Malcolm Duckett, CEO of Magiq
Abandoned baskets are generally believed to be a bad thing. The industry average for basket abandonment is somewhere between 60 -70 per cent, and it’s one of the largest sources of lost revenue for any online business. But abandoned baskets are, in fact, a great opportunity for marketers to understand what the customer is interested in, begin engaging the customer through personalised communication and start to generate revenue from abandoned baskets.
The aim of the game is to persuade customers to return to their baskets and increase conversion, without offering unnecessary discounts every time a visitor exhibits this behaviour. Here are the six steps marketers must take to reclaim abandoned baskets:
1. Right target, right time
Many systems that monitor basket abandonment will automatically come to the conclusion that a basket has been dropped after a fixed time. Triggers will say ‘if a visitor has not completed a purchase within an hour of placing an item in the basket, then it’s abandoned.’
However, browsing sessions can go on for an indeterminate amount of time as customers will invest whole evenings in comparing brands, styles and product options. Finding the right balance between targeting too soon while a customer is still considering their options, and too late if they buy elsewhere, is key. Create a rule based on a customer’s overall interaction with the site, for example, ‘if a customer has stopped browsing the site completely for 25 minutes, then their basket is abandoned’.
2. Decide how best to target the customer
There are three main ways to approach the customer once it has been established that the basket is abandoned:
• Approach on the webpage or whenever they return to the site – this works particularly well when targeting anonymous bag droppers.
• Emailing customers is particularly effective as it ensures that while the email remains in their inbox, it serves as a reminder to return and buy.
• For high value sales, getting the telesales team involved means they can explain any specific questions a customer might have that was preventing them from completing the order.
3. Little offers make big differences
Free postage and packaging or a 10 per cent discount can make all the difference when persuading a customer to complete a sale. Communicating this via banner adverts on the website or a well-timed email can be just what’s needed to attract the customer back to their basket.
4. Keep it simple
Over complicating things, such as sending an email containing the exact basket items the customer abandoned so they can ‘buy from the mail’, is unnecessary. Often the customer was not looking to buy every item they placed in the basket so the complexity of designing this type of campaign is not worth the investment. Concise emails and links back to the site should be all you need to engage the customer, especially as a link will persuade them back to the site.
5. Get customers back to the site
Use links within emails to get customers to return to the site, rather than providing them with the option to buy within the email. This means marketers gain the additional opportunity for the site’s merchandising may persuade customers to add additional items to their discounted basket and increase average basket size.
6. Don’t train your customers to look for deals
If a site’s technology offers a discount every time a customer abandons a basket, your customers will rapidly get wise to the fact that they are guaranteed a discount when they leave the site for half an hour. The trick is to use intelligent triggers to limit the offers or change the site’s behaviour. That way customers will feel valued by being given a one-off ‘treat’ but they won’t be ‘trained’ into looking to secure a discount every time they buy online.
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