That’s the average amount of time that passes between the moment when an online abandoner first visits your page to when they finally make a purchase.
A whopping 20% abandoners wait 3 days or more.
These numbers, from the National Mail Order Association, present a very interesting view of the problem of shopping cart abandonment. When we did our blog post on conversion optimization a short while back, we mentioned “not ready to buy” as one of the leading causes of abandonment, and today we’ll look at what it means to abandon a cart and what to do about it.
Before we’re an Email Service Provider, MarketTraq is a data and analytics focused company. That said, before you take action to reduce abandoned carts, you must look at your metrics to make sure you understand why your carts are actually abandoned.
As our friend Avinash points out, it’s absolutely critical that you measure days and visits to purchase. Look at the numbers at the top of this post again: 19 hours on average, and over 3 days for a full fifth of website visitors.
If you aren’t measuring how long it takes to convert, you can make drastically incorrect assumptions about your abandonment rate.
Now that you have a strong and thorough understanding of how many customers are actually abandoning your cart, what can you do to prevent it, and how can email marketing be applied to automate and streamline the process?
1. Keep the Cart: It’s shocking how few e-commerce merchants maintain persistent shopping carts. The E-Tailling group noted a full 1/3 of top online retailers did not keep cart contents across sessions. If you understand that customers make purchases over time, keeping the cart persistent over multiple visits is critical to ensuring a completed sale and ensuring higher average order sizes. Do it!
2. A Reminder Never Hurts: Is your email system configured to send reminders to customers who abandoned their carts? If it isn’t, or if it doesn’t respond fast enough, you’re setting yourself up to lose customers.
Up to 78% of sales that start with a web inquiry get won by the first company that responds. Make every abandoned shopping cart a sales inquiry, and respond within 24 hours, reminding customers that they still have a cart that they can come back to. This is especially helpful for customers of opportunity, who came to your website because they were looking for a specific product and not a specific merchant. If you leave things up to chance and allow customers to begin their search from scratch when they ARE ready to buy, there isn’t a guarantee they’ll find you again.
3. Offer an incentive: There is some risk involved with offering incentives to buy. Some customers could begin expecting incentives for every purchase, while others may be turned off by an impersonal offer. If done right, though, this can be an invaluable strategy. The answer lies in segmentation. Watch how they respond and target your incentive by segment.
Before sending a 10% discount to everyone who abandons a cart, you need to have a thorough understanding of what kinds of behaviors customers are exhibiting and how they will respond to certain messaging. If you’re not A/B testing to compare responses based on how users interact with your site and your checkout process, and segmenting those who responded –you have an opportunity to improve here too.
4. Give them what they’re looking for: A large segment of the “not ready to buy” demographic further reported that their hesitation was due to comparison shopping. They want to see how you stack up to similar retailers. Email followups can be a great tool to put aside the fears of missing out on a great deal: follow up with a direct comparison to your competition. If you can positively assert that your deal is the best, a comparison shopper may be swayed by a timely email touting you as the best price on the web.
5. Provide secondary conversion points: A customer who abandoned his cart might still want to join your mailing list. Or perhaps they want additional information about the product they were viewing. Or maybe they want to connect socially. Give customers options for converting, and test providing secondary long-term conversion points. They may not be ready to buy now, but when they are, you want to be at the top of their mind.
The bottom line to optimizing the shopping cart recovery process is understanding how your customer interacts with your website, and how to get them back to it. It is absolutely critical that you track behaviors and segment your response list based on that data: understand what a customer wants and you understand what they need to complete their purchase.
Note, current MarketTraq Clients! You can enable SitePreserver Cart Rescue software in your account. Contact your account manager for details.