In prior blog posts, we helped you understand the meaning of the cart abandonment rate (CAR) metric and how to evaluate its relative value so you can prioritize potential actions.

When it comes to finding a solution to the poor cart abandonment rate, there is a lot of vendor and consultant created noise and a myriad of scattered advice. This creates confusion and makes it harder for e-commerce professionals to see the forest through the trees.

To start with, there is no silver bullet. No single thing or application will auto-magically help you solve this problem.

Understanding the cart abandonment problem is an essential step in finding the right solution for your company. This blog is our attempt to help you better assess and improve your Cart Abandonment Rate.

Dimension 1: It is about visitor type

Different types of visitors have different requirements and behave differently during the checkout process. The most frequently observed visitor types are:

New vs. Existing – Your loyal customers have different expectations and behave differently. They prefer a streamlined user experience. New customers need more assistance and more trust.

Mobile – Tablet vs. Desktop – Mobile and tablet users are potentially only window shoppers that would convert at a very low rate. However, that doesn’t mean that you should not do all it takes to make shopping experience for those visitors as effective as it gets.

Channel Types – Different companies gravitate more to specific demand generation channels, such as e-mail, SEM, organic, … Often, visitors coming from different channels have a distinct preference towards a certain type of checkout experience.

There are many more attributes that can be used to define visitor types. This multi-attribute segmentation is where the cart abandonment optimization game becomes super exciting and valuable. Nevertheless, multi-attribute segmentation capability is rare in the market place and those who uncover unique visitor type patterns stand to win big.

Dimension 2: It is about checkout journey

One of the common mistakes in cart optimization initiatives is the assumption that each step in the checkout process is an independent visitor interaction.

The perception is that visitors are falling into the checkout funnel and that somehow the force of gravity is pushing them through the process. In reality, the checkout funnel is really an upside down funnel and one must think in terms how to add the energy and capability to lift the visitor from one step of the buying journey to another.

Key elements of the funnel that should be placed under the microscope:

Funnel length – You have to evaluate how long is your checkout funnel. This evaluation has to start from the point of the first ‘Add-To-Cart click’ and count how many actions (clicks) a visitor needs to take until reaching the confirmation page. Each additional action can add a little friction to the purchase experience.

Non-Linear Paths – Adding mini-carts, product upsells, or visitors buying more than one product at a time can create non-linear (circular) movement through the checkout. In the ideal world, you would like to streamline and have your checkout funnel behave like a one-way street. In the real world it is hard to avoid the existence of non-linear paths and one must examine how to effectively manage non-liner paths.

Calls-to-Actions – The checkout funnel is set of micro conversion steps. To increase the efficiency of the channel one needs to create a balance at each step of the journey. If you ask your visitor to do too much at one step then you will have a big drop to the next step and on the contrary, if you ask too little, you will have higher throughput to the next step. The downside of the later option is that you will then overload the next step and get significantly lower throughput on the next step.

Dimension 3: It is about on page experience

You have to view the checkout funnel as utility section of your e-commerce site. While considering how the page elements are presented to the visitor, one needs to yield in the direction of efficiency vs brand look or other objectives.

Focus – The purpose of the checkout funnel is to complete the sales transaction. Many businesses use the checkout process to upsell or develop loyalty with customers. Trying to do too much in the checkout process will most likely create friction and lesser results.

Simplicity – The biggest enemy of the checkout funnel is the clutter. It is common to see checkout pages loaded with content elements that can create anxiety and poor performance. For example, there is no need for all the content in the top navigation area. A click on the navigation option will send visitor out of the checkout funnel and will additionally reduce the probability of checkout completion.

Trust and general functionality – Unless you are a really well-known brand, you have to add trust elements to your page. For example, adding a security badge will indicate that your site is secure for online payments. Often checkout process fails because the back end of the cart feels clunky. Every visitor expects to get a snappy experience and if your cart is not fast you have to act and either fix or change the technology. Noticeably slow page performance can have a big negative impact on the user experience.

Dimension 4: It is about time-varying behavior

One of the most ignored aspects of the e-commerce space in general is the time-varying behavior of visitors. Visitor behavior is changing all the time and one needs to be very cautious about concluding that a new site change will be evergreen and produce good results all the time.
The aspects of the time that should be considered:

Time-parts – One needs to pay attention to how visitors behave during certain times of the day, days of the week, or even seasons. Arming yourself with this information will empower you to understand what works at what time and it will also help you focus on elements that have different behavior during distinct time frames.

Visits – It is well known fact that a very small percentage of visitors buy during their first visit to the e-commerce site. Often, the first visit is like initial consideration that then becomes a buying decision in the follow up visits after a visitor did some comparative shopping or additional thinking. Knowledge about your number of visits before purchase distribution will empower you with the ability to add some urgency or promotional options to your checkout process.

Trends – It is also possible that there is something out there that is driving your checkout rates independent of what you are doing on your site. You have to stay vigilant and know what is going, in particular, when those trends are not in your favor.

In Closing

Our goal with this blog was to make you aware of the key moving parts that affect your cart abandonment rate. Proper understanding of the impact of each one of these, will help you develop a checkout experience optimization strategy that will improve your cart abandonment rates and produce business results.