Now that Labor Day is behind us, between now and Cyber Monday consumers will fundamentally change the way they shop online. The majority will now defer their purchases in anticipation of the upcoming holiday deals. This is based on analysis of more than $1bn of ecommerce transactions for each of the last two years. The most obvious indicator of this change in buying behavior is illustrated by the shopping cart abandonment rate. This is a critical ecommerce metric which measures the proportion of shoppers that added items to an online shopping cart but didn’t purchase. In 2011, 72% of all potential ecommerce purchases were abandoned; only 28% were completed.
But after Labor Day everything becomes more extreme.
Last year, the shopping cart abandonment rate hit at an all-time daily high of 89.2% on November 23rd. And it’s a safe bet that we’ll see 90% this year, on November 21st to be exact, the day before Thanksgiving.
Practical actions for Brands
Recognizing and understanding this shift in consumer behavior is the first step in reducing shopping cart abandonment. Beyond this there are four simple actions that merchants can take to encourage customers to commit earlier:
Capture more email addresses
The number one reason consumers will subscribe for email updates is to get special offers and promotional codes. The number one place that customers look for holiday offers is email. Now is the time to remind customer of the benefit of subscribing to your email program. Make it clear that signing up for emails will means that they will get holiday deals first.
Mobile abandonment is not a problem
When consumers use smart phones, tablets and PC’s, for e-commerce, each device plays its own role in the purchase process. Think about how you personally use them: mobile devices are most often used when away from the home to look up information quickly (store locations and price checking), and tablets are often used for researching potential purchases, typically from home, and for browsing and exploring. (…)
Digital marketers know they must measure and optimize all of their efforts, with the goal of increasing sales. They must also be able to prove a positive return on their investments. That said, digital marketers are constantly on the hunt for the latest technologies to help with both.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails Report Highest ROI
Recently, the e-tailing group produced their 2012 Merchant Survey which studied the ROI impact of different personalization techniques.
The highest ROI reported is from shopping cart abandonment emails. This shouldn’t be a surprise — 72 percent of site visitors that place items into an online shopping cart don’t make the purchase. Since they did almost purchase, cart abandoners are now your best prospects. And, a sequence of carefully timed emails will recover between 10-30 percent of them.
It’s these types of recovery rates that propel shopping cart abandonment emails to the top. They generate millions in incremental revenue for only a small effort and cost.
The second most successful technique is retargeted advertising, a fantastic complement to shopping cart abandonment emails. Retargeted advertising works in a similar way, by nudging visitors to return to a website after they have left. And while retargeted advertising works across the entire funnel — from landing to purchase — the biggest opportunities lie where there is some level of intent to purchase, such as browsing category and product pages.
While the two techniques deliver a high ROI, they are definitely not the same. For example, brands using SeeWhy’s Conversion Manager to engage their shopping cart recovery emails average a 46 percent open rate and 15 percent click-through rate. Retargeted ads, by comparison, average a 0.3 percent click-through rate.
See the difference?
The real power comes when you combine the two techniques together — using retargeted advertising when no email address has been captured and email remarketing when it has. (…)
Consumers feel most secure making ecommerce purchases on traditional desktop computers. Clearly, there is a usability issue as well: Entering in shipping and payment details on a touchscreen can be a pain.
We see this reflected in the shopping cart abandonment rate. In 2011, the average shopping cart abandonment rate for mobile devices was 97 percent, compared with 72 percent across all devices.
What this means in practice is that digital catalogs, just like their paper-based ancestors, provide a great platform for customers to shop and research potential future purchases at their leisure. The future potential purchase will often be in a different session and on a different device.
Nothing annoys a customer quite as much as being made a fool of. Yet this is exactly what happens when one of your promotions backfires by getting out of step with their actions. That sick-to-the-core-feeling that every marketer gets the moment they know of the gaffe will only grow until the problem gets fixed.
Sending promotions to customers that have already bought betrays your brand. And the customer will let you, and the world, know just how they feel. It’s just happened to me, so with the benefit of an insider’s knowledge I’ll share how it happens, how it feels to be on the receiving end , and how to prevent it.
I recently purchased a pocket sized Satellite Navigation online at Halfords, a UK motor and bike retailer. Because I travel frequently, I wanted the convenience of having a slim line sat nav to guide me in my travels across the US and Europe.
Online price research found that it was cheaper at Halfords, available online or for in-store pick up. Pleased with my money saving research, I reserved it online and collected it later the same day. A smooth demonstration of multi-channel retailing?
Not quite. While I’m completely delighted with my Garmin Nuvi (awesome product by the way), Halfords spoiled the experience by sending me a Spend and Save promotion equivalent to a 10% promotion on the sat nav I had just purchased.
This is an example of how to destroy customer trust by getting out of step with a customer. Offering a promotion specific to an item that they’ve just bought is guaranteed to annoy, prompt them to call to your call center, tweet negative things about your brand, and even write a blog about the poor customer experience.
I assumed that this was a browse abandon remarketing program gone wrong, where the trigger was me browsing the satellite navigation category without purchasing online. (…)
According to a recent Bloomberg article, GameStop, Gap Inc., J.C. Penney and Nordstrom have all closed their Facebook storefronts over the past year. This shouldn’t be a surprise. While Facebook may be the most visited website, with 845 million members, consumers go there to hang out, not shop. Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, refers to this as “like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
For brand marketers, Facebook is a great place to engage directly with consumers, build relationships and drive traffic to their ecommerce sites. But Facebook as a shopping destination? With a few notable exceptions (inherently social businesses such as music, games and entertainment), it just doesn’t make sense to invest in a Facebook storefront. But using Facebook to drive traffic to your ecommerce site is a well proven and very effective method of driving high quality traffic to the site.
A year ago, we stuck our necks out and called the Facebook commerce baby “ugly.” Despite all the hype, we advised steering clear of Facebook storefronts and focusing on ecommerce social integration via plugins (Forget Selling on Facebook (for now) – Think Social Plugins). Since our original post last year, the picture has become more complex since many consumers now have a variety of devices for socializing, researching and shopping. This fascinating infographic from the Internet Advertising Bureau shows how different devices are used for different purposes during the day.
Note how desktops are considered more secure (68%) and great for storing important information (72%). By comparison, the benefits of smartphones are ‘Keeping in touch on the move’ (95%) and ‘Socializing with others’ (78%).
While consumers will undoubtedly use a variety of devices, their preferred device for shopping is a desktop/laptop and an ecommerce site. (…)