Don’t let your customers walk away from their carts

E-commerce marketers used to be hard-pressed to do so much about preventing abandoned carts. Online security concerns, high shipping costs, and the practice of revealing order totals late in the check-out process have fueled chronically high abandonment rates.

Though this initially seemed like an insurmountable problem, it’s not anymore. According to Forrester Research, about 87 percent of consumers abandon carts. But that doesn’t mean you should give up, especially during the holidays. With automated cart abandonment messages, you can recover some of that $18 billion thought to be lost each year.

With this in mind, here are four things you need to consider when mapping your abandoned cart strategy for the holidays:

1. Shoppers don’t necessarily think they are abandoning carts

A Bronto survey of 1,000 shoppers found that 73 percent of online consumers use the shopping cart to store items to buy later. They might park an item in a cart to look at it on another device or check out the item in the store – 12 percent do the latter every time they shop.

Additionally, if you’re marketing to millennials, consider that 88 percent use carts as idea storage lockers.

2. Some shoppers like reminder emails

If you think your customers will get all Grinch-like on you if you remind them about their cart, think again.

the-grinch

Bronto’s study showed that 42 percent of shoppers think the messages are helpful. Because the remaining 58 percent see these emails as intrusive or annoying, you’ll want to segment your audience.

Consider how cart reminders are perceived by different genders and age groups to help you determine a good segmentation strategy, to avoid turning off shoppers during this crucial holiday season.

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According to the survey:

  • 45 percent of females consider reminder messages helpful.
  • 61 percent of shoppers ages 18 to 29 also appreciate reminder emails.
  • 45 percent of those ages 30 to 39 respond positively to cart abandonment email reminders.

3. Shoppers aren’t necessarily looking for discounts

At 48 percent, nearly half of those surveyed only expect a reminder about their cart in their inbox, with no strings attached. Contrary to these users, 37 percent of shoppers are interested in receiving a coupon or discount code, particular those ages 49 and younger. Likewise, 15 percent of people expect free shipping, and this interest is especially prevalent amongst males and younger shoppers.

E-tailers that also have brick-and-mortar store locations can and should also remind shoppers that they have the option to check items out in person, as 40 percent say they plan to do so anyhow.

4. Give free shipping top-billing

While only 15 percent of those surveyed expect a free shipping offer with a cart reminder message, 38 percent of shoppers say they won’t purchase from an e-commerce retailer that doesn’t offer free shipping during holiday season. My advice to the 12 percent of online-only retailers that do not intend to offer free shipping throughout the holiday shopping season this year is: reconsider your strategy.

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If your brand is adamant about not offering free shipping, there are other strategic avenues you can take to maintain consumer engagement with your brand. In this case, it’s vital that retailers compensate by promoting other value propositions in cart reminder messages, including:

  • Loyalty program information.
  • Coupons for future purchases.
  • Any other services that make your brand unique.

Free returns, a generous exchange policy, and personalized customer service can also give shoppers a reason to reconsider their purchase. Multichannel retailers that offer free in-store pickup, free returns, or extended store hours, should emphasize those options in your messages.

In conclusion

A perk of working in e-commerce is that you never have to worry about a cart being abandoned due to a checkout line that’s too long, but you still need to work to keep your online browsers engaged and ready to buy. Implementing any of these tactics into your holiday marketing strategy is a surefire way to decrease cart abandonment rates; enabling you to have a holly jolly revenue filled holiday with ROI even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Ho ho ho. 

*Article images via Flickr.  

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