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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

The customer journey seems long and complicated. So when a visitor arrives at your shopping cart, it’s important to encourage purchase completion. But there’s a problem – shopping cart abandonment rate is 67%. More than half of your users are likely to leave. Ecommerce companies are missing opportunities to increase sales because they’re not optimizing this crucial step in the sales flow.

Take a look at why buyers will leave your cart:

Users Leave Shopping Cart

Addressing these obstacles removes friction and persuades users to convert. This way, you’ll drive them into the checkout phase before they ever consider leaving.

Use these tips to optimize your shopping cart:

Show All Accepted Payments Next to Your CTA

The availability of payment options is a concern for buyers. It’s not a high-priority issue but it’s easy to fix that shows results. Show the accepted payment options next to your checkout button to facilitate the transaction and set expectations as they complete their order.

See how, a site that sells downloadable music sheets, shows credit card logos and a Paypal option below the primary checkout CTA:

MusicNotes Accepted Payments

  • On the shopping cart page, communicate all accepted payments to users; show it next to your CTA, which is your checkout button
  • Test the use of alternative payment methods as secondary CTAs, such as PayPal or Amazon Payments, to see how if a large segment of users prefer it
  • Don’t just list payment methods with text; use branded logos for quick, easy recognition

Allow Guest, Member, & Express Checkout Options

Many users expect the checkout process to be long and cumbersome. Provide them with speedy options on the shopping cart page to emphasize how painless it will be. If they’re returning buyers with an account, give a member checkout that has pre-filled user info. For new buyers, provide a “guest” or “express” checkout that implies a quick and convenient process. This is typically a process that requires the minimal amount of info from a customer, but has a voluntary option to create an account for future use.

In Nike’s store, both primary CTAs on their shopping cart are for guest and member checkout options:

Nike Store Guest and Member Checkout

For Chinese Laundry, a fashion store, users click “checkout now” on their shopping bag page and arrive here:

Chinese Laundry Checkout

  • Provide a member checkout option to let returning customers know that they can easily complete purchases
  • Provide guest checkout option for users who are making their first purchase who may want to create an account
  • An express checkout option could be provided for one-time buyers who want to only provide required information and decline account creation

Emphasize Multiple Shipping Options

Shipping is considered a huge pain for online shoppers. They think it’s expensive, slow, and inconvenient. Address this in your shopping cart by emphasizing how shipping options actually improve the experience. Show numerous options to receive items and emphasizes ways to lower costs.

Staples uses a combination of tactics to show that shipping is not an issue. They provide a ship-to-store option, an estimated delivery time, a store pickup option, and free shipping for higher value purchases:

Staples Shipping Options

  • Give all available shipping options to users to remove friction about ordering online
  • If your company has physical locations, provide store pickup or ship-to-store options
  • Offer shipping deals that bring down costs or speed up delivery time
  • Show an estimate delivery time or personalized shipping options for the user’s zip code (info provided from user’s location or account)

Show a Cart Overview During Checkout

Even after users have moved on to the checkout process, there’s still a use for the shopping cart. Many ecommerce sites display an overview of the shopping cart through to the end of the purchase. Showing the cart on the side of checkout provides continuity for users, which establishes trust. It also provides an itemized breakdown of their purchase, along with taxes and shipping fees, so that customers understand the total cost.

ReplaceDirect, a dutch ecommerce company that sells energy supplies, tested the addition of the cart overview in their checkout using VWO. This is the second step from the original checkout:

ReplaceDirect Control

This is the variation that uses a cart overview on the side:

ReplaceDirect Cart Overview

The variation reduced abandonment by 25%, which increased revenue for the company.

  • Test the use of a cart overview during checkout
  • Provide itemized details of costs or any discounts
  • Clearly show taxes and shipping fees
  • Use similar styling from the original cart to the the cart overview for continuity

Give the Capability to Save Items For Later

Buyers often need time to consider a purchase before completing it. When shopping online, many users add items to the cart only to be surprised by the total cost later. Providing them with the ability to save items for later encourages them to revisit and buy those leftover items in the future.

See how Aeropostale lets users add items to a “wish list”:

Aeropostale Save for Later

Note the link for the wish list is closely located under the “remove” option. Since many users want the item but prefer to buy it later, this encourages them to save it rather than completely remove it.

Banana Republic also uses this method:

Banana Republic Save List

Saved items are listed under the shopping bag so that users are reminded of them during their next order and are able to easily move them into their purchase. This gives a sense of personalization and convenience to users, while increasing order value.

  • Provide a “save for later” or “wish list” option in your shopping cart
  • Place the option next to the item removal option to encourage users to save it, instead of truly removing
  • Display a list of saved items on the cart page for users to conveniently move into cart

Use a Cart Exit Popup that Addresses Concerns

One of the most effective ways to counteract abandonment is to use a cart exit popup. These will appear when a user is about to close out on your shopping cart. Because a popup is so eye-grabbing, strategically optimize it to address one or more of your customers’ friction points.

This example from a ski shop shows how they addressed multiple factors: perception of price, urgency to buy quickly, return policy, customer trust, and email submission.

Cart Exit Popup

In this single popup, they offered a time-sensitive coupon, restated the free return policy, provided a customer testimonial, and collected an email address. Thus, users are reminded of many reasons they should stay to checkout or continue shopping.

  • Use tactics to overcome why users abandon shopping carts
    • Persuade visitors to stay with a coupon in the headline
    • Use urgency by letting customers know that the sale ends soon or the coupon expires shortly
    • Establish trust with a testimonial
    • Remind users of free shipping or easy returns
    • Test any method that addresses your customers’ reasons for leaving; also test the combination or isolation of these tactics
  • There are many tools such as Wishpond or Rooster that provide custom popups

Send Triggered Emails To Remarket Abandoned Carts

Even after your users have left, there is still a great opportunity to remarket to them. They initially added items to the shopping cart because there is an interest to buy, which means they are further down the funnel. Often, they just need time to consider the purchase or need a reminder at a more convenient time (or on a more convenient device). This is where an email triggered after abandonment is effective. Send out a timed email with the abandoned shopping cart items to encourage users to pick up where they left off. Most stores use user account information to follow up with customers. But for those without accounts, there are tools that pair email addresses submitted on any form during the site visit (such as a newsletter signup) with an abandoned cart.

This is an email Amazon sent to me after I left one item in their cart:

Abandoned Amazon Cart Email

Originally, I needed this USB cable but didn’t want to have just one item shipped. So I left. But this email reminded me of the abandoned cart a few days later. By that time, I had thought of more items to round out my purchase and was ready to buy. Otherwise, I may have never returned.

Aeropostale takes it one step further:

Aeropostale Abandoned Cart Email

They not only reminded me of a t-shirt I had left in the cart, but offered an exclusive shipping offer if I purchased it within the week. Also, I had not created an official account on their site, but I did sign up for their newsletter during my visit, which was used to connect to my abandoned cart.

  • Use checkout recover tools like AbandonAid,  Rejoiner, or eCommerce Cosmos to grab email addresses (saves your email address even when you abandon)
  • Test the best duration of time after abandonment to send triggered emails
  • It does not always have to be abandoned items, it could be recommendations that a user had not seen
  • Try pairing the email with an incentive to complete the order, such as a discount or free shipping


Optimizing your shopping cart means maximizing the potential conversion of users deep in the sales funnel. Removing friction on this page and appeasing user concerns results in more completed checkouts and higher purchase rates. Don’t leave money on the table because you’re not testing various ways and tactics to improve your store’s buying experience.

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