The retail market has evolved and expanded over time, shifting to meet the growing demands of customers. E-commerce has become one of the primary sectors of the retail market, with customers buying and selling at record-breaking levels. With so much opportunity for sales growth it begs the question, how can you keep your online customers engaged and increase their chances of completing purchases while still treating them as segments of one?
We’re happy to have Rick Weithas, senior product marketing manager at Silverpop partner Webtrends, share his industry insights on what remarketing tools you can implement in your business model to increase your e-commerce revenue:
Behavior-Based Email Remarketing
As online shopping soars — $226 billion in the United States in 2012 according to Forrester — competition among retailers is at an all-time high. Customers now have an infinite number of shopping choices at their fingertips. Successful online retailers are able to create strong loyalty by delivering relevant messaging and offers to individual customers across all their digital channels. This includes email, which continues to be THE significant driver of customer engagement and revenue.
You didn’t need to be an expert in the retail industry to notice this year was another year of unprecedented growth for e-commerce. As we experience another holiday shopping season, everyone is predicting a blowout year for e-commerce. According to Comscore, holiday online sales last year alone totaled $42.3 billion compared to $37.2 billion in 2011. If online retail sales increase by 14 percent again this year, holiday sales will account for more than $48.2 billion.
Cart Abandoners Are Customers Too
As I think about the incredible revenue opportunities for online retailers this season and in 2014, I try to put in perspective the volume of online browsing and cart abandonment that is going to deliver that $48.2 billion this holiday season. On one hand are the “missed opportunities” or number of customers that didn’t buy: according to Forrester, 87 percent of consumers abandon carts!
On the other hand are the customers that indicate they plan to come back later. Several studies have showed that up to 50 percent of customers who abandon carts plan to come back later to complete the purchase. Even better is a Marketing Sherpa study that revealed abandoners actually spend more than 50 percent more than customers who completed their original purchase transaction once they finally convert after email remarketing enticed them to revisit their carts. Who really is the more valuable customer?
Considering the individual customer behaviors that lead to abandonment is important for developing effective remarketing programs. There are many reasons why customers abandon, but truly understanding key behaviors and intent when they were last shopping and then delivering timely and relevant remarketing can be the difference between having them come back and having them purchase from someone else. How fast can you deliver that email to them, and how closely does it match what they were doing on your site when they left?
Timing Is Everything!
Remarketing with personalized email at the right time with the right message is the key! Timing is everything as they say. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicated that 90 percent of leads go cold in just one hour and that the majority of customers who are going to buy will do so within 12 hours.
We’ve been working with an online travel company who wanted to improve the time that it took to deliver shopping cart abandonment emails. The current program was sending customers who abandoned their carts an email four hours later, but we were able to reduce this time to 30 minutes. Open rates increased by 10 percent and click rates increased by 40 percent.
Another online retail client wanted to improve the performance of its current cart abandon remarketing program by reducing the time of email follow-up from 24 hours to one hour. The one-hour cart abandonment email delivered a 52 percent improvement in conversion rate compared to the 24-hour baseline.
Most experts now agree that sending three follow-up cart abandonment emails is best practice. In the past this meant sending the first email out 24 hours later, the second email out two to three days later, and the final email a week later. Now that the game has changed and that first email can go out in minutes, the cadence needs to change as well. However, every business is different and testing will help define your ideal “golden windows” for remarketing. Develop a few programs to see what performs the best and delivers the highest ROI for your marketing spend.
Relevance Is Everything Else!
The speed with which you remarket to customers is only one part of the equation. A relevant message is the other. Visibility into what specific customers are doing as they’re on your site means understanding the intent of the customer during their full current and previous sessions. You can use this information to recapture a customer’s interest, populate an email with information specific to their full session interests, bring customers back to your site after abandonment, or provide content for relevant upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
An additional opportunity for marketers is to leverage customer intent in the moment to deliver relevant messaging without having to resort to coupons and offers to get them to come back, which can have a significant negative impact on the bottom line. Deliver that first message within minutes and make it about the experience of their shopping — keep the incentives for later emails. Again, testing is key to maximizing effectiveness, but new technologies open up tremendous opportunities for marketers to create compelling messaging to get cart abandoners to come back.
The Customer Journey Uncovered
Understanding the customer journey across your digital channels and delivering timely and contextually relevant email remarketing on a 1:1 level will be a retailer’s best gift to customers this season. It will drive more customers who have abandoned back to the site and get them to spend more than ever. Capture your piece of the $48 billion holiday pie this season with timely, personalized cart abandonment remarketing.
Webtrends is the global leader in mobile and social analytics. They help marketers create, measure and improve campaigns for more than 7,000 leading brands. Their leadership extends beyond the web analytics industry to the measurement, optimization and integration of all digital content and customer intelligence, including web sites, social media, mobile and paid-search advertising. To learn more, visit www.webtrends.com.
1) White Paper: “How to Turn Cart and Process Abandonment Scenarios into Revenue”
2) Video: “Cart Abandonment Remarketing”
3) Slideshare Presentation: “Data-Driven Email Remarketing for Shopping Cart Abandonment”