Practical Ecommerce

Conversion Tip: Understand Why Visitors Abandon

Editor’s Note: We continue our “Conversion Tip” series from Charles Nicholls, founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy, a conversion and abandonment-recovery firm. For this week’s installment, Nicholls addresses tools to help merchants understand visitors who leave a site without purchasing anything.

Do you understand your online shopper? Or, do you understand what your abandoner looks like, and more significantly, why they abandoned?

There are several ways to do this. There are several free audience profiling services, such as Quantcast, and these will show you a demographic profile your visitors. Don’t rely on traffic estimates though; you’ll need to sign up for the Quantified Service.

Quantcast home page.

Quantcast home page.

Then there are free exit survey tools, like 4Q Online Survey, which trigger a pop up survey on exit from the site. These can be useful in gathering statistics, as long as you have a rough idea of what the questions are you need to ask.

And finally there are free services like Abandonment Tracker, from my company, which will capture email addresses of abandoners and essential stats. Use the email addresses to contact a selection of customers and ask them why they abandoned. Some will reply and from this you will learn (a) why they abandoned, (b) details of your website performance and usability issues, (c) what they think about you as a company, and (d) what they think about your products and your service.

Charles Nicholls

Charles Nicholls

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  1. Ilya Vassilevsky September 30, 2010 Reply

    It’s also useful to send periodic reminders to people who have products in their cart but did not complete the order. Perhaps they just forgot what was the address of the store? That is of course only possible when you know their email…

  2. Dennis van der Heijden October 12, 2010 Reply

    I think its important to build a visual funnel and then focus on individual steps. View if specific browsers abandon more (technology problem), check if specific search keywords abandon more (engagement problem) or analyze the form (for or technology problem).