shopping cart
Abandoned shopping carts are inevitable for online stores. PHOTO: Eric Schmuttenmaer

Brick-and-mortar retailers have their own sets of challenges retaining customers and the abandoned shopping cart is, for the most part, not one of them.

Online retailers unfortunately can't say the same. 

However, through a combination of the right technology, capitalizing on opportunities through the entire online customer shopping journey, automating retargeting campaigns and measuring success your organization can recover lost online shopping cart revenue.

Bridgeline Digital officials drove home these points in a CMSWire-Bridgeline webinar, "5 Tactics to Recover 60% of Lost Revenue from Abandoned Carts."

Taking these small steps will put you on a "good path recovering revenue from abandoned carts," said Alex Kombos, senior VP of marketing at Bridgeline Digital.

Think Retention First

Just how many carts are abandoned online? Too many. More troubling, Kombos said, are the resources organizations dedicate to acquisitions but not retention.

"We really need to think about retention," Kombos said. 

Retention does not begin in the abandoned shopping cart, however. It starts across the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint. That's where your revenue recovery program should begin.

A solid revenue recovery program includes a digital experience platform that integrates content management systems, ecommerce and marketing automation platforms. A well-integrated platform helps brands execute retargeting and reengagement programs at a "meaningful scale," Kombos said. 

Brands need the right technology, behavioral data, the right web stores and tools that provide analytics and the ability to visualize and automate campaigns across channels.

Build Understanding Through Behavioral Data

Phillip Kemelor, VP of client services at MaassMedia, noted on the webinar he critical role of behavioral segmentation. Think of it, he said, as a group that starts with a set of known online characteristics. 

At first, we don't know age and gender, but we understand where they're from, how often they come to the shopping cart, what campaigns brought them to our online stores, what products they've read about.

"We can group them using these characteristics into segments to give us a much better understanding," Kemelor said. 

Assigning metrics to behavioral data is one of the more powerful analytics you can use, Kemelor added, and it leads to strong personalization programs.

Kemelor presented some questions to ask when considering retargeting and reengagement programs:

  • How do you determine the shopping cart steps that are the biggest detractors from your opportunities?
  • What customer segments offer your best opportunity for successful retargeting?
  • What marketing channels and tactics do you invest in to get the most reengagement?
  • How do you fine-tune the predictive recommendations presented to your targets to get the most revenue in the shortest period of time?
  • What is the best combination of retargeting channels?

Walking through the entire customer journey up through and including the shopping cart can give brands insights into the barriers shoppers face while doing their online shopping.

Brands effectively encourage consumers to "drop out of this funnel" with these barriers, Kemelor said.

The Importance of the Well-Timed Response

bridgeline webinar

Karl Cordes, VP of business development at Bridgeline Digital, said it's cheaper to convert existing customers than to acquire new ones. 

Many brands struggle, he said, due to a lack of marketing automation programs. Not having the right platform here can act as an impediment. Marketers need to be able to set up these campaigns automatically and then forget it, Cordes said.

"The majority of missed revenue is because of disparate platforms and lack of resources," Kombos said. "We see marketing automation as a big part of this."

Knowing your shoppers' traits can help tremendously in retargeting and retaining customers. The "hesitant shopper" makes no purchase and leaves their carts full. Reach out to these shoppers "in a very strong way" to learn what went wrong and what offers will retain them, Cordes said.

Know your "fickle shoppers," those who bought once but disappeared. Understand the abandonment triggers for your "browsers," who looks at a product but then offers radio silence thereafter.

"A well-timed response is critical," Kombos said. "Timing is half the challenge, and you need the ability to reach customers in real time."