July 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Streamlined checkout equals higher average orders at RugSale.com

When RugSale.com reduced its checkout process from seven pages to two, the abandonment rate dropped to 45% from 65% and average ticket went up 21%. Among the changes: Eliminating the requirement to set up an account.

Cart abandonment went down and average ticket went up when rug retailer RugSale.com reduced checkout from seven steps to two, Paul Nangle, web marketing manager, tells Internet Retailer.

RugSale.com eliminated duplication, such as automatically populating the billing address if it was the same as the ship-to address, and deleted pages that didn’t move the checkout process forward. “We had some pages that seemed innocent enough, all people had to do was click OK and they would move on,” Nangle reports. “One explained that the account was set up successfully and all you had to do was click OK. But some people still dropped off. We had a page that allowed them to input special shipping instructions if needed or they could just continue, but some people would drop off. We eliminated or condensed these pages and removed the requirement to set up an account. We made the prerequisite for entering a password optional and got it all into two pages.”

As a result of the changes, the drop-off rate has fallen to 45% from 65% and the average ticket has gone up 21%, Nangle says. The increase in ticket size surprised RugSale executives, Nangle says. “We figured that the more money you are going to spend, the more hesitant you will be and the more likely you will be to drop off the process,” Nangle says.

RugSale believes that conversions went up and abandonment went down for a couple of reasons. “We knew we had some structural issues that could, and most likely were, making buyers uneasy,” Nangle says. “The fact that people dropped off at points where they just had to click OK showed us that they were pulled away by something else or had second thoughts about the purchase. Taking those pages out solved both issues.”

RugSale considered but rejected the idea of a one-page checkout. “We talked about a one-page checkout but wanted to be sure our customers felt that they weren’t being rushed,” Nangle says. “Our average order rate is fairly high and our customers want to be sure of their order before they finalize. So we decided a two-page checkout was long enough.”

Establishing an account at the site was not something that most customers were interested in, RugSale says. “We found that many people didn’t care about setting up an account. Once they find the rugs they were looking for they just wanted to check out quick and move on,” says Charlie Kaoud CEO. Setting up an account is now optional.

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