We have all done it. Put something in the basket and then left it there. It may not be a deliberate action but unfortunately there are many times where life just gets in the way; interruptions from the children, having to get off the train or an important email comes in that needs action. Of course no technology in the world will overcome these types of interruptions, but understanding other reasons and more importantly how to overcome them is key to driving your business forward.
Abandoned baskets are maintaining their high rates with around 70% of items left without purchase (SalesCycle 2016)
Let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons why people abandon their basket
- To compare “total price” with other stores
- Want to check delivery costs / timescales
- To come back later to reduce delivery charges
- Needing “permission from the other-half”
- Hoping to get extra discounts by leaving things in there for a day or two
Putting things in the basket to compare “total price” from other stores
This is probably the biggest reason; I know I do it. Whist this shows an intent to buy it may be that the time is not right or store is not the right one because of the total price, or other factors such as unknown site or the price is just too good.
It is difficult to know if the consumer is looking at your site first and will go on to others to compare pricing. One tell-tale sign is if the consumer “scrapes” the details from the page to copy and paste back into google, you have the opportunity to use an alert (triggered on the action of scraping) to offer “We will never be beaten on price” messaging.
If they are intent on making a purchase, the use of urgency or scarcity messaging, often used by travel sites may nudge the consumer to put the item in the basket. The scarcity messaging has to be real; you cannot just make up the figures as you may well win the initial sale but if the consumer discovers they have been hoodwinked, then subsequent sales will no doubt be at risk.
Using this technology is based on understanding who to target and therefore what to show them, there’s so you will need to discover how behavior changed as a result of your messaging.
Wanting to check delivery costs / timescales
This is a frustrating element of many websites. There is often no mention of delivery costs or timescales on the product page so the consumer has to put the items into the basket to check. Most people expect that there will be a price to pay for delivery or there may be a delivery threshold to which free delivery applies. In the first instance, add that detail on each product page and if the threshold is nearly reached, use banner light boxes before they go to check the basket to encourage minimal additional spend to gain free delivery. I must stress however that this needs to be minimal additional cost; I have experienced making a small purchase (less than £20) only to be told that if I spend another £30 I will get free delivery!
Again use your analytics to determine who to apply this banner too. And don’t overuse it, create rules as to when the banner will appear and how often it should be done.
Leaving items in the basket to add to later to reduce overall delivery charges
This one leads on from the last but the consumer intends to make the purchase and add additional items but gets distracted. Basket abandon emails are more commonplace nowadays but these have to be in context. There’s no point in sending an email 24 hours later than the basket was first added to as this will often be out of context of the original purchase. Think about when is the right time and if using an SMS message would be more appropriate.
Needing “permission from the other-half”
This is not as ridiculous as it first seems. There are many purchases that do require “approval” from someone else. You would not make a purchase of a car without consulting your partner, nor a sofa. It often depends on the price of the item (or its size) that will determine where permission could be required.
It may seem that you could not possibly do anything about this, but there are subtle tactics that could influence the buying decision.
a)Timing & cost
Based on when the purchase went into the basket it may be appropriate that if abandoned to send an email providing more detail (or an offer). Let me propose an example: If a consumer was on the train on their way to work and they looked at a 55” LED TV and put it into their basket but failed to complete the transaction, it would not be appropriate to send an email within an hour offering a special deal. Leaving your special offer email to later in the day (perhaps on the journey home) would be fresh in the mind and may even help persuade the “other-half” to approve the decision.
b) Forward to a friend
I have not seen this very often but on the checkout page provide an easy way to email the details to someone and allow comments to help support the case.
Hoping to get extra discounts by leaving things in there for a day or two
Consumers are getting smarter and are seeing emailed offers from brands based on items being left in the basket. This type of activity modifies behavior to deliberately leave items in the basket and await an offer. Using email or SMS may be a gentle reminder but try not to push promotional pricing. You could a combination of urgency messaging at cart review to stimulate completion if stocks are becoming low.
Overcoming abandoned baskets does not have a silver bullet solution but by careful use of your web analytics, optimization/ testing platform and email will certainly reduce your abandonment rates.