Oneupweb : Understanding Your Shopping Cart Conversion Ratios

Many times you’ll find it easier to comprehend or analyze something when you break it down into smaller pieces. This is certainly the case when it comes to improving e-commerce websites. By breaking up your shopping cart process into ratios, you’ll put yourself in a better position to identify both where and why you’re losing potential customers.

Visit-to-Decision-Page Ratio
The decision page comes before your shopping cart. Here you present visitors with an offer for your product or service. Decision pages should include features, benefits, pricing, unique selling proposition and of course an ‘add to cart’ button.

Once you’ve identified your decision pages, you can work backwards and determine the percentage of visits that are actually being presented with an offer. If only 40% of your visitors make it to a decision page then you may have the following:

-Poorly targeted traffic

-Unnecessary intermediate pages

-Poor navigation structure

Focus on streamlining the visit-to-decision-page path. Are there ways to tighten the conversion funnel?  It may be as simple as making one page have a considerably higher bounce rate.

Decision-to-Cart Ratio
This ratio represents the transition from decision page to a product/service added to your shopping cart. Visitors who proceed to your shopping cart are demonstrating purchase intent. Potential reasons for low decision-to-cart ratios (15-25%) may be any of the following:

-Technical issues

-Uncompetitive pricing

-Lack of unique selling proposition

-Struggles with linking relative features/benefits to the consumer

Cart-to-Checkout Ratio
The cart-to-checkout ratio can be described as a visitor clicking checkout once they’ve added a product/service to the cart. Causes for a low cart-to-checkout ratio (below 70%) may include:

-High shipping costs compared to competition

-No opportunity to estimate shipping

-No inclusion of accepted payment types

-Unclear link to your privacy policy

Checkout-to-Order Ratio
The checkout-to-order ratio should serve as your starting point when it comes to improving e-commerce performance. There are a lot of simple improvements that can be made at this stage to avoid lost revenue. Be sure to only require what you need to process for an individual transaction; you haven’t earned the full trust of the consumer quite yet. With that said, offer an ‘express’ checkout for users who don’t want their information to be stored for future purchases. In other words, allow users to checkout as a guest or create a new account.

Other reasons for a low checkout-to-order ratio might be that you don’t allow users to calculate shipping until they’ve created an account. We’re seeing more savvy online shoppers who will open multiple carts from competitors and complete as much of the cart process as possible until they can obtain a final cost with shipping. With this behavior, it may simply come down to the lowest price and/or best shipping rates and options.

Depending on the product/service and amount of traffic your site generates, you could be missing out on a large chunk of revenue each month. Find a partner, analyst or e-commerce specialist who can help translate what a 10%, 20% or 30% improvement in checkouts to completed orders may mean to your bottom line.