Shopping Cart Abandonment – Why it Happens and How You Can Stop It (Part 2)

In part one of this discussion, we looked at some of the most common reasons visitors to your eCommerce site are likely to abandon their shopping cart midway through the purchasing process:

  • Shipping and handling too costly
  • Preferred payment method not offered
  • Not wanting to register account/provide personal information
  • Checkout process too complicated

For each, there are steps you can take in the design of your online store that can mitigate cart abandonment before it even happens.  But even the most perfectly designed eCommerce site is going to experience cart abandonment.    Remember that online shopping provides one of the most accessible venues for window shopping there is.  In a virtual world, you can fill your electronic cart with all kinds of goodies without a care, knowing that neither you nor any overworked stock boy will ever have to put physically all those items back on shelves.

Think back to the real-life abandoned cart I talked about in the first part of the post.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to reach out to whomever that shopper was and learn the reasons behind the aborted shopping mission?  One advantage that can be had in the eCommerce world, given the proper tracking setup, is that there are some situations where you can reach out to a shopper after they have abandoned their cart, and in many cases recover the sale!

Email Tracking

If you run an eCommerce site, one of the marketing tactics you should be using to drive traffic to your store is a dedicated email campaign.  It’s a great way to build up a loyal customer base and drive return visits.  In an email campaign, you already know who you’ve sent your email blast to.  By setting up UTM codes on your links, using unique landing pages for email, and setting up proper tracking, you can be aware of who is visiting your site from your email campaign, when they are there and what pages they are visiting.  You can track your online shoppers in real time!

Triggering the Save

Many email platforms allow you to set up “triggered emails,” which are emails that will only be sent when the recipient has performed some action that sets the email in motion.  That action might be simply signing up for email alerts from your company, which could trigger a “Welcome” email to be sent to them thanking them for doing so.  Triggered emails can also be set up for when someone abandons a shopping cart on your site.

This should be a simple, gently worded email indicating that you noticed the abandonment, and asking if there were any problems with the process that you can help with.  This email should contain a link that puts the recipient right back into the checkout page with their cart restored – or better yet, show the cart items in the email.

Timing is Everything

There are several schools of thought on when to send that email.  Some say catch them right away with an email asking if there was a technical issue that caused them to abandon their cart; others will tell you the sweet spot is about 6-8 hours later.  Still others say send the email the next day, so as not to make your customers feel as though they are being watched like guinea pigs in an experiment.  You may have to do some testing to determine the right timing for your particular audience, but know that the eCommerce industry overall sees these post-abandonment emails opened at a rate of nearly 50% and have nearly 30% conversion – remarkable numbers!  Think what a third of abandoned sales would translate to in dollars and cents for your store.  Worth the time to set up, isn’t it?

If you have an eCommerce site, are planning your next email campaign, and would like to be prepared to handle the cart abandonment issue as adeptly as possible, start a conversation with us at Synapse today!


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