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Capturing Lost Sales Opportunities - 3 Ways to Bring Visitors Back to Your Site

Imagine walking into a busy, high traffic grocery store. Despite the large number of customers in the store, you notice something strange. Strewn about the aisles and checkout lanes are dozens of shopping carts. These shopping carts are full of products, yet they’ve been abandoned by the customer. For many businesses, this example illustrates perfectly the predicament many online retailers find themselves in. A customer visits their site, adds a few products to their cart, and then leaves for some unexplainable reason. There is nothing more frustrating for a business than to miss a sale opportunity. Is it possible to somehow bring these customers back to the website and save the sale? The following article will suggest 3 easy and creative ways for capturing lost sales.

1) Create a Discount Pop-Up Window: One creative way to decrease your abandonment rate is to launch a popup window anytime a customer exits your website while the shopping cart is still full. The popup window can say something like, "Complete your order now, and receive an additional 10% discount." Hopefully, the customer will re-consider their action and stay to finish their purchase.

2) Add a "email me when in-stock" feature: This feature is a no-brainer for sites that frequently sell out of their inventory. However, it's amazing how few websites actually do it. Here's how it works: Anytime a customer visits a product detail page that displays an "out of stock" notice, give them the option to be emailed if the item becomes available again. This serves two purposes. First, it gives you an opportunity to capture their email address (opt in, of course). And second, it gives you the opportunity to save the sale if you re-stock the item. Now wait a minute, you think, most websites don't allow people to visit pages of items that are out of stock. That's true, but keep in mind that search engines will keep these pages indexed for some time. In addition, people frequently bookmark pages of products they would like to purchase in the future. This feature is even more useful if you sell a product that comes in multiple sizes or colors. For example, if you sell widgets that are available in both green and blue, and the green widgets are out of stock, your customer's can be emailed when that color is re-stocked. Just like that, another lost sale is captured!

3) Email Customers Who Abandon Their Shopping Carts: Another smart tactic to bring back lost sales is to checkup on those people who never complete the checkout process. If you have already captured the customers’ email address, you can easily send them a friendly message informing them that you’re currently trying to improve your checkout process, and you apologize if they found anything confusing. In addition, you might want to give them a coupon code as an additional incentive for bringing them back. In my experience, customers greatly appreciate these emails, and it helps to identify some otherwise unknown problems in the checkout process. Although the above ideas will likely succeed in bringing back lost sales, they are only a Band-Aid and do not solve the real problem. The important question to answer is, "Why are people leaving your site in the first place?" Do you have enough product in-stock? Are your pictures and product descriptions sufficient? Is your shopping cart and checkout process efficient and easy? Questions such as these must be addressed before you can expect to see a decrease in abandoned shopping carts. Until then, the above suggestions can serve to bring back as many sales as possible.


About the Author: Justin Palmer is the website administrator and marketing director for C28 Christian Gifts and Not of This World Clothing. You can contact Justin at justin@c28.com.




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