It's a place we've all likely been at one point or another: shopping online, picking out all the items we'd like to have in our own homes, and then getting about to the point when the checkout process begins and money's about to change hands, and then something happens. Maybe we get an early attack of buyer's remorse. Maybe we check our balances and see they aren't quite as robust as we'd like. Maybe there's a question on one item that can't get answered. But on that particular purchase, we've decided to just chuck the whole thing and go home instead. Abandoning an online shopping cart generally isn't new to the online shopper, but a Genesys (News - Alert) report discovered that it's meaning big losses for some multi-channel retailers in the U.K.
The Genesys study in question brought up one stark and clearly terrifying point: when it came to online retailers, just 20 percent of same followed up after goods were abandoned before check-out procedures. That means at least 80 percent of businesses have absolutely no idea why potential customers never made the leap to actual customers, and thus can't make much change to address problems.
While an average of about $226 in goods were put in carts for 75 of the top retailers in the region, the carts were subsequently abandoned before check-out could begin. A reported 15 percent of said retailers then followed up with an email or phone call outright within 24 hours, and another five percent followed up again in the 24 hours that followed. None of the websites reportedly offered customer engagement during the shopping session, and only seven percent had chat functions.
In turn, there was plenty of money left on the table, so to speak. There was as much as $17,486 in revenue available to retailers, but just $2,664 of it was actually pursued, according to Genesys' director of strategic marketing, Brendan Dykes. Dykes followed up this stark pronouncement by noting that it simply wouldn't happen in brick-and-mortar outlets, where assistants would have eagerly followed up or pursued opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell the patron. Finally, Dykes noted that retailers could have stemmed much of this loss with the addition of chat systems as well as follow-up contact via email or phone.
Speaking here as an online shopper myself, that would be about the last thing I'd want. The choice to abandon a cart online is made for a variety of reasons, and it's hard to imagine customers who would welcome a call from the company asking why the cart was ditched in the last second. Dykes does, however, offer an excellent point about offering chat services. That's a matter that's becoming easier to offer thanks to advancements in Web-based real time communications (WebRTC), so adding that chat mechanism would indeed be valuable. But as long as customers can not only abandon a cart but also leave the store completely by pressing a little X with a mouse pointer, follow-up calling and emails seem a bit like overkill. Still though, having the option to make contact easily to ask questions is a fine idea, and should be welcomed most anywhere.
There are indeed things a business can do to help stem some of the losses from abandoned carts. Some may go too far. Others not far enough. But most customers want different things, so having a variety of options on hand should prove to save a lot of losses in the end.
Edited by Alisen Downey