Abandoned Carts Break Hearts: A CRO Love Story


Hi, I’m a user who’s landed on your website.

I’ve browsed around for a while, visited a few product pages and now I’ve taken the plunge and added one of your products to my basket. What are the chances I’m now going to go all the way through your checkout process and convert with you?

Chances are, you wouldn’t bet your mortgage on it happening. Even when someone at that deep stage of your conversion funnel has identified an item or service, there are still plenty of reasons for them to walk away depending on the nuances of your business and your website journey.

For example, it may be that they simply haven’t built enough trust in – or knowledge of – your brand or product before entering your checkout process.

It could simply be that poor usability or broken functionality are physically preventing them from converting on a particular device or browser.

It might even be that your delivery options aren’t flexible enough for them, or that your voucher code entry field inspires them to go back to Google to see if they can save themselves a bit of money. Or you’re just giving them too many options and making them overthink at a moment when they just want things to be easy.

The grim reality is that many businesses have a higher basket abandonment rate than they should, because they simply don’t understand their customers enough. If you know your users’ motivations, how they behave online and specifically how they use (and struggle with) your site, you can build a digital experience to maximise the chance they will convert with you.

So, what can you do?

First of all, don’t just copy a competitor’s checkout process assuming that a) it works and b) it will work for your users.

Instead, use session replays, visitor polls and user testing to observe and speak to the real people using YOUR website, and A/B test improvements based on the insights you find.

You can also run lab-based user testing on your competitors’ sites as well as your own if you want to understand how particular functionality is perceived (or will be perceived, if you’re using prototypes to validate your designs before writing a single line of code) by your target audience.

It hopefully goes without saying, but deep and accurate analytics coverage is another cornerstone of your checkout optimisation activity. This is often just about getting the basics right.

So, filter out your office IP plus those of your suppliers and exclude users who visit sections such as a careers pages, so your data isn’t skewed by users who are just researching and aren’t intending to buy. Set up click tracking so you can see the impact in-page interactions such as FAQ accordions, dropdown menus and radio buttons are having. Implement field level tracking within forms so you can understand the specific interactions that might be causing users to drop out.

And if you haven’t abandoned this article yet…

The bad news is that, unless there are parts of your checkout process that are literally broken, there are few silver bullets to double your checkout conversion rate overnight.

However, a commitment to a test-and-learn culture within your company will give you the best chance of having the right conversations, identifying the right insights and solving the right problems to increase the likelihood your users will convert on your website.

Whether you do that by working with an experienced CRO agency or using in-house expertise, the important thing is to have an individual in your team whose primary responsibility is website performance, and who will be able to obsess over optimisation, user behaviour and the buy-in of key stakeholders.

However hard you try though, you’ll never have 100% checkout completion, so it’s equally important to invest time and resource in a basket abandonment email programme and website functionality that helps return visitors pick up where they left off, such as a ‘You previously viewed…’ component on your homepage.

If you’re not ready to abandon quite yet and want to find out more about our CRO services, get in touch on office@bancmedia.com

Avatar for Anita Pun
Anita Pun