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What Are the Best Ways to Increase Average Order Values on Mobile?


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With help from ecommerce experts, we take a look at ways in which retailers can increase average basket values. We’re focusing on mobile, but most of the tips apply to desktop too…
Recent IMRG stats show a growth in ecommerce, driven in part by higher order values on mobile.
The total mobile average basket value (ABV) was up 18% year on year in March, helping to drive an overall online sales increase of 13%.
Of course, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from one month’s data, but the trend data on mobile ABV suggests that retailers have made a lot of progress around the mobile user experience.
Indeed, Schuh’s Stuart McMillan has seen a long-term increase in average order values on mobile, thanks to a focus on the mobile user experience which goes back several years.
I asked Stuart, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh and James Gurd, an ecommerce consultant and owner of Digital Juggler how they would seek to increase average basket values.
Of course, many of these tips apply equally to desktop and mobile ecommerce, but retailers can tailor these tactics, such as the way promotions are displayed, for the mobile shopper.

User Experience

An improved mobile user experience can help to explain increased mobile sales, but it doesn’t explain why average order values may be higher.
However, it underpins the performance of a site, and contributes to improved sales performance indirectly, as James Gurd explains:
“There are many factors that contribute towards increasing basket size but aren’t necessarily directly causal. Service and UX quality improve customer satisfaction, but alone don’t guarantee an AOV increase. I.e. Just because I’m happy with your website doesn’t mean I’ve got more money to spend.”

Look and Feel of the Site

People make quick judgements about a site when they arrive, and they’ll be less likely to buy if a site doesn’t look the part.
People will expect different design standards depending on the brand and product, but if you’re looking to sell more expensive items, then the site needs to use imagery and design to provide that luxury feel.

Stuart McMillan:
“Customers also are less likely to buy expensive products off a cheap site! The look and feel of a site has a strong influence over the perceptual “value” of the site and the products. Anything that creates a positive brand perception (which can even include things like site speed) will improve your ability to sell more expensive products.”

Free Shipping

Free shipping can help to drive sales when offered as standard, but can specifically help to increase basket values when offered as a carrot to customers who spend a little bit more.
A UPS study found that 58% of shoppers had added extra items to their cart to qualify for free delivery.
It’s important to display your delivery offer clearly, so customers are aware and have a chance to add more items to reach the free shipping threshold, as Lego does here:

Promotions and Product Recommendations

As James Gurd explains, “tactics like promotions and product recommendations have a proven direct impact on basket size as they directly influence basket behaviour.”
In this example from Rakuten, a site-wide promo code is shown on product pages. This can push customers towards a purchase and encourage them to add more products while there is a discount.


Merchandising is the science (or art) of displaying products on-site to maximise sales. It covers the choice of products to show in homepages, on category pages, and so on.
James Gurd:
“Merchandising is important. Testing ways to change the products that are shown based on individual users can influence add to basket behaviour. For example, sites could showcase brands with higher ticket items to measure impact on KPIs like conversion rate and AOV.”

Cross and Up-Selling

Smart cross and up-selling recommendations on product pages, shopping carts and during checkout can encourage customers to add more items to their carts.
Some of these products may be obvious, such as recommending memory cards when people buy cameras, or related accessories to complete the look on fashion sites, as J Crew does:

Avoid ‘Buyer’s Remorse’

Buyer’s remorse refers to the concerns that customers may have after placing an order.
For example, if there were a lot of products to choose from, it’s natural for shoppers to wonder whether they made the right decision. This can lead to higher returns rates.
According to Schuh’s Stuart McMillan, speedy delivery can help to address this problem:
“Buyer’s remorse may be more apparent on a more expensive product, and a good way of reducing this is to get the product to the consumer as quick as possible so they can get using it before they have a chance to regret it.”

Bundling Products Together

Bundling encourages shoppers to add more items to their orders, perhaps to receive discounts or to buy complementary products.
This could include 3 for 2 offers, or preferential pricing on multi-buys, as Currys offers here:

Provide Credit Options

Our data consistently tells us that high value items like holidays, electronics, and luxury goods are abandoned multiple times by the same shopper.
Adding buy now, pay later and more convenient payment options can encourage customers to first of all make a purchase, but also to add more to their baskets.

Providing Extra Services

Extras like product insurance, extended guarantees, or gift-wrapping can help to increase order values.
Here’s a great example from IKEA. Customers are asked just before payment if they’d like to have the items assembled on site.
This can save the customer a lot of potential hassle, and makes the order more valuable for the retailer.

Price Adjacency

As Stuart McMillan advises, cheaper products shouldn’t be put before expensive products, as ‘customers will be anchored on the lower price’.
Anchoring is a cognitive bias in decision making which refers to the human tendency to rely on the first piece of information offered when making a decision.
It has relevance in many situations, but the smarter online retailers will be aware of this and use it to their advantage.

For example, when choosing from a restaurant wine list, diners will often order the second cheapest as they don’t want to appear to be tight-fisted, but they don’t want to spend too much either.
So in this case, the cheapest price acts as an anchor, as do the more expensive bottles.
Indeed, restaurants understand this customer behaviour and are said to price the cheapest wine (for them) second on the list, as they make more profit from selling those.
Another method is to show what the current price was reduced from, so customers anchor on the higher price and see greater value in the product.

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Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.