November 14, 2013 | The XM Blog

The Truth About Shopping Cart Abandonment


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As noted in a previous post, behavioral metrics are nice to have but can be tricky to navigate and misinterpret the customer experience if not measured right, analyzed correctly, and used properly.

And with the holiday shopping season starting it might be nice to know the truth about the squeaky wheel (virtual or otherwise) of another classic example of a frequently misused behavioral metric: shopping cart abandonment.

Shopping cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the number of visitors who start but then abandon a shopping cart (in other words, they do not complete the transaction) by the total number of visitors who initially create a shopping cart.

The Truth about Shopping Cart Abandonment | The ForeSee BlogAbandoned shopping carts are the bane of an e-commerce site’s existence. (Picture business owners with their heads in hands crying, “They were this close … and then they left!”)

A business that knows a consumer abandoned his or her shopping cart can certainly infer that he or she was not satisfied with some portion of the shopping or checkout process. Maybe he or she could not easily delete an item no longer wanted. Maybe he or she could not determine the shipping cost for the order. Maybe he or she felt there were too many steps in the process and got frustrated.

Or, maybe he or she never intended to buy at all and was only doing a little virtual window-shopping.

Instead of attempting to infer what happened and why, the business should instead ask the customer about the experience. A business that knows why a customer abandoned and what he or she planned to do as a result of abandoning can then start to understand the customer’s needs and expectations. A business that knows the causal factors behind a customer’s actions can determine what to do as a result and can predict the results of changes to better satisfy the customer.

That is why behavioral data can be misleading, especially in extreme circumstances.

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About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, Verint delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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