Money Left on the Table
(Estimated Time to Read this Post = 3.5 Minutes)
Imagine that you are in a retail store and you grab a bunch of items, bring them up to the counter and just as you are about to pay, you decide to push a few of the items off to the side and not include them as part of your purchase. While this may not happen too often in real life, it happens quite often in eCommerce. If you are a retail website, these discarded items can add up quickly! In this post, I am going to show you how to quantify how much money you are leaving on the table. For those not involved in a Retail site, I will also do my best to show how this concept can be applied to non-Retail sites.
The Standard Cart Process
So before we get to the more advanced stuff, let’s make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to the eCommerce shopping cart process. Normally, here’s how it works:
- Visitors view products on your website and you capture this with a Product View Success Event and store the products viewed in the Products Variable.
- At some point, visitors add items to the shopping cart and you set the Cart Add Success Event and the Products Variable with the product ID or name(s).
- Hopefully, visitors get to the Checkout Page and you set the Checkout Success Event and the Products Variable with the Product ID or name(s).
- Finally, the order is completed and you set the Purchase Success Event which sets the Orders, Units and Revenue Success Events for each Product purchased.
Hopefully this is straightforward and if you sell online you have successfully implemented these steps on your site. If so, you are ready to take things to the next level and do some stuff that is not traditionally done as part of standard eCommerce implementations.
How Much $$$ Left on the Table?
As the post name implies, in this scenario we would like to see how much $$$ we are losing online by website visitors leaving items in their Cart. If you think back to the initial scenario above, this is equivalent to the Retail store adding up how much they could have made that day if no one had left stuff on the counter when they were checking out. In addition to seeing how much $$$ is being missed out on, the store owner would probably want to know what products are being left to see if there are any patterns he/she could identify. For example, it may be the case that items over $100 are left more often than products under $100, etc…
Well the good news, is that if you are doing business online, this much easier and you can see a lot more data on the items being abandoned and those who abandon them. So here’s how you do it:
- When a website visitor adds one or more products to the shopping cart, in addition to setting the Cart Add Success Event (scAdd), you should set a currency Incrementer Event with the dollar amount associated with the items added. As a refresher, an Incrementer Event allows you to pass in a numeric/currency value to a Success Event instead of using it as a counter. By passing in the amount associated with the items added the Cart, you will have a new metric which represents the total potential that you could have made had no one left anything in the cart. I call this new metric $$$ Added to Cart.
- Once this is done, you can compare this “$$$ Added to Cart” metric with your Revenue metric, either in a conversion funnel report or in a normal Conversion Variable (eVar) report by creating a Calculated Metric dividing the two metrics to see what % of $$$ Added to Cart turns into Revenue.
- If you want to be even more particular, you can set another incrementer event with the $$$ that the visitor has in the Cart at the time of Checkout. However, if you find that you don’t have much loss between Cart Add and Checkout or between Checkout and Purchase, this may prove to be unnecessary.
- Finally, since you are setting the Products variable with the Cart Add event already, when you compare these two metrics, you can easily break it down by Product (or any other eVar variables you have set previously).
As promised, I wanted to touch upon a few ways you could use this same concept if you manage a non-Retail website. Here are a few that come to mind:
- On a Financial Services site, pass in the total loan amount a person is requesting and compare that to how much they are eventually loaned.
- On a Media site, pass in the total amount of advertising your site could have earned if all ads were clicked.
- On an Auto site, pass in the total value of cars visitors configure to see your max potential.
- On a Lead Generation site, pass in a value for ever visitor who starts completing a lead form.
- On a Travel site, pass in the total value of trips planned online and compare it to the amount actually booked.
- On a Manufacturing site, pass in the total Bill of Materials value the visitor has added.
As you can see, the concept of seeing what your high-end potential is and comparing it to actual performance can be applied to almost any website and gives you another data point for comparison. I like using this metric better than Visits or Unique Visitors since it is not realistic that you are going to convert every person who comes to your site. However, once a visitor takes some more deliberate actions, they are self-qualifying themselves, and therefore, capturing their potential revenue streams gives you a high, but realistic goal to strive for and a KPI that you can use to see how you are doing over time.
So there you have it. Just a quick, easy way to add some more data to your all-important shopping cart process. In general, I feel like Incrementer success events are under-utilized by SiteCatalyst users so hopefully this example helps to get your mind working in new and inventive ways to use them…