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Winning Back Abandoned Carts: Effective Techniques for Cart Recovery

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Winning Back Abandoned Carts: Effective Techniques for Cart Recovery

A solitary abandoned cart might seem inconsequential in the bustling digital bazaar that is the eCommerce of today. Yet, when looked at collectively, these unclaimed carts represent a staggering amount of potential revenue slipping away. 

What causes a customer, eager to purchase, to suddenly change course? The list of reasons might be endless, but the most common are:

  • High shipping costs or long delivery times: rapid and affordable deliveries are the expectation, not the luxury.
  • Complex checkout process: a labyrinthine checkout can deter even the most enthusiastic buyer.
  • Security concerns: with the world rife with cyber threats, customers need to be assured of their data’s safety.
  • Limited payment options: a restricted choice can mean a lost sale, as customers have varied payment preferences.
  • Website errors or slow load times: a seamless online experience is paramount; glitches can quickly divert potential sales elsewhere.

The real question, though, is how can businesses address these issues and win back these customers?

The path to resolution is multifaceted, yet incredibly rewarding for those willing to invest the effort. As we dive in, we will explore proven techniques and considerations that not only tackle the root causes of cart abandonment but also provide strategies to reclaim potential revenue. 

Proven Techniques for Cart Recovery

The task of addressing cart abandonment is akin to a surgeon wielding a scalpel: precise, calculated, and aiming for effective results. While recognizing the root of the problem is paramount, the real magic unfolds when businesses deploy actionable solutions. 

These tried-and-true techniques are not merely strategies but powerful tools that can significantly transform the landscape of eCommerce. They don’t only help retrieve lost opportunities but also fortify their brand’s digital presence. 

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These proactive solutions are some tried-and-true techniques:

Personalized Email Campaigns

In the vast sea of the digital realm, personalized emails act as lighthouses, guiding customers back to their intended purchases. Generic emails easily drown in the cacophony, but those tailored to an individual’s preferences stand out, signaling care and attention. Here’s a short how-to:

  • Craft tailored content — beyond just mentioning the product left behind, consider integrating aspects of their browsing behavior. Perhaps they looked at a specific category multiple times? Highlighting products from this category can remind them of their initial interest. If they’ve been a repeat visitor or customer, reference their loyalty, maybe even offering them an exclusive deal as a token of appreciation.
  • Behavior-triggered reminders — timing is crucial. Sending an email too soon can feel pushy, while waiting too long might mean they’ve lost interest or found an alternative. Optimal timing, often within a few hours to a day, can be the sweet spot. Moreover, making these reminders interactive, perhaps with engaging visuals of the product or an enticing call to action, can further the chances of re-engagement.
  • Segmentation mastery — beyond just past purchases, consider segmenting based on how they’ve interacted with your site. Did they read blog posts? Watch videos? Use this information to craft messages that speak directly to their engagement style and preferences.
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Time-Sensitive Incentives

The ticking clock of time-sensitive incentives can often be the gentle push customers need to complete a purchase. However, the intricacy of implementing them demands a nuanced approach. The basics include:

  • Varied incentives — a diverse range of customers means a variety of preferences. Some are motivated by direct price reductions, while others find value in added benefits. For instance, a discount might appeal to bargain hunters, but a complementary product could entice those looking for added value. Offering loyalty points can be especially effective for repeat customers, making them feel their loyalty is being rewarded. Regularly rotating these incentives and monitoring which ones drive the most conversions can help fine-tune your strategy.
  • Strategic timing — beyond just the time of day, consider the customer’s journey. For instance, if they’ve visited the product page multiple times over a week, this might be an indication of high interest but some reservation. A timely incentive, presented during their next visit, could be the catalyst for conversion. Seasonal offers, during holidays or special occasions, can also drive up sales, tapping into the festive purchasing mindset.
  • Balancing urgency and pressure — the language of urgency is delicate. While “Only a few left!” can motivate, overuse can lead to skepticism. Authenticity is key. If you’re offering a limited-time discount, maybe provide a brief reason, such as clearing out end-of-season stock, giving customers a rationale they can appreciate.
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Engaging Retargeting Ads

The digital space is filled with distractions, and retargeting ads serve as persistent reminders, guiding potential buyers back to their initial interests. Here’s the 101 for retargeting:

  • Platform-specific content — dive deeper into the analytics of each platform. For example, Instagram, being visually dominant, might benefit from high-quality images or short videos of the product in use. LinkedIn, with its professional audience, might resonate more with B2B products or services, emphasizing efficiency and value-addition.
  • Narrative — building on the idea of storytelling, consider creating a series of retargeting ads that narrate a journey. Begin with reintroducing the product, followed by showcasing its benefits, and culminate in presenting a compelling offer. Customer testimonials, expert endorsements, or even showcasing the product’s origin story can add layers of depth and trustworthiness.
  • Budget allocation and ROI — diversify your retargeting budget. While it’s tempting to heavily invest in platforms where most of your audience resides, don’t overlook emerging platforms or ones where competition might be lower. Regularly reviewing metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall ROI ensures you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Adjusting your strategy based on these insights can result in more effective campaigns.

