Friday, 17 May 2013

eCommerce: Email picks up the dropped basket

Two out of every three people that 'walk' into your 'online store' will shop around, select items to buy, add them to their basket and proceed to checkout. Then just as they pull out the credit card, they dump the basket by the digital door and leave, this is where digital marketing is needed.

This is the statistic that really grabbed my attention: the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 67%! *(1)

Online store customers can be split into four groups:
  1. The 33% who have bought from you already
  2. New customers who have not yet visited your  online store
  3. Those that have browsed but never check-out
  4. Those that reach checkout but abandon their baskets at the door, unpaid
They dropped the basket, now what?
Groups 1 and 4 are the customers who would benefit most from targeted email and digital marketing.

Group 1 are your traditional digital marketing customers to whom you can legitimately send targeted marketing as part of a customer lifecycle program, provided it's relevant and improves their experience with your brand.

Group 4 are customers with the highest chance of re-engaging if you act quickly and smartly. The action of re-engaging with a dropped basket customer is known as 'Re-Marketing'.

Why do customers abandon their carts
(Forrester May 2010 Report -  'Under standing Shopping Cart Abandonment'; Recipients could give multiple answers)
  • Shipping and handling costs were too high – 44% 
  • I was not ready to purchase the product – 41% 
  • I wanted to compare prices on other sites – 27% 
  • Product price was higher than I was willing to pay – 25% 
  • Promotions – 24% 
Forrester shows therefore that the 2 primary reasons are: "I am not sure I want to pay that"; and "I am not sure I want that yet", which tells us that abandonment doesn't mean the end of a sale!
How will re-marketing help?
While some studies show that only 8% of abandoners will return to complete the purchase on their own, this number goes up to 26% with re-marketing according to SeeWhy.

Let's take a step back and look at how online shoppers get to the cart originally. The SeeWhy graphs included below show that 57% of traffic arrives at the shopping cart from an email; and 67% of cart conversions originate from an email.
It follows that if the majority of online shoppers get to the cart from an email, then email should also be the most effective channel to get them to re-engage. And it suggests that those that re-engage via an email are the most likely group to convert to purchase.

A report from Forrester Research stated that when re-marketed, customers were likely to spend up to 55% more. SeeWhy claims it is because of these 3 key factors:
  1. Re-marketing leverages off our emotions 
  2. It induces a brand trust: because it's fresh in our memory 
  3. Users then start to use the cart as an offline shopping cart, filling it up with every return to the site
What can I do to re-market?
Group 4 customers have one massive advantage from a marketer's point of view; they have registered and provided their email address (unless they are 'guest' customers). This is your chance to engage.

Once a customer has registered, there are a myriad of touch point and lifecycle communications that can be triggered. One of these could be a welcome series. This is the opportunity to educate them on your products and your processes. It also gives multiple opportunities to engage because as a 'welcome series' it can constitute more than one message.

Here are 5 key triggered communications to be used when a customer abandons their cart:
  1. An immediate trigger when their cart has been abandoned; ie within minutes send an email that reminds them that they have abandoned their cart. *(2)
  2. second reminder a day or two later that references either the products they selected, or a key benefit of your site, like free delivery.
  3. related [complementary] product mailer where you reference the product they had included in their cart and provide related or similar products that they may prefer.
  4. The consensus is that re-engagement will happen within 28 days, so within that time, a newsletter or a brief survey (2 - 3 questions) can be triggered that will speed up the re-engagement.
  5. Offer a discount or an incentive to return to the site. 
Don't be daunted by that massive 67% abandonment rate because you can assist your customers along their decision path. The email channel is the perfect vehicle to re-engage your customers with relevant, targeted content that will inspire them to pick up the basket and pay for their goods.