Marketing commentators often talk about "Cart Abandonment", "Cart Recovery" and "Browse Abandonment". So what is "abandonment" and what is "recovery"?
There's nothing magic about the "Recovery" step of doing business. It's been happening in the real world for millenia. You engage with shoppers, convert them into customers, and if the process isn't going smoothly or regular customers seem to be drifting away then you have a chat to recover their business. For example:
- My first business was computer games, pre-internet, and we would periodically ring around previous retail customers. This was one of the fun parts of selling, because we would almost always get some new orders.
- My partner runs a beauty salon and she regularly bumps into customers and former customers while walking around town. The resulting conversations are mainly about family events, and my partner never talks about business unless asked, but it's surprising how often former customers realise what they are missing and return.
Of course, there's a dark side to "Recovery" too. We're all familiar with phone calls from the desperate, commission-only salesperson who won't take no for an answer. So it's essential to keep a light touch.
Fresh Relevance adds similar recovery to Web Stores, with browse abandonment recovery and cart abandonment recovery.
What is Browse Abandonment?
Browse Abandonment is when a customer has been browsing your site, researching products, but instead of buying they just leave. Possibly they didn't like your offers, but sometimes they fully intended to buy later.
Here's one scenario for browse abandonment:
- Shoppers like to research products on their cell phones, but many of them wait to buy on a tablet or laptop when they get back to base (Greg Sterling, Marketing Land). Their reasons include a poor buying experience on mobiles, and also some people worry about losing their phones and prefer not to enter credit card details on them.
- These shoppers are finding products on your site, using their phone, but leaving without using the cart or buying. This is classic browse abandonment. There is no way to recover these customers with cart abandonment alone, because they are not using the cart.
- When they continue shopping later, on a different device, these shoppers google for the products, put them in a cart and buy them. But the google search may find a competitor's site instead of yours. This means you did all the work of selling the product, but still lost the actual sale.
- Browse abandonment can rescue some of these sales. Fresh Relevance could have sent them a real-time email with details of the products they found and links back to your site, so they can click, return and buy, and you get the order.
What is Cart Abandonment?
Cart Abandonment is when a customer browses your site, finds products, puts them into the cart, and then leaves. Maybe they changed their mind, but quite often they got distracted.
Here's a scenario for cart abandonment:
- A shopper is buying from work, in a quiet time, and finds the products she wants
- Before she can complete the purchase, there's one of the minor emergencies that makes up a typical working day,
- She closes the browser, planning to continue later. But she never gets around to it, or she starts with a google search that finds the products on a competitor's site
- As with browse abandonment, Fresh Relevance could have already sent them a real-time email with details of the products they found and links back to your site, so they could click, return and buy, and you get the order.
Browse and Cart Recovery Emails have outstanding ROI
- Cart and browse abandonment recovery use very similar emails, and you can run the same copy forever, so it's easy and there's very little work to do.
- Cart Recovery gives typical businesses a 15%-16% sales uplift (report), though there is a lot of variation.
- Browse Recover adds an additional 3% to 4% sales uplift for a typical Fresh Relevance customer (report). This depends on the percentage of shoppers that can be recognised.
(numbers updated on 23 July 2013)
If you're selling online, browse recovery and cart recovery will increase your sales immediately.
And if you use a specialist, like Fresh Relevance, they will identify more visitors and so can recover a lot more sales. (For example, 4x as many as apps that use the Magento API). We also include pictures and product descriptions in the email, to greatly increase engagement.
All it takes for us to start sending abandonment recovery emails is to fill in a couple of forms and copy a one-line script into your website. (Read more.) Later, you can create your own tailored emails, which will perform slightly better, but it's really important to start soon. The longer you wait, the more money you leave on the table by waiting until everything is perfect. And did I mention there's a free trial?