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How to reactivate abandoned baskets

Research shows that 70 per cent of online shopping baskets are abandoned before checkout, so how can retailers get these customers back? Go Inspire's Nick Cole reveals some useful strategies

How to reactivate abandoned baskets: Image 1 The craft industry is a lucrative one, with experts estimating its worth at almost £3.4 billion in the UK. With consumers increasingly looking for fabrics and materials online, ecommerce is a growing part of every crafter's life. Being prepared to respond to this demand with an integrated omnichannel strategy is paramount for businesses that wish to succeed.One particular Achilles heel is retailers' failure to understand the reasons that baskets are abandoned before purchase. Although research by Go Inspire Group shows that 70 per cent of orders are not completed, 60 per cent of retailers have not investigated the issue and do not know why this is happening. A mere 27 per cent have analysed the browsing behaviour of customers to try and identify why shoppers are dropping out of transactions.There are numerous strategies which can be used to bring customers back, including postal and email-triggered reactivation. In this scenario, people who have abandoned a basket are contacted via email or direct mail and encouraged to complete their purchase.

Testing the water
With this in mind, Go Inspire Group decided to conduct a media neutral control test to compare email and postal mail response with conversion rates. Postal triggers in combination with email reactivation represent a largely underexploited strategy that's well-suited to the omnichannel nature of modern shopping. The test was part of a three-month joint project with a major retailer that has a customer base of more than 2,000 people.Business owners may view print as too high an investment, but digital technology means multiple document variations can be produced quickly and efficiently while keeping costs low. This is achieved through a technique called hybrid mail, which collates many small organisations' daily volumes into a single high-volume whole. This means the daily aggregated high-volume output attracts the mailing discounts which are normally associated with larger send-outs, saving money for each participant.Within a week of basket abandonment, a highly personalised yet automated mail piece was sent to each non-responding customer, acting as an additional follow up. A successful reactivation triggered email system alone typically tends to achieve a conversation rate of between five and seven per cent, according to research by Go Inspire. However, once followed with a triggered postal mail, conversion rates from the postal activity exceeded that of its email counterpart. Because respondents to the traditional method had not been responsive to the initial email activity, the results of both reactivation strategies in combination amounted to more than double the commercial result of email alone.

Lost revenue
To estimate the additional revenue to be gained from triggered postal mail reactivation follow-up within different sectors, the results were modelled across different online retail market categories in the UK. This indicates that the hobby and craft industry is leaving more than £156 million in revenue to competitors by failing to implement hybrid mail basket reactivation techniques. To leverage this useful method, however, craft retailers need to gain insight into customer behaviour and to systematically gather data. Businesses should be able to pinpoint when their website sees the highest level of basket abandonment and whether they are losing more sales within a specific demographic. Only with this information will retailers be able to leverage the full power of hybrid mail. By reactivating a greater proportion of abandoned baskets, savvy retailers will secure a larger proportion of consumers' wallets and a rosier outlook for their profits.

Nick Cole is managing director of Go Inspire Group.