Convert Abandoned Visitors With 3 Surprisingly Underused Proven Technologies

You’ve given it all you’ve got to bring prospects to your site. But, then, the next thing you know, poof, they’re gone.

You are not alone. According to a study conducted by web research group, Baymard Institute, an average of 67.89% of shopping carts are abandoned by online shoppers.

And, sometimes visitors don’t even make it to the cart, before they’re gone. According to Monetate, in Q3 2013, only 5.31% of international visitors ever made it to the cart.

If your website has “abandonment issues,” there is hope. Following are 3 very powerful (and seriously underused) technologies that have been proven to convert lost visitors, retrieve lost marketing dollars, and, according to usage statistics, keep you way ahead of your competitors.

1. Exit-Intent Technology

Entice visitors to take action before they abandon your site.

If a visitor stands idle for 5 minutes on a page, there’s a big chance you will lose them as a customer.

Exit-intent technology may be the most valuable of these 3 technologies because you don’t have to wait until your visitors are long gone (when all you will be able to do is employ recovery tactics if you want to recapture them).

The best place to pull them back is on your page, before they leave in the first place. Exit-intent technology is a powerful proactive tool that eliminates the difficult step of trying to bring them back.

What Is Exit-Intent Technology?

Exit-intent technology is able to detect, through mouse movements and velocity, when a visitor is about to abandon a website, within milliseconds.

First, the technology tracks visitor activity. Then, using a predictive algorithm, it is able to detect abandoning visitors.

Finally, an attention-grabbing, last-chance offer is presented to the abandoning prospect, via an overlay, to bring them back.

This technology is so new that market leader, Bounce Exchange, was founded as recently as 2010. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a lot of data on who’s using it.

Even Neil Patel has pointed out its underuse, saying, “One type of call to action that isn’t used a lot is an exit call to action.”

However, he’s one person who hasn’t neglected to reap its benefits. Neil uses exit-intent technology to keep his own visitors from abandoning his site.

neil patel contact

But then, he’s known to put new and innovative technologies to the test. That’s why he’s a leader in the online marketing space.

For example, here’s an exit-intent call to action he recently used to pull visitors back, just as it was detected they were abandoning his site.

In implementing it, Patel was able to generate a 46% increase in contact requests at neilpatel.com.

Now, these are not your average overlays (although, eConsultancy does report that even an average overlay will increase opt-ins by up to 400%).

These are better. Why? Because, as mentioned, these overlays are triggered just as mouse movements detect that a visitor is about to abandon. With them, you get one last chance to make an appeal and get your visitors back onboard. Without them, your visitors are gone.

Rooster has created and placed a robust (yet affordable) exit-intent solution on the market that helps business websites re-engage with abandoning visitors.

Case Study: XeroShoes Turns Skeptical Visitors into Sales

XeroShoes was founded in 2009 by Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix. Steven had experienced a series of injuries after revisiting his longtime passion for running. Subsequently, a friend suggested that he become familiar with the benefits of barefoot running.

And the XeroShoes line of barefootware was born.

Steven knew this wasn’t a concept that would be easy to sell to everyone and took this into account in his overall website design and strategy. When it was detected that visitors were just about to abandon his site, they were presented with a free research report that detailed the benefits of being barefoot.

xero shoes

In Steven’s final attempt to re-engage and convince any skeptical visitors, this last-second offer prompted 2.5% of abandoning visitors to accept the barefoot benefits report. And, out of those who opted to receive it, 28.4% went on to make a purchase.

Here’s another example…

Case Study: A Last-Second Calculator Generates 300% More Sales Leads

Gr8tFires.co.uk is a UK based business that has been selling gas and wood-burning stoves and fireplaces for over 30 years.

Their goal was to sell more stoves. With a long sales cycle, they were looking for a way to educate visitors on the installation process and stay top of mind as a trusted advisor with their prospects.

To do so, Gr8Fires.co.uk provided visitors with an “installation calculator” that appeared just as they were about to leave the website.

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Implementing this last-second strategy generated a 300% increase in sales leads per month.

