How to Reduce Cart Abandonment Rates with UX and Ad Retargeting

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Shopping cart abandonment is one of the most significant hurdles that eCommerce merchants face.

While rates fluctuate from industry to industry and store to store, on average, nearly 70 percent of consumers abandon their carts before making a purchase, according to research from the Baymard Institute.

This statistic means that, in the best of cases, merchants convert just over one quarter of their visitors. In the era of Amazon, this can be a disconcerting, if not wholly crushing, realization.

Unfortunately, shopping cart abandonment cannot be stopped entirely as there will always be a certain percentage of prospects who ditch their cart before reaching the end of the checkout process.

However, this does not mean that retailers can’t minimize these figures, thereby increasing their bottom line.

In today’s multi-faceted omnichannel eCommerce landscape, it is easy to make mistakes that cause cart abandonment. There are two particularly useful tactics for reducing shopping cart abandonment rates and regaining a sizable portion of consumers who will inevitably bounce before purchasing.

User experience (UX) and ad retargeting have proven to be powerful methodologies in the fight against cart abandonment. If your brand is ready to learn how to implement these strategies as a means of increasing sales, read on.

The Marriage of UX and SEO

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Over the years, Google has evolved to continually craft a more intuitive and valuable experience for its users. As a result, UX and SEO are now intrinsically linked. As Google has sought to provide better user experiences, it expects other sites to do the same.

Search engine optimization and UX both aim to help search engine users complete their desired task or answer a query. While SEO helps to lead searchers to valuable content, UX design makes it so that site visitors can intuitively navigate through the information.

Because of this connection, UX is a vital component of SEO.

However, many merchants are still perplexed as to how these two are exactly associated, particularly in the text department.

In years gone by, search optimized text was all about keywords. Then, it became about keywords and context. While this is still (minimally) true, today’s SEO best practices are about meeting a searcher’s intent with valuable information, coupled with a great experience. Therefore, if a site touts search optimized text according to a keyword strategy yet doesn’t provide the answers that a visitor is looking for, the site has offered a poor user experience, and the consumer will leave. Google will take note of that behavior.

On the other hand, if a visitor comes across a page that provides in-depth information about the problem they wish to solve or knowledge they want to gain, the user is far more likely to view the site as valuable – even if it is not keyword optimized – and stay on the page longer. Google will perceive the site in the same light based on the user’s actions.

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Therefore, user-oriented copywriting that answers pertinent questions will always trump SEO-focused text.

Moreover, the effectiveness of user-focused text can be measured by a page’s bounce or exit rates. These metrics enable a merchant to refine their copy and enhance their SEO performance by providing a better user experience.

However, UX is not all about questions and copy.

UX: A Pathway to Purchase

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The research mentioned above from the Baymard Institute reflects that a full 37 percent of consumers will abandon their cart if a website requires that they make an account.

While merchants shouldn’t do away with account creation entirely (especially since obtaining emails is necessary for sending cart abandonment communications), a sizable number of shoppers prefer guest checkout options. Therefore, if eCommerce sites wish to provide a top-notch user experience, guest checkout should be an available choice.

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Outside of supplying consumers with this option, merchants should aim to simplify the checkout process as much as possible. When consumers are forced through an unnecessarily lengthy checkout, their chances of abandonment increase significantly.

The bottom line is that the shorter the checkout process is, the less time visitors have to get frustrated.

To provide an optimal user checkout experience, aim to reduce the checkout process to as few pages and fields as you can. This gets customers on their way faster, which is precisely what they want.

In fact, through redesigning the Spanx website and checkout process, Visiture was able to help the company increase its average order value by 28 percent and produce a 40 percent increase in conversions.

However, as mentioned earlier, cart abandonment can’t be stopped completely – and that’s where retargeting comes into play.

Retargeting: Pulling Interested Consumers Back In

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Retargeting ads are an essential tactic for eCommerce merchants to learn to leverage. Any retailer who fails to utilize this re-engagement modality is essentially letting consumers go without trying to earn them back.

When speaking to shopping cart abandonment, Facebook retargeting is a powerful channel for pulling consumers back into a store’s funnel. Facebook advertising helps drive eCommerce conversions as the platform reaches mass amounts of shoppers while providing visually engaging ads.

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Alternatively, Google Ads are an equally viable solution as Google’s Display Network includes an astonishing number of websites reaching, as the search giant claims, “90% of internet users worldwide.”

The reason why retargeting is so vital for retailers is its effectiveness. In specific instances, retargeting campaigns have been able to increase conversions by a stunning 51 percent.

With numbers like that, retailers really should understand how to implement such campaigns, and it all starts with retargeting scripts.

Retargeting Scripts

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Retargeting scripts (alternatively known as tags or pixels) are little bits of code that merchants install onto their site. When users take a specific action, such as placing an item in their cart, the script activates and drops a cookie onto the visitor’s browser, thereby enabling merchants to serve up retargeting ads across the web.

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Merchants can find this tag on their Google Ads account by going to the “Tools” section and then clicking on “Audience Manager.” For first-timers, the platform will then supply a walkthrough with a blue link that reads, “Set Up Tag.”

Clicking this will bring up two options. Simply select the “Collect standard data” preference and continue. From here, Google will supply retailers with the proper tag for them to copy and paste between the header tags of their site. With this script integrated into a site’s coding, retailers can then begin retargeting to consumers who abandon their carts.

Alternatively, eCommerce sites can leverage email marketing platforms that use the same cookie-based tracking concept to serve up abandoned cart emails to users who have an account with a store.

Must-Have Elements for Great Abandoned Cart Emails

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Any consumers who abandon their cart should receive an email campaign almost immediately. But not just some hastily churned out email. Merchants should be sending communications that have been carefully crafted to reel in these would-be buyers.

While it is necessary to write compelling yet concise subject lines and enticing copy, it is imperative to pay special attention to the messaging if they are going to earn a conversion.

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First is the email’s featured products. Abandoned cart emails should show all the products a shopper left in their cart, not just one or two. Using this strategy helps to remind a prospect just how much they want the items they were looking at when they decided to put them in the cart. Moreover, it is essential that if your site doesn’t have a saved cart feature that you include a link back to these items so that customers can easily purchase them.

The next element that needs extra care is the email’s call-to-action. This feature is the apex of the email. Everything that comes before this point is merely to convince consumers to click-through. Ensure that the email’s CTA is distinct, desirable and has compelling yet straightforward copy.

Finally, it is wise to include a discount coupon to get consumers to convert. In fact, many people have become so accustomed to receiving abandoned cart discounts that they intentionally wait for this email to strategically receive a coupon. While some merchants will choose to not provide an incentive, be sure to include information about sales items and current special offers down below the abandoned items at the bare minimum.

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Shopping cart abandonment is just part of the online world of eCommerce. There is no way around this fact. While a sizable portion of consumers will ditch potential purchases at some point, there are effective tactics to reduce cart abandonment and to entice visitors back to convert into a sale.

Be sure to optimize your site’s user experience and checkout process, in addition to employing retargeting ads and abandoned cart emails. These are essential strategies for boosting eCommerce sales and increasing a site’s performance online.

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