How to Combat Cart Abandonment With Marketing Automation, Part 2
Retailers and their marketing teams are perennially engaged in a grueling, thankless struggle to try and prevent consumers from ditching them before they hit the elusive Buy button. In part one of this series, we looked at how brands are now turning to automated marketing to identify and correct generic problems in their e-commerce interface, as well as optimize the customer life cycle to push them quicker through the sales funnel.
Here are two more strategies, which, when executed with the right tools and techniques, will help ease the pain of cart abandonment.
Retarget With Display Ads
Retargeting, or remarketing as it's often called, is all about bringing back users who briefly showed interest in your product or brand but didn't convert. With the introduction of retargeting, display advertising — that most maligned form of digital marketing — is finally redeeming itself.
Display advertising combines the visual appeal of traditional ads with the precise measurability of digital that print, outdoor or TV can never offer. Considered effective as a brand awareness and positioning tool, display has always been disparaged for showing poor conversions. However, that's now changing. RocketFuel’s study on display advertising in the insurance industry found that it's nine times more effective at generating brand awareness than television ads.
Combine a traditional spray-and-pray channel like display with automation, and do you have any hope of precise measurement or even targeting? One of the biggest misconceptions about marketing automation is that it takes away from the concept of personalized service. This, however, couldn't be further from the truth. Ninety percent of marketers agree that retargeted ads are just as effective as search ads and email marketing.
Take Amazon.com, for example. Its homepage looks a wee bit different for every customer, based on their distinctive browsing habits. Amazon recommends specific products and display ads unique to every shopper.
By using simple code called “pixels,” you can use behavioral remarketing that tracks users after they leave your website. From here, you can deliver ads at the right place at the right time to maximize the effect. While this concept might sound a bit eerie, it only leads to ads based on what consumers are really interested in.
A live example: Here’s an ad for RocketFuel, a programmatic ad buying platform, showing on a news website, alongside an article that appears totally unconnected at first glance.
However, since I visited the RocketFuel website for the study quoted above, I'm a candidate for its retargeted display campaign; the ads RocketFuel shows me depend on the search terms I used when I landed on its website, as well as my affinities, interests, and online browsing behavior.
In terms of cart abandonment, you can use retargeted ads to promote the same or similar products to each individual shopper. Tools like AdRoll make it simple to generate these ads across a variety of different channels.
Split Test Every Step of the Checkout Process
Over a quarter of U.S. online shoppers abandon their cart due to long, complicated checkout processes. Therefore, this should be one of the most prevalent elements of your website to be tested.
Split testing, or A/B testing, is a relatively simple concept and you can subject virtually any facet of your platform to it. The results give detailed insights into what's working well and which areas need improvement.
With automated testing resources, you can easily analyze landing pages, pinpoint snags in the buying process, and find the best way to lead consumers down the path to conversion.
For example, try including things like authenticity badges on your checkout page, or offer free shipping. According to comScore, 61 percent of shoppers desert their cart if free shipping isn’t an option.
Based on your findings, create hypotheses to fix issues and clear up bottlenecks throughout the process. Play around with things like the following:
- headline and body copy;
- font size;
- call-to-action buttons
- on-page events, such as viewing, scrolling and clicking; and
- special offers.
You'll likely be surprised how some factors, seemingly minuscule, actually have a huge impact on buying behavior. Be sure in every test you choose to run that you:
- have clear goals in mind;
- analyze all relevant data after vetting it for accuracy;
- create goal-based hypotheses; and
- keep building new variations.
Optimizing any aspect of an e-commerce platform comes to down to trial and error. Use automated split testing to make the process simple so you can focus on areas that have the most impact on profitability.
Over to You
Although there are very few guarantees in the world of digital marketing, one of the hard facts is that you'll be fighting an unwinnable battle against cart abandonment for the rest of your e-commerce career. Automated solutions that help you go the extra mile in gaining conversions are like weapons designed to tilt the war in your favor. Good luck!
Rohan Ayyar is a project manager at E2M, a digital marketing firm specializing in creative content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups.
Rohan Ayyar is the regional marketing manager for India at SEMrush. His blog, The Marketing Mashup, covers digital marketing from the perspective of B2B, B2C, lead generation, mobile marketing, SEO, social media, content marketing, database marketing including predictive analytics, and conversion rate optimization. In addition, he'll look at emerging marketing technology and how marketers can use it. Reach Ayyar at firstname.lastname@example.org.