I have a stalker… it’s an ad

You’re at the supermarket and you fill up your trolley with some items. You head to the checkouts, but decide to leave your trolley behind while you check something else first.

Do you do this a lot? Unless you are shopping with a small child that suddenly needs a trip to the toilet, it isn’t very likely.

Online shopping, however, is completely different.

Only around 2% of conversions (purchases or downloads) occur on the person’s first visit to a site. Distraction and procrastination are easy in the online world. Abandoned online shopping carts are extremely common.

In a recent roundup of shopping cart abandonment statistics, rates vary widely, but are far higher now than in 2006. Most recent studies have found that 70% of shopping carts are abandoned.

Lost shopping cart

The question is why? Maybe the buyer decided to check prices elsewhere, or get dinner ready. Maybe delivery was too too expensive, or too inconvenient.

Whatever the reason, the person has shifted focus, and the opportunity could be lost forever.

And this is where things might start to get a little creepy.

Many companies are now choosing to use browser cookies and analytics to collect information about people browsing their websites. This information can then be used to trigger followup marketing messages – like emails with special offers relating to the items viewed when the cart was abandoned.

It is also possible for the online retailer to run a re-targeting campaign.

This is a form of display advertising, where banner ads with specific offers are shown to you as you wander through your online day. Effectively stalking the prospect as they try to get on with their life.

Useful?

Yes. But it can easily come across as being creepy.

But keep in mind that only around 2% of conversions occur on the first visit to a site. That means almost all conversions occur after someone has left the site and returned.

For the consumer, retargeting might be viewed as a handy reminder. Handled clumsily, it is like having an obnoxious sales rep following you around.

Either way, it increases the probability of a sale.

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