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October 16, 2006

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Paul Mabray

Mike,
First let me say we have all missed you and your blogging. Good to have you back.
Second, great article in NorthBay Biz - congrats.
Third - this is DEFINITELY on our 2007 development list and I would love to share our entire list with you. This is a great tool and thank you for plugging that we would hijack this idea (we will of course).

All my best.

Inertia - Powering the Wine Revolution

---Paul Mabray - CEO

Mike Duffy

If only those other guys (Dick Klein of eWinery, Eric Binau of Cultivate) read my blog...[grin]

I know I've been blogging less, but I'm intensely involved in another technology venture right now, so I really haven't had as much time.

Thanks for the NorthBay biz reference (for those who don't know me, I write a monthly column for them called Tech Talk, and was part of a feature article on winery Web sites in the recent Harvest Fair issue - visit http://www.NorthbayBiz.com/ for more).

I look forward to reading more about your implementation of auto-mail for abandoned winery shopping carts.

Dave Goodman

I'm one of them. I'm one of those people. I'm a shopping cart abandoner. I've done it a lot. Wanna know why?

The biggest reason I abandon an order is because I had no intention of placing an order. I just wanted to know how much the product cost. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to a web site and looked at a product with a beautiful photograph, a compelling description and a big "Buy Me!" button... but no price shown! So I add it to my cart to find out. Maybe I should just listen to that old line, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

The other reason I abandon a shopping cart is because there's something on the shopping cart page that annoys me. It may ask for too much personal information. It may have restrictions on use of the product. The shipping cost might be exhorbitant. I'm not going to pay more for shipping than I am for the product. Or, and this happens a lot, the shopping cart simply won't accept my order, for one reason or another.

I think a shopping cart should have Abandon buttons that let the user specify why they aren't completing the purchase:

[] Costs too much.
[] Shipping costs too much.
[] Too much personal information required.
[] Unsatisfactory restrictions.
[] Can't complete order.

I don't know about other people, but if I abandon a shopping cart, I have a reason for it, and an email is unlikely to change my mind unless it corrects the original problem. An email begging me to reconsider without addressing the issue would just annoy me and discourage me from ever returning.

For example, on reading the terms of the Amazon Unbox service I was so annoyed I cancelled my Amazon account after almost ten years of being a paying customer. Here's another peeve, albeit off-topic: if it's hard to cancel an account, I remember that. And I never go back. Companies like XM radio, or Ancestry.com, where you can easily join online but you can't cancel online, turn me away forever once I cancel. If it was easy to cancel, I might come back and try them again. But not if I have to phone in and argue with a customer "service" rep.

We vote with our feet (and our mice).

jeff

Dave Goodman makes some great points, and I have had many of the same experiences and reactions. But I want to comment on a few things...

The "Abandon" button seems like a good idea, but most of us would probably balk at presenting a button that essentially says "Do Not Purchase". And how -would- you label the button? "Abandon" is the industry term but may not have meaning to the average customer - what would your Mom or Dad say about their shopping cart if they got halfway thru grocery shopping and left it on aisle 7. I bet they wouldn't say "I abandoned it" - mine would say "I just left it". How often would a "Leave the Cart" button get clicked by accident?

Back to the original post, if you have the customer's email address to offer them something after they abandoned the cart, you did one of two things:

1. Annoyed a first time customer by making them enter personal info before they could start shopping; or,

2. They are a return customer (and you know that because of a login or a cookie.)

Costco is able to get away with collecting personal info prior to allowing shopping, but I doubt most of the rest of us can.

And if you have return customers abandoning carts, I think you have a bigger problem to solve than how to offer them an automatic coupon. Converting an abandon to a sale, while nice, is short term thinking. Preventing the abandon in the first place is where your energy should be.

Oh, and another thing - if a customer gets an extra discount 4 days after they abandon a cart, will that train them to abandon carts on purpose? Ring the bell, get the cheese!

I'm very interested in being set straight on any of these points... thanks! - j

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