What Is Add-to-Cart Rate? Definition and How To Calculate

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Measuring metrics related to how customers shop online gives you useful insights about the accessibility of a website and the value or relevancy of the products. Add-to-cart rate is one of the measurements that e-commerce professionals and anyone else who works with an online shopping portal can use to better understand the shopping habits of their customers. Understanding what add-to-cart rate is can enhance your skills in e-commerce and help you increase sales. In this article, we provide an overview of add-to-cart rate, explain how to calculate it and explore methods for increasing this metric.

What is add-to-cart rate?

Add-to-cart rate is the ratio of people who select an item and add it to their shopping cart while browsing a website compared to the total number of website visitors. It includes both people who complete a purchase and people who abandon their cart with items in it. Someone who visits a clothing website, adds a jacket to their cart, then exists without purchasing still increases the add-to-cart rate. Another visitor who adds a sweater to their cart and completes the purchase also increases the add-to-cart rate.

Related: What Is E-Commerce? Definition, Types and Importance

What does add-to-cart rate tell you?

Add-to-cart rate provides you with information about how interested users are in your website and products. Visitors on e-commerce websites use shopping carts for a variety of reasons. Some people add items to their shopping cart with the sole purpose of buying the items at the end of the shopping session. Others add items as a way to plan future purchases, calculate the potential cost of a shopping trip or give themselves time to think about if they're truly interested in buying an item. Your add-to-cart rate tells you how successfully customers accomplish these goals.

When you have a high add-to-cart rate, this typically means that customers are at least interested in the items and find them appealing. It also means that they can easily access your shopping page and can find the items that they're trying to find while shopping. A low add-to-cart rate can indicate that the page is difficult to navigate, that the items are too expensive for your audience or that products that consumers want to purchase aren't available. Regardless of your specific add-to-cart rate, you can use it to guide how you optimize your products and website.

Related: Your Guide To Creating a Great Digital Customer Experience

How to calculate add-to-cart rate

Regularly calculating add-to-cart rate provides you with benchmarks to determine the success of website updates or product launches. The basic formula for add-to-cart rate is:

Add-to-cart rate = sessions where a user adds an item to card / total sessions

Follow these steps to calculate add-to-cart rate on a website:

1. Track add-to-cart events

To determine your add-to-cart rate, you first need to track information about how many of your visitors add items to their shopping carts while on the website. Set up website analytics to track add-to-cart events and sort them by individual user. Many third-party programs offer analytics functions where you can determine when users add items to their cart. Some of these programs also automatically calculate add-to-cart rate.

Related: Top E-Commerce Metrics for Tracking Performance

2. Select a time frame for your data

Determine the start date and end date that you want to use for your calculations. If you want to track the change in add-to-cart rate over time, choosing certain start and end dates can be helpful in identifying how changes to your website or products influenced any increases or decreases in user engagement. You can also select the total number of website sessions to calculate an overall average add-to-cart rate for the entire life of the website.

3. Select your data

Use your analytics program to determine how many individual sessions involved adding at least one item to their cart. Next, add the total number of shopping sessions for the same time frame. These are the only two numbers you need for your calculation.

4. Divide and convert to percentages

Finally, divide the number of add-to-cart sessions by the number of total sessions. For example, if you had 1,100 sessions where people added an item to their carts and 10000 total sessions, your initial calculation is 0.11. Then, convert this decimal to a percentage to get your final add-to-cart rate. In this example, the add-to-cart rate is 11%.

How to improve add-to-cart rate

The more people who add items to their carts, the higher chance you have of those individuals deciding to purchase the items in their basket. There are many strategies you can try to increase your add-to-cart rate and increase sales:

1. Add prominent add-to-cart buttons

Start by incorporating add-to-cart buttons in several prominent places throughout each product page. Making the website interface simple for users to navigate is key for convincing potential customers to use shopping tools. It's a good idea to feature an add-to-cart button near each product photo when the customer initially clicks and at the bottom of the description when they scroll through the page reading any details.

2. Incorporate real reviews

Using thorough, real reviews on the product page can be a persuasive tool for encouraging customers to add products to their shopping carts. Add a review section to each product page and featuring top reviews that include photos from actual customers. You can also feature a frequently asked questions section where consumers can ask questions and you or other customers can quickly provide information that may otherwise prevent them from adding the item to their cart.

3. Customize pages with consumer data

If you track any details about customer demographics or shopping habits, customize their experience on your website. You can use details from past purchases to improve suggestions or make better recommendations based on information about their consumer profile and interests. By making the overall shopping experience more personal to each customer, they may be more prone to adding items to their shopping carts.

4. Enhance product recommendations

For each product page, include several relevant recommendations in related product categories. Even if the visitor doesn't want to add that particular item to their cart, they may want to look at one of the similar items. By using better product recommendations, you can help customers fill their carts with items they want to buy or and make your best products more accessible.

Related: Cross-Selling vs. Upselling: Definitions and Differences

5. Improve mobile app design

Making mobile shopping more accessible can also increase your add-to-cart rate because it expands the ways visitors can shop on your site. Having a mobile app or a simple mobile site can make it easy for people to add items to their carts on their phones then finish the purchase later. Test your current website to ensure it's compatible on both web and mobile browsers to appeal to as many shoppers as you can.

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