Defining Website Abandonment, Part 4: The Conclusion

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website abandonmentBefore continuing to the last metric in the website abandonment data set, let’s take a very quick review of the terms we’ve defined. We started at the top of the conversion funnel and have been following the conversion process down to identify the value, importance and mathematical equation behind each type of website abandonment. We’ve defined your website abandonment rate as the percentage of unique visitors who visit any page on your site and abandon before converting. This rate is valuable for determining the effectiveness of your home or landing pages, as well as your advertising. Making a comparison between the customer engagement cycle and the website conversion funnel, visitors who land on a top-level website page and abandon would be considered to be in the awareness stage.

The next tier down the customer engagement cycle would be the consideration stage. Site visitors who click through to view a specific product or service are considering the purchase and have clicked through to learn more. We defined the product abandonment rate as being the percentage of unique site visitors who visit one or more product or service pages but then fail to complete the conversion. This metric is most valuable for determining the effectiveness of your value propositions, product photography, and overall positioning.

Site visitors who continue to add the product to a shopping cart are considered to be in the inquiry phase. These are highly qualified visitors because they have demonstrated a very clear intention to make a purchase. Visitors who add an item to the shopping cart yet abandon before converting fall under the shopping cart abandonment metric. This metric could be most valuable when determining how effectively you are demonstrating trust, ease of use, and customer service.

The second to last phase of the customer engagement cycle is the purchase stage. Site visitors entering the purchase stage have added an item to their shopping cart and continued on to the checkout process. We will be using the term checkout abandonment rate to define the site visitors who begin but do not complete the checkout process. This metric is by far the most important of the set because these are the visitors who are ready to buy. Even more, visitors who abandon your checkout process are more likely to make their purchase at a competing site than not at all. In future articles we will review the different reasons and factors that can be attributed to the checkout abandonment rate, but for now we will simply define it as one minus the total number of unique conversions divided by the total unique visitors who initiated the checkout process. For example, if 1,500 unique monthly visitors begin the checkout process and 1,000 unique visitors complete the conversion, then you would use the equation: [1-(1,000/1,500)]. In this scenario your checkout abandonment rate would be .33, or 33%.

It is absolutely possible and encouraged to get more granular with your checkout abandonment rate and break the metric down into each stage of the checkout process. By identifying exactly which page your site visitors are abandoning from, you’ll have a much better idea of why they’re leaving. The purpose of calculating each of these four different types of abandonment is to effectively identify which areas of your site need the most improvement as well as which areas are contributing to the majority of your website abandonment. In our next article, we will go back to the top of the customer engagement cycle and identify some of the top reasons for website abandonment. If you’re interested in speaking with an expert in website abandonment, please contact one of our knowledgeable representatives for a free site abandonment analysis by emailing

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