Solve Cart Abandonment Issues by Black Friday

SeeWhy’s new ‘Live-in-Five’ program offers small and mid-sized merchants accelerated services to re-market and recapture customers who abandon carts just in time for the online selling season.

SeeWhy, a conversion service company that can help you recover potentially lost sales due to cart abandonment, has an interesting offer for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses.

Online merchants who sign up for the new Live-in-Five program by midnight (Eastern time) on November 21, 2009 will have a shopping cart abandonment re-marketing solution up and running “in as little as five days” — in time for the official start of the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

How Re-marketing Cart Abandonment Helps Merchants

SeeWhy’s Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Charles Nicholls, said that merchants who capture and re-market to customers who abandon their shopping cart can recoup up to 50 percent of that abandonment.

“In e-commerce we call abandonment The Grinch who steals up to 70 percent of a merchant’s potential sales,” said Nicholls. “Our new Live-in-Five program is designed to get merchants up and running quickly before the 2009 online holiday shopping season starts.”

Like a good retail sales associate who catches empty-handed customers on their way out, SeeWhy’s re-marketing services work like that—they send a timely service contact to ensure the customer doesn’t need further assistance on your site.

The way it works is simple. After signing on with SeeWhy, merchants put tags on site pages. If a customer lands on your site and adds products to his or her cart, at different stages he or she will provide information, such as an e-mail address, that is captured. If the customer abandons the cart before checking out, the SeeWhy service will contact the customer via e-mail asking if he or she needs assistance and provides a direct link to the unchecked basket.

According to Nicholls, when that service contact e-mail goes out within hours, merchants see up to a fifty percent checkout rate on those abandonments. He said that the longer you wait to make the service call, the less response rate you get. “Even when you wait 24 hours, many merchants see a lower response rate from the customer.”

Best Practices, Test factors, Tracking and More

SeeWhy follows industry best practices and adheres to CAN-SPAM standards and legal obligations. When your customer data is captured (e.g. from previously logging into your site log-in or when they create a cart account) they’re to opt-in to receive cart reminders. Before implementing the service, Nicholls recommends that merchants review their online privacy policy to ensure it permits re-marketing offers.

When customers unsubscribe from the cart reminders, SeeWhy immediately removes them from the list. According to Nicholls, these service reminders are so relevant to the customer that they actually see fewer unsubscribe requests than one would see with a general newsletter subscriber list.

The new Live-in-Five program is a more simplified add-on of SeeWhy’s re-marketing service that lets merchants have the service online faster.  After adding basic page tags, SeeWhy works with you to test abandonment and the messages they send out to your customers. Then they turn the service on, and it goes live on your site.

SeeWhy provides the e-mail services and tracks deliverability and open rates, but it can also tightly integrate into an existing e-mail service if you use one. You can also integrate SeeWhy with your analytics solution to track conversions. For example, if you use Google Analytics, SeeWhy can be added as a campaign inside Google Analytics.

Do You Need Incentives to Re-capture a Customer?

Nicholls said that most merchants do not need to offer incentives to regain a customer. “When you send the service contact in a timely manner, that is often enough to capture a proportion of those customers who abandoned their cart,” he said.

Nicholls believes that when merchants send discounts and offers right away, it trains customers to expect a discount when they purchase — a trend we saw last year during the holiday shopping season. He believes that a gentle nudge approach is best. The first contact should be a basic service reminder with a link to the abandoned cart to see whether the customer needs further assistance or encountered a problem with the checkout process.

“After the first 24 hours, if there is no response, then you could offer a small incentive,” he said, “But stay in the context of a service communication and save those free shipping or bigger discount offers for the last contact.”

Pricing and Availability

SeeWhy’s Live-in-Five program is available to all merchants who sign up before midnight on November 21, 2009. By registering before this date, the company promises live service in time for the official start of the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 27 and November 30).

The company doesn’t charge any fee for accelerating the timing to get service up and running for the big selling season. You do, however, pay for the Abandonment Tracker Pro service. SeeWhy doesn’t make its pricing for that available other than to say it’s based on volume.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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