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Majority of online retailers fail to query cart abandonment

3rd Dec 2014
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Cart abandonment is currently a hot topic in ecommerce, in part due to recent statistics from the Baymard Institute estimating that around 67% of online shoppers abandon carts before purchase.

However, new research from Genesys now states that the vast majority of ecommerce providers do not have a follow-up process for cart abandonment, with a study of the UK’s top 75 retailers discovering that 85% let shopping cart abandonment go unchecked online.   

The study was conducted through an experiment which involved placing £140 worth of goods in carts of all of the retailers’ online stores, before abandoning them during the final payment process.

While only 15% chased up the discarded items with the customers within 24 hours, just 5% enquired a second time the following day.

And despite no data available on the conversion revenue that results from follow-ups, Genesys suggests the potential loss of sales through failing to query cart abandonment with potential customers could be huge for ecommerce providers. With online retail currently tracking to turn over $1.3 trillion of business this year, it’s a hard point to argue.   

Following up cart abandonment may be a case of automated emails or directly contacting potential customers via the phone, however Brendan Dykes, director of strategic marketing at Genesys believes web chat is the most obvious and instantaneous channel for connecting with customers ‘abandoning ship’ in the online payment process:

“Every retailer would benefit by implementing something as simple as a live web chat – however, the study found only 7% of the retailers operated a web chat service, and none of them chose to proactively use this option during the buying process. But surely it's the ideal tool to engage with a hesitant shopper who is almost at the point of purchase?

“Proactively using web chat enables retailers to persuade the customer to continue their purchase or simply address any questions they may have about the goods they're buying, which can also reduce stock returns. This is more preferable than letting them discard their goods or, worse still, conceding them to a competitor.”

Research from ContactBabel has indicated that the number of web chats handled by contact centres has risen to 250 million, a 60% increase over the last 12 months.  

However, Max Childs, marketing director at Amplience recently told MyCustomer that retailers need to focus more attention on why potential customers abandon online carts in the first place, long before the follow-up process is considered:

“Don’t give shoppers the opportunity to get distracted in the middle of a purchase, when they’ve added products to their basket but haven’t yet completed the sale.

“You need to delete that limbo-like middle ground by cutting down the number of steps needed to buy – particularly on your mobile site, where customers are least likely to have the desire or ability to concentrate for long.

“You can also give customers visual cues to complete their purchase, like displaying a thumbnail image of each item that is added to basket. This acts as a reminder of why the item was chosen in the first place, and also gives the customer an overview of the ‘bigger picture’ of their purchase – how it fits into a complete outfit, or a dinner menu. Research indicates that visual baskets have around 10% higher conversion rates.”

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