Reengage Customers Who Abandon Your Site

The new year is here. Like most online marketers, I’m faced with the same dilemma as last year: how to increase browser-to-buyer ratios. This problem isn’t new, of course. It seems as insurmountable as ever. I’m here to tell you the answer’s out there. And it doesn’t cost all that much to implement.

Before you seek a solution, you must have a well-defined problem. Surprisingly, many marketers don’t know what their browser-to-buyer ratios are. If they do know, they often don’t know specifics, such as where and why their customers are leaving their sites.

A recent client study resulted in some interesting conclusions. Although the rationales leading consumers to drop has evolved, there’s still a significant online conversion rate issue.

Usability concern, once a major issue, is now rarely a factor in Web site and order abandonment. A small percentage of prospects left a site because the ordering process was too complicated or the site too difficult to navigate. Marketers have heard user complaints and reacted to them. Web sites, by and large, are more user-friendly. This is great news.

Yet an exceedingly high percentage of prospects continue to abandon. On many sites, between 50 and 90 percent of orders are dropped before completion. Yet we find a majority of prospects did have an interest in becoming customers. At least two-thirds of prospects surveyed were serious about making a purchase when they came to that particular site, but they didn’t complete the order. Most said they abandoned because it wasn’t a good time; price was too high; they were uncomfortable buying online; or they required more information or help with their order.

Those are the “soft” reasons leading customers to drop. The hard part remains: What can you do to increase conversion rates? There are practical and easy-to-implement solutions.

First, understand the specific issues your customers face in different areas of your site and reasons that led them to drop. In some cases, the issue is obvious, based on where and when they left. Someone dropping from a page that displays full cost, including shipping, is likely to be struggling with price. In other cases, the underlying reason may not be as explicit. In that situation, survey customers during their visit. Offer a compelling reason to provide you with their feedback.

Should customers abandon their orders, collect the data you’ll need to reconnect with them. At the point of their departure, automatically record what pages they viewed during their visit, save data they recorded, and proactively request any missing information, such as email address. Remember, a customer who drops from your home page probably has different needs and interests than one who drops from an order page. Based on these customer specificities, enter into a dialog to bring them back.

Leverage your understanding of why prospects abandoned before completing their orders. Then, adapt your message in terms of both timing and content. Personalizing reengagement tactics can have significant impact on efficiently bringing abandoners back to your site.

When dealing with a price-sensitive customer, follow up as soon as possible. Offer a limited-time deal. If you’re faced with a cautious buyer, send relevant information and, if it makes sense, arrange a call from a sales rep. When utilizing reps, arm them with all relevant data needed to regain lost customers.

Utilize all possible communication media to maximize chances of winning a prospect back. Use a combination of pop-up messages, online inserts, follow-up email, sales calls, online chat, and others at your disposal. Make sure to use the medium most likely to address the abandoner’s needs in the most efficient manner. It’s often difficult to develop the right set of tactics from scratch, so constantly test and refine your tactics.

Take a step back. Use data and log sheets to examine how to truly solve the never-ending challenge of improving conversion. Given market dynamics and available information regarding why customers leave e-commerce sites, it makes sense to tackle reengagement as a means to maximize the potential of each customer interaction.

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