While abandonment rates are increasing, does that necessarily mean that consumers are abandoning their order? Jim Davidson shares insights from recent Bronto/Magento research on shopper frequent and cross-device shopper cart behavior.
Every marketer has heard the alarm: "Shopping cart abandonment is increasing!" Many marketers have hit the snooze button, even though cart abandonment reminder emails are a proven revenue generator.
While abandonment rates are increasing, does that necessarily mean that consumers are abandoning their order? Sticker shock, indecision, comparison shopping, technical issues... we all know the laundry list of reasons shoppers abandon carts. However, there are many other factors that contribute to the increased abandonment rate and it's not just panic or price related.
Case in point: many consumers now use the cart as a shopping tool that has become part of the shopping experience. Abandoning a cart has merely become one of many steps along the path to purchase. It's not necessarily a make-or-break decision about completing an order, but rather the cart has become a functional tool that many shoppers today use before the purchase intent really peaks.
We wanted to learn more about these trends, so Bronto partnered with Magento to ask consumers how they use shopping carts and to share their expectations about cart-related marketing.
40 Percent of Consumers Use Shopping Cart for Storage to View Later on Another Device
Of the population of consumers in the study (1,003), 40 percent always or occasionally use the shopping cart to store items that will be viewed later on a different device.
Think of your customer shopping on their work laptop in between tasks. Items may be carted; perhaps more items that they know they will buy. The shopper decides she needs to get back to work and saves her cart. That evening, the cart is revisited on a tablet while sofa surfing. Product reviews are read, photos zoomed, descriptions analyzed and then the cart is honed down to the items that are purchased.
In the middle of this process, the shopping cart was technically abandoned. Should you have sent a cart reminder during that gap?
Well, the answer is maybe. A cart reminder email could give the shopper an immediate nudge to revisit her cart. But then again, purchase intent was already evident, so the shopper could consider an immediate message intrusive during this phase of her decision-making process. No one can peg the optimal time to trigger the reminder email, although many retailers have found that the sooner they are sent, the better.
One in Five Daily or Weekly Shoppers Crosses Devices Every Time They Shop
It's also worth noting that consumers who purchase daily or weekly carted items with the intent to purchase view on a different device more frequently. Nearly one in five of these frequent shoppers always use this method, every time they shop. Even 24 percent of those customers who buy online less than once per month hopped across devices.
What does this mean for the marketer? The simple answer is that the one-size-fits-all approach of shopping cart abandonment reminder emails should evolve in step with consumer shopping behavior. This approach is especially important for your most valuable customers: frequent shoppers.
How to Connect with Cross-Device Frequent Shoppers
Rather than relying solely on the most commonly seen content approaches such as customer service messages, urgency/cart expiration notifications, and an incentive to complete the order, incorporate factors like product reviews and product details into your abandoned cart messages to further engage shoppers.
Anticipate that many of the reminder emails that are opened in the evening are likely to be viewed on a mobile device. Ensure that the email is optimized for mobile devices and clicks-through to a mobile friendly site.
Proactively speak to these device hopping shoppers directly in the cart by including calls to action to save a cart to review later. Shoppers who abandon on the cart page itself could be more likely to need more time to whittle their carted items down, whereas shoppers who abandon on the final page before submitting an order may drop from the purchase path due to the more traditional causes, like sticker shock and shopper anxiety. Customize reminder emails to speak to these very different customer needs.
Luckily, the technology available to marketers to develop more advanced, automated reminder message programs has evolved along with consumer behavior. The tools are there and while some time and resources are needed for the initial set up, the combination of increased sales and a better customer experience will benefit your bottom line and keep customers coming back to buy.
Editor's Note: As 2013 comes to a close, we're pleased to share our top email columns of the year. This article was originally published October 22, 2013.
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As an expert in email, mobile, and social strategies, Jim Davidson brings over 13 years of experience in online marketing, managing email and cross-channel programs for top retail clients. From strategic vision to implementation, Jim has led clients to successfully meet aggressive revenue and performance goals. As Bronto's manager of marketing research, he regularly publishes industry-focused white papers, research reports, and contributes to the Bronto Blog. Jim's articles frequently appear in leading retail, e-commerce, and marketing publications.
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