Questions? (877) 643-7244
FutureNow Post
Wednesday, May. 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Don’t Let Customers Abandon Your Cart So Easily

By Melissa Burdon
May 12th, 2010

One of the first things we look at in our analysis process of a site is the conversion funnel, whether it be a lead generation form, a shopping cart checkout, or otherwise.  This is the point at which the visitor has determined they are ready to take action, and it’s your lead/sale to lose.  Your shopping cart and checkout process must be seamless in order to be sure that you’re literally not blocking your customers from taking action.

One of our new clients, CuriousCountryCreations.com, sells dried wheat and plants online.  We started analyzing their site by looking at their shopping cart and checkout performance.  Our initial goal with every client is to turn more late stage visitors (ie. ready to buy) into sales.  We saw great opportunity to reduce their abandonment rate in their shopping cart and move more visitors through the checkout.

original shopping cartA few stumbling blocks screamed out at us in their shopping cart (click to enlarge).  Their reassurances were not professionally featured at the top of the shopping cart window and there wasn’t a satisfaction guarantee clearly featured, either.  There wasn’t any copy to clearly tell the visitor that there was free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.  Most importantly, the calls to action to move forward to checkout and to continue shopping weren’t prominent or high-contrast.

variation shopping cartHere is the variation with the recommendations implemented (click to enlarge).  The green circles identify the areas that were changed in the shopping cart.  We recommended to feature their reassurances more effectively, as well as a satisfaction guarantee.  We also recommended featuring the free shipping information here.  Finally, we recommended that they improve the look and feel of their buttons to “proceed to checkout” and “continue shopping.”  Because we felt confident in all of these changes, we ran all of these changes as part of a single A/B test.

The original shopping cart converted 27% of visitors to the next step in their checkout, and the variation version (with our recommendations) converted 38% to the next step.  We ended the test with a 40.7% increase in the micro-conversion rate from the “view cart” page to the first step of checkout.  Their conversion funnel (view cart page to thank you page) currently converts at about 18%, so it’s easy for the client to see that:

Adding 40% more visitors to the funnel at the first step…

… X their funnel conversion rate…

… X  their Average Order Value…

= real revenue about to hit their bottom line.

If you’re an online retailer just starting your conversion optimization efforts, you have a lot to consider – analytics, testing platforms, how your site’s goals overlap with your customers’ goals and how best to measure those, what makes for a “good” test -    before you can even get to the list of what to test and how to test it.  Remember: each business is unique, so even though the items we tested for this client might pertain to you, you must consider how they pertain to your business before setting up your test.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the experience of others…. we’ve written plenty about what makes a fantastic shopping cart experience so feel free to browse our archives for more articles about shopping cart optimization.  If you’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed about where to start, or what to test, reach out to us to find out how we can help you get started.

Add Your Comments

Comments (71)

  1. Do you think a simple paypal cart is good for conversion? Check my link to see what I mean.

  2. - Dear Mellissa
    You are providing wonderful tools. Thank you. I am also working on a new website that helps shoppers to shop conveniently and confidently.

  3. There’s some very good advice there, Mellissa. A/B testing is vital to improve conversion rates, whether it be for AdWords adverts, or shopping cart and landing page copy.

    This testing used in conjunction with the Analytics conversion funnel and the AdWords search funnel (if applicable) are vital in improving conversion rates and can make significant improvements, as you’ve so clearly demonstrated.

  4. This is a great post Mellisa, very informative and a good advice for merchants.

    Thanks!

  5. great guide!

    “ended the test with a 40.7% increase in the micro-conversion rate” , it is so exciting!
    try to do , to get a great increase, too.

  6. Thanks for sharing your tests! I am surely learning from it. But, like you said, each site is unique but at least we have this basis, these things you’re sharing to us.

  7. Once again, it’s all out simple and small steps to make a more informative pages for a customers. Nice example.

  8. Melissa,
    I can’t believe they weren’t emphasizing their satisfaction guarantee and free shipping. Often it takes an outsider to see the obvious. :)
    Nice job on increasing the conversion rate! :) Charles

  9. I always say that a shopping cart must be simple to understand, showing all the payments (including taxes, shipping etc) that way customers know the exact amount to be paid.

