This is an in-depth, step by step instruction manual on how to measure shopping cart abandonment rates in Google Analytics. The truth is, the process to set up tracking is easy (and free) through Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, many eCommerce stores fail to track one of the most important metrics for profit: shopping cart abandonment rate.
Free Bonus (no opt-in): This article is actually part of our larger, complete guide to cart abandonment. Click here to view.
Why you should care about cart abandonment
The statistics on cart abandonment are not good. The average eCommerce store loses over 77% of sales that are initiated.
We covered the most common reasons for this in Step 1 of Cart Abandonment Roadmap. For an overview, you can find the article here.
However, reading that article is not enough.
Because your store is unique. Your customers are unique. Your market is unique.
In other words, you need data specific to you. For that, you need to track cart abandonment on your site.
Recover Sales with Google Analytics
By mapping your conversion funnel in Google Analytics, you can pinpoint exactly where customers are deciding to leave your store.
To measure the shopping cart abandonment rate, we will be utilizing two advanced features in Google Analytics - Goals and Funnels.
How To Design Your First Funnel
Funnels are simply the steps leading up to a purchase.
In Google Analytics, goals can be set for each step. Once you define a goal, Google Analytics allows you to track the number of conversions (times the goal was completed), conversion rate (the percent of total visitors who completed the goal), and even segment your customers to view only those who complete a certain goal.
Kissmetrics has an excellent, in-depth article that breaks down funnels in Google Analytics. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of mapping your sales process and tracking user behavior on your website with Google Analytics, I highly recommend you set aside 30 minutes and give the article a read.
5 Steps to Track Cart Abandonment in Google Analytics
There are five general steps in setting up a funnel to track shopping cart abandonment.
For this walk-through, we will be going over a simple checkout process, where after a sale is completed the customer is directed to an order confirmation page.
We will use this order confirmation page as our goal.
The funnel will be the various URLs a prospect must go through before they are able to make a purchase on our eCommerce store.
For the sake of this example, we will truncate the funnel to start at the cart page (where they are redirected after they place an item in the shopping cart).
Please note that you must have administrator permissions for the Google Analytics account before you can create your funnel.
Step 1: Navigate to Goals Tab
Click on admin, select your profile, and click on the "Goals" tab.
Step 2: Name Your Goal
Enter a simple, descriptive name for the Goal. In this example, we'll simply name the goal "Cart to Purchase".
Step 3: Choose Goal Type
For the Goal Type, select URL Destination. Enter the URL of your order confirmation page.
Step 4: Define the Funnel
Next, check the "use funnel" checkbox to add the necessary steps preceding this goal.
In this case, our goal is a completed order. Before a customer is able to complete an order they must add a product to their cart. As you can see in the screenshot below, we now have two steps in our funnel.
Step 5: Save your Goal
Depending on the amount of traffic your store receives, it could take anywhere between a couple of hours to a couple of days to see meaningful data.
Calculating Cart Abandonment With Your New Funnel
Google Analytics automatically calculates conversion rates for each goal.
We can easily see the shopping cart abandonment rate by using the Funnel Visualization page.
Here, we can see that we have a 43.66% funnel conversion rate. To get the shopping cart abandonment rate, we take 100% - 43.66% to get at a final number of 56.34%.
Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF field guide that shows you 19 tactics to increase email opt-ins - the most essential step in shopping cart abandonment.
If you haven't created a funnel to track shopping cart abandonment, do it now.
I highly recommend setting up specific funnels for particular products or product categories to get more granular and actionable data.
The next step is to begin building a strategy to reduce shopping cart abandonment and recover sales.
For that, I encourage you to begin Step 3 of our Shopping Cart Abandonment Roadmap.