A Customer-Centric Approach to Curbing Cart Abandonment
Annual online retail sales now number in the trillions of dollars — and yet, a large majority of customers’ shopping carts (70 percent on desktop, 85 percent on mobile) are abandoned each year. Brands have optimized and personalized nearly every stage of the customer journey, with one (glaring) exception: the final, and most crucial, step. The language on online shopping cart pages has historically been left static and uninspiring, creating a major problem for retailers.
The Real Cost of Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment costs retailers an estimated $18 billion a year in lost revenue, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Unpurchased items in carts cause inventory management issues, and abandoned would-be purchases drive up customer acquisition costs and push businesses to slash prices to incentivize conversions. Plus, if shoppers routinely make it all the way to the cart and don’t click “purchase,” there’s no return on investment on the marketing spend that led them there. From a customer point of view, abandoned carts highlight a clear, enduring, industry-wide disconnect between the cart experience they want and what retailers are giving them. So, what can you do?
Why Customers Abandon Their Carts
Carts go abandoned for a number of reasons, including vague or unsatisfactory return policies; customers being deterred by overly complex checkout processes; or even viewing the cart as a stand-in for saving items of interest, absent a wish list tool. However, a predominant cause of cart abandonment — customers’ uncertainty about their tentative purchases — can be addressed by using motivating language at checkout. Since customers’ needs, emotional drivers and sentiment change throughout the year and depending on what they’re buying, the cart must also be designed for a dynamic experience. That means anticipating changing needs and identifying the details, words or even tone of language that encourage a purchase. Above all, remember that throughout the customer journey, you’re speaking to a human, not a number. The cart should reflect that.
Artificial Intelligence, Genuine Results
A customized cart page for each individual customer’s ever-changing needs and motivators sounds like a tall order, but it’s really not if you have generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) on your side. Now more accessible than ever to retailers of many sizes, cutting-edge Gen AI can tap into data on customer interactions and session data to determine the best-performing words, phrases and emotional tones to reassure shoppers of their decisions. With this, brands can easily and dynamically adjust shopping cart page language to ensure it stays relevant and engaging for each shopper.
This tailored language helps to address consumer pain points at checkout, encourages them to complete purchases, and even allows retailers to sidestep discounts and other incentives. But most importantly, it works to maintain the interest that led your customers to add items to their cart in the first place, all the way through finalizing their purchase. In fact, by providing post-purchase messaging customized to encourage buyers to become repeat shoppers, brands can even see value well past the point of sale and encourage loyalty.
Guiding Customers Over the Finish Line
Cart abandonment isn't a new phenomenon. Abandonment rates have actually held firm for nearly a decade. What has changed is that retailers can now address it like never before, taking advantage of Gen AI platforms designed to motivate customers to seal the deal on items in their carts they would otherwise discard. It’s time for businesses to recognize the massive missed opportunity in converting lost revenue from abandoned carts into secured purchases — and take steps to deliver value to e-commerce customers all the way to the end.
Michele Nemschoff is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Motivation AI provider Persado, where she is responsible for developing best-in-class marketing strategies that fuel Persado’s mindshare and revenue growth. A marketing veteran with more than 25 years of experience supporting both startups and established tech companies, Michele joined Persado from Quantcast, an AI-based ad tech platform provider for the open internet, where she led and navigated the marketing team during a time of business model and industry transition. Michele received an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her longtime partner and two cats.