Slow Adoption of Shopping Cart Remarketing by Internet Retailer 500

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Longitudinal study of Internet Retailer 500 reveals slow adoption of shopping cart abandonment remarketing. Retailers continue to underutilize proven tactics to address $18B cart abandonment issue.

By not having a shopping cart abandonment strategy in place, online retailers are continuing to miss a tremendous opportunity to convert abandoned sales.

A longitudinal shopping cart abandonment survey conducted between 2009 and 2011 by email marketing firm Listrak reveals that online retailers still aren’t doing enough to recoup the estimated $18 billion lost annually due to shopping cart abandonment.

Forrester Research estimates that cart abandonment rates have risen to 71 percent, meaning that 7 out of every 10 potential customers abandon a cart before completing the purchase. At the same time, however, just 13 percent of the Internet Retailer 500 has active shopping cart abandonment remarketing campaigns in place to address this. That number is up only slightly from 11 percent in 2009.

“By not having a shopping cart abandonment strategy in place, online retailers are continuing to miss a tremendous opportunity to convert abandoned sales,” said Ross Kramer, Listrak CEO. “Automated cart abandonment email solutions can convert on average 20 to 35 percent of these lost sales.”

Among retailers with an automated cart abandonment email campaign in place, the most significant change was that 62 percent now send a remarketing email within 24 hours of a customer abandoning a cart, up from just 26 percent in 2009. This reflects increased adoption of what is widely considered to be an industry best practice.

In addition, 94 percent now request a customer email address prior to inputting credit card information, up from 79 percent in 2009. Of these, the vast majority (95 percent) ask shoppers to enter their email addresses in the first step of the checkout process – providing retailers with the email address with which to reach back to cart abandoners. 

In certain measures, however, etailers showed little to no improvement and even fell behind regarding their automated cart abandonment campaign tactics:

  • 34 percent sent personalized emails to the customer, down from 36 percent in 2009
  • 34 percent offered incentives to complete a purchase, down from 45 percent in 2009

Among retailers offering incentives, just 5 percent offered free shipping – despite shipping charges being cited as the cause for nearly half of abandoned carts. In addition to limited usage of incentives and personalization, only 14 percent of the abandonment strategies made more than one attempt to reach the customer and convert the sale.

“The results surprise me: there are still few retailers with a cart abandonment campaign in place and those that do aren’t using best practices to optimize the results,” said Kramer. “Implementing a cart abandonment email series and offering discounted or free shipping can greatly improve conversion rates, and yet the IR500 has largely been slow to adopt these practices.”

To learn more about implementing a shopping cart remarketing campaign, download this free whitepaper, Recovering Lost Sales through an Automated Shopping Cart Abandonment Strategy

During December 2010 and January 2011, Listrak shopped and abandoned carts on the websites of 469 of the retail companies included on the Internet Retailer 500 list. The number of items shopped, the overall value of the items, the number of pages visited, and the time spent on each site, were random.

About Listrak    
Listrak is an email marketing firm providing the solutions, software, and services to optimize the value of email. Listrak works with online retailers to develop engaging email marketing to deliver the extra percent in effectiveness and ROI. Learn more at

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Heather Bonura
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