Customers often wander off before they seal the deal. There’s the frustration of the abandoned shopping cart or the exasperation of the incomplete subscription information form. You were so close, only to have them disappear.
There can be hundreds of reasons why you lost a customer’s attention. After all, your business is competing with millions of other shiny objects. Still, if you come that close to making a sale, you’d be wise to not simply write them off.
Instead, figure out how you can get those potential buyers back and convert them to sales. You caught their attention once, so you should be able to do so again. Here are three ways to re-woo online customers who wander off.
1. Put More Muscle Behind Retention, Not Acquisition
Everyone who runs a business knows that it’s significantly less expensive to retain a customer than acquire a new one. Of course, you need to build your customer base by attracting new buyers. But when you break down your marketing budget, make sure you’re investing more in retaining the ones you already have.
There’s marketing — then there’s retention marketing. If you haven’t made the difference clear in your marketing plan, you’re missing a lucrative opportunity.
Retention marketing focuses on creating a customer experience that makes people want to be loyal to your brand. They believe they’re getting good value for quality products and services. And if there’s an issue, they know you’ll make things right.
If you lose an existing customer somewhere in the purchasing process, you need to focus on finding out why. You should already have their contact information, such as an email address and phone number. So there’s no reason not to devote the resources it takes to convert them rather than let it slide.
When customers buy from you for the first time, they have tacitly agreed to have a relationship with you. It’s your job to keep them engaged, even if they sometimes go astray. Relationships are work, but the investment is worthwhile.
2. Figure Out Why They Wandered Off
You probably know most of the numerous reasons why people choose to shop online. But do you know what makes them abort a mission? If you want to bring them back on board, you’re going to have to figure out what made them leave.
Untimely departures may be due to a variety of reasons, such as a burdensome checkout process or a slow website. Maybe your shipping costs are expensive. After all, shoppers these days are used to Amazon Prime Delivery, which is not only free (with a membership) but ridiculously fast.
Or maybe it’s not you but them. Some people use shopping carts as wish lists or load them up while waiting for items to go on sale. Others simply get distracted by phone calls, co-workers, or children.
There’s no need to guess why online customers are leaving their carts behind. There are analytics that will give you definitive answers so you can address problems. If the issue is on your end, you can make changes to your website that creates a shopping experience worth finishing.
Not every business knows how to look at the backend of its website to find out where and why they’re losing customers. If that describes you, hire a company with the expertise to find and convert them. If you remove whatever barriers lie between your shoppers and checkout, you’ll find a lot fewer carts littering the digital aisles.
3. Follow Up Right Away
Long gone are the days when shopping online provided any sort of anonymity. Customers are hip to the fact that they leave those digital cookie crumbs in their wake (at least for now). So if they abandon you midstream and it’s all crickets on your end, they probably think you don’t care about them.
First, arm your shopping page with a code to track what they left in their cart. Don’t forget to capture an email address early for new customers, if possible. There’s then no reason not to fire off a message within an hour or a day of the incomplete sale.
Make the message personal, addressing them by name and reminding them what they left in their cart. Create a sense of urgency. That could entail advising them of limited inventory on selected items or the impending end of a promotion.
Of course, this follow-up is a great time to offer incentives to close the sale. Give them a percentage off, free shipping, or bonus points if you have a loyalty program. Rewarding existing customers for potential repeat purchases is always a smart retention practice.
The important thing is to let them know that you know they were there and left without a purchase. This type of engagement should be done without flooding their inbox with pushy pitches. Just let your customers know you’re willing to work to get them to complete the transaction.
Bringing Them Back
Consider the times you have abandoned a shopping cart and remember why you did. It might have been as simple as getting distracted by a crying child or an oven timer. But it could have been that finalizing the transaction was more difficult than it should have been.
The worst reaction you can have to a wandering customer is to give up. It’s well worth the resources you may need to spend to convert tire-kickers to buyers. They just may need a well-informed nudge to remember why they came.