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Monday, March 31 2014

abandoned shopping cartIt’s the bane of every online entrepreneur’s existence - abandoned Web shopping carts. By some estimates, as much as 80 percent of online shoppers fail to complete online purchases after putting items in the shopping cart.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about abandonments. The reasons might have nothing to do with you. The customer might just change their mind or realize that they couldn’t afford the purchase, for example.

Other times, it does have something to do with your online store. Maybe the process to checkout is too cumbersome or you’re requesting too much information. Maybe the shipping costs are too high. In any case, you don’t have to be the perpetual victim of abandonment. With a few savvy moves and the tools provided by your website store builder, you can catch those customers before they disappear forever and still make the sale.

Reach Out to Abandoners

While nearly three-quarters of customers fail to complete their purchase on the first visit, research shows that most of them actually put items in the cart with the intent to buy. In most cases, people end up making a purchase sometime in the next 24 hours.

That’s why it can have a major impact if you can reach out to cart abandoners as soon as possible to attempt to bring them back to your site. Research shows the best time to send an email to a cart abandoner is within 20 to 40 minutes after they fail to complete the purchase. Ideally, your email should reference the abandoned cart, remind the shopper of the items that were left behind and include a link that makes it easy to complete the purchase. This assumes, of course, you’ve collected their email address early on in the checkout process. However, asking for the customer's email address ahead of them being able to put something in the cart could lead to more abandonment all by itself.

Offer an Incentive

Many people leave their carts because they want to spend time looking for a better deal, looking free shipping or to think about the purchase a little more before committing. In fact, unexpected shipping costs are one of the foremost reasons that shoppers abandon carts. When you reach out to customers who leave the site before making a purchase, consider sweetening the deal with a discount code or free shipping offer. This technique is effective, but use it sparingly. Customers may begin deliberately abandoning their carts in order to score a freebie. Create one-time use codes and don’t send an offer every time the cart is abandoned.

Develop a Loyalty Program

Cart abandoners are often looking for a bargain, but if you can provide a shopper with perks beyond a low price, they are more likely to return to your shop and make additional purchases. Loyalty programs, in which you offer discounts, freebies and other benefits to repeat customers, can often entice customers to purchase from you first, even if they find the same item elsewhere. Develop a program in which customers can earn points for purchases and offer something of value in return. For example, a percentage off each purchase or free or discounted shipping is a powerful motivator and will reduce your cart abandonment rates.

Use Remarketing Options In Your Advertising

If you are advertising online through Adwords or another PPC provider, then utilize any remarketing options that may be available. Remarketing enables you to uniquely advertise to visitors who have already been on your site and maybe abandoned a cart previously. The option basically gives you a second bite at the apple and typically for a much lower per click cost.

Because the person seeing the remarketing ad has already been to your site at least once, you are able to communicate with that person in a different way than a first time visitor. For example, you can structure and group your ads so that they see a banner image that includes the actual product that they clicked to get to the last time they visited the site.

Abandoned carts will always be a fact of life in ecommerce, but you can reduce the number of incomplete purchases and the frustration that comes with them. Be proactive and your customers will come back.


Cart image by alles-schlumpf from Flickr’s Creative Commons

Posted by: Carol Stevens AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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