We have benchmarked the performance of the standard Magento basket and checkout process, using data from Google Analytics.
The significant and valuable learning from this data - compiled as it is from a wide number of websites with the same technical and functional characteristics - is that the results achieved from checkouts per se vary hugely and therefore are influenced largely by other factors. First, the complication. The standard Google Analytics tracking code in Magento does not correctly capture all the interactions in the checkout. This is exacerbated by the fact that Google attributes exit data incorrectly. Producing meaningful & actionable data is hard and requires some creativity.
In summary, we have looked at 2.5m visitors to over 27 websites, all of which have the standard Magento checkout (essentially, an "accordian" step-by-step process on a single page), although each website has been customised for each brand within the standard wireframe. All the companies measured are niche brands and sell lifestyle goods with an average order value of £95).
The average conversion ratio was 2.47%, ranging from below 1% to over 10%.
The average basket page views was 5.76%, representing at least a strong interest in a product and at best an intent to purchase. Note that the action "add to basket" is not recorded in Google as standard by Magento. The average distribution on this metric is 3-7%, with one website showing near 16%. Basket page exits is the next meaningful & easily acccessible metric. The average is 9.29% with a standard range of 7-11%. This measures the % of visitors who leave the site at the basket page. There are a number of factors that can influence this:
- Simple lack of real purchase intent
- Poor communication of delivery charges (or perceived high charges)
- Lack of customer service information (on returns, fulfilment)
- Concerns over security & data protection
- Poor layout: standard Magento includes the main site navigation as a whole
- Weak messaging overall
The final statistic we can reliably compare is the overall checkout success rate and we have selected overall the checkout confirmation page as a % of basket views as the measure. Standard goal funnels are not reliable for the reasons given above. The average checkout success rate is 37%, with a standard range of 22-48%. The highest success rate was 75%.
At the end of the day, success - as evidenced by the wide range of results on fundamentally identical checkouts - depends more on the brand, product and service rather than specific technical or functional characteristics. In particular, if consumers are of a mind to purchase, they will. In fact, they will overcome all sorts of classic conversion issues to purchase. They key is persuading people to buy - often before the checkout begins. That said, it is important to study visitor flows to stop potential purchasers abandon for reasons that can easily be prevented: remove any emotional, technical and practical objections to completing the order.
Does Magento have a "good" checkout? In general yes. However, it is important to include additional messaging and to work on improving the layout and terminology (for example the "R-word" is used natively for registration - a known inhibitor). Some elements - such as the US-oriented delivery calculator - should be suppressed.
10 recommendations for optimising standard Magento checkouts
1. Customise the designs/look-and-feel
2. Make the "action" buttons more prominent and double their number
3. Modify the language (for local conditions or to make it "softer", for example remove the "r" for registration word)
4. Install post code look-ups (Screen Pages uses Postcode Anywhere)
5. Set up Paypal (more convenient for some customers and can avoid 3D, which is a nuisance on mobiles)
6. Include additional content blocks for friendly sales-oriented communication and incentives
7. Suppress the standard top navigation - it can confuse and gives more options
8. Explain the 3D authentication (if you have it) by adding a content block to
9. Add more analytics tracking to record more events
10. Add a "step back" button to make the intra-checkout navigation more easy