Test­ing has evolved for online mar­keters so much in the last few years that it’s easy to test any­thing and every­thing. It’s also easy to seg­ment your audi­ence to test and tar­get con­tent just for them. It’s mind-boggling to think of the days when we were lim­ited to sin­gle ses­sions and to single-page test­ing. With the lat­est test and tar­get tech­nol­ogy, all that has changed.

Recently, we were work­ing with a client and wanted to intro­duce them to behav­ioral tar­get­ing for test­ing. We had already started the ini­tial rounds of tests to tar­geted paid search traf­fic but felt there was an oppor­tu­nity to move the nee­dle a bit more. There are end­less things that one can do with behav­ioral tar­get­ing. At a high level though, behav­ioral tar­get­ing allows mar­keters to tar­get or seg­ment based on pre-defined behav­iors of their visitors.

Start Small Enough to Show a Difference

For this par­tic­u­lar client, a large retailer, we wanted some­thing rel­a­tively easy to do in terms of exe­cu­tion and design so as to deliver a small taste of what is pos­si­ble. We cre­ated a test that would be tar­geted to those vis­i­tors that added some­thing to their cart but failed to com­plete their pur­chase, and then made a sub­se­quent visit to a cat­e­gory page, prod­uct page, or the home page on the same ses­sion or a later ses­sion. This seg­ment can be described as “aban­doned carts.”

Set Up a Mon­i­tor­ing Cam­paign First

Now before I we explained to the client what we wanted to do we thought it best to get some data to help explain the goal and our desired out­come. To do this we set up a mon­i­tor­ing cam­paign to track these cart aban­don­ers. A mon­i­tor­ing cam­paign is sim­i­lar to a reg­u­lar cam­paign or test but does not deliver con­tent. It is mainly used to iden­tify base­lines so as to visu­al­ize the gains of sequen­tial A/B or mul­ti­vari­ate test­ing.

For this mon­i­tor­ing cam­paign to cap­ture the desired data we had to cre­ate the seg­ment for cart aban­don­ers. To do this, we pro­filed or ‘tagged’ those vis­i­tors that added some­thing to their cart. We then pro­filed or ‘tagged’ those vis­i­tors that checked out or made a pur­chase. Pro­fil­ing is an enor­mous fea­ture that will cer­tainly be blogged about here soon in much greater detail.

Now, to qual­ify for the mon­i­tor­ing cam­paign a vis­i­tor had to be a cart-adder but not a pur­chaser. The vis­i­tor would then have vis­ited a cat­e­gory page, prod­uct page, or the home page. We did not limit these vis­its to sin­gle session.

The Mon­i­tor­ing Cam­paign Results

The results of this mon­i­tor­ing cam­paign were def­i­nitely impact­ful. We found that 30% of vis­i­tors finally made a pur­chase after leav­ing the fun­nel. We then had some inter­est­ing data to help us under­stand who we were focus­ing our test on and what would be our suc­cess met­ric. Our ini­tial goal wasn’t to increase the rev­enue met­rics such as RPV, AOV, or total sales. Our aim was to increase the con­ver­sion rate for the 70% of vis­i­tors that com­pletely failed to check out despite hav­ing added some­thing to their cart and mak­ing a sub­se­quent visit back to one of the ear­lier men­tioned areas of the site.

Now that we had the pro­files or ‘tags’ in place we were all set. We added an mbox to the top of the cen­ter “hero area” to the home page, cat­e­gory page, and the prod­uct pages. This mbox was named the same, which allowed for quick and easy set up in Test & Tar­get. The only thing needed now was a cre­ative ele­ment to remind vis­i­tors that they have some­thing in their cart.

Add Cre­ative

For the cre­ative, we included a hand­ful of dif­fer­ent designs to see if there were any dif­fer­ences in the per­for­mance. Lim­it­ing the test to no cart aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing vs. one piece of cre­ative lim­its your analy­sis quite a bit. If cart aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing is effec­tive but the cre­ative was poor you would get mis­lead­ing results in such a test.

