The top reasons why visitors leave your website without making a purchase

Phoebe Dormand
Optimisation Consultant

The top reasons why visitors leave your website without making a purchase

Have you ever been on a website and felt so frustrated that you have given up on whatever you were looking for and left? If so, you’re not alone. If a physical shop was a mess, there was a long queue to checkout and no assistants in sight then you’d leave - so why should it be any different online?

If you want to turn your visitors into paying customers, here are a few things that you might want to avoid:

Cluttered pages

More often than not, the top thing that causes visitors to leave your website is clutter. An overwhelming amount of information can make your key purpose unclear. To avoid this, make sure that there is a clear navigational path to follow. This should take customers through your sales funnel. Remove anything that does not serve a specific purpose and cut down the number of unnecessary pages if you can. Any links should also have a clear purpose, whether that is answering a question or offering further information. Another way of cleaning up your website is to use negative space. This is the area of a page not occupied by any content. Google uses this method as it draws attention to the main search bar.

Irritating pop-ups

Whilst pop-ups can be helpful at times, having too many on your website is often a reason why your visitors leave. Pop-ups can be distracting, and often work as a barrier between the visitor and your products. If they appear as soon as someone clicks onto a page this can be pretty infuriating, as they haven’t even had time to look at the page in detail yet. Pop-ups can also cause accessibility issues, especially on mobile devices. If a pop-up takes up the whole screen on a mobile phone it is almost impossible to find out how to close it. This leads visitors to give up completely. If you want your pop-ups to have an impact, use them sparingly and stick to using them on desktop devices.

Wanting too much information

Is there anything more frustrating than a website wanting to know every last thing about you so that you can buy something? If you walked into a physical shop you would be able to buy something without giving your name, the street that you grew up on and the name of your first pet. So why should it be any different online? Having to create an account is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment, so being able to checkout as a guest is a very attractive option. Offering the option to create an account at a later date to track the shipping process is an easy way to reduce cart abandonment. In reality, you should only need a few details from your customers. These include an email address to send the confirmation to, a shipping address to post the items to, and a method of payment. Offering PayPal or Apple Pay as a payment option can also boost your conversion rate. These methods of payment offer buyer protection and are helpful when a customer has forgotten their full card details.

Missing contact information

Having your contact information clearly labelled and visible on your website is essential. Including different methods of contact is also important, as people might prefer one to another. The key ones to include are email address, phone number and links to any social media channels. The option to live chat with someone at your company on the website can be an easy method of resolving any customer issues, but it is not essential.

Pages loading slowly

If your website takes a few seconds to load (even with super speedy internet) it can have a greater impact than you may think. A one-second delay can cause large companies to lose millions. Potential customers will become impatient and choose to shop elsewhere. With the wealth of choice available in the modern world, it is more important than ever to ensure that your website is performing at an optimal speed. Google offers a free service here ( that you can use to check the speed of your website.

Pages not optimised for mobile devices

As more and more people choose to shop on the go, the use of mobile devices is on the rise. There are over 3 billion people in the world that own a smartphone, but only around 1.3 billion that own a computer. If your website is not mobile friendly, this could be causing visitors to leave without buying anything. A quick and easy way to test this is to run it through Google’s “Mobile Friendly Test” here ( This free tool lets you know whether your website is compatible with mobile devices (and gives you advice on how to improve if it is not). Your SEO can be harmed if your site is not optimised for mobile devices as Google will rank it poorly.

Accessibility issues

Anyone visiting your website should be subject to a good user experience. Enabling accessibility features is an important and often overlooked part of website design. If your site is not accessible for everyone, it is safe to say that you will be losing customers. All potential customers, including those with disabilities, should be able to checkout independently. For customers who are visually impaired, use alt text for images so that they can look at them via a screen reader. For those who are hard of hearing, include subtitles on any video with sound. Both of these additions are super easy to implement and make a huge difference. You can check how accessible your website is easily here (​​

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