How often have you been in a shop, put a few items in your trolley, then decided against it? Probably more times than you can count. It’s not a problem limited to physical stores, and in fact when you’ve only got to click to add or delete an item from your bag – and when other tabs on your browser and the distractions of your surroundings are added in, it’s easy to just abandon your virtual shopping cart.
However, there are ways that you can improve the conversions of people browsing your site. We spoke to Daniel McClen, founder of VSU-funded online jewellery shop Solace Jewellery, about he encourages people to click the ‘Buy’ button. Solace Jewellery sell a wide range of hypoallergenic jewellery, so you don’t have to compromise on style if you’re allergic to nickel. We also asked ecommerce professionals Ometria about the steps you can take to avoid abandoned carts.
Daniel McClen, founder of Solace Jewellery
One of the most shocking facts I learned about ecommerce was just how many people browse the web, looking for specific items that they desire, and then end up not buying them! I know I do it - I want to avoid the regret of a impulse purchase, do more research into the product or competitors, or just generally get distracted by life and forget. It happens. But when you are trying to grow an online business it’s so frustrating. You see someone add a product to their cart, and without any knowledge of why or what happened they do not finish the transaction.
Useful tools and apps
There are however some tools you can use to prevent browsers from falling into the abyss, never to be seen again. Now there are some arguments for and against the first one I will mention, and that is exit pop-up windows – a reminder that pops up before leaving the site. I don’t want to get into the argument too much, but the main factor that will sway your opinion is how you want to portray your brand. Personally, I feel as long as the pop-up is at exit point, you have not bombarded the customer with offers already and it is something of value you are offering that may persuade the customer to think differently about leaving, what do you have to lose?
I used the Shopify platform to build my website, so apps are easy to install and fairly cheap. The one I use for my exit offer is called exactly that - Exit Offers from Sticky Apps. I find it works well. In the last few months alone 124 people have seen the pop-up (I have specific criteria for who will see it: no repeat customers, only people who have clicked on a certain amount of pages, etc) and 81 of those have then made an order. Pretty good going, I would say - 81 customers I wouldn’t have had if I listened to advice that said it would tarnish my brand. My offer? Free delivery, which costs me 99p (and that’s only if the order is less than £20, as for sales over that amount I already offer free delivery.)
Reaching out with emails
The next invaluable tool is abandoned cart emails. The Moon Mail recovery checkout app works really well – it sends emails to remind people about the items they’ve got in their carts, and you can include an offer to incentivise them. You can schedule the timings of your emails, link the cart items and offer discounts to heighten the persuasion. I personally spend hours researching consumer psychology and copywriting techniques to give me the best possible chance of getting that all-important purchase, so I loved writing these emails. Again there is very good return rate for this technique, with hundreds of pounds worth of sales being recovered for very little cost. Some people just aren’t ready to buy at the time - maybe they had a problem in the checkout page and they got frustrated. I always approach the first email with a gentle “I hope everything was okay, but if not please let me know and I will help” approach. This improves the customer experience, and diminishes any bad feelings if your website did not work or there was a problem.
It’s not as easy as just setting these things in place and watching lost money flying back to you - you need to AB-test your offers, the appearance and timings of the pop-ups and emails, the wording and the approach you take. But the benefit of this is increased sales, better customer experiences, and less money to the competition!
Ivan Mazour, founder and CEO of Ometria
Cart abandonment is an infuriating reminder of revenue that could have been made, and there are a number of techniques online retailers can employ to reduce the amount of money left on the table.
One proven way of winning abandoners back around is by sending triggered cart abandonment emails. While this used to be the reserve of big stores, there are a lot of technologies now available to the smaller end of the market. We've seen that cart abandonment emails can convert at up to a rate of 5-10%, which can turn into a significant uplift in revenue. Since these kinds of campaigns are automated and relative easy to set up, you can be quietly sitting on a nice little revenue-earner for your store.
Here are a few tips:
- Ensure your emails include an image of the item(s) that have been abandoned
- Make sure your emails have a clear 'shop now' call to action to bring people back to their basket
- Include customer service contact details in case the recipient has any questions or concerns
- If possible, include additional cross-sell items that will encourage people back on site even if they don't like the product