February 20, 2007
How To

Etail Speech Take II: Three Ways to Lower Shopping Cart Abandons Based on MarketingSherpa Research

SUMMARY: Last week, MarketingSherpa President Anne Holland was poised to give a speech at eTail's West Coast Event. The topic: practical tactics to lower shopping cart abandons.

Then an ice storm hit the East Coast and her plane never got off the ground. Undaunted, she's now posted the speech (including 10 PowerPoints and audio commentary) online for Sherpa readers.

Features four *new* charts from Sherpa's upcoming Ecommerce Benchmark Guide 2007. The presentation is just under 12 minutes long.

This is your downloadable version of a presentation conducted by Anne Holland, President, MarketingSherpa Inc.

#1. Click one of the following links to download the PowerPoint presentation, including four new data charts and audio commentary. The first is a direct link, the second a zip file. Both files are big and will take more than a minute to load:

etail 2007 power point: ppt 23mb

etail 2007 power point: zip 20mb

(Note: The presentation is 12 minutes long, but you can use the handy scroll bar on the right to scroll down to the slides you're most interested in.)

If the presentation doesn't immediately start playing, click on "Slide Show" on the top nav bar and then click "View Show" on the drop-down menu.

Here is a transcript of the presentation:
Slide 1: Good afternoon. This is Anne Holland over at MarketingSherpa and welcome to the speech that I would have given in the lovely Palm Desert in California at the Etail Summit last week if, indeed, my plane had been able to get off the ground.

I’m psyched to be able to actually use this technology to give the speech and to share the slides that we worked so hard on with you, including lots of exclusive new data from our January 2007 ecommerce marketers’ survey, which we had 1,913 marketers respond to.

Slide 2: All right, let’s move on to the next slide. The best news of all is that cart abandonment rates have gone down year over year. This is fabulous. This is just dollars right to your bottom line. It actually is a pretty big dive. That’s more than 7 points that ecommerce abandonments went down. I’m feeling very, very psyched about that.

Our Research Director Stefan Tornquist actually broke out where the high end, where the middle was, where the low end was so you can see how you fit in with other people’s answers. Again, this is 1,913 respondents -- there were quite a few people answering this question. It’s a very positive thing. Let’s discuss, if you want to bring your abandonment rates even further down this year, how are you going to do it?

Slide 3: OK, tactic number one: if you have not already, consider adding a Bill Me Later option to your Web site. We actually have two different Case Studies on our Web site -- one for a very high-end site, and I’ll show you a sample from that in a minute, and one from a regular guy, ecommerce site, someone without a very big technology budget who also tested this. So, there are several different ways that you can test adding Bill Me Later. It doesn’t have to be a tech nightmare or a huge budget buster.

The cool thing is, as you see, 17% of the larger ecommerce sites have added some type of Bill Me Later option. A year ago, practically nobody had it. This is a very new thing. 17% also have PayPal. Now, a lot of folks added PayPal a couple of years ago, and, in general, what I’ve seen is people who do offer PayPal get about 5% of their sales through PayPal users. So, if those numbers end up being the same -- gee, you know, 5% more buyers from Bill Me Later could be really good. Let’s show you a little Case Study data on that.

Slide 4: This is a Case Study that we did on Newegg. This is a sample of their shopping cart page. … I’ve just put something in my cart and here you see … not only, here is my savings and here’s my price, but, oh, my golly, I actually have different buying options -- I can have no payments for 90 days. I can have no payments for six months. So I have these different types of options. One of them is, of course, the classic Bill Me Later. The other is really a credit card offer, which we all know works so well in retail, so why not offer it online?

If you don’t know Newegg, this is a more than billion-and-a-half-dollar company. This is a gargantuan ecommerce player, but if you’re not in consumer electronics, you may not have heard about them. They did fairly well with this. In fact, they got some really interesting results. First of all, they found that about 2% of their revenues were coming in on Bill Me Later, which was the no payments for 90 days. They found that 8% of their revenues were coming in from the no payments for six months.

Now, the no payments for six months, just as Bill Me Later, you did have to qualify for this. It’s like qualifying for a credit card. It’s not like they’re shipping off computers and consumer electronics to people who haven’t qualified. One of the reasons why revenues rose so high was because people who bought through Bill Me Later tended to put more in their carts. Their average sale to a Bill Me Later person was bigger. In fact, they saw an 82.26% increase.

The other interesting thing was the people who had the six-month offer actually had a gargantuan average checkout increase. Their shopping carts went up by 434.68%. That’s a big increase. So, if you’re going after a marketplace, especially in this one where people are looking at things that are fairly high end, this is a very good tactic to be testing.

Slide 5: Next slide. OK, tactic number two, you should be testing the design of your shopping cart. The chart you’re looking at right now actually is one where we asked the 1,923 respondents -- the marketers from ecommerce sites -- we asked them out of the tests they had conducted in the past year, which gave them the biggest ROI -- which really was totally worth doing, was incredibly effective, made the biggest difference.

