The problem was as obvious as it was financially draining.

The Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) on the website of luxury perfume and cosmetics brand Lancôme USA was swiftly escalating. Put simply, too much money was being left on the table. And if an organization declines to address its site’s high Cart Abandonment Rate challenges, they are flagrantly disregarding significant potential revenue.

Cart Abandonment Rate is calculated by measuring the number of visitors placing goods in a site’s digital shopping cart but failing, for whatever reason, to complete the final checkout process and pay for the product.

The higher the Cart Abandonment Rate, the more revenue your site is losing.

This was the situation confronted within Lancôme’s United States operations.

The site’s Cart Abandonment Rate had deteriorated dramatically, shifting upwards from 63.46 per cent in 2011 to 79.16 per cent by 2013.

Malik Abu-Ghazaleh, Lancôme USA’s assistant VP of interactive marketing and commerce, says the corrosion of the site’s Cart Abandonment Rate compelled his team to spring to action. The company partnered with HiConversion to investigate its Checkout Funnel Optimization.

Mr Abu-Ghazaleh says the group began by casting a wide net through its entire checkout funnel.

Depending on the organization, a site’s checkout funnel typically ranges from three to six pages. It is, in essence, the number of steps it takes the visitor from placing an item in the digital shopping cart and making final payment. Typically there’s the page hosting the cart itself, then login, addresses, payment, review and also confirmation pages.

Each page contains multiple elements that can be individually altered to measure performance and, ultimately, impact the number of visitors completing the entire checkout process.

Amid Lancôme USA’s review of its checkout funnel, some salient questions were asked.

– Are there too many steps in the funnel?

– Are Lancôme USA’s customers getting through the process properly?

– Where is the fallout?

– How does the funnel look when they checkout?

Of course, what instantly raised eyebrows internally was the previously mentioned growth in Cart Abandonment Rate.

Although one element of this growth was a significant increase in overall site traffic, there remained plenty to be done from a user standpoint experience.

The team began by evaluating the shopping cart page itself as well as the samples page, shipping/billing and the order review page.

As there are multiple steps in the checkout process – as well as different pieces and elements – there was a substantial amount of data to comb through.

For instance just one page, the Shopping Cart page, includes: Main Navigation, Product Display Search, Promo Code, Summary, Trust Badge, Product Recommendation and Call to Action.


Initially, no single element stood out as a straightforward fix.

However given that all of the data had been tracked and Mr Abu-Ghazaleh and his team had received rich analytics from HiConversion, it became apparent there were issues with the step in which the visitor moved from the add-to-cart button to the shopping bag.

61 per cent were making it to the shopping bag, but a surprising 39 per cent were dropping off just in that first stage.

The group quickly coalesced its efforts around this portion of the funnel.

Working with HiConversion, they designed a campaign in which they began to tweak several elements.

Firstly, they observed that the shopping bag icon itself was too small and did not draw attention to the buyer. More clarity around the exit line for visitors was needed.

The focus then shifted to the PayPal button and how it would impact CAR. PayPal is a very important piece of our puzzle.

A significant portion of Lancôme USA’s sales are derived via PayPal. Therefore, the team needed to solve the interplay between PayPal and the checkout flow.

Again, consideration was given to whether the site should highlight PayPal by itself. Another concern: whether Lancôme USA should highlight PayPal with a colored button and differentiate it from the regular checkout button or not.

The next step was examining the Checkout (CTA) button: should it be highlighted differently and should its placement be changed? It should be a tool to draw more attention – and therefore revenue.

Finally, free shipping on a cart worth a certain amount was an obvious incentive to spend more. The challenge was how to effectively message this so that visitors understand either how close their cart is to free shipping or how indeed they can qualify for free shipping. There were several different iterations to how Lancôme USA tried to draw that out a little more.


As described above, the campaign designed with HiConversion began by introducing new variables first. Next was the PayPal variables, cart page and samples page.

The tablet experience is a different one to the regular Lancôme USA browser experience. So an ideal test was to ascertain whether there is a difference or change in results there.

Finally consideration was given to the shipping rule. Campaigns take place on the site several times a month and highlighting that promo code space was deemed a potential way to encourage people to checkout.



The results, as demonstrated above, really speak for themselves. What was a 39 per cent drop-off in funnel leakage at the start of the campaign shrunk to 21 per cent within just seven weeks. There was a significant improvement in the drop-off rate that translated to a lot of real dollars.


The next step then was to look at the dashboards and data and arm the team with analytics from the new dashboard HiConversion created.

At this stage, Lancôme USA looked again at their CAR and continued further down the funnel. They optimized the flow, looking also at different consumer devices through which the site is consumed.


Tablet, which is already segmented a lot, was important here. Tests were required to determine how to create a frictionless transaction through that particular device.

Similar data had to be gathered around smartphones, through which important data around PayPal – very important in that format – can be given greater prominence.

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