  10. [...] Don’t Let Customers Abandon Your Cart So Easily Published: May 13, 2010 Source: Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc One of the first things we look at in our analysis process of a site is the conversion funnel, whether it be a lead generation form, a shopping cart checkout, or otherwise. This is the point at which the visi… [...]

  11. I have noticed a strange anomaly with shopping carts, in that this kind of site refinement has a much bigger impact on lower value products being sold direct to the consumer, when it’s a B2B purchase, these little tweaks seem to have much less effect. Possibly because business buyers are more experienced and know what they are looking for in a retailer in the first place.

  12. Nice example of the gain from a good A/B test. Are you going to implement some mutivarient testing ongoing to see what the optimum setup is.

  13. The small things seem to matter the most in the user experience.

  14. Very informative, I actually did a study to check where a users mouse went, while in the shopping cart, it was able to track the areas that the user was most interested in and the areas where they left the cart, I like the idea of keeping track of a users actions, of course there is always a danger of abuse,

  15. Marketing the product and the way to sell it in the proper way has become an Art in itself. If you are able to make a purchase using the Shopping cart on your website then you earn or else you are left struggling, so these tips are really helpful!

  16. our site is very simple … sells gumballs and gumball machines :-) but our checkout process wasn’t so simple… we implemented some basic code for monitoring our checkout process and were bummed to see our shopping cart drop out… thank you melissa for this very excellent tutorial and idea stirring blog.

  17. Mellissa, this is a great tip for anyone who is running a eCommerce shop, I can not remember how many times, I have dump some eshop after getting to the checkout page.

  18. Thanks for sharing your tests! I am surely learning from it. But, like you said, each site is unique but at least we have this basis, these things you’re sharing to us.

  19. You are providing wonderful tools. Thank you.

  20. Possibly because business buyers are more experienced and know what they are looking for in a retailer in the first place.

  21. Exactly great article!.Thanks for sharing.Especially merchants should take into consideration.

  22. If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t work then you need to see what amazon and the other big sites are doing right. when a customer gets onto amazons pages they are most likely going to buy. That is why seeing what amazon is doing and replicating it as closely as possible is a great way to keep people on your site and getting them to leave only after a order is completed.

  23. Once again, it’s all out simple and small steps to make a more informative pages for a customers. Very nice example.

  24. The small things seem to matter the most in the user experience.

  25. [...] View full post on Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc [...]

  26. The changes you recommended were really great and no doubt helpful. The site now looks like one of those big business shopping sites.

  27. I have noticed a strange anomaly with shopping carts, in that this kind of site refinement has a much bigger impact on lower value products being sold direct to the consumer, when it’s a B2B purchase, these little tweaks seem to have much less effect. Possibly because business buyers are more experienced and know what they are looking for in a retailer in the first place.

  28. Many would assert that keeping the shopping cart simple and straightforward is the best possible way. However, design also plays a great role. By keeping your design barren it might also affect clients’ perception.

  29. Hello Melissa,

    So I have come to understand that we must point out the key points within our valuable pre-selling time with the customer. Just like when you look for a place to live you want to make sure certain things are their or you won’t buy.

    I believe these are great things to follow and making the process very quick and simple for the customer is good to because I even find myself getting flustered when I have to go through too many processes to get something done.

  30. I think someone else mentioned this but what do you think about a standard PayPal cart? Would that suffice?

  31. wow, didnt know all of that was so important, will definetely add to my web store and will report detailed results! in the next week! thanks a lot!

  32. Great article I remember discovering problems with one of my websites by analysing the vistor paths of the website, and they were all dropping at one of the pages. I changed the methods of payment and drastic improvement.

  33. Thanks for sharing your tests!Some great points there.

  34. i do want to implement the ideas of this post into my shopping cart. great information! Thanks!

  35. Just brilliant! Some of the phrases need to be memorized by each and any one using a cart and running an online store. :)

  36. There is a fine line between giving your customers freedom, and letting them walk away so easily.

  37. Sadly how customers don’t realize that “cheap web-shops” are just leading their customers away

  38. After following this advice, my conversion has gone up!

  39. Brilliant post, this is what everyone must do in order to satisfy your customers, grow your business and so on.

    Cheers!