These weren’t just shopping cart tests, these were all the different kinds of tests that they did on their site. And what we see here is that shopping cart design and functionality was considered the most effective test. If you’re only going to test one thing, that would be the thing to test. This is actually the second year in a row that shopping cart design and functionality was rated the number one thing to test.

Also, for the second year in a row, the tweaks of internal site search -- the landing pages for people who are using your inside search -- was rated number two. So it’s nice to see some consistency. If you can improve these things, this is where you’re going to get more orders. Now, why don’t we move on. I have a Case Study on this one.

Slide 6: It’s not really that much different. The other thing that’s different if you take a look in the lower right corner is the order button. As you can see, the order button was just a little blue button and then they …

Slide 7: … tested, and as you can see here, it’s a little bit bigger and it says “Click here to order.” It seems intuitive, but it seems like a “Duh.” I mean, you’re this far along in the cart, wouldn’t you just click to order? Well, you know, you have to spell it out for folks. We have seen in all of our Case Studies for years now that those button tests -- and no matter where you have a button on your Web site or email -- do tend to really make a difference, so that was heartening news.

Slide 8: All right, let’s move onto our next chart. This is my tactic number three for the year, and, of course, that is emailing people who are cart abandons. By that, I do mean and let me really clarify, I mean people who are registered users of your site or who have registered as part of their cart checkout process and have given you permission to email them … and then abandoned the cart. So they have to be somebody who’s on your list or who just joined your list because, obviously, you wouldn’t want to email somebody who wasn’t.

However, if you have a pretty good registered list and you are tying your email program into your cart, which is a little bit of a CRM project, you really can make a difference here. Now, a lot of marketers actually say they don’t want to do this because they’ve talked to their email service providers, and the whole thing seems nightmarish. It’s dynamic content. It’s individualized emails. It’s a big tech project. A lot of marketers are like, “I know this will be a tech project from hell to implement.”

I’m telling you here right now, as we can see from our respondents, it’s hugely effective. You’ve got 73% of people saying, “I tested this, it’s effective.” In fact, it’s 10 points more effective than last year. Everyone’s saying, “Wow, this is the kind of great segmented email that really, really works.” And the nice thing, the really nice thing is, as I’m going to show you on the next page, you can go ahead and do a campaign like this without super-fancy technology.

Slide 9: This actually can be a down-and-dirty campaign. This is a sample and, again, we’ve posted the case study and it can be found on our site. This is the Limoges Jewelry site, of course, the very famous jeweler, since 1895. At the top, you’ll see is one email and at the bottom is the next email. What they did was send a generic email to everybody who abandoned their cart who was on their mailing list. They actually sent a wave of two emails over seven days.

What I think is interesting is everyone -- I know I do -- can get all caught up in perfection. I can see that I’m going to go and do all this amazing thing with their personalized information … and want to do all this segmented beautiful dynamic content. You know what? This down-and-dirty campaign, where they just took a generic email that got sent to people, and it was two generic emails in a row. Guess what? It worked. You don’t have to be as fancy as you think. You do the generic email and prove to management it’s raising orders, that you’re really are rescuing orders. Great, get the budget next year to make it a little fancier.

The nice thing for Limoges is that as they began to launch this, they actually found that it was a moving target. Of course, for them, they have very high-end items. People are spending hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of dollars. So it actually took a while to see the impact, and they suspected that’s because some people put something into their cart and they go back and talk to a friend, talk to a husband and then came back. … Even for these high-consideration purchases, this did make a difference, but it took a little while to have an impact.

The first month that they tested it -- it was last August -- and 13.5% of the people who received these emails converted. By September, the number of total people who had ever been sent an email who ended up converting was 16.54%. By the first week in October, that rose again to 28.77%. That’s a huge number. It took time to stick and make the sale in the end, so you do need to track this, especially if you’re high consideration, but, oh, my golly, rescuing 28.77% … that’s money on the table. That’s really, really great. Your affiliates are going to love it. Your bottom line is going to love. I just think this is a fabulous idea. I think everyone should be looking into doing this.

Slide 10: So, thank you very much. That was my presentation. It was quick, and I hope it was useful and I hope you enjoyed it. If you haven’t made your plans already, I hope to see you in Miami next month, March 4-6 … where we’ll going to be having our Email Summit and be presenting lots more data specifically about email. Thank you and good afternoon.

Useful links related to this article:

Newegg.com Tests Giving Online Shoppers Four Bill Me Later Options http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=24168

How to Run a Complex Auto-Email Program to Reduce Abandoned Carts for High Consideration Purchases

Can Multivariate Tests Reduce Your Shopping Cart Abandons? Real-Life Results ...

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