June 11th, 2007 | 2 MIN READ

Wishlists May Reduce Cart Abandonment

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

In a recent thread over at the High Rankings forum, a forum member shares that his shopping cart abandonment rate is 60%, with 50% of these exits leaving on the first step of the checkout process (view cart). After doing some informal consumer research (asking real people - both experienced and inexperienced web shoppers), "Ignoramus" discovered that some people use the shopping cart as a way to bookmark products for comparison.

High Rankings Administrator Jill Whalen commented:

"The reason I might put items in a cart but never continue is that I sort of just use it as a holding place while I'm still researching which store has the best price.

So if I'm comparing prices, I'll visit some store, add the item to the cart, keep that window open and do the same at some other stores (usually if the price is lower).

Not sure if that's common, but it is for me!"

If this is typical user behavior, adding a wishlist to your goodie bag of e-commerce functionality could reduce your abandoned shopping cart rate.

I quickly hopped over to a few of the top e-tailers of 2006 to give you some examples of who's using wishlists:

Victoria's Secretwishlist-victoria.gif
Radio Shackwishlist-radioshack.gif
Basspro Shopswishlist-gear1.gif
Tiger Directwishlist-tigerdirect.gif
Abercrombie and Fitchwishlist-abercrombia.gif

Whether a button or a text link, these e-tailers demonstrate good usability by A) placing the wishlist button or text link near the shopping cart button so it's easy for the user to find if he or she is used to just "Adding to Cart," and B) making the wishlist button or text link less prominent than the shopping cart button.Placement is important. Although not exactly a wishlist button, The Sharper Image's "Add to Registry" button is stowed away below the fold.wishlist-sharper-image.gifIt would be better to have call-to-action items grouped together for best visibility and usability, like Target.com.wishlist-target.gifOf course, social wishlisting services could fill the void here as an alternative way for users to bookmark products for future consideration or comparison. Unfortunately the majority of your visitors have never heard of them. So for now, you may consider adding a wishlist feature to your website to potentially reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. As with anything, you'll have to test it for yourself to draw your own conclusions.

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