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Cart Abandonment: Strategies & Tips

What is Cart Abandonment?

When a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, the logical next step may be completing the purchase—but more often than not, that’s not the case. Leaving without purchasing is known as cart abandonment.

As much as 69.8% of online shopping carts are abandoned before purchase, with an even higher rate of 85.6% for mobile shoppers. This leads to revenue losses of $260 billion in the U.S. and EU combined. How can brands prevent this from happening?

By setting up triggered alerts—in the form of a cart abandonment campaign—to redirect shoppers back to their abandoned carts, you can get an average of 10.7% of shoppers to complete their purchase via email marketing alone, though success rates may be even higher when you leverage other channels as well.

Let’s take a look at why customers abandon their shopping carts to begin with and how you can win them back to complete a purchase.

Why Does Cart Abandonment Happen?

There are many causes for cart abandonment, and they’re often related to problems with the customer experience. According to the Baymard Institute, these are the most frequent causes of cart abandonment:

  • Extra costs too high (shipping, tax, or fees) (49%)
  • The site wanted me to create an account (24%)
  • Delivery was too slow (19%)
  • Checkout process is too long or complicated (18%)
  • I don’t trust the site with my credit card information (17%)
  • I couldn’t see/calculate total order cost upfront (17%)
  • Website had errors/crashed (12%)
  • Returns policy wasn’t satisfactory (11%)
  • Not enough payment methods (7%)
  • Credit card declined (4%)

While putting measures into place to streamline the online checkout process and optimize the user experience is an important part of improving online conversion rates, that won’t recover every customer. To make a substantial reduction in your abandoned carts, it’s also important to put a well-built campaign into place.

How to Manage a Cart Abandonment Campaign

A cart abandonment campaign is a messaging sequence dedicated to encouraging the customer to return to their online shopping cart and complete the checkout process. The campaign can take place across all of the digital channels a customer uses, including email, SMS, in-app messaging, push notifications, and social ad retargeting. The messaging will typically include a reminder about the item(s) the customer left in their cart, and may offer an incentive such as a discount or free shipping, encouraging them to complete the purchase.

To set up an effective cart abandonment campaign, use a cross-channel marketing solution like Iterable, which will make it easy to develop sequenced campaigns in response to user triggers, such as leaving a desktop or mobile site without checking out.

Your campaign can automatically optimize based on the customer’s current channel. For example, if they abandoned a cart on your mobile app, you might send them an in-app message or push notification encouraging them to return. If they used your mobile website, you might send an SMS message. And if they used a desktop browser, you might default to email as the first step in your sequence.

Cross-Channel Cart Abandonment Campaigns

If the customer doesn’t respond to your initial message, you can continue the sequence across all of the channels the customer uses, varying your messaging and offers based on the user’s action. For instance, if a customer opened your cart abandonment email but didn’t click on the CTA to return to their shopping cart, you might follow up with an SMS link that sweetens the deal by adding a promotional discount that will be automatically applied to their cart.

It’s important to personalize the content for your cart abandonment campaigns, including the customer’s name, and Catalog elements like a photo and name of the item they left in their cart. You might even include recommended add-on products that complement the one they’ve been considering. It’s also helpful to provide clear customer support options within the message, as the customer may have abandoned the cart due to a technical issue that may need human support to resolve.

Your sequence should be deployed at a time close to when the customer first abandoned the cart—typically within 24 hours—so they don’t forget about the item. Make sure to use a subject line that jogs their memory, such as “You forgot [item]!”, and include a clear call to action to return to their shopping cart and complete the purchase. For an added bonus, once they get to their cart through your abandoned cart messaging, have all of the contact fields automatically filled for a seamless customer experience. Subsequent messages may be sent at later intervals to avoid flooding the customer’s marketing channels all at once.

To optimize your cart abandonment recovery rate, you should continually A/B test all of the elements in your sequence, including send time, subject lines, images, promotional offers, cross-channel sequencing, and others, to develop the optimal campaign strategy for each user.

Using Cross-Channel Marketing to Recover Lost Revenue

A cross-channel marketing solution like Iterable provides an ideal toolset for designing and implementing highly effective cart abandonment campaigns. You’ll be able to personalize your content offers and optimize various elements based on what each user prefers, to deliver a seamless and cohesive user experience across every marketing channel.

By setting up cross-channel cart abandonment campaigns, you’ll be able to drive higher recovery rates and contribute more revenue to your company’s bottom line.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.