The average shopping cart abandonment rate across all sectors is 69.99% resulting in around $18bn in lost sales every year and driving up customer acquisition costs. Fortunately, timely reminders, personalised offer deadlines, 24/7 FAQ answers, loyalty initiatives and great product reviews are just some of the ways you can encourage shoppers to revisit and convert an abandoned cart.
By next year, it’s estimated that 69.9% of all global eCommerce sales, valued at around $4.5 trillion, will be carried out on a mobile phone. Interestingly, mobiles have the highest cart abandonment rate at 85.65%. To reduce this, you need to meet consumers on their preferred devices and channels. Given that 53% of them prefer to buy from a company that communicates via a messaging app it’s important that you consider SMS, WhatsApp or Viber.
Business messaging allows you to start one-way or bi-directional conversations. Chatbots enable the customer to initiate the conversation and are available 24/7. Mobile messaging requires an opt-in, so these campaigns are usually the best fit for existing customers, whereas your chatbot can converse with prospects pre-acquisition, with no sign-up. Open rates for chatbot cart reminders are around 80%, as opposed to 25% for email, so a chatbot should also form part of your multichannel strategy.
Why Do Consumers Abandon Carts?
Consumers form an opinion about your website in about 50 milliseconds. Make sure your navigation is clean, and place your chatbot front and centre to answer FAQs and product queries. 58.6% of US online shoppers abandon their carts because they are digital window shopping, using it to compare competitors’ prices, or waiting for the sales. However, if you time your messages well and send personalised offers, you can turn this browsing mindset into a buying mood.
An overly long, complex or unclear checkout process is a barrier to purchase for 21% of shoppers. If your warranty and returns policies are unclear, or if you force account creation and shipping, consumers are likely to leave goods in their basket. This is where chatbots come in to explain and advise on various options and processes. 48% of shoppers are turned off by unexpected additional costs like tax and shipping. However, a text or chatbot offer of free shipping can overcome this problem and seal the deal.
To overcome the shopping cart abandonment issues, you can employ the below strategies using business messaging and an AI chatbot.
1. Gentle & Timely Reminders
To convert consumers who intended to purchase but were distracted during the buying process, send a gentle reminder within an hour to bring them back to their abandoned cart. Imagine they were browsing on their laptop and moved away from their device to pay attention to a real-life situation. Mobile users check their phone every 10-12 minutes so, if they’re signed up to receive mobile messages, send them one. If they’re a Viber user and have left multiple items in their cart, make use of Viber’s brilliant carousel images to showcase every item and reignite their excitement. In case they still have your website open but are completing other online tasks, your chatbot can flash up a reminder as well. You can then follow up with a mobile message 24-48 hours later and consider including a special discount.
2. Mystery, Scarcity & FOMO
In the UK, 74% of consumers respond to discounts and promotions. To maintain integrity and perceived value, follow the below offer creation tips. Don’t give away your maximum discount in the first message. If they don’t respond the first time, you can send a discount with an incremental increase a couple of days later. Creating an air of exclusivity and mystery causes excitement and emotional buy-in. To achieve this, entice consumers by telling them you’ve created a special offer just for them and give them a call to action (CTA) to click and reveal the discount. Make sure you give an expiry date for the offer to encourage your customer to purchase the items in their abandoned cart promptly. Approximately 60% of people make purchase decisions based on FOMO. Gently reminding a consumer that the item in their cart is popular, scarce, and will shortly sell out, can nudge them to make up their mind.
One more thing you can do is send the same offer at the same journey touchpoint via your chatbot and an SMS for a consistent CX. If the abandoned cart item is one that your customer has bought from you before, this is a good time to suggest they sign up for a subscription or monthly “reply to buy” SMS replenishment service to get a discount on their product forever. SMS is a highly responsive channel boasting an open rate of around 90%. On average, customers are likely to open them within 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for email, so this idea should boost your monthly sales.
3. VIPs Don’t Abandon Ship
Offers are great for initial buy-in, but too many discounts devalue your brand and can even keep customers holding off from purchasing to see what you’ll offer next! A great next step is to send them a reminder of the items in their cart with an invitation to join your loyalty program. Couple this with an incentive such as an introductory offer of double loyalty points when they complete their purchase, or entry into a VIP prize draw. Your loyalty program also encourages people to sign up for an account rather than using your guest checkout. Next time they sign in, your chatbot can remind them how many loyalty points they have, so they get excited about what they can buy. 48% abandon their carts due to high prices or because they expect and don’t get free shipping, so get your chatbot to offer free shipping for all VIP loyalty card members. This could raise your average order value (AOV) as research shows customers will spend up to 30% more when delivery is free!
4. FAQ SOS
Consumers shop online 24/7 and 83% require help to complete their orders, so chatbots are pivotal to success. Your chatbot should be well versed in answering FAQs around shipping costs, delivery times, returns, and refunds. Perhaps the buyer has selected premium shipping by mistake and your chatbot can guide them to a cheaper option so they convert.
Your customer may also be confused about how to use a product. Send a message including a photo of the item and a step-by-step instruction video with a link to a downloadable version. These strategies reduce the number of calls to your contact centre, lower associated OPEX through self-service, decrease handling time by up to 77%, and improve the CX.
5. Personal Shopper
Consumers like the convenience of buying related items in one place. If you own a music emporium and your customer has left a home recording studio bundle in their cart, it could be because they couldn’t find a vocal isolation booth. If they’re still on your website, your chatbot can catch them in real-time and ask their requirements. If they aren’t around, the chatbot can send a message showing them a range of sound isolation solutions at different price points, then ask if they need anything else. 47% of consumers are open to using a chatbot to make a purchase so, what started out as a cart abandonment problem, could turn into a cross-selling opportunity. If they’ve left a mid-range item in their cart, send a Viber message showing them the cheaper and luxury items in the range. A down-sell is better than no sale at all, and an upsell is a huge bonus.
6. Say What?
79% of consumers say that user-generated content is important in the purchasing process and 90% say positive reviews will encourage them to buy. This is why you should make sure you ask your satisfied shoppers for reviews and CX feedback. WhatsApp and Viber community polls, quizzes and surveys are a great way to discover what your customers really think of your brand and how you can improve generally, as well as specifically to reduce cart abandonment. Say for example you incentivise your customer to complete an interactive chatbot survey by offering them 350 loyalty points or 10% off their next purchase. Set the survey up to discover the types of products they like, when their birthday and wedding anniversary fall, and how you could improve your customer service. Then you have a wealth of information to help you recommend the right products at the right time and reduce cart abandonment rates, raise AOV and boost profits.
As Gartner so rightly observes “only the buyer can tell you the steps they must take to get to a purchase, what they need at each step and their satisfaction levels throughout the experience.”