Role Playing Helps Clarify Website Conversion Priorities

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When a website visitor drops items into your shopping cart, they are demonstrating intent to purchase. You’d be forgiven from assuming that most of these visitors would carry out their intent and complete the transition. But as we all already know, on average about 7 out of every 10 shopping carts are abandoned.
 
So it’s useful to understand more about the reasons for this behavior. Why did your visitors abandon, and if they did, how strong was their intent to purchase at the outset? Did all visitors have the same degree of intent, or did some never intend to make a purchase at all? What were these visitors doing, and how can we understand more about their personalities?
 
A simple framework you can use to get your head around the personalities of abandoning visitors is to categorize them into the following simple behavioral segments:
 
•    Window Shoppers – Those unlikely to buy.
•    The Undecided – They may buy from you, but the items abandoned in the shopping cart are acting as a shopping list while they decide.
•    Deal Seekers – They will only buy if they can get a deal.
•    Research Online and Buy In-store – Customers likely to buy from you via a different channel, (e.g. in-store or by phone).
•    Brand Loyal Customers – Likely to buy from you, but the timing is not quite right.
•    Customers Who Thought They’d Purchased – Due to an error on their part or a glitch in the process, there are always customers that abandon when they think they completed the process.
 
Because all these different types of customers abandon, it’s important to consider not only how to optimize your onsite conversion process, but also your re-engagement process once they have abandoned your site.
 
Revisit Your Onsite Conversion Process
 
Using the framework above, it’s useful to revisit your shopping cart process, role playing as a visitor from each of these behavioral segments. By adopting each of these six different behavior types, you’ll see that different groups need different things at each stage of the conversion process.
 
For example, ‘Brand Loyal Customers’ (typically made up of either repeat customers or new customers whose perception of your brand means that they are likely to buy from you) may be unlikely to buy yet, so making a ‘wish list’ available can help them come back quickly when their timing is right to purchase. ‘The Undecided,’ however, may be unfamiliar with your brand and therefore seek reassurance, price match guarantees, and clear and free return policies.
 
Revisit Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Recovery Program
 
Equally, it’s not just the process itself that you should revisit. Following up abandoners with email shopping cart reminders can be very effective and is often the most profitable marketing program that an ecommerce team runs. These behavioral segments are also useful for increasing the relevance of post-session remarketing. Again, role play as each of the different behavior segment types, revisit your remarketing emails and see how relevant they are given each role.
 
For example, identifying ‘Deal Seekers’ can be really important for your shopping cart recovery program. A visitor who abandons their shopping cart immediately after an ‘invalid voucher code’ message is displayed (like the Amazon.com example below) can be identified as a ‘Deal Seeker.’
 
 
 
Knowing this is inherently valuable when it comes to your remarketing program. Following up with a standard ‘You left something in your cart’ type of email may not get the sale.
 
But, an immediate follow up with a valid voucher code—which arrives in the visitor’s mailbox while they are still contemplating a purchase—is much more likely to be effective. Given that the average web session is 33 minutes, the optimum timing for the follow up is immediately after the abandonment is detected. Hopefully your email will arrive while your ‘Deal Seeker’ is still searching online on a competitor’s website, looking for a better deal.
 
This segmentation also helps to bring clarity to another key point: it’s a numbers game. There will always be a proportion of visitors that will never buy. It’s life.
 
There will be some that come back under their own steam and convert, irrespective of whether you remarket them. And there will be many that don’t.
 
Role playing the different abandonment behaviors helps to tune your checkout process and  shopping cart recovery program, and to throw some light on why so many never buy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Charles Nicholls
Charles Nicholls is a social commerce expert and board advisor to several e-commerce startups. He founded SeeWhy, a real-time personalization and machine learning platform, which was sold to SAP. Serving as SVP of product, he built SAP Upscale Commerce, an e-commerce platform for direct-to-consumer brands and the mid-market. Today, Charles serves as chief strategy officer for SimplicityDX, a commerce experience company. He has worked on strategy and projects for leading ecommerce companies worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, Google and many others.

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