The checkout process is one of my favorite parts of a sales funnel to optimize.
For customers, it’s where the excitement of their purchase is only a few steps away, and for marketers, it’s one last chance to connect with customers before they leave your site.
And through testing with our Research Partners, I’ve discovered a few basic test ideas that can help you achieve some quick lifts while saving your limited resources for testing opportunities that further develop your customer theory while hopefully increasing ROI.
Start with the low-hanging fruit
When you think about your sales funnel holistically, every test opportunity you discover has the potential to increase your ROI, so optimizing the lower-hanging fruit opportunities first can save your testing resources for plugging the bigger leaks in your funnel.
Here are a few suggested quick-win opportunities to implement first:
Test idea #1. Include a cart summary as supporting information throughout the entire checkout flow that includes any relevant information such as price, quantity and any discounts.
Test idea #2. Offer editing tools that let users make changes to their cart throughout the checkout process.
Test idea #3. Use security seals and provide multiple checkout options like PayPal, Google Checkout and Amazon Payments to mitigate elements of user anxiety in your checkout process.
Background: B2C company offering package vacations. In this test, we focused on improving the checkout process.
Goal: To increase cart completions
Primary research question: Which cart page will generate the highest completion rate?
Approach: A/B split test (variable cluster)
(Please Note: Some details have been obscured to protect Research Partner’s competitive advantage).
The original cart was simple, but it included three equally weighted options from which the visitor had to select:
- “View Lodging Options”
- “Add More Activities”
- “Checkout Without Lodging”
This made the checkout process more cumbersome than was necessary.
Tis the season to discuss all things e-commerce and one of the most underutilized optimization opportunities that can potentially add some serious ROI to your bottom line – the shopping cart.
Shopping cart optimization is considered a highly strategic tactic as presenters Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, and Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Research & Strategy, MECLABS, explained in one of our recent Web clinics on shopping cart optimization.
“It’s likely, depending on how many products you have, that your shopping cart might be the most visited page on your entire website,” Austin said. “If you can make a change to increase conversion in the shopping cart, then it will apply site wide.”
So to help you tweek your shopping carts, today’s MarketingExperiments blog post will share the six last-minute changes you can make to your shopping carts that Austin and Jon presented in the Web clinic “Optimizing Shopping Carts for the Holidays,” which you can use to aid your shopping cart optimization efforts.
First, before you explore the changes you can make, here are some key principles that were featured in the clinic:
- Effective tests are not simply designed to achieve a valid result, but a valuable result. The goal of a test is to get a learning, but some “learnings” are more strategic than others.
- Marketers must be able to identify where in the funnel is the greatest opportunity for optimization.
- For e-commerce companies approaching a holiday season, often the most opportune place for the increase is in the shopping cart for two reasons:
- Increased motivation levels
- Convergent funnel paths
Also, to help in getting this information to you faster, we’ve split up all the changes and direct linked to specific times in the hour-long Web clinic video replay when those topics are discussed.
As we ease out of election season and into the holidays, an e-commerce marketer’s fancy turns to thoughts of customers filling their virtual shopping carts with all sorts of goodies and then, most importantly, completing the purchase.
To help you reduce shopping cart abandonment, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will host a free Web clinic today – “Optimizing Shopping Carts for the Holidays: 6 last-minute changes you can make to your shopping carts to increase conversion.”
But, before we share our discoveries, we wanted to hear what you’ve learned about shopping carts. Here are a few tips from your peers …