Amazon is well known for its personalized recommendations, both on the site and delivered by email, but they don’t always get it right.
Take a look at this browse abandon email I received from Amazon on my PC and on my phone:
There are some things about this email which are best-in-class:
Amazon personalized the email by prominently featuring the image of the product I had previously evaluated
They used responsive design, delivering an email perfectly sized for my mobile device
They suppressed the secondary call to action so my attention is drawn to the main activity they would like me to pursue
However, Amazon also made a major mistake with this email that plagues many companies who build their remarketing tools in-house: they are out of step with the visitor!
You see, in the Amazon example above, I had already purchased and received a PC headset from Amazon, just a few days before I got this email.
I only have one pair of ears, so exactly what was Amazon thinking? Perhaps through some super-advanced profiling they were able to determine that I have a dog, and that I might need an extra headset for him? I can tell you that I tried it on him and he didn’t like it very much…
On a more serious note, out-of-step problems like this hurt a retailer’s relationship with their customer. By sending an email that is no longer appropriate, they make the customer:
Question if their purchase actually was completed with the retailer
Feel like perhaps they made a bad decision and purchased the wrong product
Wonder if the brand has a disorganized and inaccurate tracking and recommendation system
In a nutshell, sending promotions for an item that the customer has just bought will betray your brand and could potentially lose you a customer for life. (…)
In the first two parts of this blog series, we talked about how the shopping behavior of first-time visitors differ from returning visitors, and how time-to-purchase influences shopping behavior.
In this post, we will break down how even the value of the cart will affect purchase behavior.
Cart size vs. abandonment rates – The cart value has a clear impact on the shopping cart abandonment rate. Surprisingly, low-value carts can have higher abandonment rates than carts with a higher value:
$0 to $100 cart: 78% abandonment
$101 to $250 cart: 52% abandonment
$250 to $300 cart: 70% abandonment
$300 to $350 cart: 70% abandonment
$350 to $400 cart: 73% abandonment
$400+ cart: 85% abandonment
Carts at critical price points have very high abandonment rates. Below, you’ll see how a $100 cart value drives up abandonment. Once past the $100 threshold, abandonment rates begin to fall.
Cart value: Abandonment rate
$1 to $25 cart: 85% abandonment
$26 to $50 cart: 75% abandonment
$51 to $75 cart: 63% abandonment
$76 to $100 cart: 59% abandonment
$100 to $150 cart: 78% abandonment
$151 to $200 cart: 42% abandonment
Key take away: Check the ratio of shipping cost to cart value for some of your lower value abandoned baskets. Test thresholds for minimum order free shipping carefully. $99 is likely to work better than $100.
Analyzing the abandonment rates – Individual products can have very different, unexpected abandonment rates. For instance, on one ecommerce site, a $12.99 item and a $239.99 item each had a 99.8% abandonment rate. Meanwhile, the same site had a $3.99 item and a $599.00 item, each of which had a 50% abandonment rate.
Key take away: Build a spreadsheet to rank frequently carted and abandoned products. Check the description on the product detail page and the shipping costs associated with these frequently abandoned items. (…)
In our last series, we looked at who’s abandoning their online shopping carts, why they’re abandoning, and what can be done to convert abandoners into customers. Now, it’s time to improve our understanding of online buyer behavior.
The numbers below are based on SeeWhy’s extensive research and study of online behavior. While some may appear counter-intuitive, all of these figures represent real ecommerce activity of real people. In turn, we gain a clear idea of what buyers actually do when they shop online as well as key takeaways that can help further reduce your shopping cart abandonment.
In this part, we will focus on new visitors vs. returning visitors on your ecommerce website and how likely they are to buy.
In the first two parts of this series, we briefly covered the “who” and the “why” of shopping cart abandonment. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what areas you should focus your efforts that will help convert abandoners into customers.
What can be done to convert abandoners into customers?
In the typical eCommerce conversion funnel, the shopper starts on the landing page and then moves on to the product page, adds the product to the shopping cart and then proceeds to checkout. The first step in converting abandoners into customers, then, is understanding how shoppers arrive at the shopping cart.