“Our customers are always shocked at the positive impact to their conversions and bottom line just by being able to re-engage their abandoning visitors.” ~ Jeremy Wallace / CEO Rooster

Rooster’s exit-intent tool really is a no brainer because you can try it free for 30 days to first gauge how it impacts your conversions. What do you really have to lose? Other than more visitors…

If you’re creative enough, you can implement any type of last-second incentive to pull abandoning visitors back. Discount codes, free ebooks, shopping cart reminders, contests, traffic shaping, and promo echo are all highly effective methods that keep visitors from leaving permanently.

As a smart marketer, you already know that keeping visitors from leaving your website in the first place is your first line of defense in managing visitor abandonment. Now, you can use exit-intent technology to effectively do so.

2. Persistent Cookies

Make sure visitors’ carts are intact when they decide to come back.

There’s been a lot of talk about ways to optimize your shopping cart for maximum conversions. But, sometimes it’s just not your fault that they leave. Your visitors are operating on their own schedule, not yours.

If you think all of your visitors are completing their orders right after they add an item to their carts, guess again. According to Emarketer, 56% percent of visitors intend to save their cart for later.

A portion of that cart abandonment rate you’ve been struggling with might not be abandonment at all, but rather a matter of your visitors’ own time schedules and priorities.

To break down the return pattern, a study by Scanalert tracked over 8 million consumers and discovered how long visitors were taking to return to their shopping carts.

how long do visitors take to return to their carts to complete a purchase

According to the study, 28% took more than a day to complete their order, 21% took more than 3 days, 14% took more than a week, and 4% took more than two weeks.

The University of Glasgow has published a report that states that 74% of online shoppers use their carts as “wish lists.”

When your visitors are ready to come back, it’s your job to make sure their shopping carts are still intact, ready, and waiting. If they’re gone, there’s a good chance your visitors won’t be willing to start all over again.

How do you make sure their carts are still there when they come back? By using persistent cookies.

What Are Persistent Cookies and How Do They Help Conversions?

Tracking cookies are small pieces of data that a website sends to the user’s browser where it is then stored as a text file. That file contains information that allows a site to remember the user’s preferences, set up automatic logins, and temporarily store items in shopping carts.

There are two types of time-length-determined cookies:

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  • Session cookies, also known as transient cookies, are “set” when someone visits a site. When the person disappears, so does the session cookie.
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  • Persistent cookies are set the first time someone visits a site. However, they remain there for a specific length of time – preferably at least 60 days – to meet the time it takes for some visitors to come back to their cart.

But not every website uses them…

How Many Websites Are Letting Their Visitor’s Carts Vanish into Thin Air?

W3Techs.com takes Alexa’s “Top 10 Million” ranked websites and visits, and then analyzes their technology usage. From that data, they are able to find out how many websites are using persistent cookies. Their data is updated daily.

As of March 1, 2014, 20.1% use persistent cookies. That’s an awfully low percentage. Worse yet, out of the 20.1% that actually use persistent cookies, 32.6% use cookies that expire in hours, and 31.7% use cookies that expire in days.

alexas top

Based on their numbers, only 7% of websites are equipped to keep shopping carts intact for shoppers who go back to checkout 1 week after they’ve placed an item in their cart. That’s a really small piece of the pie.

W3Techs stated that they don’t actually interact with the sites. Therefore, if logging in activates cookies or if activation occurs only after an item is placed in a cart, they don’t see that. So, this number may be a little low.

But, what if logging in or registering for an account is required to activate persistent cookies? Visitors become annoyed when they’re required to register for accounts. In fact, one website increased their revenue by $300,000,000 just by removing their “Register” button so that noncommittal visitors could shop freely without being forced into a relationship with the merchant.

Nevertheless, when top online retailers were studied by the E-tailing Group, 29% did not use persistent cookies. That number is still considerably low, especially when talking about top retailers.

top online retailers persistent cookie usage

If you’re one of the 29% who don’t use persistent cookies, unfortunately, it is your fault that visitors aren’t able to come back to a full cart.

If you are using persistent cookies, use them effectively. Don’t make it a requirement that visitors register to activate them or complete their purchase.

After doing some research on which shopping carts use persistent cookies and do so without requiring registration, it seems that the options are limited.

