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Imagine you own a physical store. You see a customer browsing your range and happily popping things in their shopping trolley. You glance down and up again, only to see the same full trolley, but this time without a customer attached.

While abandoning a shopping cart isn’t perhaps as dramatic online, the result is the same, and the impact on your business is every bit as real. In many ways the hard work has been done: you’ve managed to get the customer to your store, and interested enough in a product to place it in their basket. They’ve fallen at the very last hurdle: going through the checkout.

Today we’ll be looking at shopping cart abandonment rate: what the metric means, why yours might be high, and how one specific strategy – retargeting – can make a dramatic difference to how many cart abandonments you see in your online store.

What is my shopping cart abandonment rate?

Your shopping cart abandonment rate is calculated by tallying every shopping cart created and taking away those that lead directly to a purchase.

In this analysis of 44 different cart abandonment studies by Baymard Institute, the average rate of abandonment was an eye-watering 69.8% – approximately seven out of every ten shopping carts never reach the checkout. The reasons for not completing a purchase included:

  • Shipping, fees, taxes and other extra costs were too high.
  • I needed to create an account.
  • Delivery would take too long.
  • The checkout process was too long or complicated.
  • I didn’t trust the site.
  • I couldn’t see or calculate the total cost of the order.

Each of these reasons has quite a self-explanatory solution. Simplify the process. Be transparent with costs. Work to establish trust. But the number one reason for cart abandonment doesn’t have such a clear-cut solution.

shipping cart abandonment

The main reason that carts are more likely to be abandoned in the virtual world than they are in the real world is that many shoppers see their online cart as a proxy shopping list: a handy way to pull together all the products that they have half an interest in. The decision to actually buy a product comes later, once the customer has finished browsing.

More than anything else, turning a browser into a buyer is about exposure. It’s about reminding them of that cart they abandoned an hour, a day or a week ago. As we said earlier, the hard work has been done: this prospect knows about your brand, is interested in your products, and was a single step away from making a purchase. It might just be a matter of getting in front of them again.

Enter retargeting.

Using retargeting to improve abandonment rate

Retargeting – also called remarketing – is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on those who have already visited your site.

There are two main types of retargeting: pixel and list. Pixel retargeting uses cookies to anonymously track those who have visited your website and serve ads to them. This is the most common and simplest form of retargeting. List retargeting meanwhile demands that you obtain details from your audience, perhaps by asking them to create an account. This is a more time-consuming form of retargeting, but it is able to be made far more personal.

According to WordStream, retargeted ads are 76% more likely to be clicked than a regular ad. They also lead more directly to a purchase, because they can remind the audience of a specific product that they were considering buying.

That’s the what and the why of retargeting. Next comes the how.

How do you create a retargeting campaign?

Setting up a retargeting campaign demands a good understanding of digital marketing. For those with the necessary expertise, it can be as simple as following this six-step process:

  1. Segment your abandoned carts: In order to personalise retargeting for each customer, carts should be segmented by product, value, and whether this is a repeat or first-time customer.
  2. Decide on your platform: Google, Facebook, Shopify? Decide which platform you’ll use to deliver your remarketing.
  3. Utilise a burn pixel: Ideally, you won’t retarget shoppers who ended up buying an item elsewhere. A burn pixel helps to ensure that you don’t.
  4. Consider timing: Show an ad too soon or too often, and you risk alienating your audience. Show it too little or too late, and you might miss your opportunity.
  5. Customise your copy: The most effective retargeting efforts are those that mention the specific product that was left in the cart, and speak to the reason that the cart may have been abandoned in the first place.
  6. Test, test, and test again: Use A/B testing to identify the most effective platforms, timings and personalisations, and use those insights to develop your strategy.

Abandoned shopping carts can represent an eCommerce business’s greatest opportunity. These are the warmest of warm leads: the type that was so interested in a product they put it in their basket.

Retargeting is the most effective means to lower your shopping cart abandonment rate. And if you’re ready to turn these almosts into actual sales, our team at Traction is ready to help!

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