The test or cam­paign was set up as follows:

Recipe A: Default Con­tent (No Cart Aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing)
Recipe B: Aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing (design 1)
Recipe C: Aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing (design 2)
Recipe D: Aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing (design 3)

With this type of test design we get to under­stand a cou­ple of things from the results.

1. Does cart aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing improve the con­ver­sion rates of this seg­ment of traf­fic?
2. Does one cre­ative over another affect things differently?

The results were pretty inter­est­ing. We saw a decent amount of con­ver­sion lift across Recipes B, C, D. This was great to see, as we were able to con­firm that we could pos­i­tively affect this seg­ment of traffic.

Recipe C though did a lot bet­ter then Recipes B and D. The cre­ative was very dif­fer­ent which lead us to believe that cre­ative does impact things as well.

Right now this cus­tomer is run­ning a champion/challenger test by test­ing Recipe C against another new vari­a­tion to see if we can lever­age the gains even more. This time we have 10% of traf­fic going to the con­trol, and 45% of traf­fic going to each of the cart aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing. This way we can quan­tify the impact of the mes­sag­ing while get­ting the biggest bang for our buck.

If you want to see a very sim­plis­tic mock up of the cart aban­don­ment mes­sag­ing using the Test and Tar­get plat­form, I invite you to visit this link.

Once you visit you will see this prod­uct page with four products:

If you actu­ally add one of these nice Mac prod­ucts to your cart and then revisit the prod­uct page you will see the tool in action with this messaging:

If you are a Test and Tar­get user and would like to see how I set up this Cart Aban­don­ment test please email me or make a com­ment on the post. I will then cre­ate a login into my Test and Tar­get account. Here you can not only see how I set up this test but the many more exam­ples I plan on post­ing here.

10 comments
Kate Benedict
Kate Benedict

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Garbage Truck For Sale
Garbage Truck For Sale

The problem of selling online takes many forms. First you must build it before they come. Then you must find ways to drive customers to the site. Then you must merchandise your products and make it easy and desirable to buy. And finally, you must close the sale. The bane of all ecommerce sites is the abandoned shopping cart, the incompleted transaction. Studies estimate that up to 75% of all shopping carts are abandoned before the sale is closed. All that effort and money, and you failed to close the sale. A study by a leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) research firm offers valuable insight into why. They evaluated the experiences of 719 consumers as they used shopping carts on ecommerce sites.

concrete buggy
concrete buggy

One thing that has helped me. Provide shipping costs early in the process. If possible, provide an estimated cost while visitors browse. They want to buy but want the answers to all their questions when they want them. Total cost is one of those critical questions. Also, if the shipping information is the same as the billing information, include a checkbox to automatically fill in the same information.

Brian Hawkins
Brian Hawkins

Hello Steve, I would love to help you get this set up. Email me at bhawkins at omniture dot com and I can even set you up with access to my prototype account to see how I set this one up. Thanks so much, Brian Hawkins

Steve Nicholas
Steve Nicholas

We just implemented test and target. I would be very interested in how you set this up.

Freight
Freight

I found that when I add pictures inside the basket. Placing a thumbnail image of the product increases conversions by as much as 10 percent.

Towable
Towable

I've found that these are some of the top reasons why potential customers abandon the shopping cart! 1. High shipping prices (72%) 2. Comparison shopping or browsing (61%) 3. Changed mind (56%) 4. Saving items for later purchase (51%) 5. Total cost of items is too high (43%) 6. Checkout process is too long (41%) 7. Checkout requires too much personal information (35%) 8. Site requires registration before purchase (34%) 9. Site is unstable or unreliable (31%) 10. Checkout process is confusing (27%)

Lift
Lift

You can offer visitors alternate selections or trigger personalized messaging and targeted content that provides visitors with an additional incentive to complete the transaction.

Doug
Doug

This is great example and easy to see how this would increase lift for a specific segment of visitors.

Hussey
Hussey

It is the common problem with most of us that we tend to buy products online but either forget or sometime do not lay that much importance on Cart Abandonment feature which is important too.