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An article from Kevin Hillstrom called "Shopping Cart Abandonment" recently asked the question, "Is there anything wrong with a sixty percent shopping cart abandonment rate?"

Hillstrom was reacting to a blog post from the Marketing Experiments Blog that concluded that simple page changes could increase conversion rate by decreasing cart abandonment rate.

In his blog post, Hillstrom concluded that "an abandoned shopping cart is a non-issue."

I couldn't disagree more.

There are definitely cases where having high shopping cart abandonment is inherent. Having worked in electronics and consulting for a golf retailer that frequently sells products governed by Minimum Advertised Price guidelines, I understand that a customer must place something in the shopping cart to see the actual price of the product.

In all cases, however, you want as many customers as possible to proceed through the shopping cart and into checkout. It's a natural part of improving your checkout process. So isn't it at least worth testing different designs and messages to see if you can improve your conversion rate rather than just dismissing abandonment as a non-issue?

Absolutely! It's a no-brainer. Why? Let's assume you have a site with 10,000 visitors per month. 25% of shoppers on average place something in their shopping cart, which means that 2,500 shopping carts are created per month. If the industry average—40%— proceed to checkout, then 1,000 people per month enter checkout. Increase the success rate to 45% and 1,125 people per month enter checkout. That's 125 more chances per month to get a sale!

You can see that even a small decrease in cart abandonment will result in thousands of dollars per year (or more) in incremental revenue. The only cost of getting this incremental revenue is the time it takes for staff to run and analyze one-page shopping cart tests. We're not talking rocket science here— simply changing the size, placement and color of a button could be a test.

All retailers should run tests to optimize their ecommerce checkout processes. If they don't they're leaving lots of money on the table.

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