Recover Visitors who Abandon Their Shopping Carts

Website visitors often do not buy on their first visit to a site.

Around 70% will abandon their shopping cart. This is largely because they are not yet ready to buy and still need to think it over. Does this mean you should ignore these people and take no action? No! There are several techniques to use after a shopping cart has been abandoned to re-engage visitors. These can be split into two main categories: remarketing via advertisements and e-mail reactivation.

Remarketing via advertisements

Remarketing via advertisements consists of tracking people who visit your site and place a product in their shopping cart, then displaying advertisements they will see as they visit other sites. This accomplishes multiple goals:

  • increase your brand awareness in the mind of a user who is no longer in the search phase,
  • associate your brand with high-end advertising platforms that can boost your credibility (especially if your brand is not well known),
  • showcase an incentive based on the content in the abandoned cart to encourage a repeat visit and conversion.

You have a lot of latitude to target visitors (e.g.: only those whose abandoned cart items total a threshold amount or fall into a particular product category) and adapt your advertising content with personalised messages (e.g.: reuse the visual of the product that was placed in the shopping cart, etc.).

There are many remarketing solutions on the market: Criteo, AdRoll, Google, etc. They all work the same way: when visitors visit an e-commerce site, the remarketing service provider puts a cookie on their computer with the products viewed and/or placed in a cart (e.g.: blue Nike sport shoes). When the visitors go to a partner website affiliated with the remarketing provider, the site’s server reads the cookie, recognises that they visited the e-commerce site and displays an ad for blue Nike sport shoes.

How effective is remarketing via advertisements at fighting shopping cart abandonment?

The average click rate for a traditional display campaign ranges from 0.05% to 0.1% while the click rate for remarketing can be twice that, reaching 0.2%. And if one hones in on the conversion rate, these can range up to 20% for remarketing traffic, while the average for traditional traffic is just 2%.

E-mail reactivation programmes

The two most important criteria to consider are the timing and content of the e-mail.

Another way to encourage visitors to return to the site to complete their purchase is to send them a transactional email. The goal is to send e-mail reminders staggered over time. In the first reactivation e-mail, you will remind them, for example, of the contents in their shopping cart, then you may offer a promotional offer or a discount code in the second email to prompt them to check out. The effectiveness of your reactivation programme will depend on the quality of your reminder routines. The two most important criteria to consider are the timing and content of the e-mail.

The ideal time to send the first message appears to be within 24 hours of their visit. A Hybris study showed that 72% of visitors who abandoned their shopping carts and returned on their own to finalise their transaction did so within 24 hours of placing the items in the cart. But the study also revealed that it takes up to two weeks for 95% of these visitors to complete their transaction. Thus a single e-mail is not enough. Of course, the number and frequency of your e-mails depend on the visiting behaviour of your site visitors.

With regard to the e-mail content, it is recommended that you include a visual of the product(s) added to the cart to make the message as customised as possible. You should also include reassurances about shipping and means of payment, along with a call-to-action to spur the user to return to the site. And do not forget to tell visitors that their carts have been saved and they can retrieve them with a simple click. Moreover, the call-to-action URL could take them to a pre-populated cart page. This option may, however, be too intrusive if the cart amount is high and its contents are complex products that require more thought before purchase. In this case, a better option is to direct visitors to the product page with selling points (technical specs, video presentation, customer ratings, etc.). The more information you give about the product, the more you will help visitors gather the data they need to take a decision. Also include other items to encourage the user to act quickly: reminder of inventory status, time-bound promotional price, etc. Discounts are a very powerful tool. Indeed 54% of Internet shoppers say they would be willing to buy the abandoned cart items if they were offered at a lower price.

How effective are theses e-mail reactivation programmes?

According to several remarketing e-mail solution providers, 46% of reactivation e-mails are opened, with a 13% click rate. One-third of these clicks lead to an actual purchase. More generally, an e-mail reactivation programme appears to generate 4.5 to 6% in additional sales.

Of course, if you want to deploy an e-mail reactivation programme, you must capture visitors’ e-mail addresses. If the user already has an account and is known to your site, this is not a problem. Otherwise, try to quickly gather their e-mail address with a multi-step funnel. If they go no further than entering their contact information (surname, name, shipping address, e-mail address), at least you will have a way to follow up with them. Unfortunately, 85% of visitors who abandon their shopping carts remain anonymous. Therefore e-mail reactivation programmes are hard to scale and should be used in conjunction with remarketing via advertisements or some other form of on-site remarketing, as described above.

Unfortunately, 85% of visitors who abandon their shopping carts remain anonymous. Therefore e-mail reactivation programmes are hard to scale and should be used in conjunction with remarketing via advertisements or some other form of on-site remarketing, as described above.

Takeaway

An abandoned shopping cart does not necessarily signify a lack of interest in your product or service. In some cases, it may reflect displeasure with the user path you have established, but quite often it tells you how far along shoppers are in their decision-making process. This is why it is important to put in place remarketing tactics to bring unsure shoppers back onto your site, so they can finalise their purchase.

To learn more about shopping cart abandonment, download our ebook.

Robin Nichols

Robin is a Content Marketing Manager at AB Tasty. Interested in the crossroads of technology and culture, her aim is to produce practical, on point content to help marketers of all stripes improve their conversion rates.

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