In our research, email remains the dominant force in getting shoppers to ecommerce sites. Overall, we found that traffic arriving at the shopping cart breaks down into the following categories:
58% via email
17.9% via direct URL entry
10.3% via search
4.8% via SEM
4.3% via link
4.3% via social media
1.7% via display advertising
We also researched conversion percentages of the different methods by which shoppers arrive at the shopping cart. In other words, for any given method, how well did it sell? Just take look at these conversion rates:
67.7% for email
23.6% for direct URL entry
1.65% for search
2.11% for social media
1.75% for link
0.88% for SEM
0.53% for display advertising
The next step in converting abandoners into customers is to capture the email addresses of all site visitors and use those email addresses to convert customers. After all, only 3% of visitors will buy on any site visit – 97% don’t. But a returning customer is nine times more likely to buy compared with a new visitor. Email can be used to nudge abandoners to return.
Key take away: email remains an eCommerce staple. The further a visitor progresses down the funnel, the more likely that the eventual conversion will come following a click from an email. (…)
In my previous post, we quickly profiled a typical abandoner on eCommerce websites. We learned that abandoners are college-educated, well-to-do individuals who actually end up spending 19% more money than their non-abandoner counterparts. Now that you know the “who,” let’s dive into the reasons driving those high percentage abandonment rates.
Why are people abandoning?
In the U.S., 88% of online customers – 136 million people – abandon shopping carts each year. Two primary factors are driving the abandonment numbers. First, customers are becoming more sophisticated buyers. Easy access to competitors and the ability to easily compare prices are changing buyer behavior, both online and in-store.
Forrester Research has found that the top two causes of abandonment are price and timing. Parse the Forrester findings and you’ll find that, among the abandoners:
44% thought that shipping and handling costs were too high
41% were not ready to purchase the product
27% wanted to compare prices
25% found the product price was higher than their budget
24% just wanted to save for later purchase
Other researchers found similar, price-driven reasons for shopping cart abandonment. An e-tailing group study found that 47% of consumers are unwilling to purchase unless a promotion is offers. Likewise, 36% of consumers will not buy unless free shipping is offered, according to comScore.
So what does that mean for your eCommerce website?
Tuning your website to make the checkout process smoother is only part of the answer. To improve your conversion rates, you must also design remarketing campaigns to address price and timing objects.
In the next part of the series, we’ll talk about what can be done to convert abandoners into customers.
There is no doubt that shopping cart abandonment is a growing eCommerce concern. Our research shows that a whopping 72% of website visitors who add items to their shopping carts ultimately abandon those carts without making a purchase.
In this blog series, I’ll discuss the findings from our extensive study of online behavior, including research performed by SeeWhy as well as third parties. I want to help you understand why some customers buy online and why others don’t. And I want to provide you with key takeaways that can help significantly reduce your shopping cart abandonment. (…)
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. (…)
In 2011, the shopping cart abandonment rate continued its rise, reaching a new all-time high of 72% by the end of the year. In this blog, I’ll try to answer why the shopping cart abandonment rate has risen, despite a focus on conversion optimization by many ecommerce sites. I’ll also explain why I predict that the shopping cart abandonment rate will continue to rise in 2012.
Everything is more exaggerated over the holiday period: Retailers offer a dazzling array of new products, coupled with equally dazzling promotions, while trying to manage the constant problem of out-of-stocks. And customers make an abnormal number of purchases in a very short period and abandon their shopping carts in droves as they search for the best deals. (…)
The theory goes that if you make it easy for visitors to follow a simple path to conversion, you’ll generate traffic and revenue.
And yes, this is correct.
But this “single track” view of conversion is overly simplistic.
In this column, let’s explore why, and how it’s important to consider all of your available conversion paths.
Why Customers Don’t Buy
Only 3 percent of visitors buy within one session on an e-commerce site. And once they get as far as the shopping cart, 71 percent will abandon. To understand why, Forrester Research asked 3,000 people why they abandon.
Source: Forrester Research, May 2010; “Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment” Note: Respondents were able to give multiple answers
As it has been for years, the cost of shipping is still the number one reason why people abandon their online shopping carts. What’s interesting to note is that none of the top reasons have anything to do with the actual checkout process. They’re all behavioral and related to lack of readiness or willingness to pay the final purchase price.
So, making the checkout process easier for the first-time buyer is only part of the answer when addressing cart abandonment. In fact, many have learned that once changes are made, abandonment rates are still high.
Multiple Paths to Conversion
Visitors will make multiple visits to your site before finishing a sale. And on their journey, there are many different purchase paths they may follow.
After analyzing the online buying behavior of over 600,000 consumers across numerous e-commerce sites, I learned that surprisingly 75 percent of shopping cart abandoners would actually return to the site they abandoned within a 28-day period. This defies conventional wisdom: we polled online marketers and 81 percent believed that the majority of abandoners never return.
Additionally, these returning visitors are more likely to finish their purchase, as well as make future purchases. (…)