• How to Get Back Abandoned Ecommerce Shopping Carts

    It looms over ecommerce like a rain cloud over the parade. While online shopping continues to grow in leaps and bounds, all of us lament that it could be many times better if two-thirds of shoppers didn’t abandon their shopping carts before checkout.

    To get an idea of the impact of shopping cart abandonment on ecommerce, look at the numbers. If you assume an average abandonment rate of 65%, then all your ecommerce sales come from the 35% of carts that are not abandoned. If you reduced abandonment by 10%, or 6.5% of those who abandoned, your online sales would increase by almost 20%.

    Another way of looking at it: for every 1% increase in abandonment, there’s a 2% decrease in sales.

    To date, the majority of efforts to stifle cart abandonment have focused on the pre-cart and at-the-cart stages of the process. The statistics, including the information outlined in Invesp’s ‘Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics’, repeatedly show that abandoners exit early overwhelmingly due to their on-site experience, including:

    • Shipping costs
    • High price
    • No guest checkout
    • Need too much information
    • Complex checkout
    • Slow or crashed site
    • Not enough payment options

    Retarget to reduce shopping cart abandonment
    Surprisingly, despite the research, studies and all our efforts to curb cart abandonment, the situation gets worse. For the four years up to 2009, the average cart abandonment rate was 61.59% (IBM/Comscore, MarketingSherpa). In the four years up to 2013, the average rate was 63.81% (IBM/Comscore).

    So what are we doing wrong? In trying to reverse the abandonment tide, user experience (UX) has become one of the hottest pursuits in ecommerce web design. Over 50% of sites now offer some form of free shipping. We add security and credibility symbols to every nook and cranny. Mandatory sign-up is rare. And, all-in-all, we’re making it easier for people to buy from us.

    But the rain cloud of abandonment still darkens the ecommerce horizons.

    Retargeting – Improving UX After Abandonment

    Targeting your customers is a basic practice of marketing and sales. Instead of aimlessly sending your messages to the public at large, it makes sense to focus on the demographics to which your product is most suited; those who are more likely to buy. It’s a faster and more efficient way to a sale.

    Traditional sales and marketing models target a market, generate interest and desire from it, and urge it to action. But it ends there. And that creates two problems.

    The first problem, which will need to be left for another blog post, is that we assume a converted customer is will return. Without follow-up, we leave those 2.5% of shoppers, who we actually convinced to buy from us, to float off into cyberspace without ever again calling out to them.

    The second problem is the 97.5% of those we didn’t get to convert. They include those who abandoned their carts and those who never even started the cart/checkout process.

    Think about everything that had to fall into place to get those people to your site. Of all the competitive messages and distractions online, you managed to get them to click on your link. It’s quite an achievement and it’s a shame to let it go to waste.

    Retargeting helps reduce that waste by optimizing UX after the customer abandons or leaves.

    Two Main Types of Retargeting for Ecommerce

    When you retarget your customers, you focus your marketing efforts on those people who have visited your site and left without purchasing. You got those people to visit at least once, so it stands to reason that they’ll be more inclined to return versus those who have never visited your site. And the inclination is even higher if they had products in a cart before leaving.

    There are two main ways to retarget.

    Retargeting with Advertising

    When you add a JavaScript tag, also known as a pixel, to your site, ‘cookies’ are added to visitors’ browsers when they land. You can track that cookie with a retargeting application so that if and when they search again for products like yours, your PPC or banner ad will appear. When it does, the familiarity they already have with your site and/or product increases the chance that they once again will click on your ad.

    retarget to reduce shopping cart abandonment

    Source: retargeter.com

    Retargeting with advertising works. A study by Comscore and ValueClick found retargeted ads to be twice as effective as other tactics in getting shoppers to search for a particular brand.

    3M Results

    In October of 2013, Facebook introduced new ‘custom audience’ features to help marketers retarget people who have visited their desktop or mobile sites with Facebook ads.

    Retargeting with Email

    While online marketing tactics continue to evolve and different trends like social media emerge, the old standbys, including search and email marketing. continue to prove their worth. While social still struggles to get any real traction with customer acquisition, search tops the heap by accounting for 16% of online customers acquired. Though email lags behind search, it still dominates social with a 7% acquisition rate and, perhaps most importantly, it continues to gain strength as an acquisition tool with a 400% increase in the past four years (forbes.com).

    Retargeting with email is also becoming more popular as a way to address abandonment. According to the e-tailing group, the numbers of retailers using email to retarget abandoners grew by over 20% between 2102 and 2013 to 28%, and the trend is expected to continue.

    And best practices are emerging for the process.

    stop CRO frustrations
    • Start right away – While the tactic of sending follow-up emails has long bbeen used for branding and customer retention, they are often sent days or weeks after an interaction. For retargeting, following up immediately, or at least within hours, is shown to produce the highest conversion rates.
    • Stick With It – Again, traditional email follow-up campaigns were often a one-off affair. But for retargeting, while early emails account for over half of recaptures, second and third emails can add another third to your recapture rate.
    • Change ‘em Up – Instead of sending the same ‘You’ve abandoned your cart’ email repeatedly, it is best use a progression of messages messages. eCommerceFuel recommends that you start with a reminder that the shopper has abandoned his cart, followed by a request to finish the purchase and finally offering a discount to encourage completion of the purchase. It’s important to note that any discounts offered to improve conversions should not be so great as to encourage abandonment just to get the discount.

    The Results? Retargeting emails to reduce cart abandonment are still in their infancy compared to other tactics. But there’s reason for optimism. eCommerceFuel reported monthly recovery rates of between 3% and 11% from one email retargeting campaign.

    retarget to reduce cart abandonment

    Retargeting email results reported on ecommercefuel.com

    USA Today


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