Commentary - For online merchants now is the time to pull out the stops to attract as many holiday shoppers as possible. Recent research from the National Federation of Retailers indicates that 44 percent of consumers age 18 and older will shop online for holiday items this year. That’s up from 42.4 percent last year. In fact researching and shopping starts early. In November 73 percent of consumers had started researching their holiday purchases while 89 percent of those consumers had started their shopping online.(Source: Google/OTX Study)
Such growth is positive news for online retailers in need of more site visitors. It’s stunning to think that the majority of visitors will leave without ever buying anything. We’ve all been there, about to press the “purchase” button when something stops us.
According to recent Forrester research, last year 154 million people in the U.S. transacted $155.2 billion in sales online. That comes to just about $1000 each. However many more people abandoned shopping carts than completed their purchases.
Another recent study by Forrester indicates that despite improvements in site design and increased consumer comfort with online purchasing, 88 percent of Web buyers note that they have abandoned an online shopping cart without completing a transaction. This percentage is unchanged compared to five years ago. This suggests that retailers have not yet addressed the primary factors of cart abandonment: frustration with the amount of shipping costs, unpreparedness to make a purchase, and a desire to comparison-shop for a lower price; all natural occurrences within the buying cycle.
Enter Remarketing. Website visitors who have just abandoned a shopping cart are your very best prospects. After all, they almost purchased – just not quite. With highly targeted advertisements, retailers can in fact reengage with visitors who leave their site because they aren't ready to purchase. These ads can be specific to the product that they were originally debating, or just a friendly call to action like “Free Shipping” or “10% off.”
Remarketing reaches out to previous visitors of retailers’ sites as they surf elsewhere on the web and provides incentives for them to return and purchase. In the experience of some of our advertisers, remarketing campaigns can bring phenomenal lift in ad response, up to 400 percent. At the same time it’s curious that a survey we conducted earlier found that Remarketing is considered the most under-utilized online marketing technology.
This holiday season let’s hope that retailers recognize this disconnect. Implementing a Remarketing campaign can be the best way to combat shopping cart abandonment rates this holiday season by converting those shoppers who remain on the fence.
Daniel Yomtobian is the CEO of Advertise.com, a premier platform for search and display marketing that enables advertisers to reach a wider audience through an exclusive network of search engines and publisher properties.