Leisure marketing: Are you losing millions to shopping cart abandonment?

Abandoned shopping carts can cost online retailers $1 million a day in lost sales.

Implementing a simple email recovery program could save your company millions of dollars a year in online sales.

If your online store has annual revenues of $200 million, you could be losing as much as $1.2 million a day to shopping cart abandonment.

That’s according to recovery services provider SeeWhy. To combat this problem, 15% of retailers are now using what’s called recovery emails. Here’s how it works:

When a customer abandons their online shopping cart at checkout, they receive a series of automated emails offering incentives to help them complete their transaction.

A new survey by Silverpop found that 8 in 10 companies are considering using recovery emails to help recover lost sales due to this practice by the end of the year.

Silverpop offers the following advice for companies seeking to recoup some of their lost sales:

  • Act fast.  Research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates that 90% of ecommerce leads go cold within an hour.
  • Offer to complete their transaction through other channels like live chat or your call center.
  • Consider using incentives to close the deal like free shipping, a percentage off, or a combination of other incentives.
  • An emerging best practice is not to offer an incentive in the first email, a modest incentive in the second, and the most aggressive offer in the final email.

Sellers beware: Buyers are fast learners.

If you do offer an incentive, be aware that savvy customers will soon figure out that if they wait longer the incentives will come,  which could cost you some full-price sales.

Here’s a simple, three-stage recovery email program that’s easy to implement:

  1. Send an email in the first half hour inviting them to complete their transaction through live chat or by phone.
  2. Send a second email a half hour later offering them free shipping if they complete the transactions within the next hour.
  3. Send a third email that next day offering 10% off plus free shipping if they complete their transaction in the next 4 hours.

How are you dealing with shopping cart abandonment?  What have you learned from your successes, and failures?

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