The Secret to Turning Window-Shoppers into Customers

It’s the age old question – how do you turn someone looking at your products or services online into a customer? For most businesses who operate fully or partially online, losing customers half-way through checkout or after a long visit to your website is a source of frustration. But, when you can’t sit in front of the individual and pitch to them, how do you get them to come back?

The answer is surprisingly, two-fold.

Set-up behavioural retargeting

Here’s a shocking fact: on average only 2% of customers will complete a transaction on the first visit to your website (Source: Episerver). It’s not many.

In practical terms, it means that if your product or brand isn’t sticking in the mind of the shopper, once they wander off your website, that sale can be lost when they forget to come back or worse, stumble across a competitor.

What a waste! Thankfully, there is something we can do about it.

Within the last ten years, companies like Facebook and Google have made it increasingly easier to advertise to customers once they’ve left your website. Behavioural retargeting a form of advertising based on a tracking ‘pixel’ that is installed on your website. The code watches customers as they interact with your products and once they’ve dropped off (like 98% of shoppers will on their first visit!), the pixel serves them with ads of the products they’ve just viewed as they surf the web.

That means when Joe Smith, a pottery fan from Adelaide leaves your collection of amazing hand-made coffee cups because it isn’t pay week, the cups will remain top-of-mind until the next Tuesday when he’s got the cash to come back and grab them.   

Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Here’s how to get started using Google and Facebook.

Make the most of abandoned cart emails

Most e-commerce businesses have an abandoned cart rate of 69% (Source: Mailchimp). In layman terms, that means on average, 69% of your potential customers will pick a product they want, add it to their cart before deciding to run for the hills.

What causes it? Well, in some cases a customer might like the price of something, but find it rises substantially at checkout thanks to unexpected shipping costs. Another reason might be website issues or confusing checkout process. Occasionally customers will just decide to come back to it later, or think about it first.

A few of these cases are unlikely to be resolved with just an email -  if your shipping costs are putting people off, it might be worth providing that information up-front (a $9.95 shipping banner for example) or offering multiple options (low-cost, long wait or higher-cost express).

For the issues that can be resolved with a well-timed reminder however, abandoned cart emails are legendary.

The abandoned cart emails are automated, generated each time someone leaves a cart without completing check-out. Each business will set the number that they want to send and the strategy, but many follow a similar path:

1. Remind the customer that the cart has been abandoned.
2. Feature a particular product that the customer had in their cart and add pressure  (perhaps, get it before it’s gone forever).
3. Offer a small discount to get the customer over the line. 

In this article I’m not going to go in-depth into the pros/cons the email strategy above – primarily the point that regular discounts can degrade your overall sales if they’re expected by the customer, but we will go into it on a later one – so stay tuned!

Here’s how to get started with abandoned cart emails through Mailchimp.