  40. Helal olsun valla ne güzel yazmış yaaa tebrikler

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

  41. Great post here, some really useful advice. conversion optimization is so important to the success of your online business. Im going to implement your techniques with my personalised luggage site.

  42. Some top quality advice here. I now know where to actually begin looking at improving my conversion rate.

  43. @sakarya -yeah small things are sometimes what customers notice.

  44. Thanks, very good web site.
    The small things seem to matter the most in the user experience.

  45. I can’t believe they weren’t emphasizing their satisfaction guarantee and free shipping. Often it takes an outsider to see the obvious. :) tnkssss

  46. The small things seem to matter the most in the user experience.

  47. It’s amazing to see how such little changes can make such a major impact. I learned a lot about shopping carts in this article. Thank you very much!

  48. Thank’s for sharing & I agree to always make a test and measure every step we take in generating sales.

  49. I really believe in show recommended products and shop suggestion in the web navigation. Also top 10 of product or best sellers

  50. Sadly how customers don’t realize that “cheap web-shops” are just leading their customers away

  51. Thanks for the advice. It has taken me a little while to realise that a lifestyle health program won’t sell itself. The copy is king.

  52. These simple changes would save so many abandoned shopping carts resulting in so much more profit.

    It hurts to know that you and I know how to fix shopping cart websites up and yet nobody wants to pay you to fix these problems.

  53. excellent stuff, my cart brings a lot more confidence than it did before!. THANKS!

  54. Awesome post Mellisa, your informative article gives practical advice to me.

  55. Conversion funnels are kind of like heat maps that google puts out. Find out where the eyes are lead and convert the vision.

  56. Analysis of the test used in conjunction with the funnel and the AdWords search conversion funnel (if applicable) is essential to improve the conversion rate, significant improvements can be made, because you have clearly shown.

  57. I think the shopping cart, with a strange anomaly focus on cleansing the site of such low value consumer products have a huge impact when it is being sold direct to the B2B purchasing , these small tweaks seems to have little impact. Because business buyers are more experienced and probably for what they are looking at a retailer in the first place.

  58. Great information! Thank you so much.

  59. Great info, I run a website business with a shopping cart. Great advice.

  60. #

    t’s amazing to see how such little changes can make such a major impact. I learned a lot about shopping carts in this charms article. Thank you very much!

  61. Thanks for the post. I am about to start my blog in a couple of days and I am looking for the Extension.
    ——–
    friendyomi222

  62. I find it amazing that so few corporate, entities, actually engage in a decent strategy of persuasion selling

  63. [...] basis van het artikel Don’t Let Customers Abandon Your Cart So Easily van Melissa Burdon filteerde Mercanto 4 tips voor u om mensen minder makkelijk hun volle [...]

  64. I really believe in show recommended products and shop suggestion in the web navigation. Also top 10 of product or best sellers

  65. These tools and info’s are really excellent ….u are just awesome…..

    i like reading your post…..

  66. When a user leaves the cart page i am use to ask him why with a pop-up form message. This is very useful to increase theconversion rate

  67. Be careful not to have to many steps when it comes to filling out forms as this is one of the most common reasons people leave your site.

  68. Can’t stand pop-ups prior to leaving a site, BUT its a great way to increase conversion rates. Atleast in my opinion.

  69. Conversion rate really depends on the perceived reputation of the site. A recognised brand will generally be at an advantage, as will those kind of affiliate sites which don’t really differentiate themselves from the site that they refer the visitor to.

    With less well-known brands, a guarantee of satisfaction or your money back really can go an extremely long way in increasing conversions. Sites that do not offer this, through fear of getting too many refunds, are shooting themselves in the foot, unless their product is of extremely poor quality.

  70. I am always surprised by the proportion of merchants who ignore shopping cart conversion metrics!

  71. Many would assert that keeping the shopping cart simple and straightforward is the best possible way. However, design also plays a great role. By keeping your design barren it might also affect clients’ perception.

Add Your Comments

 

Print this Article
Share

Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

More articles from Melissa Burdon

Marketing Optimization Blog
FREE Newsletter Sign-Up
send it once every: