Basket abandonment: A guide to recover lost sales

Basket abandonment: A guide to recover lost sales

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It’s not a secret that on average 71 percent of all baskets are abandoned without a purchase. However, not all shopping cart abandonment is bad. In fact, shopping cart abandonment is an important part of the normal buying cycle for many customers and for many types of purchase.

New buyers in particular will require multiple visits and, potentially, multiple ‘abandons’ before purchasing. With this in mind, retailers must make sure that their conversion strategy is focused on supporting this process by offering great customer service with personalised communication and targeted offers.

A variety of third party solutions exist that provide retailers with sales-recovery capabilities. Product offerings range from basket abandonment email campaigns tools to site exit overlays tools to behavior personalisation tools. Advanced features such as customer segmentation based on a variety of site and behavior metrics are available with some of the more sophisticated solutions.

Email remarketing is proven to recover on average between one in four and one in five abandoned baskets. Vendors range from niche players that offer simple point solutions for basket recovery emails (i.e. AbondonAid,  Rejoiner) or site overlays (i.e. PicReel), to Email Service Providers (ESPs) who have extended their platform to include basket recovery campaign capability (i.e. Bronto, IBM  LIVEmail, Cheetahmail), to third-party vendors who offer comprehensive solutions for optimising site conversions,  starting with capturing emails from first time visitors all the way to the ultimate purchase (i.e. BounceExchange,  SeeWhy, Qubit).

The pricing models for these solutions range from a fixed monthly cost to Cost-Per-Acquisition(CPA)-based charges that take a fixed percent from saved and recovered sales only.

Choosing the right solution

Given the variety of solutions, how can you select the right one for your business?

Step 1: Identify the problem

Choosing the right solution requires an understanding of your traffic composition (new vs. returning visitors), and the key drop-off points during the purchasing cycle. Benchmarking these metrics against competitors will help you understand where the major gains are to be made. For

example, one retailer might have high levels of unidentified traffic that leave the site without adding any items to the basket (and possibly never come back), while another retailer may have mostly repeat visits that could be tracked back to individual customer accounts. The first retailer would benefit from a site overlay served to visitors on exit to capture their email and offer an incentive on first-time purchase, while the second retailer will see the best ROI from well-timed basket recovery emails.

Step 2: Choose the provider

Once you have identified whether you’re after a pure basket recovery solution, a site overlay tool or a combination of the two, decide on the budget and choose the provider that offers best ROI based on your site metrics. For example, a retailer with a high number of page views but an unusually low conversion rate might benefit from CPA- based pricing, while a retailer with low level, highly relevant traffic might be better off with a per-page view pricing model.

Step 3: Implement and follow best practice

Once you have settled on a solution, make sure to get the most out of it by following best practices. Common mistakes that retailers make include not setting up the frequency cap on basket recovery emails, getting the timing of the emails wrong, or leaving money on the table with non-personalised one-size-fits-all offers. For example, according to SeeWhy, a leader in basket abandonment solutions, the first few hours after an abandon are critical. Make sure to send the first post-cart abandonment email after 45 minutes to an hour; then follow up with the second email 23 hours later; and send the final reminder one week later. Successful implementation will generate on average 18% conversion rate from these emails.