3 Enormous Opportunities for Your Cart Abandonment Strategy (2 of 2)

Check out the major opportunities for your eCommerce business to reduce your cart abandonment - with examples to follow and actionable steps.

shopping cart to illustrate cart abandonment strategy

1. Pre-Cart Abandonment Phase
     a. Build Trustworthiness
     b. Personalize Your Content
    c. Optimize Your Checkout User Experience
2. Display of Cart Abandonment Intent Phase
     a. Overlays
     b. Live Chat
3. Post-Cart Abandonment Phase
     a. Retargeting with Ads
     b. Recovery Email Campaigns
    c. Abandoned Cart Messages

A visitor to an online shop browses, puts some items in their cart, then - for whatever reason - leaves the site.

The dreaded Cart Abandonment.

With $18 billion lost in sales revenue each year and nearly 7 out of 10 visitors abandoning items in their carts, it affects every eCommerce store in operation today. 

Many a business owner is left wringing their hands in a desperate solution search. 

In this Part 2 of our cart abandonment series, we’ll outline for you a comprehensive cart abandonment reduction and recovery strategy. We’ll detail each critical phase of the customer journey and what you can do to retain your visitors.

As with any good solution strategy, the first step is understanding the problem. If you haven’t already, check out our Part 1 article on shocking cart abandonment statistics and the nitty-gritty behind them. 

You’ll get a comprehensive framework of what’s happening in cart abandonment: how it’s affecting your business, why it’s happening to you - and why you should care.

Now, armed with an understanding of the cart abandonment problem, let’s charge onward. 

Find out the 3 huge opportunities in the customer journey and how you can take advantage of this 18 billion dollar opportunity!


The Cart Abandonment Timeline

Every visitor who comes to your website embarks on a customer journey. Of course, each individual journey will vary - but when it comes to eCommerce and the road to cart abandonment, a certain set of building blocks, opportunities, and experiences remain the same. 

We’ll give you a brief overview of the 3 different phases here and dive more into specific strategies later on.

Pre-Cart Abandonment

Hey! You’ve got traffic.

The first critical stage of the customer journey begins, of course, as soon as visitors land on your website. 

While they browse and discover, it’s important to make sure their experience is smooth, compelling, and speaks to them. This includes everything from your website speed and its look and feel to your cart flow and checkout process.

Display of Cart Abandonment Intent

This phase happens after the visitor has spent some time browsing and may even be going through the checkout process. 

Here you can start to gauge visitor intent based on behavior, for example mouse movement or checkout duration. There are a number of specific techniques you can employ to maintain engagement.

Post-Cart Abandonment

Oh, no. 

Undesired but inevitable, at this stage your visitors have left your website - and lonely carts - behind.

But wait! Don’t hang up your hat yet; there’s hope.

There are multiple ways you can continue to court your visitors - even after they’ve left your website. From ads to web push notifications to emails across multiple platforms, there’s a suite of solutions at your disposal.

Ready to dive into the real specifics and turbocharge your bottom line? Let’s get to it.


Pre-Cart Abandonment Phase

Build Trustworthiness

The look and feel of your website is, of course, a keystone of your marketing and business strategy. 

If things look fishy or illegitimate, you can forget about winning sales. Getting your customer journey off on the right foot means getting your visitors to trust your website and your business. 

What can this look like?

  • Make sure all your basics are flawless - your website is proofread and error-free, your images are high quality, and your links function. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile, too.
  • Build legitimacy by installing an SSL certificate (graduate from HTTP to HTTPS). 
  • Prominently display any appropriate verification logos and be very clear about your security policies.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication methods.
  • Use an eCommerce platform that is polished and responsive. 
    More and more shoppers do their shopping from smartphones and tablets! Make sure your website doesn’t suffer from sales-killers like page timeouts and the platform you use optimizes load times for mobile devices. 

    Shopify
    is of course a great and popular option, offering tons of customization and great load speeds.
  • Include social proof to show visitors they’re in good company - customer reviews go a long way. 

    Services like Yotpo and PowerReviews help you collect reviews, dynamically display them and much more.
Screenshot of Yotpo interface with reviews collection and on-site preview features
Yotpo helps you collect product reviews and preview them on-site.


