How can sites solve the online cart abandonment issue?
Retailers are increasingly following consumers around the web when they abandon online shopping carts.
An article in The Wall Street Journal summed up four ways retailers are trying to reengage customers with their virtual carts:
- Showing them display ads for their abandoned products while they are browsing elsewhere on the internet;
- Sending e-mails with "cutesy reminders" about what was left in their online basket. An example given from Banana Republic: "Hello there your closet is calling";
- Text messaging and using mobile push notifications to remind customers of what they haven’t bought. Neiman Marcus associates, for instance, sometimes text message best customers;
- Using online discounts to tempt shoppers to revisit and close the purchase.
According to Baymard Institute, an e-commerce consultancy in Copenhagen, 69 percent of shopping carts on average are abandoned.
Studies show consumers are open to retargeting under the right conditions. A study of more than 60,000 online shoppers earlier this year by Bizrate Insights found 12 percent of those who abandoned their shopping carts saved the items to buy later and may only need a reminder.
Sixty-two percent who couldn’t find what they were looking for and 77 percent of those encountering an out-of-stock indicated they would welcome help finding the right item, according to the study. Fifty-nine percent of cart abandoners indicated they would likely purchase with a 20 percent or less discount, and 20 percent indicated a notification of when the item goes on sale would help them purchase. Reducing shipping fees can also close a purchase, other studies find.
Technical hurdles — being forced to create an account, a complicated checkout process, payment security concerns, etc. — may be resolved with follow-up communications.
Retailers most often use e-mail to retarget cart abandoners, but the use of display ads and text messaging shows a desire for quicker methods.
In a column for Internet Retailer, Marc Pearce, multichannel marketing manager, Optilead, said his firm’s research shows that by contacting the cart-abandoned shopper with a phone call in the first 15 minutes, the e-retailer is three times more likely to complete the sale than if they call just one hour later.
The Journal article noted that marketers are seeking to understand what each shopper has done across their devices and are adjusting their various approaches to help retarget in relevant ways. Understanding the individual’s geographic location and past digital purchasing behavior is also critical to avoiding irrelevant follow-up pitches.
"Everyone is working on data to be more real-time and of-the-moment, or curated," Krista Berry, chief digital officer at Kohl’s, told the Journal.
- What Online Retailers Will Do to Get You to Click ‘Buy’ – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- How to Take Advantage of Shopping Cart Abandonment – eMarketer
- Do Shopping Cart Abandoners Just Not Want to Buy? – eMarketer
- How do e-retailers react to abandoned shopping carts? Most don’t – Internet Retailer
- VWO’s State of the eCommerce Buyer Survey Reveals Online Shopper Cart Abandonment Driven by Unexpected Shipping Costs; Retargeting With Discounts Matters Most for Boosting Conversions – Visual Website Optimizer/PRNewswire
Which retargeting methods — e-mails, display ads, text messages, phone calls, etc. — do you see as most appropriate and which will consumers likely find disturbing? What advice do you have for retailers trying to solve their online shopping cart abandonment problems?