January 22, 2013
You don't need me to tell you that shipping cost is the number one reason why people abandon shopping carts; you've likely seen the Forrester Research statistics, as well as come across this finding in your own conversion audits.
But what about the next biggest cause of shopping cart abandonment? When visitors consider themselves to be "just browsing," it's easy to provide information that gets in the way of the conversion. The following test is a perfect example of how to think through these possible obstacles and adjust website content to remove them.
In this instance, a retailer noticed an increase in shopping cart abandonment prior to visitors starting the checkout process when the order totaled less than $40. It believed this was happening due to consumers' sticker-shock around shipping cost, as the price of its standard shipping option can be one-quarter or more of the order total on these smaller purchases.
To keep shipping cost concerns from influencing visitors to end their shopping sessions prematurely—especially since they may go on to add more items to their carts, creating a more favorable order-to-shipping cost ratio in the end—the retailer tested hiding the shipping fee on the cart page for orders that were less than $40.
In an A/B split, the test version came out ahead. Not only did this behavior-targeted approach work to improve conversion by 4% and reduce shopping cart abandonment by 2%, it also helped the retailer keep prospects in the conversion funnel for a 5% lift in new customer acquisition.
Given how difficult it can be to win new customers, every website tweak helps.