The Upside – Yes, Upside – of Shopping Cart Abandonment

It is the bane of eCommerce businesses everywhere: the feared shopping cart abandonment.

One minute, you have a customer who appears to like your products enough to put them in a shopping cart, only a single, easy mouse-click away from completing the order. The next minute – BAM! They exit without checking out, leaving your poor, poor products languishing all alone in the shopping cart, like a spoiled, screaming kid whose fed-up parents left them in the supermarket.

It’s never good to lose a sale, especially when you think the sale is only moments away from closing. But shopping cart abandonment is something that happens roughly two-thirds of the time, and impacts virtually every eCommerce business out there. As annoying as it is, however, all is not lost.

That’s right – there is actually, believe it or not, an upside to shopping cart abandonment.

Knowledge Is Power (And Money)

First, we’ll touch on the most obvious upside to when customers abandon their purchases before they turn into purchases: intent.

By putting together a cart in the first place, your customers have signaled an intent to buy. This is not to be taken lightly. You can use data you capture from people who have gone through the trouble of creating a shopping cart and filling it with items to learn more about how customers use your site and what products caught their eye. If you have landing pages and links that led to those products, you can gauge how effective these elements were in generating – and converting – traffic, even if the visit in question didn’t actually convert.

Knowing what step of the purchasing process your customer is in is very valuable, not just for marketing purposes – for remarketing purposes, too.

Remarketing: We Have You Right Where We Want You

Remarketing can be a goldmine of opportunity for your eCommerce business.

What an abandoned cart reveals is this: Your customer was sufficiently enticed to come around to your neck of the digital woods once. Who is to say they won’t return, especially if they see a timely ad for your website?

This is especially true if you feature the abandoned product in a remarketing ad. After all, many abandoned purchases are due to timing, or whims. It doesn’t mean the product isn’t good; it just means it isn’t good right now. But later? As Ms. Scarlett always said, “After all, tomorrow is another day for eCommerce.” (We may have embellished that quote a little.)

Better. Faster. Stronger.

Finally, shopping cart abandonment can help you refine your overall marketing and eCommerce platforms.

You can use data captured from abandoned shopping carts (those poor carts) and use it to refine your overall system. Maybe you’ll learn that customers prefer deals on shipping and will abandon carts if they find out that the shipping cost is too high. If so, then you could either offer deals on shipping, or, you could be upfront with shipping costs – which can result in fewer abandoned carts.

You might also learn that there is too much going on when it’s time to pull the trigger and seal the deal. In other words, maybe your shoppers are getting distracted because they see other links on the site or the page that lead them elsewhere. This is a big, huge, whopping no-no; when they have items in the cart, you want them to check out – nothing else.

You could also find that people are leaving during the checkout process itself. This might suggest that the process is too lengthy or complicated. People are fickle, friends. They want what they want immediately, and if they have to wait – or jump through hoops – they’ll bail.

Registering also causes problems. People often don’t like to register for things, especially if it just adds more steps to the process. Studying your abandoned shopping carts can help you figure out whether or not you should allow checking out for guests, or the option of saving their profile information for later.

Putting It All Together

It’s frustrating when people abandon their shopping carts. You want their business, and if they leave, there’s a chance you won’t get it.

Be reassured, though. Shopping cart abandonment is not the end of the world. You can learn a lot from how customers leave their purchases in the wind, and can use that information to improve your ecommerce platform and your marketing efforts. Just hang in there, have faith, and study the data. The number of sad, crying, abandoned shopping carts left stranded all by their lonesome will decrease – and your revenue will increase.

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