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Shoppers Adding More, Buying Less Leading Up to the Holidays

Posted on 9.21.2016

Shopping cart abandonment is a thorn in most retailers' digital side and the numbers are proving it's getting worse. 

Recent data from Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly report (EQ2 2016) indicates that add-to-cart rates across all devices (desktop, smartphone and tablet) are up and conversion rates (again across all devices) are down. While it's only a slight increase and decline, respectively, it's a trend retailers will want to pay attention to - with the strategies mentioned below - as we move closer and closer to the peak shopping season and potential buyers begin saving more items. 

There are a few reasons for high add-to-cart rates with low conversion rates (see image below). For one, sites are remembering shopping carts for longer. Second, carts are following shoppers from device to device. Finally, with the use of retargeting, retailers are incentivizing consumers to buy their carts' contents. All of these elements are making buyers savvier about how they can store the items they may one day wish to buy - knowing it will be there and that they may receive a discount when they're ready. 

To combat these trends and for retailers to get a more accurate look at their shopping cart abandonment rates (as they need to know whether the cart is being used as a wish list or something actually went wrong in the checkout process), brands may want to consider offering wish-list capabilities, providing some sense of urgency that an item may not be there when the shopper comes back (e.g., limited inventory messages, product call-outs with "best seller" or "limited time only" badges), including an expiring promotion and, of course, aggressively retargeting the shopper within the first couple hours of the visit as that is when most people will go back to a site to buy. 

What's more, as we are seeing a rise in add-to-cart rates so close to the holiday season, this could indicate shoppers are already making purchasing decisions just not completing the order, which may be reason to have an early sale (which reduces shipping bottlenecks later on as well) or segmenting those with items in their cart and treating them like early holiday shoppers with a campaign where the creative plays up this idea. 

Recommended Reading:

Making Product Pages Persuasive with Kahneman's Principles
+ E-Commerce CX Takes a Village
+ Create Perfect Product Descriptions  

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