Common industry statistics indicate that more than 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. Yet retailers generally treat all shoppers who abandon carts the same, regardless of what items they were shopping for. While this one-size-fits-all approach may work for many, it doesn’t work for everyone. The reasons for abandoning a cart tend to vary based on cart total, and the needs of the shopper also tend to change as the cost increases. So, using a blanket approach for cart recovery emails is likely costing retailers valuable sales.
Here’s an example: I was recently in the market for a dishwasher and began by shopping online. I browsed via laptop and smartphone, read reviews, carted (and abandoned) products, and viewed products in stores. In the midst of my journey, I started receiving abandoned cart emails. What stood out to me is that they were not at all helpful. As close as I was to making a purchase, none of these messages helped convince me to do so. They failed.
Failure to Launch
These messages failed because they did not consider the buyer’s motivation and obstacles to conversion. Someone shopping for a $30 item likely has different needs and hesitations than someone considering a $700 item. Higher priced items typically generate more comparison shopping and a longer buying cycle, and they might need services attached to their purchase, such as delivery, installation and haul-away. For consumers that have filled a cart with items that equal a high-dollar figure, there often comes the natural hesitation of, “Do I really need all of this?”
Knowing Your Buyer
Consider these two cart recovery emails. They were sent from the same retailer, but the price points of the abandoned products are vastly different.
The abandoned products should have determined not only the main messaging but also the recommendations inside of the emails. The free shipping callout in the example with the $30 EarPods works well, as my cart total is less than the required threshold. However, the recommended products feature items that cost in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. These recommendations simply don’t make sense.
In the dishwasher example, however, the prominently displayed free shipping callout is not appropriate for this message. And while the recommendations are more in line with what I am actually shopping for, they don’t help convert me on the dishwasher purchase.
And in both cases, the main messaging tells me they can help, but they fail to mention exactly how. What’s my next step?
This is just one retailer of many whose messaging strategy could use refining. Had any of these companies considered the product I was shopping for or my cart total, they may have directly addressed the obstacles that caused me abandon my purchase in the first place. In the case of the EarpPods, give me some logical product recommendations to bump me over the free shipping threshold. With the dishwasher, include information about how their staff could help me decide on the perfect model, or give me more information on their haul-away and installation services. Without meaningful supporting content, the brand turned these highly relevant messages into something that was mostly useless.
Optimizing Your Cart Recovery Strategy
Abandoned cart messaging should be used to remove conversion obstacles and encourage the customer to purchase. By factoring in details such as cart total, carted items and their categories and/or the number of items in the cart , you can begin to customize messaging that better targets the individual shopper. Your messaging can reinforce appropriate value-adds, such as free shipping or links to resources, that can be used to determine how many messages should be sent, the timing of those messages and if or when an incentive should be included.
Retailers today should be focused on providing the right kind of messaging based on the kinds of products left in the cart. For smaller items, the options are simpler – recommendations to help reach a free shipping threshold or maybe even a discount. For larger, non-impulse purchases, focus on information that encourages shoppers to choose your store over the competitors. By overcoming obstacles and encouraging purchases at this final stage of the online checkout process, you can take the most effective approach to recovering those abandoned carts and converting the shoppers behind them.
Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst for Bronto Software