Groupon recently spent a year building a shopping cart feature for the website. This feature was first a/b tested on Groupon’s web platform to determine whether users would benefit from its functionality. After starting at 1% and scaling the a/b test to 100%, it was clear in the first month of full functionality that the addition of the shopping cart substantially increased purchases, bookings, and revenue for Groupon.
Seeing this success on the web inspired us to develop this functionality on the mobile platform; we took up the initiative and recently released this shopping cart feature within the iOS, Android, and Touch platforms. Future plans include adding functionality for other categories and looking at ways the shopping cart can help improve relevance for customers.
In its infancy, Groupon offered crowdsourced deals where if a certain number of customers bought into a deal, the coupon would be unlocked. A typical Groupon user in 2010 would receive a daily email deal for a featured local deal. If interested, they would go directly to this deal page to make this purchase, possibly browse around, but then ultimately abandon the site.
The checkout funnel process was relatively simple then and worked well. A user would click the “Buy” button, be directed to a checkout page to fill in their information. Once the user clicked “Complete Order”, they would be redirected to the receipt page and the purchase was complete.
Buy Button → Complete Order → Confirmation → Continue Shopping?
This worked well until the inception of Groupon Goods morphed the Groupon brand from a daily deals site to a budding e-commerce platform. With the move to a true marketplace, consumers regularly buy multiple Goods deals at once, and the process of checking out deals multiple times added major friction to the checkout process.
Not your mom’s shopping cart
Unlike the shopping cart experience on other traditional e-commerce sites, which allows for features such as holding items for later (wish list) and serves mostly items without an expiration date, the Groupon cart must scale to deal with versioning across platforms and to accommodate a variety of deal types.
The length of a typical Groupon deal is roughly 5-7 days long. Groupon can and does re-feature popular deals frequently, but there is no predictable timeline for when a deal is reactivated. As a result, Groupon’s shopping cart has to be proactive to rid expired deals from a user’s cart in order to decrease the amount of friction at checkout.
Let’s take an example of a user buying headphones on Groupon Goods. The user adds the deal to his/her cart. These headphones are a bit expensive for an everyday purchase, so the user wants to mull over the potential purchase. A week later, the user decides to buy these headphones, but the deal has already expired. The cart automatically removed the deal and informed the user of this action, but in turn shows the user other headphone deals currently available on the Groupon site.
Currently, the shopping cart is supported for Groupon Goods only. Since shopping carts are most frequently geared for e-commerce sites, it made sense to initially test the proof-of-concept on our Goods category. However, the idea is to potentially expand the shopping cart to all Groupon categories.
The innovation of Groupon’s shopping cart comes from its potential to provide a better shopping experience than on any other site today. Nowhere on the Internet can a person presently build an experience at a one-stop shop. This bundled experience helps customers get the most out of Groupon’s marketplace. What used to take visits to three different sites can be accomplished in just a few clicks in a single transaction. In the near future, I will be able to go to Groupon Getaways to plan and add a trip to Hawaii to my cart. I can then look for exciting local restaurant deals in Hawaii while on my trip and add them to my cart. Finally, I can add that bathing suit from Groupon Goods to my cart and purchase all these items together through one checkout flow.
We have rolled out the shopping cart feature to our web and iPhone/Android platforms. In the coming months, the shopping cart will be available on tablets to bring the experience full circle for our consumers. In the quest to unify all Groupon platforms together, the shopping cart is our attempt to unify checkout as a universal experience, no matter what type of Groupon deal a user buys.
While Groupon may explore these paths in the future, the current edition of a shopping cart widens the purchase funnel to further incentivize users to want to purchase more from Groupon and ultimately “Check Groupon First.”