Toward a Theory of Consumer Electronic Shopping Cart Behavior Motivations of E-Cart Use and Abandonment


How do online shoppers use their electronic shopping carts (e-carts)? Also, why would an online consumer be motivated to place an item in his electronic (e-cart), only to abandon it? e-Cart abandonment refers to "consumers' placement of item(s) in their online shopping cart without making a purchase of any item(s) during that online shopping session" (Kukar-Kinney & Close, 2010, p. 240). It is a million-dollar concern to businesses, and a perplexing online consumer behavior to explain and predict. Industry studies note that 88% of online shoppers have abandoned an online cart (Forrester Research, 2005). Even more telling, online shoppers abandon their shopping carts approximately a quarter of the time (Tarasofsky, 2008).

The chapter is organized as follows. First, we discuss the current state of e-commerce and the emergence of new forms of online retailing, such as the integration of social media and online shopping, highlighting the importance of findings and research in the field of e-commerce. Next, we discuss the process of online shopping, paying particular attention to the three main phases of online shopping relevant here: (1) accepting the Internet as a means of shopping and commerce; (2) understanding hedonic and utilitarian motivations for using an electronic shopping cart; and (3) the online checkout process. Then, we discuss the development of a framework that synthesizes the findings of our two publications along with the existing literature. We continue by outlining the variables that affect or influence the three possible outcomes of online shopping: a successful online purchase, complete cart abandonment or unsuccessful purchase, or a cart abandonment in order to purchase the item elsewhere, such as from a different e-tailer or land-based retailer. We then discuss the findings from our synthesized framework, focusing primarily on the difference between direct and indirect links of the framework Finally, we conclude the chapter with a discussion of the findings, the managerial implications, and avenues for future research inquiry in the context of social media and online shopping integration.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 Routledge. This book chapter first appeared in Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising and E-Tail.

Please note that downloads of the book chapter are for private/personal use only.

Purchase online at Routledge.