There are a lot of articles teaching you how to use email to reclaim abandoned carts. But why not be proactive, and attack the problem at both ends?
There is a lot more that you can, and should, do beyond just sending some automated emails. You should work to reduce the number of people who abandon their cart in the first place. If you can put and end-to-end strategy together to reduce your cart abandonment rate, you’ll regain a lot of leaking revenue.
Any time a visitor to your site adds something to the shopping cart and then does not complete their purchase, you’ve got an abandoned shopping cart.
According to this Baymard Institute study, nearly 70% of online shopping carts will be abandoned without a purchase being made. So on average, 70% of the time that someone visits an online store and adds something to their cart, they will then leave without completing their checkout.
In the same study, we find some of the most common reasons for abandoning carts:
The largest segment (58.6%) said that they were just browsing or doing product research.
They may leave with the intention of returning, or they may never have had a real desire to buy from you in the first place. Some of these may return later on to complete a purchase. So there is very little you can do about that as a store owner. There are ways to address this kind of abandoned cart, and we’ll discuss them later.
Taking out the “just browsing” crowd, what else prevents visitors from buying?
There are a lot of things here that you can actually do something about, so the ball for reducing your number of abandoned carts is firmly in your court.
There are 3 high-level things to do:
You may be suffering from every problem on that list, or just one. Either way, you need to identify the problem before you can fix it. Here are a few techniques to make that happen.
Once you know what it is that’s making it hard for people to give you money, fix it.
Once you know why people are leaving potential purchases behind, the first step is to fix the problems that cause them to do so.
Do you have a flat shipping cost? Make sure they know that early on. Use it as part of your homepage copy. This is one big reason Amazon Prime is so successful. Speaking as a buyer, I know I get free shipping on almost anything I would buy from Amazon. I know the cost I see is what I’ll pay.
Allow your customers to quickly estimate shipping and tax costs within your shopping cart by adding a zip code. The longer you wait to show them a final number, the more are going to drop out without buying.
You are already collecting all of their information if they are making a purchase. Shift account creation to the end of checkout, and make it completely optional if possible. At that point, they have already given you so much that tacking on a password is nothing.
An alternative is to give them good reason to create an account before buying. Offer a discount, wishlist functionality, or something else to make it worth it sign up.
Why? Why in the year 2017 is it difficult to make a purchase online? We’ve been doing this eCommerce thing for a long time. There are humans living full-time in an orbital space station. We can harness electricity from the sun. And you’re going to leave money on the table by making your checkout an Eldritch horror?
Stop making it hard for people to give you money.
I’m not a developer, so I don’t have a ton of advice here. I know sometimes web sites crash. Clean up everything you can, and make sure crashes are as few and far between as possible. That will be easier with fewer pages involved in the checkout because there will be fewer transmissions and fewer steps.
Load time is also an issue. As load times go up, so do cart abandonment rates. Load times should be reduced as much as possible throughout the site, but especially in the checkout phase.
There is a lot that can be done to mitigate lack of trust, and much of it should come before checkout.
Stand behind your product by having a return policy that doesn’t suck, and state it clearly in a place that’s easily seen. Having a well thought out, solid return policy can not only make your shoppers trust you more, it can also protect you against fraud.
Okay, so you’ve found and eliminated the problems that you have control over.
Beyond these very legitimate reasons for people to leave without completing a purchase is another one that you can only really address after the fact.
People don’t always finish things.
They intend to come back later and buy, but they forget. Or they have to run pick up the kids or get something to eat. Or they are about to buy on their lunch break and have to go back to work and you just become another tab in their 40 open mobile browser tabs.
So what else can you do to reclaim some of the revenue you’re losing?
If someone added something to their cart, there is a good chance that they are at least interested in what you’re selling. Maybe they were just researching, maybe they were price-checking. But they at least thought they might want it. So now, it becomes your mission to get back in front of them, gain their awareness, and bring them back on-site.
Popups can be a little annoying, but effective. Using an exit intent pop-up as people leave the page and their shopping cart forces them to reconsider.
You can use the pop-up to get their email address or even offer a small discount to complete their purchase. If you offer a discount, do so only for first-time buyers, and make sure they know that this is a very limited-time, one-time offer.
Make the pop-up as little of an annoyance as possible. It should load and close very quickly, take up a minimal portion of the screen, be easy to close (especially on mobile), and be styled to match your site aesthetic.
Abandoned Cart emails are one of the most effective ways to get back some of your lost revenue.
You will need their email address first, and getting it should be a goal very early on. Make it the first thing you do in the checkout process.
You should also be offering some sort of lead magnet that collects emails from people who never even add to cart. This should be something that will mainly generate interest from real potential buyers.
Giving away an Amazon gift card will get you a lot of email addresses, but they are less likely to buy than someone who wants discounts at your own store or information about the problem your product solves.
You can use email automation (I use and recommend Klaviyo for my own clients) as an easy way to get in touch with those who abandon their carts. This makes it easy to send emails based on behavioral triggers like cart abandonment, and use segmented customization based on demographics, purchase history, etc.
Retargeting ads allow you to put ads in front of past visitors with the goal of bringing them back to the site.
Especially with higher-cost purchases, a visitor may come to your site 2-3-4 times before making their first purchase. Retargeting ads can be a part of that process to make them aware of you, build trust, and bring them back on-site after an initial visit.
If you DO have their email address, there are two ways you can retarget. One is to match the email address they gave your site against those of ad networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and then serve them ads in their feed. The other is to use emails outside of the abandoned cart sequence to remarket.
You are always going to have some level of cart abandonment, but there’s no reason to let it drain away any more of your revenue than you have to.
You’re now armed with the information you need to stop the bleeding. Go forth and reclaim the purchases that are thine by right. Or something like that.
If you want hands-on help to fix your abandoned cart problems, or want to find out how you could grow your eCommerce revenue, feel free to reach out and ask.