What Will Shopping Cart Analytics Reveal About Your Checkout?

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Last week I gave 7 tips to decrease form abandonment, this week I’m delving deeper into shopping cart analytics to understand cart abandonment. Our data shows that a far greater number of people view the checkout than start it (only 49%) and still fewer complete their purchase (16.5%) even after starting to fill out their details.

Shopping cart analytics take the mystery out of cart abandonment. Once you pinpoint specific problem areas you can get to work on them.

What Can Analytics Reveal?

Line graph showing web traffic

Formisimo’s shopping cart analytics reveal a plethora of detailed insights into the health of your checkout.

Here’s just a few tips on interpreting your data:

  • If many more people view the checkout form than start it this might be because the form looks long or confusing.
  • Additional time spent in a particular field could indicate a number of things. Is it a credit card field? If so, prepare shoppers with a message at the start prompting them to have their card ready. Delay in any other type of field might mean that the label is confusing, or that the field doesn’t accept certain data formats.
  • A high correction rate may confirm that field labels are confusing or that shoppers have to correct the format of their data.

Top 6 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

There’s lots of reasons shoppers add to basket and then leave the item there. Cart abandonment emails can prompt shoppers to complete the purchase but why not prevent the problem rather than patch it afterwards?

Visual Website Optimizer conducted a survey of ecommerce sites. Below is a bar chart of the most commonly cited reasons for cart abandonment:

Bar chart: reasons for cart abandonment
  1. 28% leave due to unexpected shipping costs
  2. 23% because they would have had to create an account with the site in order to buy
  3. 16% say they were just conducting research
  4. 13% had payment security concerns
  5. 12% found the checkout confusing
  6. 8% couldn’t find a voucher code

How To Improve The Health Of Your Checkout

You may have heard about four buyer modalities but for our purposes here I’ll group cart abandoners into just two groups:

  1. Browsers; those you aren’t committed to buying in this session
  2. Shoppers; those who are there to buy but are put off by an issue or concern

Below I’ve provided tips on making these two groups more distinct and on how to convert each.

What To Do With Shoppers Who Aren’t Ready To Buy

So, 16% of shoppers who added items to the cart were only browsing. This tells us that there’s a problem with how many ecommerce sites handle browsing and researching. These shoppers had to treat the cart like a holding zone.

They may have been trying to compare items or make a shortlist of things they might buy. They might also have been looking for information that was only available after you head to the checkout e.g. delivery costs.

Add a ‘Save for later’ feature

Users don’t always use the systems we design for the purpose we originally design for. The fact that online shoppers use the cart as a holding area tells us that that behaviour exists whether we design for it or not. So, stop dirtying your data and instead design your site to accommodate the way people really shop.

Don’t hide information in the checkout

Are shipping costs, estimated delivery dates or delivery options only available once you reach the checkout? Browing shoppers looking for this information could be confusing your analytics data. Making all this information available on the product page will ensure your shoppers are well informed and your site is more pleasant to use.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

Shoppers who are ‘just doing research’ and ‘aren’t ready to buy’ may be persuaded if presented with a tempting offer.

Psychologically, the more choice we have and the longer we spend deciding, the less satisfied we are with our final decision, according to Barry Schwartz. Driving browsing shoppers to a decision could create a more positive user experience as well as improve your conversion rate.

Why not try displaying an offer in the save for later area or emailing an offer an hour or two after the shopper leaves your site? Alerting shoppers to low stock levels will also hasten a decision, as we don’t like to lose out.

How To Prevent Drop-Off Of Shoppers Who Are Ready To Buy

Don’t give shoppers a reason to shop around

Offer free shipping. Free shipping over a certain spend is a good way to increase the value of a sale but does risk prolonging the task. You’re inviting shoppers to become distracted looking for something else to buy. Those on a strict budget will also be faced with a dilemma and may ultimately give up and buy elsewhere.

Don’t block the purchasing process with a login wall

Login prompts and new registration sign ups add extra time for shoppers. Mobile users have additional limitations on their time as they may be out and about or multi-tasking at home. Smaller screen sizes and using their fingers to navigate and input data also makes it harder to fill out forms. All these factors make filling out an extra form impractical.

You must still provide an easy login for existing customers but I suggest seeking new registrations after purchase process is complete. Make it easy but simply asking if they’d like to save the details they just provided and choose a username and password.

Don’t distract shoppers by prompting them to look for a voucher code

Although voucher codes are a great sales tool, drawing more people to your site, they can also be a cause of abandonment, as shown by VWO’s survey. Displaying a field for voucher codes acts as a prompt to use one. There are several consequences:

  • Shoppers go off site in search of a code.
  • Shoppers spend longer checking out- this should be evident in your cart analytics from long session times.
  • Shoppers spend less money with you than they were originally willing to.
  • Additional browsing off site might mean they buy elsewhere.

Additionally, the item may become devalued in the eyes of the customer if they believe they could have saved money.

If you do offer discount codes, try making them less of a prompt by:

  • Make adding a code less prominent e.g. with a small link or by only displaying a box if shoppers reach the product page from a certain source.
  • Changing the language you apply to discount codes e.g. referring to them as gift codes.

Include trust signals

I’ve written before of how online shoppers trust sites more when they see trust seals. VWO’s survey confirms that worries over payment security are a major cause of abandonment.

Look at your shopping cart analytics to find out if you have a greater number of drop-offs at the payment stage. Add an SSL certificate to reassure shoppers that their data is safe.

Interested in seeing how your checkout is performing?


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