How to Turn that Abandoned Cart into Dollars

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May 1, 2012

Internet shopping has increased 51% in the past two years. Today, seven out of 10 internet users shop online. If you’re an e-commerce company, this is all good until you see that e-retailers have lost around $33 billion in revenues because of abandoned carts in the past several years. Statistics indicate that three out of 10 online shoppers abandon their carts – that’s 70 percent.

Abandoned carts mean abandoned revenues. Getting someone to almost make a purchase serves no one on the game scorecard of business. Surprisingly only 15% of the top 1000 online retailers are following up with shoppers who don’t complete their transaction.

Part of personalized marketing– often called Data Driven Marketing – is knowing what your customer came for and making sure they leave with it.

Why do people abandon carts?

Though there may be many reasons for an online shopper to push the keyboard away and not click “make purchase,” including a crying baby, the most common reasons are:

  1. A poor checkout experience.  The process was too long, complicated, cumbersome, or not inline with an easier experience they’ve grown accustomed to.
  2. High shipping charges.By the time shopper gets to the screen with this information, he or she is shocked by the shipping charge and therefore aborts the purchase.
  3. Doing their own price check.Some shoppers are looking for the best price and the only way to learn the price is to initiate a purchase. McAfee calls this digital window shopping.
  4. They lack trust.Because of media reports of other online retailers having their customer database breached or the fear of identity theft, they fear putting their credit card number into your hands. They are worried about being defrauded on your site.
  5. They didn’t see the option they wanted.Perhaps they don’t want to sign up for an account with the retailer to make one purchase this lifetime or perhaps they thought there would be a Pay Pal option. When they don’t see the option of their preference, they abort.

Turning that Cart Around

Abandonment is a lose/lose. The retailer doesn’t make the sale and the customer stays home empty handed. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease shopping cart abandonment and improve the customer experience.

  1. Improve the experience. One of the main reasons consumers choose to shop online is the convenience. Ensure the process is easy, convenient, smooth and glitch-free. Place a shopping cart on every page or at the top of each page so finding it is easy.
  2. Have reasonable shipping charges.Make sure your shipping charges are in line, or build them into your prices so you can offer free shipping.
  3. 3. Earn their trust. Seeing is believing in America and online. Have the best designed site you can afford, which includes a full company name, complete address and phone number, easy-to-find contact us page and form, a complete About Us page with professionally taken photographs. Display trust seals, association seals and any other seals you have permission to use. Also include social media buttons to follow. Showing that your company is present elsewhere on the Net provides social validation to prospects.
  4. Provide online help.Provide all the help channels you can muster so your prospects can quickly get their answers and leave with what they came for. FAQs, forums, and live chats will bolster confidence and increase sales.
  5. Follow up afterwards.Be one of the minority that follow-up byemail or phone with prospects that abandon their carts. Chances are there’s something you can do to gain their business by answering a question or sending them a URL to a page that you can walk them through.
  6. Show ‘em before they get there. If they know the payment options you offer and the shipping charges upfront, you’ll decrease abandonment at the end of the purchasing process.
  7. Be technically and verbally clear. Make sure you’ve been crystal clear on your business, your product and the steps to checkout. What seems clear to an IT person, most certainly won’t seem clear to a grandmother on her first laptop. And make sure the pages load quickly, the forms are accepted without errors, and, customer doesn’t leave the screen until he or she sees a note that their order has been received.

Recovery of Lost Sales

Cart abandonment is a huge opportunity for Internet retailers. By following the recommendations above you can be on your way to recovering some of the $18 million being lost each year, according to Listrak.

Don’t be among the 22% of businesses that have no idea what their abandonment rate is or how much they are losing. Start by using Listrak’s online shopping cart abandonment calculator to get a grip on the size of the problem.

Then devise a reachback campaign to redirect these dollars back to your company vs. a competitors’ cart. Because unlike digital window shopping, a shopper who has abandoned his or her cart, will most likely return. In analysis of over 160 million transactions, the average time between their first visit to your online store and their return is between 54 minutes and 33 hours.

If you can re-engage these customers in this timeframe, you have a high likelihood of regaining a customer and helping them fill their shopping cart.

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