833 percent ROI. That’s what one payday loan website experienced in a 10 month case study using MobiRescue’s SMS Cart Abandonment Solution. A health and beauty site saw 400% ROI. Impressive when you think that only 160 characters can achieve this. Using mobile phones to save shopping cart abandons is the latest (and I am thinking the smartest) solution yet to win back customers after they have flown the coop, so to speak.
Solutions for saving shopping cart abandons have grown up a lot since the earliest days of eCommerce. Since the first online transaction in 1979, online consumers have jumped from shopping carts in greater numbers than lemmings into the sea. Thirty-two years later, nearly 80 percent of the population have internet access in the US and 154 million people in the U.S. made online purchases totaling $155.2 billion in sales. That’s over $1000 per person.
In a recent Forrester report on cart abandonment, they estimate that 71 percent of the time consumers abandon online merchant’s shopping carts. If you total that up, that is a huge amount of missed opportunity in the order of billions of dollars. According to the report, here are the major reasons why carts get left behind:
- Shipping and handling costs were too high 44%
- I was not ready to purchase the product 41%
- I wanted to compare prices on other sites 27%
- Product price was higher than I was willing to pay 25%
- Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration 24%
Except for the shipping costs, all the rest of these issues can be reduced through a campaign to better follow up post abandon with the customer. In fact, the passage of time coupled with engaging relevant message content can actually play into the favor of merchants looking to get the customers back. The key element is actually doing something to get them to return and purchase.
There are several remedies to the maladies of cart abandonment. You can optimize your cart experience. This is the first place to stop the bleeding. The second line of defense are chat bots that pop up and try to emulate the salesperson in the store who will help you with your questions or issues with your purchase. Although they were initially effective, their average save rate is between 2 percent and 7 percent. Even live person chat bots fail to raise the meter much higher.
The cousin of the chat bot is the exit pop. You know the annoying rectangles that send you screaming to push the right button to let you get on your way. These can be minimally effective, but are still very poor at converting the determined cart jumper.
The next logical remedy is to send an email. This assumes that a merchant has actually thought to design their cart with Ajax or the more old fashioned method of adding a 1st page to the sales process that collects vital information like name, email and phone. Then using a solution such as Listrak’s triggered event email shopping cart abandonment email series you can recoup a few more percentage points. (If you are a glutton for punishment and want to actually see how much you are losing, try this shopping cart abandonment calculator.)
But with email open rates averaging around 20% and click thru rates from those opens at 3.74 percent, you have a 1 in 5 chance of getting them to open, and of those only 1 in 26 of those will actually click back to the cart page again. Out of 1000 cart abandons, an online merchant can expect only 7.5 of the original 1000 cart abandons will click and only 2 of those might actually re-engage and buy. That sucks.
This is a gratuitous video moment, click the clip below and see what online merchants have been experiencing.
But with nearly every adult in the US (and certainly the tech savvy cart jumpers Forrester identified) possessing a cell phone, and a text message open rate of over 98% according to Foster & Sullivan it just makes sense that you would want to use a mobile device to extend your efforts of re-engaging your customers. This is where MobiRescue really comes to the rescue of online merchants.
If the Forrester report can be trusted and cart abandons are driven by the need to get a better deal, or delay the purchase until they have done more research, sms can be the right message at the right time. If you have used all of the above methods and haven’t moved the needle much, MobiRescue will give you an additional channel that you can not only help to save sales with, but increase additional sales opportunities by being able to send additional messages with discounts and coupons and know that at the very least a majority percentage of your visitors will be seeing your brand and your message in the palm of their hands. Repetition builds familiarity and sets the stage for future purchasing decisions.
Using SMS text messages to save cart abandons is of course already happening, but only a small percentage of retailers use this highly effective method. Those that do are seeing incredible results. MobiRescue reports ROI between 50 percent and 1291 percent. Using a simple 10 percent off message for one Health and Beauty merchant who averaged a 400 percent ROI.
MobiRescue has really thought this all out. The first step is to review your privacy. In the age of do not track and permission based marketing, this step is essential to make sure you can send your customers text messages. Next it is a simple one step code install to send an automated response. You then need to ensure that you are collecting mobile phone numbers early on in the shopping cart process.
The last step is all about timing. This is where you can have fun testing how long you want to wait to send your message. Varying send timing on sms messages can result in some very interesting results. For example, if you vary timing by category you may find those who buy sporting goods need to optimally receive their message within a few hours of abandoning whereas an electronics purchase may benefit from sending out after a 24 hour period (after they have had a chance to compare a little bit). The possibilities of this method may reveal insights into a customer’s buying behaviors that can increasingly improve all aspects of the shopping sales funnel overall. This feature is baked into the MobiRescue solution.
But you aren’t done, you’ve only just started. You are now in a very personal conversation with the consumer, you have their mobile number and they looked at your message and they possibly clicked on the link in the text message or called the toll free number to take advantage of a special cart saving offer. But now you can send another text, this time with a coupon or a discount on a similar or like product and have a good idea that they will at the very least see the message, and in the best case scenario respond. Merchants like Best Buy or Sears can learn from this as they can drive online cart abandons to their bricks and mortar locations. The possibilities are only bounded by the imagination of their marketing managers.
If tech savvy users are abandoning carts to get a better deal, then waiting a little while to send them a reminder may just put your brand and products in front of them at just the right time. Think about it, they have now had time to do their due diligence and possibly hitting them at the right time to get them to return with a small discount is just the thing that pushes them over the edge.
MobiRescue makes starting the conversation simple and easy, and actually affordable, as MobiRescue only takes a percentage of a closed sale. There is no risk, no up-front costs, or per message fees to their clients. MobiRescue takes all the risk and integrates between the customer’s website and their SMS gateway. This performance model is not new, but it is for a mobile based cart abandonment solution.
MobiRescue only gets paid if they rescue sales. They predetermine their fees in writing with the client, either a percentage of sale or mutually agreed dollar amount. Sure it isn’t 100% of the sale, but you have gained an even more valuable asset, the right to be in someone’s pocket. If you don’t abuse it and treat the customer with respect while engaging them in a relevant way, you might just be able to increase their lifetime value to your brand.
So what do you have to lose. Oh yeah that’s right your customers.