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Why Helping Visitors Abandon Their Carts is Your Biggest Conversion Asset

by Today's Eggspert

Actually encouraging people to abandon their carts may seem counterproductive, but in the long run, you could end up earning a lot more money.

Research shows that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is at 68.53%, leading to the creation of countless articles on the subject of forcing visitors to hand over the credit card details before clicking off your site.

When it comes to ecommerce, we believe loyalty is the key to a successful online store and in an age where the time spent browsing via mobile is now 51% compared to 42% on desktops, we have developed the ultimate strategy to boost your store’s revenue and keep visitors coming back for more.

Why modern shoppers are abandoning their carts

Before utilizing cart abandonment to increase conversions, you first need to understand why your customers may be abandoning their carts.

When analyzing cart abandonment rates, most ecommerce entrepreneurs and marketers examine the things on their site that could be causing visitors to leave. Common reasons for cart abandonment include:

  • Complicated checkout process
  • Long registration process
  • Price increase caused by shipping and/or tax
  • Poor loading times
  • Doubt over site security

Most of these are common problems that the majority of ecommerce store owners actively combat, whether it’s by featuring secure badges, using monitoring tools to keep on top of functionality issues or offering free shipping.

Once these technical issues are under control, it’s time to analyze the other reasons visitors may be abandoning their carts, such as one big factor that is often overlooked – the rise of mobile browsing.

Online shopping is no longer being done solely on a desktop at home. Often people will browse online stores on their smartphones over a lunchtime coffee or during a commute; however, actual purchasing is unlikely to be done during this time, hence the high numbers of cart abandonment.

The rise of mobile browsing and why you should help visitors abandon their baskets

Reports show consumers spend 15+ hours a week researching on their smartphone, with 45% of these going on to make their purchase on a desktop or tablet. That is a huge number of potential customers that your online store could be benefiting from.

The truth is mobile store browsing is an incredible asset to ecommerce sites and is something that should be nurtured and facilitated. Idle mobile browsing is time your potential customers can spend doing the hard work of searching and saving items – items they can review that evening or at the weekend when they have time to sit down with their laptop and credit card.

Basically, you should be doing everything in your power to make life easy for the growing demographic of mobile browsers.

The benefits of helping visitors abandon their carts

Online retailers often focus on shopping cart abandonment rate without looking at the bigger picture. Yes, it’s a useful conversion tool, allowing you to identify issues that could be chasing customers away, but it doesn’t consider evolving online customer purchase paths.

As well as browsing via mobile during downtime, consumers often use carts to compare online prices, as a wish list for payday or even to keep track of presents for future birthdays.

Once you stop seeing cart use as a one-time opportunity to force a visitor to buy, you’ll see that shopping carts are an amazing opportunity to encourage customer loyalty and reel shoppers back in time and again, they’ll have a much smoother conversion plan in place.

5 ways to convert visitors who have left your site

Once you’ve realized the benefits of allowing customers to abandon their carts, there are a number of ways to encourage them to return to you with their credit card details time and again.

1. Have a guest checkout

This really is a great function for an ecommerce site to have and is used successfully by numerous big brands. New visitors can browse without the pressure of signing up and committing their email address before they get to know the site. Guest checkouts allow them to file items away during their first inspection of your site, encouraging them to sign up once they’ve committed items to their guest basket. This makes it simple for them to commit to a purchase later on once they can’t find a suitable alternative on one of their regular sites.

This is especially useful for sites like Walmart with a huge amount of inventory that customers could forget as they browse:

Guest1

Guest2

2. Facilitate their future buys

Every ecommerce site has a basket, but surprisingly few have a wish list. If your store has wish list, you’re pretty much guaranteed your users will pop all the items that take their fancy in here, while only the items their immediately sure of will be put in their baskets. This means they won’t forget any product they liked and have a list of extra items to add to their shopping cart when they are ready to buy.

Remember, they can also file items away as future birthday or Christmas presents for friends and family…

ASOS have been particularly successful when it comes to this method, even allowing you to create a Saved Items list while a guest on the site that can be saved to your account once you sign up.

Wishlist1

Another great feature of ASOS’ wish list is that items can only be saved for 60 days, which creates a sense of urgency, compelling visitors to return to the site before their product is lost forever.

3. Easy sign-up

If they haven’t already registered with your site, remind them to do so before they leave. The trick is to keep it simple. Too many ecommerce sites try to bleed every last bit of information out of people who register with them, which as well as being off-putting, is also too time-consuming for the on-the-go browser.

Allow them to register with a simple email/password combo or better yet, with the tap of a ‘Sign Up With Facebook’ button. Once this is done, make sure their basket or wish list is automatically saved so they can return to it later.

B&Q facilitate a simple sign-up, allowing people to quickly save any items they put in their basket for a later date.

SignUp1

4. Email reminders

A mail recovery campaign is a great way to reel visitors back to your site, reminding them of the items they stored away in their basket. Ideally, you should create a series of three emails – 24 hours, 2 days and 1 week – that are sent to potential customers after they abandon their cart.

As well as the below cart recovery email from FacialCo, there are some fantastic examples of email recovery campaigns available online, but to be effective, the basic elements these emails should include are:

  • Pictures of the item(s) they saved
  • A strong call-to-action
  • Guarantee and refund policy information

Recovery1

It’s important that emails aren’t sent out exactly 24 hours after the first visit as the fact they abandoned their cart could be down to their daily schedule; their activities at that time may not suit purchasing items online (i.e.: bus journey home from work). Try to send it an hour or two either side of the original time.

5. Short-lived discount

A reminder email sent a week or two after the initial visit can offer a 24-hour discount code giving 10% off whatever is in their basket, just like Hello Nomad did.

Discount1

However, keep in mind that doing this every time conditions your customers and may make them wait in future. It’s best to make this a one-time offer for customers who have never purchased with you before.

About the Author: Ravit Sasson oversees all of the marketing activities for Shoppimon – the first online service for Magento-driven ecommerce sites that helps owners find issues with their stores before shoppers do. Prior to this, Ravit worked as a Digital Marketing Manager at Microsoft and served as a Marketing Mentor for the prestigious Microsoft Accelerator program. Ravit is an MBA graduate with over 10 years of experience in marketing management, business development and web-based projects. In her spare time Ravit is a seasoned traveller and an avid reader of historical literature.
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  1. Jeremy says:
    December 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    the margin is so huge right now for abandon carts(like almost 70% of carts are abandoned) that it is low hanging fruit for any e-commmerce site. The ROI is enormous compared to setting up any other simple strategy of getting more sales to convert. There is not enough out there written to stress the potential in this category. Thanks for well written article.

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