How To Solve Shopping Cart Abandonent

3 Comments Written on April 26th, 2010 by
Categories: Conversion

It can be frustrating, and expensive, to lose sales at the shopping cart stage.

Thankfully, shopping cart issues are typically a result of poor usability and poor process, and therefore reasonably easy to fix. The key to solving most shopping cart problems is to provide greater levels of transparency.

Let’s look at eight ways to super-charge your shopping cart conversions. We’ll use a cart you’re probably familiar with – Amazon’s – as an illustrative example.

1. Include Indication Of Progress


Without a progress report, a buyer can’t tell where they are in the shopping cart process, so it’s a good idea to spell it out.

Look at the way Amazon does their shopping cart, giving a graphic indication of the buyers position in the process. The buyer should also should be able to move forwards and backwards in the process in order to make changes.

2. Keep The Product In Front Of Buyers


When we buy in the offline world, we’re always connected to the item we’re purchasing.

It would feel strange to put a product we’ve decided to buy back on the shelf, go pay for it elsewhere, then come back to it a few days later. The disconnected feeling doesn’t provide a sense of ownership and belonging.

On the web, we can keep the product in front of buyers by providing an image/description of the product at all steps of the sale process, or a link back to the product page. When the buyer makes a purchase, send the buyer an email detailing their purchase.

Also, buyers like to re-check their purchases just before they hit the buy button, just in case they have made a mistake, or they’ve just thought of a feature they forgot to check. Make this back-navigation exercise difficult, and users will likely abandon the sales process.



Keep the sales process simple and obvious.

The sales process is not the place to let your designers get creative and cryptic. It should always be clear what action the visitor needs to take next in the form of “next” buttons or text. Whenever a user sees a new screen, that should be left in no doubt where they are in the sales process.

This is where testing is important. Watch how people step through the process, watch where they look, and watch for times where they appear indecisive.

4. Be Upfront About Shipping Costs


Many buyers won’t enter into a shopping process until they know the final cost in advance.

Let the buyer know the likely shipping cost before they enter the process. If shipping costs need to be calculated based on an address they give, then provide a link to a chart of typical shipping costs.

5. Make It Easy To Edit


Can the shopper edit the shopping cart?

One common reason for abandonment is the buyer feels they have made an error, but can’t see an easy way to rectify it. It’s best if the buyer can edit quantities and options at every stage, rather than having to navigate back.

If this is not possible, assure the buyer that they will be able to edit quantities etc on the final page before completion.

6. Address Security Concerns


The shopper is giving away personal information AND credit card details. A little voice inside their head will be warning them against sending such details to someone they know nothing about.

Think about ways you can reassure people. Make privacy policies available. Use secure processing. Use badges from business associations, and use third-party validation insignia. Assure shoppers with returns policies and purchase guarantees.

7. Include Your Phone Number

No matter how simple and complete you make the process, there will always be people who will be confused, or want to ask further questions.

If possible, give people the option to call. Alternatively, use a chat widget.

8. Save Option

No matter how streamlined your shopping process, people get distracted.

They may need to check some product details and come back. Does your shopping process allow people to save their progress? How about capturing their email address early, and sending them a reminder if there are items left in their cart, with instructions, and further incentives, to complete the process.

Google Adwords: Search Funnels

1 Comment » Written on April 15th, 2010 by
Categories: Conversion

Most pay per click performance measurement has been at the keyword level i.e. which keyword resulted in conversion.

The problem is this is a blunt measurement tool. It would also be great to know what steps led up to that keyword. For example, did the visitor search on a number of different keyword variations before s/he arrived at that particular keyword. Up until now, this type of tracking has been painful to implement.

However, Google has just released Search Funnels in Adwords, which should make things a whole lot easier.

Search Funnels are a set of new reports describing the search ad click and impression behavior leading up to a conversion. Currently, conversions in AdWords are attributed to the last ad clicked before the conversion. Search Funnels gives advertisers data on how “upper-funnel” keywords are assisting conversions before the last click. It also enhances basic conversion reporting for AdWords.

So, advertisers can see which searches led up to the purchase, and can bid on these terms, too. Also helps Google’s bottom line, of course, by driving up the cost of keywords that may not be obvious 😉

For example, someone might search on “Ford lights” and visit your site. They don’t buy anything. A while later, they return to your site after having searched on “Fiesta parts”. They finally convert, purchasing a Ford Fiesta tail light. The funnel would show that the keyword term “Ford lights” assisted in the conversion, even though it didn’t directly lead to the sale.

How is Google tracking this data?

When someone clicks on an ad at Google, Google starts a funnel, although you can’t see it at this point. Search activity is tracked for 30 days. If the user conduct other searches, even if they don’t click on the advertiser’s ad, Google will add those searches to the funnel, so long as the advertisers ad was displayed.

If the user clicks on the advertiser’s ad and converts, then a funnel report is created, and this data is shown in your Adwords account. You need to use AdWords conversion tracking code for this to work. Google is logging the time and date of every search by that user prior to a conversion, and once a conversion occurs, all that data is available in your Adwords account. If no conversion occurs, obviously you won’t see any search funnel data.