Most of the major platforms require visitor registration before persistent cookies are activated. In fact, Magento clearly defines how visitors must first register before persistent cookies are activated in a variety of scenarios.

In seems that 3DCart is one of the few major platforms that doesn’t require visitor registration or a login in order for persistent cookies to be activated.

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After researching their site (to make sure they weren’t excelling in this area but lacking in others), I found they seem to have pretty robust conversion friendly features. These include automated cart abandonment email follow-up, 1 page checkout, product reviews, and real-time order tracking, to name a few.

Your visitors have spoken: 56% of them are choosing to save their cart for later and shop at their own convenience. Here’s your chance to listen to them. Then, satisfy their need to complete their purchase on their own schedule.

They’ll thank you for it with a lower cart abandonment rate.

3. Ad Remarketing

Make sure you stay top of mind after visitors leave.

After browsing the web about a year ago, I began to notice a lot of ads were popping up from websites I had recently analyzed and audited.

I wondered, “Is this some strange coincidence?” (At the time, I had stepped back from PPC and SEO. In fact, I hadn’t even used pay-per-click for my own site in awhile, so I wasn’t up on the latest features that Google AdWords was offering.)

Come to find out, no, this isn’t a coincidence at all. It’s ad remarketing at work.

Ad remarketing, also known as ad retargeting, is when your ads are displayed to people who have visited your website, as they later browse through other sites on the web. In other words, your ads are following past visitors.

And here’s why it’s actually kind of brilliant…

There’s an old adage that consumers typically need to become familiar with your brand by having contact with it around 7 times before they feel comfortable enough to convert into an actual customer.

Now, this number isn’t set in stone; but, if presenting your business name a number of times creates stronger brand recognition, why would you pass up the opportunity to do so?

4 Out of 5 Online Marketers Are Missing the Remarketing Boat.

It’s a shame that more businesses aren’t harnessing the power of remarketing as a way to pull lost prospects back.

Remarketing is believed to be the most underused online marketing technology by 46% of search engine marketing professionals. And, according to Digiday, only one in five marketers has a dedicated budget for remarketing. Those are some surprisingly low statistics.

But Here Are Some Sweet Remarketing Statistics…

If you’re not using remarketing, reconsider. It’s being said that remarketing can boost ad response by up to 400%.

Data also is showing that display ads have an average click-through rate of .07, while remarketed ads have a click-through rate of .70 percent. That’s a whopping 10 times higher.

In fact, visitors who are served remarketed display ads are 70 percent more likely to convert.

What a marketer decides to do with their marketing budget gives a pretty good indication of how effectively it is working for them.

digital marketers future plans for Remarketing Budget

When digital marketers who use this technology were asked if they would increase or decrease their budget, 52% said they would increase their remarketing budget, while only 2.7% said they would decrease it, according to Digiday’s Retargeting Barometer Report. 43.1% said they’d keep it the same.

Google Shares Data on Some Very Successful Remarketing Campaigns:

Google’s Think Insights, a division of Google that provides insight and data to help online marketers grow their business, shared data on how a few businesses raised their conversions with Google’s Remarketing option.

Here are 2 very impressive examples…

Case Study: An $800 Retargeted Ad Investment Yields $60,000 in Revenue

Loews Hotels & Resorts offers a uniquely local experience with 19 hotels throughout the U.S. and Canada. They previously focused their marketing efforts in offline channels. However, it was difficult to gauge results and ROI compared with digital marketing.

In an effort to expand its audience and marketing dollars, Loews introduced Google’s remarketing feature to their AdWords campaign.

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With a heavy focus on the “similar audiences” feature, they were able to reach new potential customers whose profiles were similar to those on their remarketing list.

The results were staggering.

Loews vice president of e-commerce and distribution, Jimmy Suh, says remarketing was “one of our biggest successes” and a cost effective way to gain new customers and bookings with an investment of $800 generating $60,000 in revenue.

In other words, for every $133 spent, $10,000 in revenue was generated. That means that Google AdWords remarketing yielded Loews a 7400% return on investment.

Case Study: Tailored Remarketed Ads Convert 203% Higher than Display Ads

In an effort to boost brand awareness, Storkies Express used dynamic remarketing to attract past website visitors.

