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From a customer’s perspective, online stores are excellent for browsing, but it can be difficult to get customers to stop deliberating and actually buy something. In fact, it’s estimated that upwards of 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before customers complete their purchases. For clothing retailers, it’s even more difficult to get customers to commit to a purchase since most prefer to hit a brick-and-mortar location and speak to a sales associate, or better yet, bring along a friend for a second opinion before they buy.
Today mobile traffic accounts for over half (50.48%) of all traffic in eCommerce. Mobile has the highest cart abandonment rates, with 85.65% of all transactions ending without a sale. Meanwhile, tablets converted sales 80.74% of the time, a 5.7% improvement in revenue. Desktops performed the best in terms of cart abandonment, with 73.07% of transactions failed. The trend is obvious. The smaller the size of the screen, the more likely a customer is to not purchase. This is problematic considering that for the first time ever, more digital buyers will use smartphones than desktops to shop.
According to RetailDive, eCommerce shops are still not optimized for mobile. Slow load times abound. Many stores remain unresponsive, forcing customers to zoom in and out to navigate a page. Worse, pop-ups that are fine on desktop take up are often not fine on mobile. Further, every inconvenience driving cart abandonment on desktops – such as mandatory registrations and long checkout processes, are intensified on smartphones.
So what can an online store do to tackle this issue?
Understanding the facts is the first step in creating an effective marketing campaign to recover abandoned carts. The next step is understanding why your customers are not deciding to purchase.
One thing’s for sure, the more steps you require your customer to take to finalize a purchase the higher the likelihood of you losing that customer. Find ways to automatically create customer accounts rather than forcing customers to create an account and use methods to reduce shipping costs or better yet, have no shipping costs (see my post on Amazon strategy for more detail).
Can AI help in eCommerce?
Recently, outdoor wear company, The North Face, partnered with IBM to better personalize their customer experience, incorporating AI into its online shopping app. IBM’s Watson creates a psychoanalytic profile of customer data in less than a second, and from there, asks questions about where, when, and for what activities customers will be using their apparel. Next, the AI provides personalized suggestions ranked from “High Match” to “Low Match,” saving customers the hassle of scrolling through hundreds of images and then second guessing whether the purchase will be right.
So, does it work? Early data points to yes. According to IBM, customers spent an average of two minutes with the AI, not to mention 60% click-through rate for product recommendations. Using AI for personalization in eCommerce could solve a huge problem for retailers: the runaway customer.