Lessons learned from Cyber Monday Shopping Cart Abandonment Patterns (Part 1)


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So far in 2010 Shopping cart abandonment rates have been 7% higher compared with 2009. So it was with great interest that we were watching online customer behaviour over Black Friday, the holiday weekend and CyberMonday, traditionally the biggest online shopping weekend of the year. Studying the industry-wide conversion and shopping cart abandonment rates give insight into buyer behaviour and in particular what and when makes browsers become buyers. There are several key lessons to be learned from looking at this data.

The holiday shopping weekend didn’t disappoint this year – estimates suggest that sales were up by as much as 20% over 2009 on CyberMonday, which is great news for the ecommerce sector as a whole. We will also need to see if this growth was distributed evenly across the sector, or like last year, concentrated among the largest and best known e-retailers such as Amazon, Target and WallMart.

Let’s take a look at shopping cart abandonment rates leading up to CyberMonday. In the chart below you can see three key trends suggested by the data:

(1) Average shopping cart abandonment rates are higher than in 2009

(2) In the pre-season, the highest shopping cart abandonment rates happen at the weekends

(3) Purchases were deferred leading to weekend spikes in the abandonment rate until the 2nd week of November when the majority of holiday offers were rolled out

Shopping cart abandonment rate graph

What’s interesting about this season is that it appears that immediately after Labor Day shopping cart abandonment rates peaked at all time high for 2010, hitting 95%. But by the beginning of October rates had stabilized to more ‘normal’ levels, ranging between 68% and 78%, with peaks on the weekends, especially Sundays. You can see this pattern in the data – the humps are the weekends.

Weekend browsing followed by shopping cart abandonment shouldn’t be a surprise – we saw the same pattern last year – and when buyers have time on their hands, they are more likely to comparison shop.

In line with last year, the last weekend to show this ‘researching’ pattern was on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th November when the shopping cart abandonment rate hit 74%. By the following weekend the shopping cart abandonment rate had fallen to 66% on Saturday and 64% on Sunday as the majority of e-retailers rolled out their holiday offers. This suggests that customers have come to expect holiday offers, and are deferring purchases in the period between Labor Day and 2nd week of November in anticipation of holiday offers.

In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll look at the key take outs from this data, and suggest some priorities for 2011.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Charles Nicholls
Charles Nicholls is a social commerce expert and board advisor to several e-commerce startups. He founded SeeWhy, a real-time personalization and machine learning platform, which was sold to SAP. Serving as SVP of product, he built SAP Upscale Commerce, an e-commerce platform for direct-to-consumer brands and the mid-market. Today, Charles serves as chief strategy officer for SimplicityDX, a commerce experience company. He has worked on strategy and projects for leading ecommerce companies worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, Google and many others.


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