Marketing Bootcamp

4 Strategies to Stop Shopping Cart Abandonment on Mobile

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year for vendors or all types, but one thing certain to sour anyone’s eggnog is customers abandoning their shopping carts.

It is hard to imagine a grocery store customer abandoning his item-filled cart in an aisle and wandering out the door for any reason other than an emergency, but this happens in mobile apps all of the time, whether it is on Cyber Monday or your garden variety Wednesday afternoon.

A customer may get distracted mid-checkout or decide to do more price checking -- these we have less control over. However, it is also common for shoppers to get frustrated by a lackluster mobile experience or there's a problem in your app that prevents or delays the customer from completing the process. In any case, testing gives you a much better idea of what is truly happening with shopping-cart decisions, and how to optimize the entire mobile shopping experience to make the register ring this holiday season.

Getting into your customers’ heads to figure out exactly what happened in each abandoned-shopping-cart situation is difficult, but understanding their big picture behavioral trends using data is not.

Before you rely on marketing automation to solve your checkout issues, take a closer look at factors leading up to checkout and evaluate the design of your purchase flow:

  1. Is the process too long?
  2. Does your platform look reputable?
  3. Are there any parts that might be confusing?

If you think changing specific elements could enhance your design, create another version based on your hypothesis and run an A/B test to see if there is any improvement in checkout rates with the new design.

Related: How to Get People to Stop Ditching Their Online Shopping Cart

Once you eliminate any fatal design flaws, you can safely focus on re-engagement.

Successful customer-re-engagement campaigns create more checkouts and lead to higher revenue, among other great outcomes. Unsuccessful campaigns, on the other hand, can cause damage including customer alienation, decreased lifetime value or even an uninstall of your app.

Right now, the main mobile re-engagement tool available to marketers is the push notification. To use it wisely and reduce shopping cart abandonment, consider the following suggestions:

1. Make sure you know who you want to re-engage.

Do not just blast a push notification to any customer who adds something to his cart. Instead, think about the types of users that might have a positive (or at least neutral) response to unsolicited messaging from your mobile app.

Based on current user base and user activity, determine how to operationalize happy customers that are on the path to purchase. Some potential push campaign recipients could be users who:

  • Searched through 10 products then added something to the cart
  • Spent at least one minute looking at page then added the item
  • Read reviews before adding an item
  • Added a high-value item
  • Added over 15 items to their cart
  • Previously purchased from your app.

Remember, most people do not like indiscriminately receiving flyers -- the same goes for push notifications, so make sure the recipient list is well thought out.

Related: Retailers of All Sizes Can Deliver a Seamless Shopping Experience

2. Create a call to action that incentivizes re-engagement.

This could be a discount offer, recommendations or just really great marketing copy. In any case, it needs to get the user’s attention and give him a reason to re-engage with your app.

A few ideas for messaging:

  • Offer a 10 percent discount if the items in the cart add up to $100 or less. Offer 20 percent if the items in the cart add up to more than $100.
  • Remind the user about easy alternate checkouts such as PayPal or Google Wallet.
  • Recommend items that are complementary to the items in the cart.
  • Notify the user when cart items are low in stock.
  • Notify the user when cart items go on sale.

3. Use A/B testing to compare conversion and lift.

To measure true lift, always A/B test the checkout results of users who received a push notification against those who did not. Did this push campaign actually get users to check out more or were other factors at play?

For instance, if you send a push notification during December and see an increase in checkouts from November, this is likely due to higher user activity during the holidays. Check to see whether the rest of your users have similar checkout rates for the same dates.

4. Measure lifetime value after a re-engagement campaign.

Remember to look at the big picture and use A/B testing to compare conversion and retention of users who received cart-abandonment campaigns to those who did not. You may indeed be getting more checkouts due to your campaign, but those users may never buy from you again if they did not have a positive experience. Always look at lifetime value metrics to make sure your customers come back.

Follow these guidelines and your holiday campaign should keep your register ringing, and turn you into a jolly old elf rather than a dispirited Grinch this year. With that, happy holidays and happy testing!

Related: The Holidays Are Coming: 4 Ways Startups Can Meet Shoppers on Mobile