If you’re like most eCommerce marketers you get bombarded by advice and sales pitches aimed at recovering revenue lost to cart abandonment. And you wonder if any of the advice is worthwhile.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the customer just didn’t like your product. Or that they found it at a competitor’s online shop for less money. If that were the case, spending time and effort to reduce cart abandonment would seem wasteful.
But it’s not. There are multiple ways to reduce cart abandonment that you can fix. But first let’s look at the numbers. Our research indicates that the cart abandonment rate currently stands at around 58%. Nearly 6 in 10 shoppers are placing an item in a cart and leaving before purchasing the item.
But averages only tell part of the story. You need to understand the abandonment rate on your site. To do that, divide the number of abandoned carts by the total number of carts created. Once you have this figure, you’ll have a better insight into how significant cart abandonment is specifically to you. This will allow you to start looking at what factors may be contributing to abandoned carts on your site, and how to prevent it.
As you start to tease out what is causing shoppers to leave their cart behind and what you can do to encourage customers to return and checkout, you’re going to encounter some eCommerce fallacies. Let’s get right down to debunking.
Myth no. 1 -- Carts are abandoned because shoppers find a better deal elsewhere
Shoppers tell researchers that carts are abandoned for a host of reasons. A poor customer journey through checkout is a common reason, along with a lack of shipping or payment options. Problems buying from a mobile device are another oft-cited reason.
Increasingly, eCommerce merchants understand that enhancing how a customer interacts with a product online can make a big difference. Shopping online without access to a tangible product means that consumers require a good level of detail before they can commit to making a purchase. They might pop the item in their cart and then have second thoughts. If you offer fashion products, look at options like 360 degree videos and virtual dressing rooms to help customers understand how the product will look on them. In addition, consider free shipping and returns. Or if you have bricks-and-mortar stores, highlight that deliveries and returns can be made to a store.
For products that might elicit questions from customers, make sure online browsers see the option to chat online or call to ask questions.
Myth No 2 -- Personalization isn’t worth the effort
Keeping customers engaged is one way to keep them from abandoning their cart. On your website, use personalization tools to make product suggestions that are relevant to the customer, as well as including dynamic features, such as countdown timers for shipping cut-off dates etc., to create a sense of urgency.
You can also use social proof, which can include product reviews, ratings, and social media posts from customers, to create a sense of trust in your brand and products. This works - 76% of consumers believe that content generated by average people is more honest than advertising from brands. Customers aren’t turned off by personalized product recommendations. It makes their shopping easier.
Myth No. 3 -- Emailing customers who abandon a cart doesn’t work
If shoppers leave after putting products in their shopping carts, sending them recovery emails can give a sales uplift of 8%.
A common misconception regarding cart abandonment is that remarketing emails will annoy or alienate the customer, and drive them away from the brand. However, this is not the case. Research and numerous success stories suggest that targeted remarketing emails which highlight products relevant to the consumer do in fact drive sales and increase brand loyalty.
Highly personalized cart abandonment emails can be the difference between a consumer returning to make a purchase, and losing them.
Myth No. 4 - Even if those emails work, isn’t GDPR a problem?
With the introduction of GDPR in the EU, many companies and marketers have also expressed concerns around the legality of email remarketing, and whether this is classed as spam. However, as these are specific, personalized emails based on the content of an abandoned cart, they do not fall into this category. They are also being sent to a person who has an existing relationship with your brand (after all, to send a cart recovery email, you need to have the shopper’s email address, right?), so this is a legitimate interest and well-practised way of generating revenue.
In part 2, I’ll discuss another four common cart abandonment misconceptions, from the need to include a discount to the supposed advantages of developing a solution in-house.