Overcoming Your Abandonment Issues: How to Recover Your Cart.

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I’ve done it too many times to count, and statistics say you’re just as guilty. No, I’m not talking about stealing half a dozen ketchup packets at a restaurant. I’m talking about something that could potentially reach $4 trillion dollars in uncaptured revenue this year alone. I’m talking about “abandoning cart”.

Whether you’re a maximum offender who’s held a $600 pair of shoes ‘shopping cart hostage’ with no intention of purchasing, or an innocent abandoner who simply needed a minute to think things through, you’re guilty — you’ve abandoned cart without purchasing. And in fact, you’re among the wide majority.

The Baymard Institute averaged the statistics of 29 different studies containing figures on e-commerce shopping cart abandonment, and found that the average cart abandonment rate was somewhere north of 68% in 2014. In other words, of all the potential shoppers who select items for purchase, nearly 7 out of 10 fail to pull the trigger. Last year, SalesCycle suggested that “failure to capitalize on these lost sales opportunities was projected to reach a staggering $3 trillion in lost revenue for companies across the globe”. Business Insider analysts suggest that this number could peak at $4 trillion in 2015.

In other words, the number of carts being abandoned are on the incline. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For retailers, this simply means you need to adapt to your customer’s buying patterns and nail down a rock solid strategy that supports the follow through.

Top 5 Reasons Your Customers Abandon Cart In 2010

Forrester Research asked 3,000 people why they abandoned cart without following through with their purchase. The top five reasons can be categorized into either issues with pricing or time sensitivity—these are the areas of struggle you'll need to help customers overcome.

Here are the top replies, and the percentage of those surveyed who listed it as a roadblock:

  1. Shipping and handling costs were too high (44%)
  2. I was not ready to purchase the product (41%)
  3. I wanted to compare prices on other sites (27%)
  4. Product price was higher than I was willing to pay (25%)
  5. Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration (24%)

4 Ways to Turn Cart Abandoners into Customers

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Although it may sound depressing that majority of customers who make it to the cart-filling stage will abandon, there’s a major day-saving plot twist: 3 out of 4 these same customers will come back for more. In other words, 75% of those who didn’t fully checkout the first time will return to your site to either complete the purchase or bid a final farewell.

As such, it’s important to adopt processes around your customers ditching you. Essentially, this means catering to individuals wavering with indecision and nudging them off the “maybe” cliff and into the valley of “yes”.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Perfect Your Remarketing Email

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Since 75% of abandoned carters will return to your site, you’ve been given the gift of a second chance. Sending a well-executed remarketing email reminding customers why they should make a purchase is one of the best means for redemption. By illustrating that your brand is personable, trustworthy, and has great customer service, you can encourage abandoners to purchase with confidence.

In fact, according to SeeWhy, a SAP acquired real-time behavioural marketing company, email remarketing is proven to recover on average between 20–25% of abandoned shopping carts. That’s huge! — And there’s more. The same research group found that abandoners that were successfully remarketed to spent 55% more than buyers who ‘purchase straight through’. Now we’re talking…

6 Converting Essentials in Your Remarketing Email

1. Display the shopping cart items — Show them what they’re missing!

2. Create a direct link back to the shopping cart — This should be the only call-to-action button in your email.

3. Generate a sense of urgency— Nothing is worse than the fear of missing out (FOMO). Sprinkle a touch of this into your email copy, sit back, and let the orders roll in.

4. Make an offer (or highlight on-going promo) — Do you offer free shipping when customers spend ‘x’ amount? Can you give a 10% discount? This is a good time to lay down your best and final (we’ll touch on this later).

5. A “Bam” Subject Line — Your email is only effective if people are reading it. Luckily for you, abandoned cart emails have very high click rates. In saying this, it’s up to you to seal the deal, and craft a newsworthy headline.

6. Fun, Branded Copy — Words are King (or Queen). It’s time to get personal, show that your brand has great customers service, and send an electronic friendship bracelet.

2. Remarket in Real-Time, Really.

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As important as hitting all the high notes within your remarketing email, is the timing of the email itself. Sending an email to your abandoner while you’re still front of mind is pivotal.

In an A/B test performed by SeeWhy, two groups of cart abandoners were sent identical remarketing emails. The difference: one group was sent the email immediately, the other group, 24 hours later.

Which email do you think better converted these maybe-buyers into customers?

Well, you probably guessed it. But you may not have foreseen how overwhelming the results would be. According to the study, 30% more shopping carts were recovered by the real-time email. Even more interestingly, the email sent in real-time had a 66% higher average order value.

In other words, immediate, carefully timed emails are far more impactful. When it comes to remarketing, timing really is everything.

3. Free or Flat-Rate Shipping. Just Do it.

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As uncovered by the Forrester Research Group, shipping and handling costs were the number one reason for cart abandonment. You’ve come this far, and there’s no way pesky additional fees should be the ultimate roadblock for your customers. Have no fear, there’s one simple way to solve this issue: free. If it’s within the realm of possibility, make shipping free. Or get lofty and build all extra fees into the advertised total.

In saying this, if for some reason you’re unable to cover shipping costs or seamlessly build it into your product total, you’ve got two options.

The first option is geared towards pre-order products. If you don’t intend on shipping for several weeks or even months, don’t charge a dime for shipping until the product is headed out the door. This could also mean that you won’t need to collect any shipping information until a later date. This might not be the right approach for every seller, but it is one way to temporarily remove a major roadblock for buyers and and let their impulse run wild.

Your second option is less drastic and much more common: flat rate shipping. Come up with a nice, inclusive number that will round out your total product price into something palatable. This will mean finding a flat domestic and international rate that will cover your bases, and will avoid leaving Alaskans or Canadians "out in the cold" with an expensive shipping bill.

4. Retarget While the Lead's Hot.

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With a similar goal to email remarketing, retargeting acts as another means to stay front of mind with potential customers who did not complete a purchase. By setting up a retargeting campaign through websites like Adroll, you can run targeted advertisements that will “gently” follow your abandoners around the web. These types of subliminal ads can be enormously effective and solidify conversions.

Within your retargeting campaign, you can automate customer segmentation and even use a more sophisticated multi-stage campaign to cater promotions to abandoners in different stages of their buying cycles. For instance, a retargeting ad made to appear straight after your shopper abandoned cart may look different than one for a customer who still hasn't bought a week later. An advertisement targeting a customer who has not purchased for an entire week may require a more aggressive angle. Typically, this might mean making that “best and final” offer in a special promotion for those segments.

Determining these different ads is dependent on your typical customer buy cycles, and the types of discounts you’re able to offer. Experimentation is key, but the results of a refined retargeting campaign are sah-weet.

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Shopping cart abandonment is the new norm—buyers need a breather before they commit to the cart. But don't forget, these cart abandoners are among the most qualified e-commerce leads you'll ever get your hands on. It's time to pull out all the stops. Building greater confidence through remarketing, eliminating pesky fees, and retargeting will help grow your slice of the $4 trillion pie.

At Celery, we’re constantly working to improve the way you sell. From capturing pre-orders to custom crowdfunding, we’ve got you covered.