Part 2: With Q4 just around the corner, how can online retailers maximize their efforts? They could just pump up spend, but without optimization they’re likely to see an expensive lag between increased spend and increased revenue.

This blog is the second of a two-part series that summarizes our “Q4 Revenue Drivers: Conversion Optimization Strategies for Checkout” white paper and covers tips for optimizing the checkout process. In this post, we’ll cover the top types of qualitative research used to determine why users are exiting your site without converting. To dig deeper and get more insights and examples, you can download the full white paper here.

Qualitative Research

You use qualitative research to understand the “why” behind user behavior. You’ll build on your quantitative research by filling in missing pieces of information to complete the entire story. Improving the checkout process is all about reducing uncertainty, and you need to understand what that uncertainty is centered around. To do this, you’ll utilize a variety of methods to get inside the user’s mindset

1. Exit Intent Polling: This is a great way to gather voice of customer feedback on how users are feeling as they abandon the page. There are a variety of questions you can ask, but what we’ve found to be the most successful across many different industries and verticals is:

“What, if anything, is preventing you from making a purchase today?”

From there, some examples of answers from users could be focused on:

  • Misunderstanding shipping or return details
  • Confusion about guarantees or warranties
  • Uncertainty about product effectiveness
  • Lack of company credibility
  • Missing product information
  • Hesitation around cost (am I getting the best deal?)
  • Fees added late in the process (tax, shipping, etc.)

2. Usability Testing: This research method strives to pinpoint the specific user experience issues that are frustrating and confusing users. For retail, this typically takes the form of setting a user up with dummy credit card info, providing a script and instructions, and letting them work their way through the website to purchase.

Usability testing humanizes the process. It helps us see past our own assumptions and preconceived notions about user experience. One tip is that five participants is the magic number for usability testing. You will gain the majority of insights on the biggest user experience issues. Anything beyond that will yield diminishing returns for your time and resources.

Usability testing can provide a wide variety of insights for use in optimization. Some of the issues we have noticed in our work with clients could be valuable for you to pay particular attention to:  

  • Users expressing uncertainty or anxiety around pricing
  • There is friction around forced registration
  • There are credibility issues
  • The form is causing drop-off
  • There are issues regarding the number of payment options

(We cover specific strategies for combatting these issues in the white paper).

Once you have pinpointed the “why” behind drop-off rates in your checkout flow, you can build hypotheses and begin testing.

For more information on this topic, check out our full white paper, “Q4 Revenue Drivers: Conversion Optimization Strategies for Checkout”, or contact our CRO team to learn how we can help you get started.

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Kelly Whelan
Kelly joined the 3Q team in October of 2016. Originally from Mountain View, California, she graduated with a Marketing Management degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Since then, she has had the honor of supporting the marketing efforts of several great Silicon Valley-based companies, including AppDynamics, Granicus, UXPin, and 3Q Digital. She now resides in Austin, where she enjoys warm summers, great music, and breakfast tacos.