Checkout Conversions Fell Off a Cliff

jitpaljitpal Member
in Help edited March 2011
I'm not really sure if this part of the Foxycart support package or not but as I've exhausted most other options, I thought I'd throw it out there. About 2-3 weeks ago the conversions from people going to checkout and then actually completing an order fell off a cliff. It dropped to about 5%, which is significantly lower than before. Nothing changed from my end and I couldn't see anything of substance in the error log. Rather than settling to believe this is just an example of overreacting to a small sample size or that the site requires some major changes all of a sudden, I wanted to know if you guys had access to any data that I wouldn't have that might shed some light on the issue. If this falls outside of the Foxycart included support, it's fine. Can't hurt to ask though. Thanks
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Hey jitpal. We'd be happy to look at any data we have to see if there's anything obvious. Which store is this for? How long have you been using FoxyCart? Have you changed anything else about the business (website design, email marketing, advertising, pay-per-click, etc)?

    We usually get reports of conversions being significantly improved by implementing FoxyCart but if you're already been a FoxyCart user for some time and you saw a big drop, that definitely seems strange. If it's at 5% now, what did it used to be at?

    Are you using Google Analytics? Another thing you may consider is that Google could have upgraded their analytics system which may have broken some reporting you were previously getting. Do you see a drop in sales that corresponds to the change in conversions?
  • Hi Luke, thanks for taking the time. I would say we have been using Foxycart for almost 2 years now, I want to say like March/April 2009 is when we started. Don't quote me on that. No major design or strategy changes, January was normal, most of February was fine too, about the last 2-3 weeks it seems like nearly anyone goes to the checkout just leaves. Funny thing, we are getting more traffic now (almost double) than before and the vast majority is the target the market.

    To be clear the 5% number, is the last 30 days and I'm specifically talking about the people that go to the checkout page and then leave without placing an order. I don't have an exact previous number in front of me, but it would be much closer to around 50%. I use Google Analytics and Clicky but it's the drop in sales that is alarming. At the end of the day, if the analytics aren't working, it's a quirky thing I look at when I get time, if it's the sales, I get worried.

    I'll whisper you the domain. I appreciate your help.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    A couple more questions:
    When did you upgrade to version 070?
    Have you always used the same checkout template?
    If you've used FoxyCart for almost 2 years, there's a really good chance something has changed over that period of time (such as upgrading to different store versions, etc). Pinpointing what changed when may help us better understand what might be going on.

    I do think there have been significant changes in the way Google analytics are tracked. Compare:

    Have you had any complaints from your customers directly?
  • I upgraded to 070 when it was released a few months ago. Conversions and sales were perfectly fine until 2-3 weeks ago. The checkout template was updated last year during the summer and then last week (a few times since too) with some copy changes to see if that made any effect. The previous trend is continuing, which is why I wanted to check in here. I'll take a look at the GA stuff in the morning but I can assure you that the sales, unfortunately, back up what I've seen through the analytics. I haven't gotten any direct complaints but we have seen an increase in phone calls and phone orders. I can't be sure if it's because they are unable to place the order online or if it's just because we are getting more traffic now than before. Thanks
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Is there a specific date where you noticed problems? I did a quick little graph (whispered) and it doesn't look so clear based on your historical data. It does look like you've had a gap, but the gap doesn't look completely out of the ordinary.
  • Hi Brett, we don't get orders every day so it's a little difficult to pinpoint the exact date when things started going south. If you wanted to put a number, let's say 2/21. What data is the graph representing? Orders, checkout views? For reference, in the past 2 weeks I have done a couple dummy transactions and had a friend try a few things as well just to test and make sure things were running. We did and had no issues. I put together a list, to see if there were any common threads between the users in terms of OS, Browsers, internet speeds etc. and I could find nothing in common. The most frustrating part is looking at the individual visitor logs, you can see how much time they spent, see that they configured products through multiple steps to get to the checkout (spend quite a bit of time on the page) and then vanish. Which is why I initially suspected there was a technical issue but after exhausting all the tools available to me (finding nothing), I've come here. Thanks guys
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    That graph is orders over time. Y-axis is order value. X is time. The dots are transactions. The lighter blue line is the average. So from the graph (I didn't exclude your test orders though) it doesn't look like it's really been super steady enough to look out of the ordinary at this point. It seems like you get orders in clusters, and you just had a cluster between Jan and Feb.

    That said, maybe try:
    * Adding SnapEngage to your site and checkout. Or another livechat service.
    * Adding event tracking to Google Analytics or Clicky. I'd actually be interested in helping you there if you need assistance. Events for things on the checkout page itself, like email entered, billing address entered, credit card entered, etc.
    * Checking out something like or

    From our data it doesn't look like there's anything wrong, but I'm very interested in trying new things to see if you can get to the bottom of it.
  • Thanks Brett. I'm going to look into some of the things you suggested. Really going above and beyond here and I really appreciate it. We've been using Zopim, for livechat to which I give a pretty big meh too. It's not bad, it has a ton of features that others don't but it's just clunky. Also their refusal to take Amex just complicates my life more than I would like. I've heard of SnapEngage but I haven't looked into it. I was about to setup with Olark, but I'll check out SnapEngage first.

