recovering abandoned carts

Need to Boost Revenue? Try Recovering Abandoned Carts

By Matt Baglia

One of the most frustrating statistics for any e-commerce store is the amount of revenue lost because of abandoned carts. You’ve done all the hard work to attract shoppers to your store and interest them in your products but then, for whatever reason, they don’t complete the sale.

While there are a lot of ways to improve the revenue of your e-commerce store, recovering your abandoned carts is perhaps one of the simplest. With shoppers who have abandoned their carts you’ve already done the hardest part of the job, now you just need to coax them to complete the sale. 

Why Do Shoppers Abandon Carts?

When a shopper abandons a cart, it means that they added items to their virtual bag and then exited the website before completing the purchase transaction. Research on cart abandonment statistics has placed the rate anywhere from 50 to 80%, which makes it a major problem for  e-commerce retailers. In a 2016 study by Barilliance, it was found that over 75% of potential customers left the site without going through with a purchase. 

There are a few reasons why shoppers would choose to do this, the most common being high shipping costs being added to the total at checkout, technical errors, too few payment options and a general feeling of unease with giving credit card information online. According to a study done in 2015, there is also a correlation between screen size and abandonment rates.  Smaller screens belonging to smartphones and tablets had a 7 to 12% higher rate of abandoned carts than desktops, giving larger screens an average cart abandonment rate of 73.03%—the best overall rate of the three. 

6 Strategies to Recover Abandoned Carts

While it can be difficult to know where to start, combating excessive cart abandonment rates is possible. Here are some strategies to lower your website’s cart abandonment rate and help you encourage your customers to follow through with their transactions. 

1. Email

Building up your email list is a valuable technique for any business, whether online or brick and mortar. Sending abandoned cart emails have been reported to recover up about 15% of sales otherwise lost. Some cases have seen recovered business rates of up to 50% using email blasts to remind shoppers of the items left in their cart. Usually sent within the day someone abandons their cart on your site, abandoned cart emails typically feature the items the shopper was browsing and often offer a discount to encourage the completion of the sale. 

Pros:

  • According to a recent study from Bluecore, cart abandonment emails have the highest average conversion rate of any triggered ecommerce email.
  • Email is a formal yet approachable way to communicate with your publics. 
  • Abandoned cart emails have high rates of success compared to other methods of abandoned cart recovery tactics.

Cons:

  • Consumers could mark any email from your website as spam if they don’t like receiving abandoned cart emails.
  • Some consumer demographics check email more than others. If you are targeting a younger demographic, communicating via social media platforms or text message lists might be a better way to reach them quickly. 
  • If abandoned cart emails are attached to a timed offer, consumers might not revisit your site if they see the email too late.

2. Text Messages

A recent case study found that sending an abandoned cart text message can boost recovery rates by as much as 58%. The case study followed clients over a 30-day period as they used a feature that automatically sent text messages from Shopify to shoppers who had abandoned their carts. One company was able to recover $156,915 in 30 days, representing 552 recovered orders.

Setting up an automatic text message is a relatively easy process and you can time it to be sent anywhere from minutes to days after a shopper abandons their cart. Including a personalized link directly to the shopper’s cart, that can be accessed via their phone, removes the friction of making shoppers log back into their account and find their cart again. Reduced friction in this process can lead to higher recovery rates.

Pros:

  • People actually read their text messages and respond to them almost instantly. 
  • Text messages aren’t filtered to spam inboxes like emails are. 
  • You can scale this method to work for any size of business.
  • You can personalize text messages to include the recipient’s name, which makes this form of communication ultra personal since getting a text message is inherently more personal than other forms of communication.

Cons:

  • If you get the timing wrong on your text messages, shoppers may find them annoying. 
  • Companies need permission to send branded text messages, so you’ll have had to obtain this via an opt in form in advance. 

3. Retargeting Ads

If you’ve lost a shopper, you can still recover their business. Retargeting ads track customers who abandon their cart and display ads that feature the items they were browsing while on your site. On average, according to AdRoll, only 2% of shoppers follow through with their purchase on the first visit to a web page. Win back the other 98% by following up with them in a retargeting ad. The most effective retargeting ads contain a call-to-action and provide some kind of incentive or offer for completing a purchase. Think free shipping, discount codes or specific offers for first-time shoppers. 

Pros:

  • Combat low chances of first-time page visit purchases by reminding customers of your products.
  • Opportunity to provide customers with more information about your company.
  • Increase customer loyalty by being loyal to customers. 

