Did you know that shoppers abandon their online carts more often than they complete purchases? According to a survey by Barclaycard, that amounts to more than £18 billion per year in lost sales. That makes it important to understand abandonment in the online retail sphere. At the Marketing Automation Summit on September 20th our own Senior Marketing Automation Consultant Alexandre Vandermeulen took a deep-dive into abandonment features. In this blog, Alex will demystify the configuration of an abandoned cart journey, offering some tips, tricks and solutions.
Searching for the reasons
As a starting point, it is important that you know why customers are abandoning their cart. According to figures from Salesforce, the most common reason (61 per cent) is that the costs - including shipping and tax - turned out to be too high. In second place is the reason that the customer had to create an account (35 per cent), which they didn’t want to do. And the third is that the checkout process was too long (31 per cent). Let this information guide you in smoothing your customer journey; keeping your costs as low (and as transparent) as possible, making account creation easy, and cutting down checkout times. But you should also be looking at the ‘abandonment journey’. Just what exactly should be your plan of action when a customer does abandon his cart?
Abandoned cart essential & professional
There are several types of solutions on the market place which enable you to record and respond to abandoned carts. Abandoned cart essential is a grouping of key configurations which can be used by SMEs to address cart abandonment. While there is not the greatest level of flexibility in the design of this kind of solution, this plug and play type product is scalable and reliable, easy to migrate, and relatively cheap to implement.
Then there is abandoned cart professional which is also a grouping of key configurations, but offers an enriched data model and MAP processing, which go towards a more detailed picture of each abandoned cart and open the door to a more personalised response to them. Aside from the scalability and reliability, the professional version offers more flexibility in solution design and content creation, advanced personalisation features, no additional licences required, and the possibility of injecting recommendations.
Online retailers considering the professional version should note, however, that it can be a lot ‘higher maintenance’ than the essential version. That is because of the custom development work required, the time which successful implementation can take, and the higher costs which the whole operation entails.
Abandoned cart enterprise
If you are looking to go one step further in your abandonment strategy, then consider abandoned cart enterprise configuration. It offers all the benefits of the professional version, but is API based, and can enable artificial intelligence (AI) based product recommendation. Again, due to the API development, API jobs consumption and tracking script implementation involved, users of an abandoned cart enterprise configuration can expect to spend more time and resources implementing and maintaining the solution - that’s why the enterprise version can be more suited to large scale organisations such as corporates.
The next steps
Having considered the main options for abandonment strategies outlined above, you can then take the following steps on the way to implementation. Firstly, you need to take stock of your current abandonment strategy, if you have one. This will help you to understand how effective your solution is at present, and how much you need to improve. Then define what you would like to have, in terms of the response you would ideally like to make to each cart abandonment.
Now you have figured out where you are currently (A), and where you would like to get to (B), you can define the needed resources, tech, profiles and methodology needed to reach the next level. How much ‘gap bridging’ you can actually achieve is likely to come down to the resources available to you, including your budget, and the workforce which you can assign to the project. So these must be weighed up, too.
OK to outsource?
In many cases, SMEs can reap the benefits of outsourcing their abandonment solution implementation to an eCommerce specialist. They will be able to help with both the design and the execution of a new strategy, ensuring that the key facets of an existing eCommerce site are not compromised.
In the modern-day, there seem to be few valid excuses for online retailers to ignore the issue of cart abandonment. But just because you already have an abandonment strategy in place, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enhance your existing plan, utilising the latest innovations, such as AI-led solutions. The details of your approach - such as the level of personalisation and the way in which you target your marketing - will come down to your overarching values and principles for customer communications. The important thing is to record, respond, reassure and reactivate the customer journey as soon as possible.