Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Six ways to make abandoned baskets work for you

Shopping basket, Yellow

While some abandonments are never a good thing, abandoned baskets in the online channel can be a rich source of revenue.
This post tries to explain why, and how to make the most of this opportunity.
Years ago when online was new, we all fretted about basket abandonment rates, convinced that they highlighted horrific flaws in our checkout processes, and we all went chasing usability as the route to reduced basket abandonment...
Then we all watched our own behaviour and realised that basket abandonment was perhaps not a “bad thing”, but just a reflection of the shopping process, as you dropped items into your basket as part of the consideration process; comparing options, looking at shipping costs and delivery dates etc.
So we reached a level of calm, where we perhaps let the abandoned basket lie...

More opportunity than failure

But in recent times we have all realised that while an abandoned basket may not be a sign of failure, it is almost certainly the signature of an opportunity. The visitor who picks up, inspects and drops an item in their basket is certainly demonstrating a level of interest in the item.
Back in the old-time high-street store one might hope that an on-the-ball shop assistant might have seen such behaviour and say something like “suits you Sir”, or “also available in blue” or “on offer this week”, and converted the casual browser to a customer.
So online we should try to do something similar...

Personal service: the gift of online business

One of my passionate beliefs is that the online channel allows this village store and customer service mentality to re-emerge; re-injecting that “personal touch” into the shopping experience, that the out-of-town outlet/mall removed.
This is because the marketing systems available today are quite capable of remembering every individual they see, and speaking to them about things they (personally) are interested in, via real-time personalisation. Something that even the best assistant in a superstore is never going to manage.
Here's a cute video explaining this idea well and it includes nice striped unicorns...
Actually this opportunity to rekindle personal service and brand loyalty has many implications that we'll address in future blogs, but it really does mean we can react to the humble dropped/abandoned basket.

Addressing the opportunity

We have worked on abandoned baskets with our customers, and discovered some amazing results, these prove that the abandoned basket is a real opportunity to increase revenue and improve conversion.

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