Cons:

  • Consumers could find ads of any kind offputting, pushing their decision to stay away from your site.
  • Customers might have decided not to make a purchase for a reason. If a customer no longer likes the items added to their previous cart, marketing dollars could be better spent showing them different products rather than the ones they intended to buy. 
  • Retargeting ads could be more expensive than the amount of conversions they actually secure. 

4. Exit-Intent Pop Ups

Exit-intent pop ups are a tool businesses can use to send a final message to customers before they abandon their cart. Utilizing pop-ups to ask your page visitor if they intend to leave their cart can be crucial to recovering lost business, and increases your conversion rate. Though some customers will swiftly click that “yes,” they do intend to leave your site, prompting them to answer will make some of them reconsider their decision. 

Some tried and true tricks can help convert sales when it comes to exit intent pop ups. For example, of a shopper is about to leave the site, it could be because their cart total was more than they expected. Try offering a 10 to 20% discount to encourage them to finalize their transaction. You can also add a shopping process tracker. With increasingly short attention spans, some shoppers will abandon their cart because the transaction is taking too much time. By adding a way for them to see their progress in completing the transaction, you eliminate any confusion about how much time is left in the process. 

If a shopper feels that your pop-up is generic, it’s easier for them to disregard it as spam and exit your web page. Try personalizing the message to catch their eye, using their first name in the message. You can access this information by asking for personal information when you add customers to your email list.

Pros:

  • Recover shoppers who had otherwise intended to abandon their cart. 
  • Combat the number one reason people abandon carts by offering free shipping.
  • Offer customers a final chance to consider whether they really want to leave your site.

Cons:

  • Some consumers will associate pop-ups with spam.
  • Phrasing your pop-ups generically or without valuable offers will lose customers and lose your business valuable marketing dollars.
  • If a customer has pop-ups blocked, they might not see your exit-intent pop up.

5. Reach Out Personally

Customers like feeling special. Shopping online can give potential shoppers a feeling of anonymity, so reaching out personally shows them that you’ve noticed their interest in your product and that their business is important to you. Reaching out personally can take the form of a personalized email or notification on your site.

Depending on the size of your business, you can even try sending physical letters via U.S. mail to show customers that you care about their experience. Studies have shown that it takes up to seven impressions for a customer to recognize your brand. Reaching out personally will increase the likelihood that they remember your brand, and choose to shop with you in the future. 

One easy tactic for personal outreach is to use a mass texting platform to automatically send text messages to your customers. Getting a text message feels personal, especially if it comes from a long code phone number. You don’t have to use your personal number to get started. You can actually convert your business landline (if you have one) to be used for texting. Or, you could select a long code number that you use just for texting. 

Using a strategy like this actually helps you scale personal outreach methods so you can keep a personal touch no matter how big your business grows.

Pros:

  • Show high levels of customer service by acknowledging individual shoppers.
  • Increase brand recognition and build customer loyalty by personalizing your messaging. 
  • Gain new shoppers by flagging their attention with a personalized email or letter. 

Cons:

  • Some shoppers might not like targeted attention.
  • If a shopper feels that their activity online should be private, reaching out personally could feel like an invasion of web anonymity. 
  • Potentially hard to scale if you don’t use a platform or service that helps you automate.

6. Through Facebook Messenger

If you’ve shopped online and abandoned your cart, you might have gotten a Facebook reminder through messenger from the store you were browsing. This is a marketing tactic that can be effective when reaching out to customers who simply forgot to follow through with their transaction. Facebook has over 1 billion monthly users, making it an extremely valuable tool for businesses to market to their potential and returning clients. According to Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey, 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. 

If your company hasn’t set up a Facebook business account, here’s how:

  1. Choose your username
  2. Enable messaging for your account
  3. Enable instant replies and greeting text
  4. Gauge your response time

Once you’ve set up your Page, you can also utilize chatbots to reach out to customers. With chatbots, you can automate customer service messages, reach out personally to customers and program custom content for your brand. 

Pros:

  • Engaging in social media shows customers that your brand is up-to-date and serious about making their experience easy.
  • Ability to reach audiences outside of your current scope online.
  • Use special features like chatbots and access progress reports.

Cons:

  • Facebook is a social media platform used primarily for personal correspondence. 
  • Customers might not get the message if they don’t check Facebook regularly.
  • Customers might disregard the message as spam and fail to complete their transaction.
Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Matt Baglia
Matt Baglia is the co-founder and CEO of SlickText, a platform designed to empower small business leaders to better engage with their customers.

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