Stop sabotaging your basket abandonment rate.
Updated: Apr 21
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the major issues that most online retailers experience. It is more like being stood up on a date that you had looked forward to. None of us really wants to get our hopes dashed because somebody out of the blue got cold feet at the very last minute. The truth of the matter is that around 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is completed. This means that more than ⅔ of people shopping on your site, for whatever reason, decide not to go through with the purchase.
What You’re Trying to Do
The stats certainly aren’t good, so you’re doing what many other top marketers do: launching a Cart Abandonment Reminder, targeting undecided customers through email, push notification, display, or social media campaign, with the primary aim of winning back all, potentially lost purchases. It’s an admirable goal that you have. After all, you want to make sure your customers stay with you instead of going to a competitor.
To boost the results, even more, you’re retargeting with a discount offer. In many instances, it works - online sources state that this way you can recover up to 30%, otherwise lost, transactions. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
What’s Actually Happening
While you’re drafting your cart abandonment email and bragging to your boss about how awesome the KPIs are, your customers are waiting and calculating. Wait, what?
Consumers have gotten smart. They know that many companies run the retargeting campaigns and they’re waiting for the email to come through – or even see an ad pop up on one of their frequented websites like Amazon or Facebook. That discount is the whole reason they abandoned their cart. You may ask - ‘Isn’t that cheating?’ Well, if you could save money with a coupon or discount code by leaving your items in your cart for a few hours, wouldn’t you do the same?
Adding discounts to cart reminders actually rewards the customers for leaving their basket, increasing the abandonment rate. This means that in fact you boost your retargeting campaign KPIs but you end up giving discounts with greater frequency and losing money in the process. So what can be done in order to maximize the value of each uncompleted order? Let’s discuss a retargeting strategy that will help to keep your marketing KPIs high and decrease your reliance on coupons.
What You Can Do About It
The best practice is to create a campaign chain instead of a single message. Start with a retargeting message that doesn’t involve the discount. If the customer won’t respond, implement strategies to include the discount without hurting the company’s profit:
1. Offer help first.
It’s important to remember that not all cart abandonment issues are because of the price. Some people might have legitimate questions about the quality, delivery, return policy, or something else. This means you need to first look at sending the user a message asking if you can address questions that they have. A good practice is to have a live chat on the site with an automated pop-up message. This way, people can ask their questions without having to abandon their site in the first place.
2. Propose similar items with different price ranges.
If email is one of your main retargeting channels, you could include product recommendations with items similar to the product in the basket. The point here is to show customers that there are various pricing options. For example - if you sell candles, the one they abandoned in their cart was $20, then you could show other candles that are offered on the site at different price levels, including $15 and $10. If you want to push them toward a particular product with a high margin, you could even offer a discount on a specific inventory item. If you do give them a discount, make it specific so you control what is being discounted.
3. Differentiate the message & make it sound natural.
One of the biggest mistakes that many marketers do is sending the same retargeting ad over and over again. If you include a discount then it’s addicting for the customer, without it, simply boring and spammy. The key to higher customer engagement is to juggle different variations of the campaign message and make the customer not realize it’s all automated and conditioned. If you do it right, your user will picture the customer representative who just happened to notice she left the order uncompleted.
It sounds hard, but even I, knowing the newest marketing strategies, fall into this trap: whenever I would download any resource from HubSpot, or simply read their article, I would get an email from my Account Manager asking if I need any further help with the topic, offering additional resources and a personal meeting. A long time passed until I figured out it’s just all automated campaign chain, encouraging me to purchase their solution:
4. Analyze your customers on an individual level.
If you want to go aggressively and add a discount, it’s worth further segmenting your target group by lifetime value. You have to ask yourself: Is this customer worth the discount? The reality is that some are extremely low value in comparison to other customers and therefore the discount might completely ruin your margins.
5. Segment based on the product in the basket.
You also have to consider the product inside the basket before you go offering up a discount. For example, if it’s a new item from a freshly launched collection, it’s likely in high demand, so there are more people interested in it. Discounting it, could hurt your brand and show your customers it’s not worth buying from your store at a full price. However, if the product is from old stock or has a high margin, then you can put up a lucrative offer on it. If you want to go even further to maximize results, check whether the cart value is above average - if the stake is high, then it might be worth discounting it a few bucks or offering free shipping.
6. Offer a bundle to up-sell.
If you’re going to offer a coupon, you can try to maximize the profit that the company makes on this particular transaction: instead of discounting a single product, try to up-sell and offer a discount on a set or bundle instead: “10% off if you add one more T-shirt to the order”
7. Retarget with a loyalty program.
This has been very effective, and it lets customers know that, although you’re not going to send them a discount, they are rewarded once they reach a certain level of purchasing. So instead of adding % off straight away, just remind your customers how close they are to getting the VIP discount. This gives them the incentive to complete purchases so they can receive rewards monthly, quarterly, or randomly as they spend more on your site.
If you get too aggressive creating a cart abandonment email to every customer, you could sabotage your basket abandonment rate without even realizing it. If you’re going to retarget, be more specific about it all. Examine the individual aspects of the carts and the customers. There are marketing automation tools that will help you with this, and it’s a way to make sure you’re focusing on your bottom line while retargeting at the same time. Test different retargeting strategies and before you add a coupon, analyze if this particular transaction is worth the discount. By no means, keep a constant eye on the abandonment rate.
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