Average Items per Cart
Aside from acquiring better qualified visitors to the site, the next best strategy to increase average order value is getting customers too buy more items each time they purchase.
The average number of items per cart is the measurement of the number of units or items in each successfully completed cart:
Sum of Products Purchased / Number of Completed Shopping Carts = Average Items per Cart
To make this calculation the analytics package or commerce application need to be able to report on the number of items contained in each completed cart. If your particular application does not report on this value automatically, you may want to consider using a custom variable, being sure to only sum the number of products purchased for successfully completed carts.
It is a good idea to present average items per cart along with average order value to provide context if one or the other KPI decreases.
Depending on what they’re selling, retailers will quickly realize that average items per cart are usually very close to 1.0 and very difficult to increase. In some instances, this KPI is uninformative because it will always be a single item; in other instances this KPI can provide valuable insight into the disposition of visitors coming to the site and the quality of up-sell and cross-sell presentment.
This KPI should be carefully watched when an effort is being made to improve the quality of up-sell and cross-sell functionality in the shopping cart. In situations where new strategies are being rolled out but average items per cart and average order value are unchanged, additional work is warranted.
In situations where this KPI suddenly decreases, it is worthwhile to review with marketing groups what changes if any have recently occurred. Perhaps a successful sale on a single item is underway and is decreasing the number of multiple-item carts being completed. The converse is also true; if no recent work has been done on how up-sell and cross-sell is presented, an increase in average items per cart may be indicative of a more qualified audience or a particularly successful campaign.