The ‘Cart Abandonment’ Epidemic: Retailers’ Need For A Swiss Army Approach To E-Commerce

Original Article by Kelly DeRosa for Retail TouchPoints.

In 2016 alone, retailers lost an eye-watering $4.6 trillion to abandoned merchandise in online shopping carts. The retail landscape is constantly evolving, and the rise of digital shopping coupled with the noise of the customer’s cross-channel journey raises the stakes. Converting customer interest expressed in online channels into purchase is the agenda of every marketing plan, yet the rate of cart abandonment still stands at nearly 79% on average. Below are several ways retailers can market more effectively to engage their customers and reduce cart abandonment.

Effective Remarketing Shouldn’t Compromise UX

Not all channels are created equal. Although mobile devices account for over half of all traffic in e-Commerce, often the online shopping experience is not optimized for mobile. Smaller screens, slow load times and interface designs that are difficult to navigate are contributing factors to higher cart abandonment rates on mobile devices. Retail marketers need to be conscious of these factors to be able to adapt their remarketing tactics for maximum impact on each channel.

For example, retail marketers might use overlays or other triggered interactions to alert an apparent cart abandoner of an unpurchased item in their cart as a remarketing tactic on desktop. On mobile, these messages might prove to be more cumbersome and distracting, and deter customers from seeing their purchase over the finish line. Marketers should prioritize a seamless shopping experience and leverage remarketing tactics that enhance the experience in order to ensure customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.

Personalizing The Product, Personalizing The Process

Through leveraging big data and analyzing customer behavior and intent, retailers can better understand shoppers’ motivations — before going to discount. Too often, retailers assume that cart abandonment is because the price was too high and they rush in with a discount offer.

In reality, customers often abandon their carts because they aren’t completely satisfied with the selected item, or because the checkout process isn’t efficient enough. Retail marketers should utilize product recommendation engines to provide shoppers with alternative options that might better suit their needs and preferences. Retailers should also streamline the shopping experience across digital channels, giving customers the opportunity to complete purchases through whatever channel they prefer.

When deploying an omnichannel strategy, it’s essential to acknowledge ever-changing customer preferences. Messaging should be fine-tuned across every channel through email, social, search and display remarketing to re-engage the would-be cart abandoner, build brand affinity and overall increase ROI.

Persistence Counts

Frequent and reinforced messaging is important, but the right messaging is paramount. In display, frequency capping is the norm, but what might feel like messaging inundation is not always received as such. Some retailers may find that their conversion rates actually increase after 10, 15 or 20 impressions. Shoppers — particularly cart abandoners still weighing a purchase — need repeated reminders and encouragement to complete a sale. Indeed, 3 out of 4 people notice ad retargeting and through repeated exposure, there’s a real opportunity to build and solidify the brand-consumer relationship.

In the midst of the so-called “retail apocalypse,” marketers are seeing first-hand the significance that an omnichannel approach can have in driving results. By leveraging customer data and integrating machine learning to better predict customer behavior and preferences, marketers can more effectively engage shoppers with personalized offerings. Retailers that successfully tackle the phenomenon of cart abandonment and convert even a small portion of those sales will see all the difference on the bottom line.

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