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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager tuccinimarketing's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 14th, 2008
    Question Conversion: Shopping Cart Issues
    Looking to hear your experiences and insights on shopping cart abandonment and conversion issues related to structure and presentation of checkout process.

    Recently I've been looking to gather best practices on checkout process and cart presentation, however it seems like there is a diverse opinion pool on the issue.

    There are two questions here:

    1-) Does "testing" help at all? Does a button color or button size matter? Is such testing worth the cost of it? Does automated checkout optimization tools work? Is 15% Abondonment rate of cafepress, as claimed by FutureNow, a realistic rate? How about 85%, is it artificial?

    2-) What is your "Best Practices" in designing and presenting the checkout process?

    Just looking to gain insight by knowing real experiences. Surely it'll help optimize our checkout process, increase conversions and thus pay more to our affiliates

  2. #2
    Join Date
    September 3rd, 2008
    We have done extensive split testing in the area of product pages to improve conversion rates, but have seen little noticeable affect on conversion. Also our shopping cart process has been streamlined in the past without much noticeable affect.

    It all depends on your demographics/customer base. Everyone is looking for the easiest and quickest way to place their order without errors. Also you must stay with industry standards so your customers will understand the process and not get confused.

    If your provide a familiar, quick, easy, error free, and attractive process than you will eliminate the need for costly and time consuming testing.

    The one aspect that I have left out is the idea of adding promotions and upsales into your cart process. These have proven in some cases to improve order size which can always help affiliates.

  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    The Windy City
    Whatever you do, don't add an additional barrier to the checkout process by requiring your customers to create an account before they can complete their order. There are few things more frustrating than trying to purchase something online and being told by a merchant "We don't want your money, we want you to fill out these 2 pages of information first".

    Provide the option if you must, but don't require it.
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    September 3rd, 2008
    Agreed. We offer a guest checkout that is as visible as our login option. If a user tries to login and forgets their password or username we will ask for their password again, but also immediantly offer them to proceed through the guest checkout process.

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Preview of shipping costs prior to purchase and then fewer steps in the checkout process = lower abandonment rates.

    Too many choices, too many steps and high shipping costs cause much of the abandonment of carts. I don't think buttons on the product page impacts the cart abandonment rate, that affects whether they get to the cart at all.
    Deborah Carney

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 3rd, 2008
    I was going to address the shipping charge issue too. Shipping charge rates are problematic outside of the shopping cart because first you need to get at least a zip code for calculation, and then if the purchase includes multiple items... forget it. Our customers can check shipping by clicking the "Shipping Cost" button in our shopping cart. If they don't like the shipping charges, they're gone and abandon the shopping cart. I think the shopping cart abandonment issue here is less important than offering the shipping cost feature.

    The primary reason for shopping cart abandonment on our site is payment authorization declines. This is completely out of our/your control.

    So I believe you may be putting too much emphases on shopping cart abandonment. If your checkout process is so burdensome that it's chasing buyers away at the last minute, that's one thing. But if you have an efficient checkout process, don't worry about it. On our site, when a customer goes so far as to add to the cart, they're effectively ready to buy. So perhaps place your emphases on pitching the customer in the first place to motivate them to purchase.


  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Park City Utah
    1-) Does "testing" help at all? Does a button color or button size matter? Is such testing worth the cost of it? Does automated checkout optimization tools work? Is 15% Abondonment rate of cafepress, as claimed by FutureNow, a realistic rate? How about 85%, is it artificial?
    Absolutely - and testing the cart is separate and independent for the site and product pages. Get yourself an account with Offermatica, Optimost or SiteSpec. We prefer the later but you may not want to meet the tech requirements.

    I can tell you that button color, shape and placement can influence purchases. Cart abandonment is due in a large part to the frustrations mentioned previously in this thread.

    2-) What is your "Best Practices" in designing and presenting the checkout process?
    You have already been told them and need to look at your purchase path to see what you are doing. Have your spouse, kids and parents make purchases. Then shut-up and listen to them.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager PaulS's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    One critical element is having the measurements in place so that you know the abandoment at each particular step of the checkout process and - if possible (although not fully reliable) where in the form they gave up and left.

    In order to determine measurments, I would suggest you divide your abandoment between Cart and Checkout Step 1 as two distinct beginnings.

    Then take it step by step and see where you are losing the most customers.

    Years ago (previous company) we did this baseline and tweaked and tweaked again, each time making sure that the new version was an improvement over the last. Over time, we increased checkout completion rate by approx. 300%.

    You are not likely to ever get to 100% completion, for a variety of reasons (some being as simple as other site owners "checking out your check out". But if you know where you are now and where you would like to be, that is half the battle.

    Elements of the cart have been address above, including shipping rates, guest checkout, reinforcing security features.

    And opinions (either through testers or surveys) on where people had issues with your checkout process can certainly help give you a few things to put into place to see the improvement.

    Just don't expect a huge leap with one fix, but if you can improve your completion rate by 10 - 20% each time you improve the checkout, that's a pretty good thing.

    Hope that helps...


  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager tuccinimarketing's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 14th, 2008
    I too do a lot of online shopping. Been through checkout process at hundreds of sites maybe over a thousand times... Looking at my experience, it looks like I only had two reasons to abondon a shopping cart:

    1- Shipping too expensive (shipping info also unavailable otherwise)
    2- Even if the price is right and shipping charge is OK, item is still too expensive to buy at the moment or local purchase (at a brick & mortar store) option becomes worth exploring due to delivery times (can't wait 7 business days and won't pay $50 extra for next day shipping)

    Incidentally, these are reasons that tweaking and testing the shopping cart structure won't help at all.

    So I am a type of customer who would shop at Boomers' store

    Surely there is a noise factor which is also quite uncontrollable. I do not trust the conversion metrics 100%, but I know I can trust them at least 90%

    What I gather from this thread is that there are two practices that will improve the checkout completion rate:

    1- Shipping charges made known before items are added to cart
    2- Lesser steps during checkout, lesser time for shoppers to spend filling out checkout forms, optional registration.

    Addressing safety, security and privacy concerns on checkout pages as well as emphasizing applicable warranties and guarantees may also help too.

    Hard numbers on this subject is really hard to come by. I am still trying to find some reports with measured metrics showing correlation between the test subject and the cart completion/abandonment rates with all other environment variables staying the same. That is, I am looking for something to believe, not a report from FutureNow as a sales pitch.

    My current solution is to combine "common sense" with experience

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