DRTV Derailer #2: Online Shopping Cart

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Irv Brechner



drtv-derailersAs many as 75 percent of your customers start the shopping cart process and abandon it before completion. Learn why this happens and what to do about it.

Imagine if 7 out of 10 phone calls into your call center where a consumer started to place an order disappeared. Alarm bells would be going off, and you’d examine every aspect of the script, the call center and everything that could impact inbound phone orders.

Well, the same thing is happening on your site as you read this. 70 percent of the consumers coming to your site who start the buying process drop off for some reason. According to Forrester Research, the top five reasons for online shopping cart abandonment are:

  • Shipping and handling costs too high
  • Consumer not ready to purchase
  • Consumer wanted to compare prices on other sites
  • Product price was higher than consumer was willing to pay
  • Wanted to save product in cart for later evaluation

Abandonment and retargeting company SeeWhy categorizes these reasons into two primary drivers of abandonment: price and timing. Either the total cost is too high and/or the consumer is not yet ready to buy.

You also need to know that 47 percent of online buyers are unwilling to finalize a purchase unless some sort of promotion is offered. This ties back to the offer, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Another fact is that men and women shop differently, so if your target audience is one or the other, you need to understand those differences. Part of the thought process to reduce abandonment is to understand the importance of email retargeting, the role of after-the-fact offers and promotions, and that, in fact, spending time and effort to reach out to abandoners is not a waste of time and money.

Bridge Over Disaster

The time and effort you put into understanding abandonment and addressing it is time well spent.

Make reducing shopping cart abandonment a major priority and commit to addressing it in the next 30 days. Top management needs to be involved because some of the decisions will possibly require changes to the TV spot or show, such as offering free or reduced-cost shipping. Here are the key top-level points about abandonment that serve as a good starting point:

  • For many consumers, abandonment — returning and buying on the second or third visit — is a normal part of the purchase cycle.
  • Make sure you have a permanent shopping cart, giving consumers the ability to save the potential purchase so that they can come back later.
  • Embrace the use of email to retarget consumers whose email addresses you’ve captured.
  • Make email address capture a top priority so that you can send retargeting messages, including special offers, at specific intervals.
  • Provide additional reasons to buy and special offers to entice consumers to come back to complete their purchases.
  • Understand that men are more likely to compare prices and less likely to abandon, and women who take longer to buy are more sensitive to shipping costs and more likely to save carts for later.
  • Recognize that new buyers — those who have never purchased from you before — will often take more nurturing than those familiar with your brand and products.
  • Understand the value of timing in your retargeting program, and be prepared to develop an email retargeting program (either in-house or with a vendor such as SeeWhy) that leverages timing to generate the best response to retargeting messages.
  • Understand that there is a strong relationship between the monetary value of the cart and the abandonment rate. Typically, higher value shopping carts are abandoned more frequently, but there are exceptions that you need to know:
  • Low value carts have high abandonment rates
  • Carts at critical price points have very high abandonment rates
  • Individual products can have very different abandonment rates
  • Learn the value of retargeting in real time, which generally means immediately following the abandonment. The real-time remarketing campaigns generated 105 percent more revenue than the same email sent 24 hours after the abandonment, according to SeeWhy.
  • Well-known brands have an advantage. Consumers are more comfortable buying from well-known and well-respected brands, and this aids retargeting.

The good news is that 8 percent of abandoners will return to buy without any form of remarketing. The better news is that an additional 18 percent will come back to buy after receiving email retargeting messages. That’s a whopping 26 percent conversion of abandoners — a very meaningful number.

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