Having the ability to track keyword paths across time is going to open up some fascinating data. As Google points out:

Search Funnels also show the “Path Length,” or average number of clicks and impressions prior to conversion, which can help you understand and target repeat visitors. Additionally they show “Time Lag,” or the amount of time it takes a customer to convert after seeing or clicking on your ads for the first time, which can help you determine lead time for seasonal campaigns. These breakdowns can help you understand your customers’ behavior and create strategies around that information.

Now we can track (roughly) how long non-impulsive purchasers take to arrive at a buying decision.

While this shines more light on the keyword research process, there will still be chunks missing. Any search that doesn’t result in an advertisers ad being displayed won’t be tracked. If the user searches elsewhere, using another engine or uses bookmarks or other navigation methods, obviously this won’t show up in the conversion funnel either.

There’s also the problem that assist clicks might not count for much. It might be difficult to establish repeatable patterns when multiple keyword searches are involved. High volume advertisers will probably receive the most benefit, as there is more chance of repeatable patterns showing up.

Here’s a Google walk-through of the reports:

4 Ways to Leverage Adwords Search Query Reports

2 Comments Written on January 18th, 2010 by
Categories: Conversion, Google Adwords

For the longest time, Google kept searchers’ actual queries close to the vest. Their search term report lumped most actual user searches into “Other Queries”.

In early 2009, Google finally included the details of what make up these “Other Queries” instantly creating a number of highly useful data points.

How can you generate actionable data from Adwords Search Query Reports?

Here’s four quick points to start…

Capture New Keywords from Phrase Variants & Synonyms

See what ancillary terms are triggering your ads via broad and phrase matches. Where else can you get exact click-through and conversion data from phrase variations enabling you to isolate and target these terms more closely?

Look closely for new ideas:

  • Are your customers using acronyms or abbreviations you haven’t targeted yet?
  • Are they using spaces between initials and multiple-word keywords? (“jp morgan”, “jpmorgan”, and “j p morgan”are all different keywords)
  • Are they using navigational queries like domain names or URLs that you haven’t broken out yet?

Why target these individually if your broad matches are already catching them?

  • Well, how’s your quality score for that broad term? Could it improve?
  • Could you be over-paying for matches to these new keyword possibilities?
  • How targeted is your ad text to these new variants?  Could it be better, resulting in more visitors and conversions?

Uncover Missing Negatives

Seeing precisely how Google is matching your keywords, you may notice irrelevant searches seeping in.  These irrelevant terms are easy negatives to add.

Even if impression or click counts for these badly-matched searches are initially low, adding them as negatives immediately to your campaign-level negatives can help the Adwords system improve its matching accuracy:

You’re directly telling Google what’s NOT relevant to your particular campaign.  This saves ad spend and improves your CTR going forward.

Pump Your Keyword Quality Score

Use the Search Query Report to find high-volume variations of your broad keywords.

Next, isolate these keywords and create new, more tightly-knit adgroups consisting of these keywords only and ruthlessly fine-tune your ad text to more precisely match this reduced keyword list.

The result from doing this?  Increased CTR.

Your increased CTR will in turn raise your keyword relevance quality score, lowering your actual CPCs in the process.  Lowered actual CPCs leads to a little something all PPC advertisers want…

Boost Your Campaign’s ROI

Obviously, reduced actual-CPCs helps the pocket book, but the Search Query Report can tweak your ROI even further:

For instance, if you notice that a query variation doesn’t ever seem to convert, add that exact phrase as an exact-match campaign or adgroup-level negative, cutting that particular query while leaving everything else as-is.

There’s no sense beating a dead horse.  If a phrase or keyword just flat-out doesn’t work, dump it.

Anything you can cut without reducing conversions will net you a higher return on your spend.

A couple closing notes for the road: For any of the above to be truly effective, a decent amount of click data spread over a sufficient space of time is required.  Never cut without enough data to make an accurate judgment call.

What actionable metrics do you pull from your Adwords Search Query Reports?  Leave a Comment!

Know Your PPC Geography

5 Comments Written on June 28th, 2008 by
Categories: Conversion, Geo Targeting

Geo-Targeting AdWords

To improve tracking and save on a cost per click basis, I separated one of my campaigns into countries where English is the main language. I used Adwords editor to carbon copy each campaign from the main one and everything were kept the same except for the target area. The countries all seemed to fare well when grouped in one campaign but when separated, the numbers returned to me were disturbing. I realized that the countries expected to outperform did so-so and very poorly, ROI wise. I would have never known this if I didn’t test on a regional basis. The ratio of ROI was 4: 2.5: 1 where the best campaign did 4 times better than the worst.

Optimize Your Account For ROI, Not Clicks!

Another note is that my CTR was highest at the region that converted the lowest. I’m going to study this further and see why some countries did better than others. I had an entire week to collect data and will now dissect the Google reports. At least my quality score increased from the higher CTR.

The lesson I learned is to never assume anything with PPC advertising.