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Cart abandonment: Recovery strategies for ecommerce merchants

Nov 07, 2023 - Rich Reba
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Imagine this: You stroll into a bustling store, excited about browsing the merchandise and checking items off your shopping list. You see some items you were looking for and toss them into your cart. Maybe some excitement and anticipation build as you continue to browse the aisles in search of the items you need (and maybe even a few hidden gems). But then, for some reason, you decide to abandon your cart and walk away. That cart stands there, abandoned, with your potential purchases left behind as you leave for home.

While this would probably not happen the way we drew it up, it’s remarkably accurate as to what happens often with online shoppers. Abandoned carts are a common phenomenon in ecommerce and they can be quite vexing for a brand that invests significant marketing dollars in attracting these shoppers. . In reality, they represent an untapped opportunity, accounting for over $100 billion in lost revenue due to cart abandonment. If you’ve never implemented an abandoned cart recovery strategy, you’re in the right place. We'll delve into why they matter and how you can start recovering carts today.

Understanding abandoned carts

An abandoned cart represents an incomplete transaction. This occurs when a potential customer adds products to their online shopping cart but fails to finalize the purchase. Instead, they leave the website, leaving behind a cart filled with products that were just a single click away from being converted into sales.

Abandoned carts can be likened to missed opportunities in the realm of ecommerce. You've successfully captured a customer's interest, possibly even persuaded them that your products are worthy of their hard-earned money. Then, abruptly, they disappear into the digital void. Research indicates that the average cart abandonment rate hovers around 70%. If you believe you're the sole retailer grappling with this issue, think again!


The importance of recovery strategies

Abandoned carts truly represent unrealized revenue. Think about it – these potential customers were on the verge of making a purchase. They were engaged and interested. They checked out your products. By letting them slip through your digital fingers, you're leaving money on the table.

This is where abandoned cart recovery strategies come into play. These strategies often involve a gentle nudge that reminds your customers about the items they've left behind. It's all about bringing them back to your e-commerce storefront, guiding them toward the checkout, and sealing the deal this time.

Customers abandon carts for various reasons. Thanks to customer surveys, we know that the primary reason customers abandon their carts is the added costs of shipping and other fees during the checkout process. To prevent abandoned carts before they start, consider reducing or eliminating these added costs, which could potentially prevent up to 50% of abandoned carts on your site. In cases where shipping and other fees can’t be reduced, making them clear ahead of time may help to reduce sticker shock at checkout. 


Types of abandoned cart recovery strategies

There are several ways to tackle the abandoned cart conundrum, but we'll keep it straightforward. Here are the three primary strategies.

1. Email reminders

Sending a friendly email to customers who've left items in their cart can be a game-changer. These emails can include a reminder of the abandoned items, along with enticing visuals and clear calls to action. Personalizing these messages can make them even more effective.

bonobos abandoned cart email inviting customer back to finish checkout


2. Retargeting ads

Ever felt like you're being followed by a product online? It keeps showing up again and again. That's retargeting in action! By placing strategic ads on websites your potential customers visit, you can remind them of the products they left behind. 

For those customers that have not yet excited your website, try to remind them with retargeting popups:

pacsun popup ad reminder for cart abandonment recovery


3. Personalized offers

Sometimes, a special offer can be the catalyst that turns an abandoned cart into a completed purchase. Offer discounts or free shipping to sweeten the deal and motivate customers to return and finish what they started.

personalized offer for customer after abandoned cart at birchbox


4. Account creation

We understand that information is crucial for your brand, but your customer experience is equally important. Requiring customers to 'sign up' before purchasing a product might seem like a good business decision, but it undoubtedly contributes to your cart abandonment rates. Providing customers with the option to create an account or checkout without creating one empowers them to choose their own experience, leading to reduced cart abandonment and happier customers


Benefits of abandoned cart recovery

The return on investment (ROI) for abandoned cart recovery strategies can be impressive. The cost of implementing these strategies is often outweighed by the additional revenue they generate. It's an efficient way to make your marketing budget work harder. When you recover abandoned carts, you're essentially converting potential sales into actual revenue, rescuing profits that were on the verge of slipping away.

Emails, retargeting ads, and special offers—reaching out to customers who've abandoned their carts demonstrates that you care about their experience and their business. It's a proactive step in building customer loyalty by connecting with customers throughout their buying journey.

Tracking your success

As with any business endeavor, tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your abandoned cart recovery strategies is crucial. You can't improve what you don't measure. Fortunately, the digital nature of ecommerce makes this easier than ever.

Utilize analytics tools to monitor the performance of your recovery emails, retargeting ads, and personalized offers. Look at metrics like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. This data will provide insights into what's working and what might need tweaking.

What works for one ecommerce store may not be as effective for another. It's all about experimenting with your approach to find what suits your unique circumstances.


No more missed customers

Next time you spot an abandoned cart on your storefront, don't let it go unnoticed. Treat the opportunity as a second chance to engage and convert potential customers. With the right strategies in place, you can transform abandoned carts into thriving sales.

If you need more help with your cart abandonment recovery strategies, our team of fulfillment experts are standing by to help