Cart abandonment plagues major e-retailers

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 1, 2014

Online shopping cart abandonment is going unchecked by 85% of the UK's top 75 retailers. Abandoned shopping carts is unthinkable in bricks and mortar stores, so why do retailers accept it online, asks Brendan Dykes, director of strategic marketing for Genesys.

Recent Genesys research has identified that a massive 85% of online retailers are letting customers discard their online goods without challenge. The issue became apparent after 140 worth of goods were put in the baskets of 75 of the UK's top retailers, then abandoned before final payment. Just 15% of surveyed retailers chased up potential customers in the crucial first 24 hours post-abandonment, with 5% of them enquiring a second time the following day.

Customer service in the shape of the contact centre can be key in proactively combating online shopping cart abandonment.

Missed Opportunities
Retailers, at this stage in the sales cycle, are already in possession of a customer's contact details, yet choose to miss the sales opportunity. From 10,830 worth of abandoned items, 9,180 of goods were not pursued at all. In other words just 1,650 (15%) worth of potential sales were investigated post-abandonment.

This wasted revenue opportunity is avoidable. All that is required is timely intervention at the point of virtual sale or quick and diligent following-up by the contact centre after a cart has been sidelined.

Proactive Engagement
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.

Recent research by ContactBabel has also indicated that the number of web chats handled by contact centres has risen to 250 million, a 60% increase over the last 12 months. Using this service to offer support to online shoppers at the point of sale goes a significant way to improving the customer's website experience, boosting customer service and sales simultaneously.

If this fails, follow-up by phone or email. But the Genesys research showed just 15% of retailers followed up within that crucial 24 hours after shopping cart abandonment. Following-up after consumers have abandoned their online goods is clearly not deemed a priority. But understanding why a shopper has decided to disregard the items in their online basket and re-marketing to them can unearth valuable sales and marketing data to support a range of services from product marketing to website design.

"These simple solutions could decrease online abandonment, and lead to higher sales and a better customer experience," concluded Dykes.

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