Retailers Lack Cart Abandonment Strategies

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 23 Feb, 2011

It's not surprising that shopping cart abandonment rates continue to rise as today's online shoppers have more resources than ever to compare prices and scour the best available deals. The latest figures show that 7 out of every 10 potential customers place items into carts they later abandon, costing the ecommerce industry a staggering $18 billion annually in lost sales.


What is surprising, however, is the number of retailers that are willing to accept those lost sales without implementing a shopping cart abandonment strategy. Email marketing firm Listrak has been studying the problem for the past two years, and the overwhelming majority of merchants are missing opportunities to convert on 20 to 35 percent of their abandoned sales through remarketing.


Only 13 percent of the top 500 online retailers currently utilize a remarketing campaign to address shopping cart abandonment. Many of the companies that do employ such a strategy are falling behind in their campaign tactics - such as sending personalized emails to customers (down 2 percent since 2009) and offering incentives to help complete the purchase (down 9 percent since 2009).


Of those retailers offering incentives, only 5 percent have been offering free shipping - despite the fact that shipping charges have been cited as the cause for nearly half of all abandoned carts. Only 14 percent of the merchants that use a remarketing strategy said that it includes more than one attempt to reach the customer and convert the sale.


The top 500 retailers did fare much better, however, in at least one of the best practices for reducing shopping cart abandonment. The vast majority (95 percent) now ask shoppers to enter their email addresses in the first step of the checkout process, up significantly from 2009.


But the results of the study seem to indicate that only a fraction of those merchants are actively using customer email addresses to recover their abandoned sales. Listrak provides more information in its free whitepaper on automated cart abandonment strategies, and here are five additional suggestions for reducing cart abandonment rates.