Shopping cart abandonment is a significant issue in the online marketing world. Studies show that between 50% and 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before check-out. Forrester Research puts the number at 87% of consumers abandoning carts, with 70% of carts being abandoned just before check-out.
Consider Tracie: It is Sunday night, and Tracie is shopping online. She browses a retail site; first looking at black heels, then a grey dress and finally a silver bracelet. She navigates back to the grey dress and puts it in her shopping cart. She begins the checkout process but then abandons the cart and disappears from the retailer’s site.
Why didn’t Tracie buy? What changes her mind? Will she be back? Or, were shipping charges more than she anticipated? And what can the online retailer do to re-capture her attention to make the sale?
Why shopping cart abandonment occurs
The phenomenon of shopping cart abandonment is much more complex than consumers simply changing their minds before transactions. Common reasons for abandonment include the practical, the experience-driven and the behavioral.
The practical: This consumer takes into consideration the basic shopping needs: how much an item costs, when it will arrive and the total of product, tax and shipping costs to evaluate if costs and shipping are as anticipated.
The experience-driven: Then there are reasons for abandonment that have much more to do with the consumer’s experience on the website, such as:
The behavioral: One of the most interesting aspects of cart abandonment has to do with the fact that many customers are using carts for purposes beyond just buying. For example:
Email re-marketing to capture abandoned shoppers
With shopping cart abandonment so prevalent, it’s surprising that only 20% of Fortune 500 merchants have strategies to re-engage. According to Webtrends, only 2% of Fortune 500 brands use email retargeting. However, savvy marketers are gaining wallet share from their counterparts by re-targeting shopping cart abandoners quickly, frequently and with insightful campaigns.
The speed of deployment is important to success, with 67% of Internet Retailer 1000 companies deploying their first re-marketing email within 24 hours of cart abandonment, according to Listrak. But even that industry standard will likely be challenged in the years ahead. Many marketers now have the resources to trigger an instantaneous email when the shopper abandons the cart, and for good reason. A study from MIT shows that the majority of customers who are going to purchase do so within 12 hours. Those first few hours of abandonment are crucial to secure the sale.
Whether an online merchant sends one email or three, the key to effectiveness is an understanding of the customer’s viewing history, purchase history and desires. Consider Tracie again. At a basic level, the retailer could send her an email the next day reminding her that she has not purchased and offer a link to complete her transaction. Or, the retailer could send her an email offering her free shipping if she completes her transaction. In this case the retailer must consider if by offering free shipping – will the item/s still be profitable?
A more studied plan of action, utilizing the outline above, would be to create a series of three re-marketing email communications for Tracie. That series could look something like this:
The options for reaching and converting shoppers who have abandoned their carts are endless and should be implemented with customer understanding at the heart of any program and a focus on ongoing testing and optimization. Email re-marketing to shoppers who have abandoned carts can offer marketers incremental revenue and create competitive advantage when implemented correctly.
Dig deeper into tactics to drive email re-marketing success down load this whitepaper and begin testing before the upcoming holiday season to ensure that shoppers like Tracie come back to the site, finish those outfits and complete those transactions.
Forrester Research: Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment
Econsultancy via ComScore: 55% of shoppers abandon carts due to shipping costs: infographic
Econsultancy via ComScore: Online Shopping Customer Experience Study
Marketing Daily Commentary: Shopping Cart Abandonment On Mobile
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