Testing Cart Abandonment

Testing has evolved for online marketers so much in the last few years that it’s easy to test anything and everything. It’s also easy to segment your audience to test and target content just for them. It’s mind-boggling to think of the days when we were limited to single sessions and to single-page testing. With the latest test and target technology, all that has changed.

Recently, we were working with a client and wanted to introduce them to behavioral targeting for testing. We had already started the initial rounds of tests to targeted paid search traffic but felt there was an opportunity to move the needle a bit more. There are endless things that one can do with behavioral targeting. At a high level though, behavioral targeting allows marketers to target or segment based on pre-defined behaviors of their visitors.

Start Small Enough to Show a Difference

For this particular client, a large retailer, we wanted something relatively easy to do in terms of execution and design so as to deliver a small taste of what is possible. We created a test that would be targeted to those visitors that added something to their cart but failed to complete their purchase, and then made a subsequent visit to a category page, product page, or the home page on the same session or a later session. This segment can be described as “abandoned carts.”

Set Up a Monitoring Campaign First

Now before I we explained to the client what we wanted to do we thought it best to get some data to help explain the goal and our desired outcome. To do this we set up a monitoring campaign to track these cart abandoners. A monitoring campaign is similar to a regular campaign or test but does not deliver content. It is mainly used to identify baselines so as to visualize the gains of sequential A/B or multivariate testing.

For this monitoring campaign to capture the desired data we had to create the segment for cart abandoners. To do this, we profiled or ‘tagged’ those visitors that added something to their cart. We then profiled or ‘tagged’ those visitors that checked out or made a purchase. Profiling is an enormous feature that will certainly be blogged about here soon in much greater detail.

Now, to qualify for the monitoring campaign a visitor had to be a cart-adder but not a purchaser. The visitor would then have visited a category page, product page, or the home page. We did not limit these visits to single session.

The Monitoring Campaign Results

The results of this monitoring campaign were definitely impactful. We found that 30% of visitors finally made a purchase after leaving the funnel. We then had some interesting data to help us understand who we were focusing our test on and what would be our success metric. Our initial goal wasn’t to increase the revenue metrics such as RPV, AOV, or total sales. Our aim was to increase the conversion rate for the 70% of visitors that completely failed to check out despite having added something to their cart and making a subsequent visit back to one of the earlier mentioned areas of the site.

Now that we had the profiles or ‘tags’ in place we were all set. We added an mbox to the top of the center “hero area” to the home page, category page, and the product pages. This mbox was named the same, which allowed for quick and easy set up in Test & Target. The only thing needed now was a creative element to remind visitors that they have something in their cart.

Add Creative

For the creative, we included a handful of different designs to see if there were any differences in the performance. Limiting the test to no cart abandonment messaging vs. one piece of creative limits your analysis quite a bit. If cart abandonment messaging is effective but the creative was poor you would get misleading results in such a test.

The test or campaign was set up as follows:

Recipe A: Default Content (No Cart Abandonment messaging)
Recipe B: Abandonment messaging (design 1)
Recipe C: Abandonment messaging (design 2)
Recipe D: Abandonment messaging (design 3)

With this type of test design we get to understand a couple of things from the results.

1. Does cart abandonment messaging improve the conversion rates of this segment of traffic?
2. Does one creative over another affect things differently?

The results were pretty interesting. We saw a decent amount of conversion lift across Recipes B, C, D. This was great to see, as we were able to confirm that we could positively affect this segment of traffic.

Recipe C though did a lot better then Recipes B and D. The creative was very different which lead us to believe that creative does impact things as well.

Right now this customer is running a champion/challenger test by testing Recipe C against another new variation to see if we can leverage the gains even more. This time we have 10% of traffic going to the control, and 45% of traffic going to each of the cart abandonment messaging. This way we can quantify the impact of the messaging while getting the biggest bang for our buck.

If you want to see a very simplistic mock up of the cart abandonment messaging using the Test and Target platform, I invite you to visit this link.

Once you visit you will see this product page with four products:

If you actually add one of these nice Mac products to your cart and then revisit the product page you will see the tool in action with this messaging:

If you are a Test and Target user and would like to see how I set up this Cart Abandonment test please email me or make a comment on the post. I will then create a login into my Test and Target account. Here you can not only see how I set up this test but the many more examples I plan on posting here.