durning the second quarter of 2021.

Low conversion rate on mobile devices

A similar picture emerges when comparing the conversion rates of the individual device types. Unsurprisingly, it's by far the highest for desktop devices, with a global average of 4.2 %. This is followed by the conversion rate for tablets at 3.4 %. The smartphone brings up the rear with 2.2 %.


Here you can see the average conversion rate by device type durning the second quarter of 2021. 

Why do visitors on mobile devices abandon purchases?

There are reasons why mobile devices perform far worse in terms of conversion rates and purchase abandonment. You can counteract some of these reasons by optimizing your mobile shopping experience. Others, however, cannot be prevented altogether.

In addition to the classic main reasons that lead to shopping cart abandonment (for example, too high a price, problems with the payment process and long delivery times), there are several other reasons for mobile shopping cart abandonment.

Mobile price research and product research: Many online shoppers use their smartphone to research products and prices, only to resume the ordering process at a later time on their desktop device.

Poor mobile user experience: The mobile user experience is often poor, which is why there is an increase in abandonment – even in the middle of the purchase, such as during the payment process. A responsive design or a website made specifically for mobile devices is only the beginning of an optimized mobile user experience.

Security concerns: Security and trust are central issues in ecommerce. Every online shopper has had negative experiences with dubious providers – or at least heard about them. The smaller displays on mobile devices give you far less room to gain the trust of visitors to your store.

Distractions: Push notifications and incoming calls and messages create an increased risk of distraction on tablets and especially on smartphones, which can quickly lead to mobile shopping cart abandonment.


Your customer is wavering during the purchase process? Now your skills as an online merchant are needed! 

How to prevent shopping cart abandonment on mobile devices

Online merchants are therefore in a situation where mobile traffic and correspondingly purchases via mobile devices are increasing, while mobile shopping cart abandonments are significantly higher than on desktops. This has consequences, because once the purchase has been abandoned, there is no guarantee that the prospective customer will return to the online store. In the worst case, they end up going to the competition. But you can prevent that with these 5 tips!

1. Think about finger reachability

When optimizing your mobile website, the user perspective is often forgotten. How does the user hold their smartphone in their hand? A study by UX Matters found that 49 % of users hold and operate their smartphone one-handed. 36 % hold their smartphone with one hand while operating it with the other. A significant minority of 15 % hold and operate the smartphone two-handed. 

How you hold and operate a smartphone makes a big difference, as finger reachability varies greatly. Consequently, users who hold their smartphone with one hand while operating it with the other reach a much larger display area than those who hold and operate their smartphone one-handed. Since a clear majority of users hold their smartphone one-handed, it's vital to ensure that important elements aren't located in the area that is most difficult to reach (the upper area). This includes certain buttons such as "Add to cart", "Checkout" and "Buy now".

If the buttons aren't within reach of the thumb, the likelihood of a successful purchase decreases, while mobile shopping cart abandonment continues to rise.


2. Use conversion rate tools for mobile devices

As a Shopware store operator, there are numerous extensions available to you that you can use for conversion optimization in your online store. But are they also optimized for mobile devices?

The example of exit intent popups shows why mobile-optimized tools are important. Exit intent popups appear just before you leave the website. A "mouseout trigger" only launches a pop-up when the visitor is about to leave the website. On mobile devices, however, we don't use a mouse, but our fingers. The solution lies in a trigger that reacts to the back button as well as to tab and app changes.

Thanks to the different triggers, this exit Intent technology enables you to prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment – especially when combined with incentives such as a discount code or service offer.

3. Gain customer confidence

On mobile devices, it's more difficult to gain the trust of customers because of the smaller displays. This also results in mobile shopping cart abandonment. To increase mobile users' purchase intent and minimize mobile cart abandonment, you should make the most of the available space. The following elements lend themselves to this in mobile commerce:

  • Quality seals
  • Service contact
  • Customer ratings and reviews
  • Icons (shipping service provider and payment provider)

Position the quality seals on the mobile version so that store visitors can see them right away. They should be sufficiently large and familiar. The details for service contacts incl. telephone number and availability can also be used to build confidence – even if there is no reason for most visitors to contact customer service. A small section in the header is suitable for this. If the store visitor is already on the product page, social proof in the form of customer reviews can further build customer trust. This is relevant for your entire online store, but especially for mobile users. 

When the potential customer enters the checkout process, a critical point is reached. They are only a few steps away from a successful purchase, but can also very quickly become a mobile shopping cart abandoner. Therefore, you should also place the icons of shipping service providers and payment providers in prominent positions. These not only support the purchase decision, but are familiar to us and therefore have a confidence-building effect – similar to seals of quality.

4. Be prepared for distractions

Apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram pose a high risk of distraction for mobile online shoppers across all stages of the buying process. Whether at the beginning of the customer journey or during the payment process: one push notification, and the potential buyer is distracted. If they respond to the notification, they will leave the online store and it's by no means guaranteed that they will return. Even in this situation, you still have tools to reduce mobile shopping cart abandonment. 

Once the shop visitor has left the online store, retargeting measures can be used to reactively prevent mobile shopping cart abandonment. Traditional and social media retargeting can also be used for first-time visitors and help you reach the highest possible number of cart abandoners. The disadvantage is that you will have a low success rate compared to other retargeting measures. 

Email retargeting, on the other hand, is aimed exclusively at your existing customers. After a purchase has been abandoned, the customer receives an email after a predefined time that reminds them of their filled shopping cart and ideally brings them back into the ordering process with the help of individual incentives.

Mobile shopping cart abandonment as a source of potential for your online store

The steadily increasing popularity and acceptance of mobile commerce requires not only a responsive design or a shopping app, but also the inclusion of the needs of mobile users. This includes, above all, mobile shopping cart abandoners who have already expressed a clear interest in buying. uptain addresses mobile shopping cart abandoners with the help of intelligent exit intent popups and personalized abandonment emails. You can download the extension free of charge from the Shopware Store.

To the extension

About the Author


Haydar Yüce is a Content Marketing Manager at uptain – a software provider that offers data-driven and intelligent solutions to win back shopping cart abandoners. He is responsible for the uptain blog and provides information to customers and anyone interested on the topics of ecommerce and conversion rate optimization.


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