Cart Abandonment – Are you looking at the right metric?

Cart Abandonment Lost ItemsNothing is more annoying to a web analyst than seeing the cart abandonment go up.  Has the quality of traffic gone down?  Are we targeting the wrong customer segment?  Is the marketing in need to being adapted?

All these questions can not easily be answered but, what can be answered is understanding the real metric.

Cart abandonment is when the customer session ends and there are items in the basket.  Many companies spend hundred of hours developing re-engagement strategies – email marketing, banner takeovers, localised chat services, incentives (10% off order, free delivery, free downloads, personalised content – the list is almost endless).

However, could this be for nothing?

Cart Abandonment Metrics Strategy

What about those customers who add something the basket whilst during their lunch and then disappear for a coffee or a sandwich.  If the time it takes for them to do that exceeds the session cookie (usually 20 or 30 minutes).  Then low and behold you’ve got an abandoned basket.

However, what standard web analytics tools don’t calculate is .. deducting those abandoned carts from those customers who re-engage after their “coffee”.

Sometimes customers use the basket as a kind of shopping list.  Hence the reason that some companies e.g. Amazon are using shopping lists.  I’ll write about this in another blog but, is a great way of helping customers re-buy frequently purchased items.

So see if you can get IP Address level information.  Include abandoned baskets, sales and bounce rate.  “Bounce Rate??” I hear you say.  Well yes.

I have called this “True Abandonment“.


Take a data set of at least 15 days (or if you know how long a customer takes to choose items and pay).

What we do now is look at those customers who have abandoned baskets who didn’t buy anything within those 15 (or 30 or whatever period) sum up their basket value and then work out the percentage against the total abandoned basket.

Now you may ask – “what good is this if we’re doing 30 day last click analysis or even daily reporting?

Well that is simply.  You take the abandoned basket for 30 day last click or daily reporting and then apply the percentage.

Cart Abandonment

What I’ve done is provided management with a view of what the true abandonment is for both the previous period (last 15 days – 15%) and the period before (previous 15 day measurement – 25%)

Now this is not trying to “massage the figures”.  What we need to do is provide management with the  best insight and best actions.  Giving them this insight we can see how much money we’re really losing over how much is “recoverable”.

This is exactly the information that we need in order to refine forecasts.

If you want further explanation or would like to add your own thoughts then we would love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment or get in touch via our Contact Us.

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