Anyone who runs a business knows that there are two key drivers for additional revenue: either increase conversions or increase customer engagement. Put another way, sell more to your existing customers and/or sell to new customers.
If your marketing efforts are bringing sufficient traffic to your web store, then conversion rate optimization is the key to unlock additional revenue. Are site navigation, searching, and filtering features helping customers find the right product? Are cross sells effective at showcasing more products to customers? Is your checkout flow encouraging or discouraging purchases?
But once you’ve solved these major problems, the next step is to identify small tweaks that can cause big changes in customer behavior. By testing what works for your customers, you can gain an edge over competitors and deliver a more enjoyable checkout process to every customer.
This is where the concept of the conversion funnel comes in. You’ve probably thought about this already. How many site visitors are coming from my marketing efforts? How many people completed checkout?
Once you get the results and see the drop off in numbers between the users coming into your site and the users actually buying from your site, you’ll see that many potential customers drop out at various stages of the conversion funnel.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the conversion funnel, Symphony Commerce breaks it down into ten steps. This allows us to set granular goals and accurately gauge performance against them. For example, improving engagement doesn’t directly impact conversion. If the only thing we track is conversion, we’ll miss any engagement improvement. Likewise, if we only track conversion rate between the first and last steps, then any improvements at earlier steps of the funnel will be diluted at the end. A visitor to shopper ratio of 100% will only result in approximately 1% increase in revenue, because of the attrition throughout the rest of the funnel.
With mobile commerce comprising more and more of our clients’ revenue, we noticed a gap between mobile traffic and mobile conversions. Some clients were already accruing more than 50% of their traffic from mobile and tablets, yet the conversion rates on these devices was less than 30%. Specifically, mobile shoppers were 50% less likely than desktop shoppers to start the checkout process.
Conventional wisdom suggests that shoppers are using their phones to look up information with the intention of purchasing the item later on a computer or in person at the store. According to Google, 90% of smartphone shoppers use their phone for pre-shopping activities.
But we wondered: could we nudge some of those mobile shoppers to actually start (and complete) their order on their phone?
Our hypothesis is that visual prompts will encourage checkout engagement. Symphony’s “Sticky Cart Split Test” was designed to see if we could increase sales and enhance the shopping experience by changing just one aspect of our standard checkout flow. Specifically, will consumers be more likely to start the checkout process if the shopping cart is more visible?
We designed an experiment to show some customers a stickier shopping cart banner after they added a product to the cart. The experiment was conducted across several client sites where we could accrue enough traffic in a short amount of time to achieve statistically significant results.
To eliminate any effects of seasonality, we created an A/B test where 50% of site visitors were our control group, and would experience the original checkout flow. In this flow, when a shopper adds an item to the cart, the shopping cart drops down and then rolls back up after 5 seconds.
Here’s what the sticky cart looks like on a desktop or tablet browser. The cart does not roll up after 5 seconds; it stays visible until the customer clicks away.
Here’s the smaller version of the sticky cart that is seen on mobile.
The remaining 50% of visitors were shown an altered flow. When the shopper adds an item to the cart, the same shopping cart drops down. However, it remains static until the customer takes an action (such as tapping elsewhere on the page).
We ran the test for 20 days in early June with 134K visitors.
- Tablet N = 7,188
- Mobile N = 51,630
- Desktop N = 75,076
Because the customer experience is dramatically different across web, tablet, and mobile, we tracked results separately to see how each group performed.
- Mobile users who were shown the new sticky cart drop down were 92% more likely to start the checkout process: a HUGE change resulting from a small UI change.
- Tablets users also were 85.6% more likely to start the checkout process.
- Desktop users were 8.1% more likely to start the checkout process.
Overall, the consumers who were exposed to the extended shopping cart were 35% more likely to initiate check out.
CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS
Sticky carts, it seems, really do provide a visual nudge that gets customers to make the transition from shopping to buying.
There were two additional considerations for further down the conversion funnel. First, if we made it easier to check out quickly, will it prevent people from browsing and adding more products to their cart? Second, if we dramatically increased the number of checkouts started, would we observe an increase in abandoned checkouts because some of the new shoppers were less qualified?
Our concerns were unfounded. Expected revenue for the test group and the baseline group were almost identical, so we did not encounter any erosion in AOV. Likewise, there was no statistically significant difference for conversion rates. Thus, by encouraging more shoppers to initiate checkout (with the same AOV and the same conversion rate), the sticky shopping cart increased our clients’ revenue.
Thanks to our cloud-based infrastructure and agile ecommerce platform, Symphony Commerce implemented Sticky Shopping Carts across our entire network with minimal friction. Clients did not have to manually upgrade, opt-in to a program, or pay extra for this feature. Symphony – a company dedicated to democratizing commerce – implemented this newly confirmed best practice to every client. When we get the data in hand, Symphony will continue to innovate and experiment in order to deliver the best shopping experience and induce greater ROI.