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Abandonment Analysis

 8:18 pm on Feb 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some thoughts on abadonment analysis, and how to approach it:

When I think of abandonment analysis, I think about it in two stages:

  • Cart - From the time when a user adds a product to his cart, until he hits the checkout button, and;
  • Actual Order Process - Everything after the user hits the checkout button

    Obviously, the first thing to look at is the actual order process. If people have hit the checkout button, at least in my mind, they're ready to buy.

    Ideal abandonment rates for this process should be 0%. If they aren't close to zero, then something is wrong with the order process - you're not easily enabling your users to complete a sale.



     2:09 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    If people have hit the checkout button, at least in my mind, they're ready to buy.

    then something is wrong with the order process.

    I'm assuming then that they have no reason other than 'to buy the product' when they click thru?

    There's a key difference between 'in my mind' and 'the order process'.

    If they have doubts - i.e. there is a lack of information somewhere - and feel that the information might be on the other side of the 'checkout' button, they may click through to look, and then abandon.

    Although I don't think you were, it's important not to imply that they hit checkout only when 'they are ready to buy'. This, as I think you said, depends largely on the ordering process...


     3:40 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I found a site last night on Google which had a description of a product which "sounded" exactly like what I was looking for, however, there were no photos of the product! As colour is an important issue, I clicked on checkout hoping there would be a photo there ... nope!

    I left the site.

    There are several reasons someone will take a pass once they have hit the checkout button. You just have to go through the buying process in your mind and look for what "isn't" there.


     3:57 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    You just have to go through the buying process in your mind and look for what "isn't" there.

    And go through some other minds as well!


     4:32 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I often hit the checkout for new sites if they don't display postage for my items outright -- most don't. I often kill the session if its too high a fee.

    Though, judging from our customers, they don't care about the postage cost. The daft plebs.


     6:18 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Picture a checkout that has the following pages:

    Login/User Name Select
    Billing Info
    Confirm Order
    Thanks for Purchasing

    The dropoff looks like this:

    33% don't go from cart to login
    10% don't go from login to billing
    10% don't go from billing to confirm
    1.5% don't purchase from the confirm page

    When its all said and done, only half the people who get to shopping cart end up purchasing.

    The first two steps in this process, getting someone to add to cart and then getting them to leave the cart and start checkout, are the two toughest steps.

    In both of these steps, the person has not said I am prepared to buy. They have only said I am prepared to look at products, and sometimes will set a few aside.

    Now here is a question, say only 10% of people who visit your site add anything to bag and only 50% of them end up purchasing.

    Should you try to improve checkout so that 75% of the people end up purchasing, or should you work on getting 15% of your visitors to add to bag?

    Unless your checkout is horrible, I don't think you'll be able to get from 50% completion to 75% completion. Too much of that process is affected by the buyer and their credit. I did a decent amount of work on improving the checkout process and found the needle only moved 5%.

    Anyone have any experience on which is easier to affect?


     11:08 pm on Feb 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

    There's something to be said for interacting with your customers.

    Get a usability expert, not so much to review your site, but to get a very small sample of live/potential customers, and find a very specific area for testing and reviewing of your site.

    1. You gotta subscribe to InternetRetailer, their last magazine, and website referred to the 10 Ways to Boost Site Performance. And they were talking all about sales baby.
    2. Read the usability articles on checkout process.
    3. There's no magic bullet to becoming successfull, it's a lot of hard work, constant research and keeping to common sense.

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