Storkies Express offers custom printed cards. To get consumers familiar with them, they focused on tailored ads to visitors who had visited specific pages on their website.

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These tailored ads resulted in conversion rates that were 203% higher than regular display ads and 119% higher than regular remarketing campaigns.

The Skinny on How Google AdWords Remarketing Works:

Google AdWords Remarketing is really simple to implement and provides a variety of options to remarket your website to visitors.

According to Google…

“Remarketing with Google starts with the remarketing tag which you implement once on your website. This one-time tag implementation allows you to create granular remarketing lists which you can use to create not only targeted display campaigns for specific segments of your audience, but also targeted search campaigns.”

For example, you can:

  • Encourage past site visitors to come back to your site with remarketing across the web
  • Optimize your search campaigns by tailoring bids and ads to past site visitors with remarketing lists for search ads
  • Find new people who share site characteristics with your high-value site visitors and introduce them to your site with similar audiences

Of course, if you can manage your Google AdWords remarketing campaigns on your own, there are no management costs for you.

If you’re looking to reach a broader audience, you also have a few more options…

Paid Remarketing Venues That Offer an Even Broader Reach:

Google AdWords isn’t the only platform that offers remarketing features. To get help reaching a broader audience, AdRoll claims to retain 97% of their customers by helping them remarket on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular global sites.

big tech companies

In fact, they’re able to reach 98% of the sites on the web that your visitors are surfing. And it seems to be very effective. Using the AdRoll remarketing platform, Michigan State University was able to generate $340 for every $1 spent. You can take it for a free test drive first to see how well their solution performs at bringing your abandoned prospects back.

So, follow your abandoned visitors around the web and let them know you’re still there. You’ve already laid the groundwork (and the money) to obtain their business.

Getting your name out there a second time gives you a second opportunity to turn abandoned visitors into paying customers.

Conclusion

Lost visitors are not a lost cause. The only real loss is if you haven’t provided the opportunity to pull them back for a second chance at becoming your customer.

Yes, it can take a lot of money to bring prospects to your website. And, yes, a lot of them will leave without ever buying anything. But if there are ways you can easily recapture their interest and their purchases, why wouldn’t you?

As you’ve read, many are converting the second time around. To maximize on retrieving lost visitors and lost marketing dollars, the formula is pretty simple…

Start by re-engaging visitors before they abandon your site. Next, be ready when they decide to come back to their carts. And, finally, stay top of mind after they leave your site.

It’s really that simple.

About the Author: Marie Dean is the Innovation Director at conversionlifters.com and has worked in the field of conversion optimization for over 10 years. She devotes her time to helping clients successfully raise their conversion rates through in-depth comprehensive website audits, analytics analysis, A/B split testing, and copywriting.

  1. This is a great article.

    The statistics you’ve gathered for each of the 3 areas really strengthen the arguments for them! I’m keen to learn more about the first 2 especially (Re-targetting is something i previously dealt in)

    • Thanks Lloyd. Exit-intent is relatively new. In the cases where I’ve seen websites you it – it has typically increased conversions by 30%-100%.

      That means that you can quite possibly double your conversions just by implementing it.

  2. This article is really comprehensive. It’s usually so difficult to convert visitors who didn’t leave their e-mail yet.
    I use remarketing and mouse-leave pop ups and both are pretty effective. Looks like I have to pay more attention to the cookies and not just assume they are persistent.

    • Thanks Sara. That’s why it’s important to capture an email address early on in the checkout process.

      Not only is it important that cookies are persistent – but that they are unconditionally activated – not just after registration.

  3. Great advice. Exit-intent is a big part of blogging. Gotta keep people on the site. Thanks.

    Shane
    http://whatsthecost.org

  4. Great approach, thanks for sharing.
    I would like to mention one more: the surveys you can trigger when the visitors are abandoning the websites. Without inviting them to a survey, but simply asking them directly how or when or why, we’ve seen response rates up to 31%. At the end, the visitors where invited persuasively, based on the previous answers, to leave their email addresses.
    If you want to take a look at this app (that includes AB testing and triggered exit-intent technology): http://www.marketizator.com

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