Product Cart Addition Sequence
In working with a client recently, an interesting question arose around cart additions. This client wanted to know the order in which visitors were adding products to the shopping cart. Which products tended to be added first, second third, etc.? They also wanted to know which products were added after a specific product was added to the cart (i.e. if a visitor adds product A, what is the next product they tend to add?). Finally, they wondered which cart add product combinations most often lead to orders.
I had to admit that I was surprised that no one had asked me these questions in the past (a rarity for an old-timer like me!). However, I love getting new questions since it allows me to come up with cool ways to answer them. Therefore, in this post, I will share some of the ideas that I am proposing to this client in case your organization has similar questions.
Product Cart Order Sequence
To tackle the question of which products are added to the cart first, second, third, my first instinct was to try out the cool new sequential segmentation in Adobe Reports & Analytics (SiteCatalyst). This feature has been around in Ad Hoc Analysis (Discover) for a while, but is new to Adobe Reports and Analytics. However, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that sequential segmentation wouldn’t help very much. The only scenario in which I think it might help, is if you want to know exactly how often Product A was followed by Product B and then Product C and an order took place thereafter. If you know the sequence you are looking for, you can isolate it and look at any report (i.e. Visits, Orders) using sequential segmentation.
But my client is looking to do more exploration and find out which products are added first, second, third, etc. Therefore, my thoughts turned to my old friend Pathing. Pathing is a great way to see a sequence of anything happening on a website/app. In this case, the sequence I am looking to see is products added to cart. Therefore, a cool way to answer this question would be to create a new Traffic Variable (sProp) and pass the Product ID’s (or Names) of each product added to the shopping cart to the variable when a Cart Addition takes place. Once this is done, you can enable Pathing on this new “Products Added to Cart” sProp so you can see all of the available pathing reports. For example, you can open the Full Paths report to see the most popular product combinations added to the shopping cart. Obviously, the first batch of entries in this report will be cases with just one product added:
However, when you get deeper into the results, you will start to see multi-product combinations:
Of course, you can narrow these paths to a specific product in this report using the “Showing Paths containing” feature:
Or you could also use the next page flow report to see products added after a specific product (in this case an Exit means that no other products were added to the cart in the same visit):
Or you could see similar information using Pathfinder:
As you can see, by simply passing product ID’s (or names) to a new sProp, you can gain insight into which products are added the most and in which combinations.
If you have a Product Category SAINT Classifications for your Products variable, you can also see all of the above sports by Product Category in Discover (Ad Hoc Analysis) by using pathing on classifications. Or you could always pass in the Product Category to another sProp if it is known at the time as suggested in the comments by Jan Exner.
But What About Orders?
While the preceding concept may be interesting, it falls short of the original goal because it doesn’t show which of these cart addition sequences leads to orders. While you could segment on visits with an order and then look at the remaining paths, I prefer to visualize the actual paths and see exactly when the order took place. Therefore, to add this component, I suggest that you pass the phrase “order” to the same new traffic variable on the order confirmation page. By including this one new value, it will be included in the pathing reports and can be used in any of the reports above or the fall-out report. You can also use the previous page flow report beginning with the “order” value to see the most common cart addition product sequences (paths) that lead to success:
This is probably best done in Ad Hoc Analysis (Discover) where you can have unlimited branches in the report, but you can still extract value from this in Adobe Reports & Analytics.
Other Pathing Reports
While I haven’t had much time to play with this concept, I would imagine that you could also extract some useful information from the additional pathing reports that are enabled when you turn on pathing for this new “Products Added to Cart” sProp. For example, if you want the “411” on a particular product being added to the cart, you can open the Summary report:
You could also see how often each product was the only product added to the cart or abandoned in the cart by using an Exit Rate formula (Exits/Visits). Keep in mind that if a visitor adds another product to the cart, the product in question will no longer be an “exit” as far as this report is concerned, so the exit rate below is the combination of single carts + abandons per visit:
You may even be able to use the “Page Depth” (even though they really aren’t pages!) to see how often a particular product was the first one added to cart, second, etc… I say may, because this is what I think this report is showing, but I need Ben Gaines to verify this for me!
Lastly, if you care about Cart Removals (which is not something I normally care about since many people simply exit instead of removing products), you could also include them in this approach. To do this, you’d have to change the values you pass to the sProp to be “Add:[Product ID or Name]” and then use “Remove:[Product ID or Name]” instead of just passing in the product ID or name.
As those of you who have read my posts in the past know, sometimes, I come up with crazy ideas like this and they work out, but other times they don’t. If you think this concept is interesting, feel free to give it a try, but keep in mind that this is just a concept for now until I get some clients to do more experimentation…Enjoy!