One Way to Tame the Cart Abandonment Beast

cart abandonmentWritten by: Sue LeClaire

A Growing Problem

Shopping cart abandonment rates are on the rise. According to a recent Baymard Institute study, average documented cart abandonment rate is 68.53% over the past nine years.

If you look at rates on an annual basis, the abandonment rate has been steadily increasing about 2% each year. In 2013 alone, a Barilliance report found that 74% of consumers left a site with un-purchased merchandise in online shopping carts.

That’s a lot of goods left behind. Can you imagine going into a local big box store and seeing over 70% of customers just walk out the door leaving a half-full cart sitting in the middle of the aisle? Think of the logistical nightmare for the 30% of consumers who have to navigate their way around the half-empty carts not to mention the sales staff responsible for restocking the shelves. Luckily for online merchants, the physical cleanup of cart abandonment is not an issue.

According to eMarketer, the top six reasons people do not complete an online transaction include:

cart abandonment chart

Possible Resolutions

There are a number of published best practices about how to get consumers back to the online register to complete their purchase. Most solutions involve improving the customer experience. For example:

  • Simplify the checkout process – there are myriad of ways in which consumers get frustrated during checkout, anything from the volume of required information to not accepting a preferred form of payment. Something as easy as clicking a button to automatically populate the shipping address when the billing and shipping addresses are the same saves a lot of time for harried shoppers.
  • Advertise security measures – employ products and services that verify purchases at each step in the process. Then, let consumers know a third party is monitoring the entire transaction.
  • Employ retargeting efforts with reminder messages – sending emails or PUSH notifications is a great way to encourage re-engagement. According to an industry report by AdRoll, 92% of marketers report retargeting performs equal to or better than search, 91% equal to or better than email, and 92% equal to or better than other display.
  • Deliver a discount to shoppers who return to complete their transaction – a Visual Website Optimizer survey found that 54 percent of all shoppers and 72 percent of millennial shoppers (ages 25 to 34) would go back and purchase the products they left in their cart if the items were offered again at a discounted price.

A Proven Tactic

One effective practice is to send a follow-up email to the consumer shortly after a cart has been abandoned.

SaleCycle reported that in the last three months of 2014:

  • 44.1% of cart abandonment emails were opened.
  • 11.61% click-through rate brought the consumers back to the abandoned cart.
  • 29.9% of the email click-throughs lead to a recovered purchase.

In addition to sending a follow-up email, a number of CodeBroker customers deliver an incentive to their customers encouraging them to complete the online purchase. When the consumer clicks on the link in the email message, the consumer is automatically brought back to their shopping cart. In some instances, the discount amount is applied to the basket. In another instance, the retailer will ask the customer if they would like to apply the discount to this purchase or save it for another shopping trip.

In either case, when employing an incentive, the percentage of retailers who are able to recapture the online sale increases significantly – up to 45% of click-throughs. In addition, depending on how the offer is worded in the email message, open and click-through rates can dramatically increase. CodeBroker has observed that if a retailer uses SMS (PUSH notifications) for retargeting, the open and click-through rates are even higher.

In summary, cart abandonment is not going away. While retailers can do many things to address shipping costs and the consumer check-out experience, CodeBroker retailers have been able to significantly improve cart abandonment recovery rates be delivering incentives. The incentives can be used to offset additional fees, discounts for a future purchase, or to surprise and delight their customers with additional savings.