Last updated: Reduce shopping cart abandonment with customer data management

Reduce shopping cart abandonment with customer data management


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Believe it or not, shopping car abandonment is another thing that a solid customer data management approach can resolve. Shopping cart abandonment is a major challenge for online retailers. As shoppers, we’ve all been guilty of it from time to time. We browse online, add items to our cart, and for one reason or another we don’t follow through. In fact, online shopping carts are abandoned almost 70% of the time and cost retailers up to $18 billion a year.

And with more and more companies relying on e-commerce in the time of COVID, understanding and addressing the source of our abandonment issues is even more critical. The key lies in your data. And with CDPs, it’s easier than ever for businesses to reduce cart abandonment with customer data management. Here’s how.

What is customer data management?

Customer data management is exactly what it sounds like – how businesses collect, track, and use valuable customer data. There are plenty of software solutions dedicated to this, but for our purposes, let’s focus on the latest customer data golden child: CDPs (customer data platforms).

What makes customer data platforms uniquely powerful and capable of addressing shopping cart abandonment is their ability to collect and make sense of big data from different systems and customer touchpoints. CDPs make it easier for businesses to see the big picture of their cross-channel experience. They offer a context-rich look at the whole customer journey and provide data where we used to rely on assumptions and instincts. And that’s the first step towards lowering your abandonment rate.

Identify when and why shopping cart abandonment happens

Before you can effectively mitigate shopping cart abandonment, you have to know what’s causing it. The robust data collected by CDPs facilitate customer data management, giving insight into the entire customer journey and user flow on your site. That macro look allows you to identify trends and patterns you may not have seen otherwise.

Research shows that 50% of shoppers bail when they see the added costs at checkout (e.g. taxes, shipping, and fees). 28% say they’ll leave if the site makes them create an account, versus checking out as a guest.

Other common tipping points for cart abandonment include:

  • Lack of trust: They don’t feel confident that your site is secure and aren’t comfortable sharing their personal data
  • Poor checkout experience: The checkout flow is too long or complicated
  • Low intent browsing: They add items they’re interested in, but just aren’t ready to commit

Each of these can lead to high shopping cart abandonment rates, but each requires a different approach to resolve. If you’re able to identify where in the process you’re losing the largest portions of shoppers, you’ll know where to focus your efforts to make the biggest impact.

Understand customer context and intent with CDP profiles

Customer data platforms compile all your customer data and use it to build dynamic profiles loaded with context. This helps you understand your customers more fully – not just their interaction at that moment, but through their entire relationship with you. Which ads they’ve clicked on, what brick and mortar location they frequent, and so on. This customer data management combines data from all these interactions, to give a more complete picture of who they are. You can use those insights to design a more customer-centric shopping experience overall and leave shopping cart abandonment in the past.

Enhance remarketing with personalization through a CDP

Addressing the larger issues causing shoppers to walk away is key, but it won’t eliminate the problem completely. Remarketing (aka “retargeting”) is an effective way to pull people back into their shopping experience, especially those who left because they just weren’t ready to hit “buy” yet. And customer data can go a long way in making those touchpoints more effective.

Customer data platforms make it easier to deploy effective, personalized retargeting. The dynamic customer profiles give you insight into your customers’ preferences, motivations, and context. Using those insights, you can tailor your communications and increase the likelihood that they’ll convert. Remember, 72% of consumers say they’ll only engage with marketing that’s personalized.

Using customer data management to reduce shopping cart abandonment: A sample use case

Ideas are great, but what would this actually look like in practice? Let’s run through a sample use case together.

Your company decides it’s time to address the high abandonment rate on your site. Thankfully, you already have a CDP, which you use to identify where in the journey people are dropping off. Looking at all your interaction data – from both known and unknown shoppers – you discover through customer data management that 40% of carts that were abandoned were left when users are prompted to create an account.

Using this information, your team decides to enable guest checkout on your site. They also make a point to add security badges to the checkout experience so shoppers are confident their data is safe.

Next, you decide to set up a retargeting email campaign offering free shipping for orders over a certain amount. Using your customer data platform, you set the parameters so that anyone who leaves items in their shopping cart for 24 hours will receive an email encouraging them to complete their purchase. The email features their cart items and highlights the free shipping offer. If their cart total doesn’t meet the minimum to qualify for free shipping, you also include a targeted product recommendation based on their browsing history. Shopping cart abandonment is the result of a disconnect with the customer journey, enhancing your customer data management efforts will make the cash register ring.

Better data, better engagement. Period.

None of these strategies or methods are new – marketers have been employing them in some form or another for as long as e-commerce has been around. But now, we have the data to back up our instincts and to make our efforts that much more effective. Customer data makes our strategies smarter, and tools like CDPs make it easier to harness that data.

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