Personalize Your Content

Personalization and eCommerce have become as inseparable as salt and pepper - always together, adding the right flavor to the customer’s journey.  

It’s clear as day - customers are individuals who want to feel like individuals

How can you do this?

We’ll take a look at a couple ways to do this - we suggest both! 

Personalized Product Recommendations

The first is through personalizing product recommendations. This means using information about the user to select which products you display and nudge the visitor to have a closer look at. 

It turns out that personalized shopping cart recommendations influence 92% of shoppers, so you have a pretty big opportunity here!

It starts with grouping your visitors into different segments. There are a number of ways to cut the cake; test out which paths work best for you: 

  • Classic demographics like gender and age
  • Whether they are new visitors, returning customers or returning non-customers (have they seen your website without purchasing items *yet*)?
  • How they arrived at your site. Organic search, email marketing, Pay Per Click, a referral URL, or social media? UTM parameters can be helpful here
  • Where they are located. What language might they speak and what might their weather be like?
  • Past behavior like browsing history, purchase history, and search history - this can give you a picture of a visitor’s motivations
Screenshot of Amazon personalized product recommendations based on shopping trends
A classic eCommerce personalization example, Amazon recommends further products based on the individual user.

By collecting and analyzing this sort of metadata from your visitors, you can suggest products and services for them that others in their segment purchased. 

The result is that your recommendations will be more tailored to their needs and interests. You’ll provide helpful guidance that is relevant to them - and they’ll feel like individuals in your online shop.

Personalized Product Descriptions

The second method, which can work wonderfully together with the first, is to personalize your descriptions of the products themselves. 

How does this work?

Just as with the first method, user metadata helps you segment your visitors. You can do this based on whether they’re first time visitors, have bought from you before, are price comparing, etc. 

Next, develop an understanding of the different types of information and messaging that would be most important and most helpful to each kind of visitor, and write a variation of product copy that specifically addresses them.

Oh, man. That sounds like a lot of copywriting.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all yourself - here at Xanevo, together with our partner AX Semantics, we can help you generate heaps of distinct versions of your product descriptions at the push of a button.

What might these different versions look like? Here are just a couple examples for a Blacksmith Pastry fork below.

Pastry fork product page showing default product description
Default product description


One personalized variation could be based on whether users have been to your website before. First time visitors may not be familiar with your brand and could therefore find it helpful to read a little bit of background information about your brand values and where you distribute.

Product page showing pastry fork personalized product description based on first-time visitor
Product description for a first-time visitor

Another personalized variation could be for visitors who are price-comparing. They might have an easier time making a purchase decision if your compelling warranty policy is clear.

Product page showing pastry fork personalized product description based on product-comparer
Product description for a product-comparer


For more details, check out our demo yourself!

Optimize Your Checkout User Experience 

The last set of strategies to employ in the Pre-Cart Abandonment phase focus on optimizing your checkout experience. 

Remember how 18% of cart abandonments are caused by long and complicated checkout processes, and optimizing them can lift your conversions by more than 35%? 

You can guess the message here - ensure your visitor has a smooth, pleasant experience from start to finish. Things to keep in mind include:

  • Flexibility. Enable a freeze or save option to pick the cart back up later. Make your carts easy to edit - include additional and subtraction controls, and removal buttons for each item. 
  • Simplicity. Keep your checkout interface uncomplicated and easy to follow. Keep your process to a low number of steps (not more than 6 pages). 
  • Clarity. Make sure your costs are transparent. All customs, delivery, and other fees should be clearly shown and itemized.  
  • Payment Convenience. Allow customers without pre-existing accounts the option to check out as guests - don’t force them to create accounts. Offer a variety of payment methods and alternative options. This includes shopping apps like PayPal, digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and delayed payment like Klarna or afterpay
  • Smooth Delivery and Return. Offer clear shipping timelines and express shipping options for those last-minute shoppers. Put customers’ minds at ease and help them say yes by designing a solid return policy that makes it easy for them to return or swap items. 
Rayban order summary showing multiple convenient payment options of Klarna, Afterpay, and Paypal with easy returns
Rayban makes their payment process convenient by offering alternatives like Klarna and Afterpay. They address other user objections by highlighting their easy return policy.

