Although running an e-commerce business can seem to be easier than running a brick-and-mortar retailer, it comes with many challenges.
One of the most pervasive is cart abandonment, which can account for up to 70 per cent of all transactions. It is estimated that e-commerce stores worldwide lose about $18 billion yearly from this problem.
Fortunately, while the issue is prevalent, businesses can be proactive about fixing it. One of the best options is to incorporate conversational messaging, including SMS (text) messages to potential customers. Typically, the more effort you put into getting individuals to complete their purchases, the more successful you’ll be.
What Is Cart Abandonment?
Cart abandonment is when a customer adds items to their digital shopping cart but never completes the transaction.
This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to e-commerce stores, but it is far more common with online shopping than it is in person. Because it is so easy to click “add to cart,” many consumers will browse through the website to see what’s available and to get a sense of what everything will cost.
However, not all cart abandonment cases are a matter of window shopping. Understanding why people don’t follow through on these sales enables you to develop solutions like conversational text messaging.
What Are the Top Reasons for Cart Abandonment?
Here are some of the top reasons for cart abandonment:
1. Hidden Fees or Surcharges
Consumers like to know what they’ll pay upfront, and no one appreciates discovering hidden fees.
While some of these added costs are unavoidable (i.e., shipping or sales tax), some online retailers tack on unnecessary or confusing fees that inflate prices. When this happens, most individuals abandon their cart and look elsewhere for identical items.
2. Complicated Checkout Process
In a brick-and-mortar store, buying products is as easy as walking up to the cash register and paying with cash or a credit card. Online customers have to navigate through various pages and enter lots of personal information, including card numbers, addresses, and contact information.
As a rule, if a checkout process seems convoluted or confusing, customers abandon their carts rather than try to figure it out.
Usually, this occurs when someone has to enter information multiple times or needs help deciding which button to click to get to the next stage. This frustration can also happen if the retailer does less upselling or cross-selling with pop-ups or added pages.
3. Too Many Steps
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number of how many steps are too many for an online transaction. What matters most is whether the customer wants to purchase an item.
Having more than one checkout page for some retailers could be too much. However, other sites could have three or four pages and still not lose as many customers.
Another point to consider is the number of steps involved, regardless of the number of pages. If a single-page checkout seems too time-consuming, customers may still abandon their cart.
4. No Guest Checkout Option
With so many e-commerce stores online, customers may visit numerous sites before finalizing their purchases. However, most people want to avoid setting up an account on a new website, particularly for a one-time sale. It is akin to signing up for a loyalty card at every store you shop, even local mom-and-pop outlets.
Instead, 43 per cent of consumers prefer to use a guest checkout instead of creating a new account. That’s because most people are looking for the quickest method, and setting up an account will take a lot longer than just proceeding as a guest.
5. High Shipping Costs or Long Delivery Times
Retailers like Amazon have changed customer perceptions regarding what it costs to shop online. Overall, most consumers expect their deliveries to be free and fast, which is only possible with an extensive infrastructure of vehicles and drivers.
More than half (56 per cent) of cart abandonment cases are related to delivery delays or high shipping fees.
That said, most people are savvy enough to know that smaller retailers can’t afford to offer free shipping. However, if the delivery costs are similar to the purchase price, consumers don’t want to have to pay for something twice to get it delivered.
Also, up to 62 per cent of shoppers expect deliveries within three days, so long wait times will lead to higher abandonment rates.
How Text Marketing and Conversational Messaging Can Help With Cart Abandonment
E-commerce stores must address various issues to reduce the number of abandoned carts. Here are some ways to utilize this system more effectively.
1. Real-Time Engagement
If a customer has questions or encounters a problem in a brick-and-mortar location, they can flag down an employee and talk to them about the situation. When shopping online, most customers assume they will have to open a support ticket or talk to a chatbot, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.
However, if a customer service representative reaches out via text, the individual may feel more empowered to engage and ask questions about delivery fees, surcharges, or product quality.
For this option to be viable, you must establish a line of communication with the customer before reaching out. It is illegal to send unsolicited text messages, so the customer has to provide their phone number and consent. However, if you give them a prompt to accept these conditions and immediately chat with a representative, individuals may be more willing to comply.
2. Personalized Messaging
Modern consumers neglect marketing or sales messages that look like a “copy-paste” job. Instead, they want to be seen and recognized as an individual. Text marketing allows you to customize each message, particularly when a user is interacting directly with a customer service representative.
These personalized messages can relate to the products the customer abandoned, such as offering recommendations for add-ons or suggestions on how to use the item more effectively. The texts may also ask why the customer abandoned the cart and offer solutions to any issues they raise.
3. Rewards and Incentives
One of the best ways to encourage customers to complete a transaction is to attach a reward or discount. Once you see a customer has abandoned their cart, you can retarget them via text message with a limited-time offer or deal.
For example, if they complete the purchase within 48 hours, they get free shipping or 15 per cent off. You can also add freebies or extras to help make the order even better.
Additionally, you can have customers sign up for ongoing rewards programs so they are more likely to follow through with purchases in the future.
4. Using SMS Campaigns for Marketing and Sales Purposes
Cart abandonment is only one factor to consider when utilizing SMS messages for customer interactions.
Many brands are discovering how much users engage with these messages, especially when compared to email. On average, these messages have a 42 per cent read rate, compared to 32 per cent for emails.
Overall, creating an omnichannel messaging system with platforms like Mitto can help your business strengthen its bottom line by improving your conversion rate and engaging with customers more often. In some cases, targeting those with abandoned carts can help you get your foot in the door for future interactions and marketing messages.
Texting is becoming a viable communication channel between businesses and consumers, with many individuals preferring to interact with brands via text. Everything from promotional messages to customer service can be handled in this manner, enabling your business to be more proactive with its marketing and sales.
5. Get Better Omnichannel Messaging
Managing multiple channels can be overwhelming, particularly when you have a lean staff and limited resources. A service like Mitto is a one-stop shop for all of your communication needs.
With Mitto, you can seamlessly engage with your customers across platforms, ensuring maximum engagement and a more personalized user experience. Contact Mitto today to learn more about the software and how it can improve cart abandonment and everything else.
Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of IdeasPlusBusiness.com. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
For questions, inquiries and advert placements on the blog, please send an email to the Editor at ideasplusbusiness[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also follow IdeasPlusBusiness.com on Twitter here and like our page on Facebook here. This website contains affiliate links to some products and services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.