CX Lesson 4: Cart abandonment shouldn’t be used as a KPI

Cart abandonment is not the most effective method of measuring customer satisfaction in isolation; it must be cross-referenced with other channels

In our previous customer experience masterclass “Customer expectations rise with competitor offerings”, we discussed how brands can track and pre-empt customer expectations. This lesson will explore how cart abandonment is not a reliable metric to measure customer experience and company performance.

Understanding the customer decision process behind a shopping experience can be difficult, especially when a customer abandons their cart. All too often, traditional CX programmes use cart abandonment as a metric to measure a company’s performance but nowadays the shopping experience has evolved and takes place across multiple channels. Through this omnichannel experience, customers may abandon a purchase in one channel only to take it up in another. For instance, customers can browse and add products in their cart online only to finally decide to test them in a physical store the next day – the transaction is still completed, despite the original data suggesting otherwise. The multiplex of channels these days renders cart abandonment an inadequate source of data and should not be used as a lead metric to understand the customer experience.

A more effective way to measure conversion would be to create synergies between channels, for example, being able to track whether a customer browsed online before they purchased in store. Ultimately, this would allow retailers to better understand purchasing-decisions and shopping preferences across channels by tracking the customer journey and understanding the potential pain points leading to the cart abandonment.

The key to unlocking a communicative system across channels is essentially down to data – here are a few tips for tracking a customer’s journey across channels:

  1. Issue and attach electronic receipts to email addresses, so the customer’s journey is linked between online browsing and purchasing offline
  2. Send follow up emails when a customer does not complete an application or a shopping cart. For instance, if the customer starts a shopping cart on their desktop but does not complete it, a reminder email accessible via the customers’ mobile can be sent. The personalised link included in the email will redirect the customer to its uncompleted cart or application for the customer to complete. This way, when a customer makes their purchase, the email containing the personalised link can identify if the purchasing journey was eventually achieved across different channels. This could help improve the customer experience as well as gaining a deeper understanding of customer behaviour

While cart abandonment may not be the most effective method of measuring customer satisfaction in isolation, when cross-referenced between other channels, we can begin to build a more comprehensive picture of the customer journey. To do this, organisations must attempt to utilise data at each touch point to build a thorough profile for each customer.