How To Start & Grow Your Business

Prevent Holiday Cart Abandonment

Leo Castro
Jan 19th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 4 min read
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    Highlights

    1Banish complex checkout processes. 2Email to remind shopper what is still in cart. 3Make it seamless for buyer to switch between channels.
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Online Sales

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This year, online holiday sales are expected to grow between eight and 11% over 2013, to as much as $105 billion. That’s great news for businesses, but it’s not without its challenges: The overall increase in online shopping cart abandonment is enough to put a serious damper on the festivities.

Throughout 2011, 69% of carts were abandoned, followed by 72% in 2012, and 74% in 2013. It’s estimated that $4 trillion of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year. If you’re an online business, you’re probably all too familiar with cart abandonment and the amount of unrealized revenue it represents. It might feel like $4 trillion to you alone.

The good news: There are tips and tools proven to help you drive incremental conversion among customers who have abandoned their carts. In fact, estimates based on the real market impact of existing tools implies that 63% of that $4 trillion in unrealized revenue is recoverable.

How can you and your business recapture this value and complete the sale? Here are three tips to transform abandoned carts into real sales this holiday season:

Simplify the checkout process

If you put too many roadblocks in the way of checking out, customers will glaze over and leave before completing a purchase. The more screens, steps, form fields, and questions that customers face, the more likely they are to abandon a purchase.

Eliminating the need to enter credit card numbers and other payment information like shipping and billing addresses is perhaps the most powerfully proven way to improve conversions. The less data a customer needs to enter, the more likely he or she is to complete the purchase. Stored payment information is one reason that transactions processed through PayPal have a 70% higher checkout conversion rate than credit card-only checkouts.

Simple calls-to-action that sidestep the clutter of some ecommerce experiences can further improve checkout yield. Prominent buttons (like “Add to Cart” or “Checkout”) at the top and bottom of every page can drive both additional conversion and higher basket size. But make sure to test call-to-action buttons on your website–the location, color and size of these buttons can have a big impact on conversions.

Retarget, Retarget, Retarget

Targeted emails from businesses following up on abandoned carts have extremely high open and click-through rates compared to standard marketing efforts. Try experimenting by pairing test emails with bundled offerings to incentivize customers to complete what might even result in a larger transaction. Be careful not to over-rely on email for retargeting, though, as you want to cut through the noise of spammy emails. In addition to traditional marketing techniques to retarget (e.g., direct mail), more cutting-edge approaches like display retargeting are showing strong results. Early-adopting businesses are shifting marketing spend to agencies that can support these newer approaches.

Embrace Omnichannel

World-class merchants seamlessly interact with customers across online, in store and mobile–an “omnichannel” approach. Omnichannel interaction enables business owners to engage customers throughout their complex decision journey, in the places where consumers already are. And consumers are everywhere: discovering products through mobile apps and social media, looking at products in stores and online, researching products in a store on their mobile phone, buying online and picking up in store, etc. It sounds complicated, but the most innovative merchants make it feel effortless for the consumer.

The new reality is that consumers use these various “channels” without differentiating their needs or expectations across the channels, and they increasingly expect merchants to provide one shopping experience that operates in a connected way across all media. When a potential customer abandons a cart online from your site, can that shopper pick back up where he or she left off from his or her mobile device? Can the online cart history translate to a faster and easier trying-and-buying experience in your store? If so, it’s highly likely you’ve seen material improvements in sales.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your slice of the $4 trillion pie and enjoy a prosperous holiday season.

This article was written by Leo Castro and published on Multichannel Merchant.

Leo Castro is Director and Business Lead, Mid-Market Segment at PayPal.

Multichannel Merchant covers all aspects of marketing, management and operations for companies using catalogs, direct and digital/ecommerce channels.