Almost a Customer!

Letting people know that you have something interesting to ‘sell’ is just the first step. Once they learn about your product there is still the small matter of completing the sale and delivering the service/item purchased to the customer.

I wanted to share a recent experience I had as a potential customer. I learnt about a product through an ad on a social media platform. They were also advertising an offer on the product for £7.50. This was a small vendor selling a speciality product.

When I clicked through to the checkout I got a rude shock. The total price was now showing as £11.50! They had added £4 for delivery. I could get free delivery if my order was more than £20 but I didn’t want to order that many items! I decided that the value I was getting was not matching the total cost I would have to pay (so called ‘net value’ = – £4). So I decided to abandon my ‘full’ basket.

This is called the ‘Abandoned Basket’ problem – and it is seen in bricks-and-mortar stores as well where people simply leave a shopping basket with items and leave the store.

So one might have thought that is the end of the story? But no! Things have become a lot more ‘technical’.

A few hours later I got an email. Before showing me the real price or anything that might scare me away they had taken my contact details! That means they could try and change my mind at a later date. Unlike in a bricks-and-mortar store an e-retailer can chase after prospective customers (GDPR notwithstanding).

The email was not a normal ‘you have items in your basket – click here to complete your purchase’. No way. They were a lot cleverer than that. They had done their research. The email identified high-delivery costs as a common reason why people don’t complete their purchase. It also attempted to justify £4 worth of shipping costs when the item was coming from within UK (I don’t know why?).

But I was still not convinced and I ignored the email. Then a few hours later I received another email. This one was offering me £3 off if I spent at least £10. This meant my net value went from – £4 to -£1 and I did not need to spend a lot more than what I was willing to.

In the end they successfully converted an abandoned basket into a sale and I received the items on time and in good condition!

We can see three main elements in this ‘success’ story:

  1. Getting a foot in the door by capturing customers details before they can ‘run away’ – this gives them a second chance at converting the customer
  2. Understanding what made the customer run away in the first place and attempting to arrive at an acceptable ‘middle-point’
  3. Ensuring that the product/service delivery is pain free to encourage the customer to order again

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