Cart abandonment is a growing hole in marketing’s leaky bucket as online shoppers continuously leave sales behind. And, the reasons they’re jumping to competitors’ sites or closing out browsers all together are many. Meanwhile, retailers and their digital agencies continue refining strategies and techniques to stem the flow.
How bad is it?
According to U.K.-based Baymard Institute’s analysis of 22 studies, over 67 percent of online carts are abandoned costing businesses hundreds of billions annually.
The two primary reasons consumers walk away are purely financial – shipping costs and the overall price tag of the order, according to FuturePay. Other research points to technical problems on the website, account requirements and long payment processes as further hindrances.
How to plug the holes.
Keeping sales from spewing out due to any of the reasons mentioned above requires a multi-pronged approach. While not watertight, reducing losses to a trickle is an attainable goal. Here’s how online retailers can get more conversions:
- Ensure a great user experience. Any glitch will test a consumer’s patience. Slow page loads, lengthy checkout processes or confusing instructions will have your buyer running to your competitors. Requiring the user to spend the least effort necessary is the goal. Above all else, get these basics right.
- Step up your remarketing/retargeting efforts.
- Email campaigns – Capturing email addresses is more than a means of delivering periodic newsletters or promotions. Capturing emails before the potential buyer clicks away from the site allows marketers to contact the user with reminders to complete their checkout. According to Website Magazine, including the customer name and product detail brings the email open rate to 46 and 44 percent, respectively. Sending an email an hour after the cart was abandoned yields the highest conversion rate of 6.3 percent. Use of product images and ensuring a great mobile experience for the email are also beneficial.
- Display ads – Shadowing your users with ads specific to items last viewed or left in your page’s cart as they browse other sites is increasingly commonplace. Major retailers are all over this tactic. That dress that was looked at, but not purchased, at Nordstrom seems to follow the user across social and other sites and apps for the next day or so. This constant tug at the shopper’s virtual purse strings ensures the product isn’t easily forgotten. It’s also important to set up smart-burn pixels and pages so if the user does return and complete the purchase, the ads stop showing.
- Offer onsite assistance. Whether staffed by service reps alone or with chatbots asking the upfront questions, offer immediate assistance for shoppers throughout the online buying process – from research and recommendations through checkout.
- Modify shipping price models. Nothing mysterious here; shoppers are turned off by shipping fees. Higher-end sites are removing shipping costs to the consumer altogether, and they make sure free shipping claims are on every page, in plain view. For those who haven’t removed shipping or absorbed it into the product price, additional options are free shipping on specified goods, through a limited time promotion or for purchases over a given spend threshold. Nominal flat rate shipping fees are also used.
Just like any other digital marketing effort, watch your analytics, test content and strategy constantly and keep optimizing to slow down your shopping cart losses.