The ROI Revolution Blog

Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment

January 23, 2006

If you have set up your goals in Google Analytics, then one report that can provide some incredibly useful information is the ‘Defined Funnel Abandonment’ report. If you need some help setting up your goals, take a look at an earlier article, “How To Set Up Goals In Google Analytics“. This report tells you what percentage of visitors that begin a defined funnel process abandon it.


A defined funnel process is any scenario that requires the visitor to interact with your site. It could be the checkout process, or the process to fill out a lead capture form, or signing up for a newsletter. It doesn’t matter if you have an e-commerce, lead capture, or brand awareness site; if you require your visitors to interact with your site to complete some goal then this report can tell you how many people start the process and then drop out along the way. But why does it happen?

One of the main reasons that people drop out of a process is the form they have to fill out. People are impatient, they are sensitive about giving out their information online, and they want to know what is in it for them. There are a lot of reasons for them to not bother, so if the form gives them difficulties, they are prone to giving up and going elsewhere. Here are some tips to improve your submission forms in order to decrease shopping cart abandonment:

1. Number of fields
The key is to keep the form short and uncomplicated. Be wary of combining fields to reduce the number of fields, because this can make the form unnecessarily complicated.

2. Number of pages
It may seem like having a one-page form would be best, but that isn’t necessarily true. A recent study by MarketingSherpa showed that a three-step registration worked much better then a two-step process.

3. How much longer?
It is very important to show people where they are in the process. The best way to do this is to have a bar at the top of the form pages showing what step they are on out of the total number of steps.

4. Need to know basis
Visitors become suspicious and impatient if the form asks for unnecessary information. The best way to create a short form and build trust is to only ask what you really need to know.

5. Isn’t it obvious?
Make sure all your buttons are easy to find and clearly marked with the appropriate call to action. If you have to scroll down to find the button, you might want to have one button at the top of the page as well as one at the bottom.

6. Test, test, test, and then test some more
It is important to keep testing what works best on your site. Does the red ‘Buy Now’ button work better then a blue ‘Checkout’ button? Does it matter if I add a link to our privacy policy next to the field where we ask for their email address? Matthew Roche wrote a great article on the subject, “10 Elements to Test to Improve Form Submissions“.

Take the next step. Ecommerce retailers spending at least $5,000/month in AdWords qualify for a free 20-minute AdWords Diagnostic Checkup.

© 2002-2014 ROI Revolution, Inc. All rights reserved.