Got a decent whack of your turnover for the 2022 financial year in the bank already, courtesy of Black Friday, Christmas and January online sales?

Ecommerce continues to be a welcome and much needed source of revenue for local retailers, as more Australians eschew shopping malls and high streets in favour of online browsing and buying.

That’s unlikely to change any time soon. The pandemic has driven thousands of one-time bricks and mortar shoppers online, many for the first time. Collectively in Australia, we spent a whopping $52.24 billion on online sales in the 12 months to October 2021, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index: October 2021. Two years earlier, that figure was a ‘mere’ $29.84 billion.

Now they’re in the habit of letting their fingers do the walking, filling a virtual cart, rather than trundling around the shops. This will continue to be the default option for many customers.

Yeah, nah, not today

All too often, though, those carts are abandoned, somewhere en route to the check-out. ActiveCampaign retail users in the US saw more than $US76 million worth of goods left behind in the 2021 Black Friday week; up from $US51.6 million in 2021.

The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is just shy of 70 per cent, according to data collected by Baymard Institute.

Market research published by local comparison site Canstar in 2021 sheds some light on the reasons Australians are most likely to go ‘yeah, nah’ right before it’s time to pull out their wallets. Top of the list is overly expensive shipping fees, followed by change of mind and the desire to compare items or obtain another quote before committing. Some shoppers pull the pin when they learn their item is out of stock while a few canny souls hold off to see if they’ll receive a targeted ad or discount code via email.

Coaxing customers back to the point of sale

While it’s frustrating for retailers to see more than two in three potential customers baulk at the check-out, the good news is, there are things you can do to persuade a proportion of them to proceed to the payment stage.

Here are some tips for rescuing the revenue contained in those abandoned carts.

Reduce friction where it matters most – the checkout

Today’s online shoppers are discerning, demanding and highly distractible. Make it as simple and quick as possible for them to complete a purchase and there’s a greater chance they’ll part with their payment details before having second thoughts.

You can do so by streamlining the sign-in process – allowing customers to sign in as guests or use their Facebook ID, rather than putting them through a time-consuming registration exercise – and making the check-out buttons on your site loud and proud.

 Introduce abandoned cart automations

In 2022, most ecommerce solutions worth their salt are compatible with cloud-based experience automation platforms – software that allows you to launch a pre-configured sequence of emails every time a cart is abandoned.

Is it worth your while to subscribe? In two words, ‘hell yeah’! Research shows you stand to capture up to 14 per cent of the revenue from abandoned carts by encouraging customers to navigate their way back to your store. Experience automation technology allows you to steer them there, easily and economically.

Make your messages meaningful

How you structure those ‘please reconsider’ emails will have a bearing on how effective they prove to be. Conventional marketing wisdom dictates that you should remind, persuade and, finally, incentivise customers to click back to your site.

Personalising your messages and using a conversational tone – encouraging the customer to ‘take another look’ rather than suggesting it’s time to buy or pay, for example – is likely to be more effective than taking a super hard sell tack.

As you move into persuasion mode, invoking a sense of urgency – stocks are running low! – and providing social proof, in the form of positive reviews or press coverage, may encourage the indecisive to get a bustle on.

And if those tactics fail to move, offering a discount, bonus item or free shipping may turn browsers into buyers. Beware the danger of doing so too readily, however, or you may find you’ve conditioned your customers to hold out for a sweetener every time they shop with you.

Boosting your bottom line in 2022

With Australians spending ever-growing sums online each year, ecommerce has become a vital source of revenue for many traditional retailers. If your business is among them, converting abandoned online shopping carts into sales can make a very real difference to your bottom line. That’s why an investment in automated experience technology is likely to pay for itself, many times over.

 Shahid Nizami is regional vice president of sales for Asia Pacific at ActiveCampaign.