Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The single most popular shopping cart conversion clincher

The conversion and abandonment rates of our shopping cart are two of our most important ecommerce KPIs. The shopping cart has been optimised to within an inch of its life, following best practice and tips from industry leaders.

This has resulted in:
  • A standout checkout button with available card symbols and a trust seal placed above the fold
  • Checkbox for easily copying over shipping to billing address
  • Product availability 
  • Breakdown of price
  • Upsell to related products
  • Shipping costs
In early 2011 we're adding premium shipping options and a save cart for later button.

Am I missing anything here to help optimize our checkout further? Let me know what you think.

These improvements improved conversion and subsequently our abandonment from the cart dropped. However, there was still room for improvement. So where was this extra juice to be squeezed from? The only concrete way to find out was to turn to our customers. I've mentioned in another post how talking to our customers is probably the most important and successful tactic we employ for improving our services and this is another example of that.

We began e-mailing and surveying customers that dropped out of the cart to ask them why and also wrote to those that converted to ask them what swayed them. 

The number one reason? Shipping.

Due to the location of our printers and distributors, Packt offers free shipping to certain countries and charges for others. For those with free shipping it was a deal breaker, for those that we charged shipping for, it was the number one reason for abandoning. For many customers, the shipping costs put doubts in their minds about the overall cost and was a push to find the same product cheaper elsewhere.

This was difficult to counteract as it would result in changing our business model or heavily reducing our profits. So what was left for us to do? How could we turn these customers around? 

The answer was with our eBooks. For all print book orders, we added the upsell message for our eBooks and outlined how these offered quicker access. This didn't reduce the price of shipping but offered a relatively cheap way to start reading the book as soon as it had been purchased. Of all the optimisations we introduced on the site, this was the most effective in terms of reducing abandonment. 

So sometimes, you can follow as many best practice guides as you like, however in order to find out how to take your site's performance to the next level, the answer is with your customers.