The Customer journey

The Customer journey

14th April 2015

Adding an item to an online shopping cart requires nothing more than a click. It can be done in an instant with very little thought.

But sadly for online businesses, the customer can abandon a shopping cart equally quickly. An individual may add one or two items and then simply leave the site. More frustratingly, many customers progress all the way to the check out before making a decision not to purchase.

As online merchants of all kinds know only too well, more customers abandon than convert. According to the Baymard Institute the abandonment rate current stands at 68%. In other words, if 1,000 people visit a site and add at least one item to their shopping carts, 680 will bail out while only 320 will enter their card details and press the buy button. That represents a huge amount of lost business.

In other words, cart abandonment is a fact of life – so much so that online marketers might be tempted to simply shrug their shoulders and accept that in an autonomous medium a majority of customers decide, for whatever reason, not to authorise payment. After all, if an individual decides not to buy, there is little that can be done about it, or is there?

Re-targeting to high value customers

Re-targeting customers who have abandoned carts is an established and effective means to recover sales. This re-targeting can be done by e-mail or a call, but it’s important to focus resources on selected customers. In practice that might mean those who are making high value purchases (something that would make a call worthwhile) or individuals whose behaviour on the site indicates a serious purchasing intent.

Those who abandon shopping carts are not all the same

Customers abandon shopping carts for many reasons. In some cases there is no real commitment to buy. Adding products to a cart may be nothing more than a way of keeping track of items of interest during the course of a journey and while the customer isn’t ruling out a purchase, he or she is not ruling it in either. Often they won’t get as far as the check out page.

But what of the customers who do indicate an intention to buy. They progress to check out, provide card details, a delivery address, e-mail and phone number, but then jump ship at the very last minute.

There are a number of reasons for behaviour of this kind. For example:

  1. They decide at the last minute to check prices elsewhere and may return.
  2. A degree of buyer remorse sets in, perhaps wondering if the money might be spent on other things.
  3. Something comes up in the office or at home that needs attention so there isn’t time to complete.
  4. There is an issue with the site itself. Software crashes or a form is confusing.

The common factor in all these scenarios is that at heart the customer wants to buy, but they are deflected either by doubts or practical considerations. They have abandoned but are nonetheless hot leads.

Identifying high value customers for recovery

UserReplay provides real time monitoring that will alert managers when carts are abandoned at key stages of the journey, notably at the check out. Managers and sales agents can then look more closely at the journey leading up to a cart being abandoned and select higher value customers who have provided details – such as phone numbers or e-mail addresses – before subsequently bailing out. According to criteria set by the sales team, these customers can then be called or e-mailed. This is often enough to recover the basket and win the business.

Reducing overall abandonment rates

In the longer term, replaying selected journeys helps you understand your customers better, particularly in terms of why carts are abandoned. You can then use that learning to improve the site and reduce overall abandonment rates.

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