When shopping carts are abandoned online, retailers lose a sale. It happens all the time – 99% of new site visitors will not buy during their first visit, and on average, 70% of carts will be abandoned. This adds up to approximately $4 trillion worth of abandoned merchandise each year.

There are marketing techniques that can retrieve these lost dollars. In fact, on average 63% of abandoned carts are considered recoverable. Here are four ways to entice these potential customers back to make a purchase. 

Follow up with email

Create an email that automatically reminds customers of the items left in their cart. For the best performance, schedule these emails to go out around three hours after the cart was abandoned. On average, this type of email reaches a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, so make the most of this opportunity by including:

  • Images and information about all the items left.
  • Bold call to action button – “Check out now.” 
  • A link that takes them directly to their cart, as they shouldn’t have to spend time logging in and clicking through to get back to their cart.
  • Instill a sense of urgency, for example: “The items in your cart are almost sold out!”

TIP: 57% of direct shopping cart traffic and 66% of cart conversions come through email, so make sure you expand your email list to include cart abandoners, first time customers, repeat customers and members. Be sure to customise your subject line and message for each audience. 

Retarget and escalate

Engage your customers where they spend 11 hours of their day – online. Retargeting ads not only remind potential customers of the items left in their cart, but these ads should also entice them to finish their order. Try using messaging like: ‘free shipping on your cart items,’ ‘10% off the items in your cart,’ and ‘the items in your cart are almost sold out.’ 

To take retargeting to the next level, try escalating your offers. By using this tactic, retailers can offer more aggressive promotions, as needed, until a purchase is made. Here’s a real example of how using escalation dramatically increased conversion rates for a well-known athletic shoe brand. 

As you can see, men and women’s behaviour was completely opposite. The conversion rate for women was the highest after the first offer of 20%, while men waited longer and converted once the offer reached 30%. Using escalation allows retailers to offer the smallest discount needed to convert the largest audience. 

TIP: Try changing up the creative slightly and making your offers bold when using escalation, so that it is obvious each ad in the sequence is different.

Check out your checkout process

Efforts to create a winning email and digital campaign will mean nothing without a seamless checkout process. The following describes elements needed for a good checkout process:

  • Minimal steps, so it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a purchase.
  • No forced registration, so customers can check out as a guest.
  • Security reassurance.
  • Easy and quick forms, with some that auto populate.
  • Progress indicator at each step.
  • Persistent cart summary.
  • Cart that can be easily edited.
  • Action buttons on the top and bottom of each page.
  • Clear confirmation when a purchase is made.

Optimising this process will help push buyers down the funnel without having the excuses of ‘It took too long’ or ‘I didn’t want to sign up for a membership just to purchase.’

TIP: The #1 reason shoppers abandon at the checkout page is because they were presented with unexpected costs [56%], so be sure to have the grand total displayed before they get too far down the funnel!

Keep them coming back

After your customer completes the purchase, here are a few ideas to retain them as a repeat customer:

  • Confirm and thank them for their purchase.
  • Include social media buttons so they can post their purchase.
  • Encourage them to join your mailing list for future discounts.
  • Offer a discount on their next purchase.
  • Prompt them to refer a friend to get a discount.

TIP: Repeat customers have a 60% – 70% chance of converting – that means you need nine first time customers to get just one repeat customer.

Abandoned shopping carts are not the end of the road for a sale – it just means there’s an opportunity to pique interest again. By using these tactics to attract customers back to your site, you can quickly turn an abandoner into a loyal customer.