Whether you’re just beginning optimization or you’ve been doing it for the past 13 years (as we have), cart abandonment rate is one of the first places you should start and continue to cycle back to. This is because visitors who add to cart are yours to lose in the sense that they have already chosen your site, found something they liked, and had enough confidence to add the item to your cart. A friend of mine likes to drive home just how silly this is by imaging a similar situation happening in the offline world: going grocery shopping and leaving a full cart of groceries in the checkout line. If you have a high cart abandonment rate, chances are you’re giving your visitors an excuse to leave.
Recently, while doing some online holiday shopping of my own, I came across a few sites that did a good job at persuading visitors to move quickly and efficiently through the cart to the checkout. While I’m sure they still have some cart abandonment, they’re each taking measures to decrease those leaving, thus increasing their revenue.
The first site I came across was Banana Republic. Eliminating barriers is the name of the game for preventing most cart abandonment. Often sites place a “coupon code” field in the cart, signaling to the visitor that there may be a way for them to save money, subtly encouraging prospective buyers to leave their cart (maybe even the site) to search for some code to help them save. Banana Republic features “Everyday Free Shipping on any order over $50. No code. No hassle.” By removing a code here, they are eliminating the chance that visitors will leave their cart to search for a free shipping option. If you offer Free Shipping, give visitors free shipping without requiring them enter a code. You may be risking the purchase all together.
Don’t Distract from Checkout
Move visitors through your checkout. Moving prospective buyers in a logical progression to the shopping cart is a simple enough concept, but many sites seem to present more ways for visitors to pause and go elsewhere than to get to the checkout. This may seem simple, but I applaud Endless.com for having the “continue shopping” button to the left so it doesn’t compete with the primary call to action (to checkout). Many sites place the “continue shopping” right next to the “proceed to checkout” thus forcing them to compete with each other – especially if they’re the same size and color. If your site has the “continue shopping” and “proceed to checkout” buttons next to each other, make it easier for prospective buyers to distinguish one from the other by creating physical space between the two buttons. Visitors who want to keep shopping will be able to find the button, but those who weren’t intending to will be less likely to click on the wrong button by accident, more likely to proceed to checkout, and more likely to complete their purchase.
Coupon Code, Conversion Barrier?
Coupons can give that little push to visitors who still are on the fence about their purchase, but as described previously, they can also act as a detriment toward completing the purchase. The placement of coupon code fields is something that is seldom discussed. However, some recent testing has begun to reveal that their location may have more to do with conversion that we formerly anticipated. Many shopping carts provide opportunity for visitors to enter these codes directly ABOVE the checkout button. Why is this a problem? Because, by placing this field above the primary CTA, you are giving your visitors an excuse to leave. By seeing the coupon code field, you are signaling to visitors who do not have a coupon code that they may be missing out on additional savings. Many will leave the cart to seek out the missing code, even if there’s not one valid for their purchase, possibly jeopardizing their entire transaction. How can you avoid this? By placing the coupon code field outside of immediate view on their way to the checkout button. Consider left-aligning this field or even placing it below the CTA (you will have to have an update button in the field). These methods allow visitors who are looking for the coupon field to easily find it without distracting those who don’t and are just looking to checkout.
Another interesting approach I saw recently is featured on Zappos.com. They have a drop down that has to be selected for the coupon/gift card field to appear. I’d be curious to see their data…
There are many parts of optimization that can be a gamble, but creating a shopping cart that’s free of barriers and easily moves your visitors from one step to the next doesn’t have to be. Make your buttons clear, the primary action easy to identify, and free your visitors of unnecessary steps. Happy converting!