Optimizing the Checkout Process

The final frontier in the buying journey, the checkout process, demands meticulous attention. Any friction here can swiftly turn a potential sale into a missed opportunity. What you don’t want to miss out on is:

  • Intuitive design — elevate the user experience. Incorporate visually pleasing elements like icons that denote each step, or even progress bars to give users a sense of how close they are to completion. Real-time validation, where form errors are highlighted immediately rather than after submission, can prevent user frustration and streamline the process.
  • Reducing drop-off points — implement feedback loops. If a user does abandon their cart, consider prompt surveys or pop-ups asking why they chose not to proceed. This direct feedback can be invaluable in identifying and rectifying friction points. Also, offer multiple payment gateways. Some users might prefer direct card payments, while others might lean towards digital wallets or even cash on delivery, depending on your region.
  • Mobile-first design — the rise of m-commerce (mobile commerce) demands an impeccable mobile experience. Beyond the basics, incorporate features like digital wallet integration for faster checkouts, image zoom functionalities for better product viewing, and quick customer support access, such as chatbots or live chat, ensuring any last-minute queries or concerns are promptly addressed.

Additional Considerations: User Trust, Delivery Concerns

Beyond the primary strategies lie nuanced layers of consideration that, while subtle, can significantly influence a customer’s buying journey. These are often the finer details that a business might overlook in the broader eCommerce strategy. 

However, when addressed with care, they can provide the extra push needed to convert a tentative cart into a confirmed purchase. Here are the most common ones:

1696236971 377 Winning Back Abandoned Carts Effective Techniques for Cart Recovery
  • Exit-intent pop-ups: These are last-minute saviors. Just as a user is about to leave the site, an attention-grabbing pop-up can present an offer or remind them of their abandoned cart. For maximum impact, the content should be compelling, the design eye-catching, and the offer genuinely valuable.
  • Cart recovery emails: More than just a reminder, these emails serve as a bridge. They can offer insights into what the user might be missing out on, present additional incentives, or provide assurance regarding any concerns the user might have had. Crucially, the timing and frequency of these emails should be optimized — too soon might seem pushy, too late and they might’ve lost interest.
  • Social proof: Trust is a currency in the digital marketplace. Showcasing genuine customer reviews, testimonials, or ratings can instill confidence in potential buyers. Additionally, displaying trust badges or security certifications assures customers that their data and transactions are safe.
  • Highlighting seamless delivery options: For many, the uncertainty of delivery times and options can be a deterrent. Clearly presenting diverse delivery choices, estimated times, and any associated costs can alleviate these concerns, making customers more comfortable with completing their purchase.
  • Advantages of partnering with 3pl companies: Efficient and reliable order fulfillment can make or break the post-purchase experience. Do your homework and find out what is a 3PL — third-party logistics companies can offer better delivery timelines, track packages more accurately, and boost overall customer confidence in the brand.

The beauty of these additional techniques lies in their ability to address the more intricate concerns of customers. While the core strategies tackle broader issues that lead to cart abandonment, these supplementary methods cater to the finer points of the shopping experience. 

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They speak to the subtleties of trust-building, reassurance, and personalized engagement. Together, these refined touches, combined with the foundational techniques, create a holistic approach to counteracting cart abandonment and maximizing e-commerce potential.

Takeaways

Navigating the challenges of cart abandonment is akin to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Each solution is a vital piece that, when placed correctly, completes the picture of a successful eCommerce venture.

Addressing cart abandonment is not just about reclaiming lost sales; it’s about understanding and catering to the evolving needs and concerns of the modern shopper. It’s also essential to remember that the digital landscape is ever-evolving — as technology advances and consumer behaviors shift, businesses must remain agile. 

Continual testing, adaptation, and learning are crucial. Every interaction, feedback, and metric can offer insights that, when acted upon, can refine and enhance the shopping experience.

The journey to countering cart abandonment may be intricate and demanding, but the rewards — in terms of both revenue and customer loyalty — are well worth the effort. Businesses equipped with knowledge, determination, and a proactive mindset are poised to turn challenges into opportunities and abandoned carts into flourishing sales.


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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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