Casper product page highlighting free shipping and returns as well as around-the-clock customer service
Casper makes their page highly compelling with risk-free trials, free shipping and returns, and exceptional around-the-clock “snooze specialist” customer service agents.

Display of Cart Abandonment Intent Phase

When visitors are about to bounce from your website, they may send hints in multiple ways with their behavior. Thankfully, there are automated ways to address these visitors and re-engage them with behavioral targeting algorithms. Let’s have a look.

A few signs of exit intent can be:

  • Accelerated mouse movement up towards the corner to x-out
  • Highlighting the product name, likely intending to copy-paste it elsewhere for price-comparison
  • A disproportionately long checkout, or discontinued activity partway through the checkout process

Overlays

If visitors show exit intent through mouse movement or checkout inactivity, automated overlays with messages and offers can be effective. You can remind visitors they have something in their carts or entice them with special offers like vouchers, free shipping, or initial purchase discounts. These overlays can be floating bars and slide-ins, not just popups.

Screenshot of popup overlay from Webinarjam featuring cheap trial, triggered by exit intent
Webinarjam offers a nearly-free trial upon a user’s display of exit intent.

Live Chat

If customers are taking longer than is normal to complete the checkout process, this is a sign that they may be running into snags or getting distracted. A live chat pop-up window can refocus them on their checkouts and provide helpful assistance with any issues they may be having - helping them overcome those last barriers to purchase.


Post-Cart Abandonment Phase

You’ve taken all the right steps - a smooth website with a great user experience, an effortless checkout process, and employing re-engagement strategies. Still, it’s unavoidable that a certain percentage of your visitors will still leave. 

Before you throw in the towel, remember that there’s a number of ways to bring your visitors back - and court them into converting.

Omnichannel Strategy

The most comprehensive and effective approach for the post-cart abandonment phase starts with a diversified foundation. This means leveraging the many ways and contexts in which your visitors engage with content - social media, email, and browsing, to name a few.

Retargeting with Ads

This pillar of your omnichannel strategy employs bits of code (tracking pixels) to create browsing cookies when a user visits your website (hey, no baking required!). 

Later when the user is elsewhere on the web, you can retarget them with personalized, relevant ads for products or services they’ve already shown interest in on your website.

These ads can show some of the same messages as you would for exit-intent overlays - a reminder of a lonely cart and exclusive promotions upon revisiting the cart, for example.

Not only do 3 out of 4 shoppers notice retargeting ads, 26% of them will return to your site!

Another great advantage here is that retargeting costs a just fraction of what you would spend to drive first time traffic to your website.

If you want a powerful retargeting machine with behemoth learning and optimization capability, turn to the actual giants.

Facebook’s dynamic ads and Google Ads can help you re-engage customers who have seen your products already, and even create automated lookalike audiences based on your retargeting audience!


Remarketing with Abandonment Recovery Email Campaigns

Another very important pillar of your cart abandonment recovery strategy should absolutely be your email campaigns. There’s no doubt that they are effective in driving sales and conversions.

According to Klaviyo’s benchmarking report, cart abandonment emails enjoy an average open rate of more than 40%, with a click rate of more than 9%.  

If that’s not convincing enough, businesses with average order values (AOVs) of $100 to $500 recovered 4-5% of their carts, while those with AOVs under $50 recovered about 3%. 

Great, I’ll send an email and the conversions will just come rolling in!

…well, it is straightforward - but just sending emails all willy-nilly won’t do the trick.

Recovery email campaigns are like following recipes. Say you’ve got all the ingredients for a great pasta dish in front of you. 

You don’t throw four strands of pasta, two bulbs of garlic, and an entire mug of salt in the pot all at once and cross your fingers, do you?

Say it with us: follow the recipe.

To get that perfect Goldilocks pasta dish that’s not too hot or cold and not too salty or bland, it’s critical to pair optimal timing with the right amount of your ingredients.

Likewise, you should design your email campaign with this harmonious pair of considerations in mind.

