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Lessons learned from Cyber Monday Shopping Cart Abandonment Patterns (part 2) Written by:
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In my last blog we covered how shopping cart abandonment rates vary in the run up to black Friday and Cyber Monday. The shopping cart abandonment rate is significantly higher than normal in the run-up to Black Friday. Once the majority of retailers rolled out their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional offers shopping cart abandonment drops dramatically.

From this we can observe mass changes in customer behaviour, as customers have become conditioned to wait for promotional offers. Comscore reports that Free Shipping has grown significantly in the last month, peaking at 55.1% of all online purchases, up significantly on last year (45.6%).

Customers behave differently

Unlike the wild swings in shopping cart abandonment rate of all visitors, when we segmented out identified visitors (registered,  logged in, opted-in, or have previously logged in and/or purchased) we found that they are much less likely to change their behaviour over this period.

Connecting the dots, this suggests that anonymous visitors, who are most likely to be new customers, are inherently more  new ‘deal oriented,’ and as a group these new customers deferred purchases pending the roll out of promotional offers.

This is a significant finding, which if validated, suggests three things:

(1)    Customers behave differently from visitors: Existing customers and visitors that have registered on an ecommerce website are much less likely to be swayed by promotions than first time customers. Or it could be that they don’t need to research, relying instead on emailed offers from ecommerce sites they know to trigger their seasonal purchases.

(2)    The importance of getting a registration is once again reinforced. Creating an account, or signing up for a newsletter shows a degree of brand interest, and gives you the ability to build familiarity and brand trust through email and social media marketing

(3)    Reduce shopping cart abandonment: You should be able reduce your abandonment rate by getting a greater proportion of your traffic on your website to identify themselves through some form or opt-in / sign up / registration, and using this to market to them. (…)

Lessons learned from Cyber Monday Shopping Cart Abandonment Patterns (Part 1) Written by:
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So far in 2010 Shopping cart abandonment rates have been 7% higher compared with 2009. So it was with great interest that we were watching online customer behaviour over Black Friday, the holiday weekend and CyberMonday, traditionally the biggest online shopping weekend of the year. Studying the industry-wide conversion and shopping cart abandonment rates give insight into buyer behaviour and in particular what and when makes browsers become buyers. There are several key lessons to be learned from looking at this data.

The holiday shopping weekend didn’t disappoint this year – estimates suggest that sales were up by as much as 20% over 2009 on CyberMonday, which is great news for the ecommerce sector as a whole. We will also need to see if this growth was distributed evenly across the sector, or like last year, concentrated among the largest and best known e-retailers such as Amazon, Target and WalMart.

Let’s take a look at shopping cart abandonment rates leading up to CyberMonday. In the chart below you can see three key trends suggested by the data:

(1)    Average shopping cart abandonment rates are higher than in 2009

(2)    In the pre-season, the highest shopping cart abandonment rates happen at the weekends

(3)    Purchases were deferred leading to weekend spikes in the abandonment rate until the 2nd week of November when the majority of holiday offers were rolled out

Shopping cart abandonment rate graph

What’s interesting about this season is that it appears that immediately after Labor Day shopping cart abandonment rates peaked at all time high for 2010, hitting 95%. But by the beginning of October rates had stabilized to more ‘normal’ levels, ranging between 68% and 78%, with peaks on the weekends, especially Sundays. You can see this pattern in the data – the humps are the weekends.

Weekend browsing followed by shopping cart abandonment shouldn’t be a surprise – we saw the same pattern last year – and when buyers have time on their hands, they are more likely to comparison shop. (…)

Web Form Design Checklist Written by:
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Increase Web Conversions With Web Form Design ChecklistOn average, 62% web forms are abandoned before completion – this means that organizations are losing out on a lot of potential leads, applications and quotations, which results in lost leads and ultimately lost revenues. So in this, the first of two blogs on designing web forms, we’ve pulled together a simple checklist for you to use. The next blog will look at such aspects as field order and single page vs. multi page forms, but initially, I think it’s worth recapping the basics. In order to maximize web form submissions, marketers must design their web form with the recipient in mind. This may seem obvious, but it is amazing how ‘form blind’ marketing departments can get when they are trying to capture all the information they require. Typically, the marketer passes a list of fields to be captured to the web developer and scant attention is paid to what will make the form convert.