    I don't know why I didn't think of doing event tracking on the checkout form before. I do it on the product configuration pages to see how people are configuring products and it's done wonders to differentiate the people who are serious buyers and having trouble versus someone just taking a look. I've tried userfly, which is like clicktale, but cheaper. I found that it just slowed down my site, while providing very little actual information. I'll take a look at your suggestions. Thanks
  • sparkwebsparkweb Member, Integration Developer, FoxyShop, Order Desk
    Jitpal, I've been reading through this thread and while I don't have any technical answers, I'd sure be asking those phone order people if they had any trouble using the website.

    Have you tried going through a complete checkout yourself lately?
  • Hey sparkweb, I try to avoid asking questions before getting orders just to keep it as simple as possible. I whispered the site, so you wouldn't be aware, but we do custom pens. So not only do we have 100's of products but we have tons of color, imprinting, shipping, packaging options to go along with it. For example the Bic Clic Stic, has over 300 color combinations alone. That's not counting the 7 different ink choices, multiple imprint locations, multiple imprint colors(+custom color matching) and options for different production times. Literally thousands of variations for just one product. Traditional CMS/Cart software is a nightmare because they usually require individual skus set up beforehand. Foxycart let's us remain flexible.There are usually quite a few things that need clarification and so we try to not annoy with questions. Still, it's a valid point and it's something we have looked at. We were looking at doing a post sale survey, but we didn't get around to setting that up. With recent developments, the past 2 days not withstanding, it's probably something we are going to do sooner rather than later.

    Yes, I went through the checkout in multiple browsers and I asked some other people to try it as well. Looked fine. Our conversion rate from checkout page to order in the past 48 hours is 100% so I guess the answer to the problem is that it was a statistical anomaly. I appreciate all the help everyone stepped up to provide. Foxycart was rock solid and it's up to us to increase conversions. Thanks everyone!
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    @jitpal, if you do the event tracking (which I actually was chatting with @sparkweb about last week) I'd be interested to see what you do, and perhaps add it to our wiki page if possible. I could see that as being kind of interesting at least to take a look at.

    Also, it might be worth noting that given the amount of customization required to get to the checkout page in the first place, you may want to focus on a different point in the conversion funnel to focus on. Your customization form is actually _really_ nicely done, so I don't see obvious problems, but I'm wondering if it's a different type of "checkout" conversion given the time it takes to get to the checkout. Just a thought. Do you have your event tracking set up in your goal funnel? (I'm not even sure if that's a possibility with tracking an event as opposed to a pageview... Now I'm even more interested in what you're doing ;)
  • Hey Brett, so our funnel/tracking events look like this:
    Product Page (Pageview Tracking) > Customize Button (Event Tracking) > Add to Cart (Pageview Tracking) > Checkout (Pageview Tracking) > Receipt (Pageview Tracking). We also have some event tracking for image views and contact forms. We could do more, I know where we can setup events to see what sort of quantity and options people are choosing as well but I haven't gotten around to setting that up.

    Two things I love about Clicky over Google Analytics are that it is realtime (up to 60 second delay) and it maintains a log of what individual visit was like (along with if that person repeated). So I can basically look at one guy, see what time he came, how much time he spent on each page he visited, what he tried to customized, what he added to his cart and so on. It's been huge for us in terms of figuring out what people are looking for when they come and how they use the site. It's really incredible stuff. Amazing what it can do for customer service, usually you can match up what someone is looking at on our site in real time when they call to ask a question or email us to help give a proper response. For example, if someone searches for a red bic pen, they find our site and they have a question. Let's in this example assume the pen they are looking at isn't the best fit for their budget or whatever, we can use the data of what they searched for a looked at (including time spent on each page as a measure of of how much they like a product) to give them suggestions as to what they might like. Not really technical stuff (I wish we had some software that could do something like that) but I thought you might find it interesting.

    As for that form, it's just a bunch of <li> with hidden radio or check buttons. JS Click events on the <li> then go about selecting or unselecting those form items. Forms are generated per product(different for each) with a minimum of 14 fields in XML files not counting pricing or quantity. They get verified via Ajax/PHP mainly because my javascript skills are beyond horrible. That ajax page brought in actually has the form field which contains the data for for the foxycart form along with any price modifications. The reason I bring it up, we could theoretically include event calculations on any of those ajax calls and include the form data as part of it. That way we could "watch" in near real time (using Clicky) how people are customizing their products. All before we even get to the shopping cart (which automatically adds 2 products by the way) or checkout.

    It's amazing no matter how much you think and do, there is always something more that can be done.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Does Clicky still have limits on the number of goals and such that can be tracked? I've kept an eye on it and used it a few times in the past but always went back to GA, mostly because for the types of things I was doing the realtime reporting didn't help, though in your setup it sounds _very_ handy.

    Sounds like a great setup though. Definitely interested in knowing how things go and what else you do.
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