Businesses who utilize recovery email campaigns see the highest returns with 3 message drip campaigns that don’t wait more than 1 hour after cart abandonment to pop in. 

On the other hand, emails sent more than 24 hours after cart abandonment see an almost halved conversion rate.

An optimized flow would look like this:

Email 1: Cart reminder 30 mins after abandonment
Email 2: Follow up 24-36 hours after abandonment
Email 3: Discount/loyalty program highlight 72 hours after abandonment

Tips to help your campaigns court and convert effectively:

  • Stellar subject line: craft a catchy subject line that will compel your cart abandoner to take another look. Continuous A/B testing will help you determine your most successful subject lines.
  • Clear CTA: don’t beat around the bush - customers should know exactly what you want them to do. “Take Me Back to My Cart” or “Resume Order” are examples of clear CTAs.
  • Personalization power: addressing customers by name adds that personal touch to catch their eye.
  • Safeguard against spam: spam filters are the bane of any self-respecting drip campaign. Make sure your emails won’t skip the inbox. You could use tools like Mail-Tester or ISnotSPAM.
  • Utilize urgency: If time is short or supply is scarce, this sense of urgency can drive customers to complete their purchases.
  • Show social proof: testimonials and reviews from other happy customers may just be what your customer needs to smash that last barrier.
  • Highlight a single product: even if there were several different items in the abandoned cart, it’s better to focus on a single product rather than stretch your precious customer attention across many products. 
  • Choose discount offers wisely: discount coupons are great at nudging conversions for new prospects, but can eat at your bottom line over time. You also run the risk of devaluing your products - especially when it comes to your loyal customers. An alternative is to use your loyalty and rewards program. Remind customers who have reached a certain loyalty points threshold that they have points they could apply to the purchase.
Example Adidas cart abandonment recovery email with clever subjects, customer reviews, product highlights, and strong CTAs.
Adidas nails their recovery emails by using a catchy subject line, highlighting single products, using social proof, and having clear CTAs. Source: reallygoodemails.com


Abandoned Cart Messages

No omnichannel strategy would be complete without leveraging today’s Almighty Addiction: the smartphone.

Since there exists some mysterious superglue between our eyes and our phone displays these days, automated texts to the cart abandoner are likely to be seen instantly - a more timely manner than emails.

Include a link back to the customer’s cart, where you’ve magically regenerated it with all the items that were in it before. As we know, a friction-free process for the user will be more likely to end in conversion.

You have multiple options to send messages directly to the user. Aside from good ol’ SMS, you can leverage the immense popularity of messaging apps and text your customers on Facebook Messenger, for example. Recart works with your Shopify store to handle both SMS and Messenger.


Putting It All Together

In order to really harness the magic of the omnichannel strategy, you’ll want to make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted. 

This means ensuring all your processes and operations are data protection compliant (GDPR in the EU, TCPA for SMS in the US) - missteps could mean fines.  

It also means all the pillars of your omnichannel strategy need to be talking to each other. If a cart abandonment email successfully converts, your SMS and retargeting ad campaigns need to know to halt or alter their workflows too.


Conclusion

There’s no getting around it: cart abandonment is a bummer. Heck, it’s more than a bummer - it’s a downright 18 billion dollar ouch.

But understanding why it happens can help you mitigate it for your own business, and there are concrete actions you can take at each step of the customer journey to reduce your abandonment rates.

In each phase, you can leverage the power of eCommerce personalization to engage and re-engage your visitors.

Optimize your polished, trustworthy website and design a flawless, effortless checkout process to make sure you nail the pre-abandonment phase. Used personalized product descriptions and personalized product recommendations to serve the customer as an individual.

If the visitor shows signs of abandonment intent, draw them back in with personal offers, messages and assistance.

After customers actually leave their carts behind, use an omnichannel strategy to remind them of what they’re missing out on. 

Want to personalize your product descriptions and unsure where to start? Xanevo’s got you covered! 

We can help you not only produce unique, personalized product descriptions - we can save you up to 80% of your time along the way.


Stacy Yee content marketing specialist

Stacy Yee

Content Marketing Specialist

Stacy designs, conceptualizes and creates marketing content to increase Xanevo's digital presence and impact.

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