Before designing any type of web form, it is important to define what you are trying to achieve. For instance, is your goal to maximize the number of form submissions, or drive only qualified leads i.e. quantity versus quality. Also, what value do you attribute to these form submissions – do you want a long standing relationship with these people? You need to have defined your requirements and those of your target audience so you can incorporate these into your form and required fields. Depending on the form’s purpose, the number of fields can range dramatically, so one of the first considerations is whether to have a single page or multi page form. Getting the balance is essential – people will be more reluctant to fill in multiple pieces of personal information if they do not feel it warrants it (i.e. a 10 field form for a pdf download) and too many fields on one page will put people off filling in the form completely. (…)

Roll Up! Roll Up! Free Shipping If You Buy Online Today! Written by:
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Ecommerce Survey Results of Emarketers in run up to Holiday Season 2010Online retailers roll out holiday promotions this week to combat high shopping cart abandonment rates.

Two thirds of online retailers are rolling out holiday promotions this week or have already done so. 61% of holiday promotions this year will be focused around free shipping, and 29% on promotional discounts. Multi-buy and free product offers will account for only 10%.

These are the main findings from a SeeWhy online poll, conducted on October 26th, among 255 ecommerce marketers on their promotional activity in the run up to the holiday season.

When do you plan to roll out your holiday special offers?

When do you plan to roll out your ecommerce holiday special offers

At SeeWhy, we continually track abandonment and conversion trends. In 2009, we saw a strong trend of customers stalling purchases in anticipation of holiday offers. From Labor Day through November 15, the number of online sales fell by almost 56 percent compared with the volume for the previous month, and the shopping cart abandonment rate shot up, peaking at 83 percent.

Online-Shopping-cart-abandonment-rate-after-Labor-Day-2009-and-2010

Once holiday promotional offers were rolled out, the transaction volumes rose sharply, and the abandonment rate fell dramatically. This year so far, we’ve seen shopping cart abandonment since Labor Day averaging 79%, which is higher than the same period last year (71%), though it appears to be trending back to more seasonal norms.

With the majority of online retailers rolling out holiday offers this week, we can expect the shopping cart abandonment rate to fall sharply, as it did last year, as customers begin to take advantage of free shipping offers, which have for long been a customer favorite.

The top reasons people abandon shopping carts according to a Forrester Research study can be grouped into two main reasons; price (including the cost of shipping) and the fact that they were not ready to buy. Ecommerce marketers are trying to address the first main issue in a number of ways. (…)

6-Point Guide to Email Remarketing and European Union Privacy Directive Written by:
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Guide to Email Remarketing and European Union Privacy DirectiveRemarketing emails, when done well, provide good service to customers. These emails are often kept and used as a reminder, or quick path back to items in their shopping cart. In the case of a web form, being able to pick up where you left off on a long form is really appreciated, and can save the customer significant time and effort.

There is a significant opportunity for emarketers here. On average 70% of shopping carts, and 62% of web forms are abandoned before completion. Yet email remarketing should recover on average between 10% and 30% of abandoners. That translates into significant dollars.

Several global brands have asked us about the compliance requirements for remarketing, especially in Europe. So we engaged Ruth Boardman, a partner at Bird and Bird LLP, and one of the world’s leading electronic data privacy experts. Ruth and I co-authored a white paper on email remarketing compliance which covers this subject in more depth, and additionally we recorded a webcast titled Email Remarketing and Compliance (in the US and European Union).

In a previous blog, we looked into what marketers have to do in order to comply with CAN-SPAM in the US for email remarketing – this week, I’m looking into The European Privacy Directive in Europe, which is slightly more complicated.

Email remarketing compliance in the European Union is more complicated than in the US because while there is umbrella Europe-wide legislation in the form of the European Union Data Protection and e-Privacy Directives, each of the individual countries in Europe have interpreted the legislation slightly differently.

European Union Privacy Directive Email Remarketing Checklist

As with all processing of personal data, you will need to comply with general data protection obligations (including, but not limited to ensuring security of data, accuracy and quality of data and filing requirements). (…)