What to Test – Part 10

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, What to Test. Each week, we will introduce a new test idea. We’ll explain why it’s important to test it, what you might learn, how to carry out the test, and what to measure in order to determine a winner. Last week we tested Promotions.

The Test = Shopping Cart Additions


The purpose of this week’s test is simple: get people to spend more money each time that they purchase from you. Shopping cart additions are things that you can add to your checkout process that “assist” people in finding things that they are interested in and ensuring that they complete the checkout process successfully.

If you pay attention to others in the ecommerce space, you can pick up on things that they are trying or have found success with. Every time you buy something online you should treat it as research for your own business.

Some additions worth testing now are special offer thresholds, complimentary products,  and subscriptions.

Special offer thresholds are things like free shipping that can be obtained by customers who spend a certain amount. You can market this threshold in the shopping cart when someone is under the threshold, encouraging them to spend more money to take advantage of the offer.

Complimentary products are what Amazon.com made so famous in their checkout process. Promote products customers may be interested in based on what they are already looking at or buying. You can even offer the complimentary products at discounted prices in the shopping cart experience, like the impulse buy products many physical retailers put right at the checkout counter.

Subscriptions are meant to encourage customers to create an account with your company while completing the checkout process. While this may not lead to increased order values on that purchase, it creates a great opportunity to remarket to those customers later, perhaps increasing their lifetime value.


Testing anything in the shopping cart can be done in two different ways. The better of the two would be simultaneously testing different versions of the checkout process, randomly sending some customers to one or another and measuring performance. But another effective way to test, and one that many will find easier, is to run the versions one at a time for a set period and measure performance when they are all done.

In either test, you will want to measure the relative rate of completion (the percent of people who actually complete the purchase process) and the average order value. In general, the version that creates the most revenue per person who starts the checkout process will be determined the winner.

Anything to add? As always, use the comments below or Twitter #whattotest to keep the conversation going!