March 31, 2010, 12:00 AM

Don’t Go

(Page 2 of 2)

Osher Karnovsky, general manger of Jomashop, points out that because the luxury brands it sells spend millions each year promoting themselves, customers generally are familiar with the brand of the item they’ve placed in their cart. Any hesitation at checkout has more to do with their being less familiar with Jomashop or its policies, he says. The live chat feature is designed to address any concerns.

The average ticket at Jomashop is about $400 and many items are priced in the thousands. “This is a lot of high-end merchandise, and they want to make sure they are buying from a reputable merchant. In addition, many of the items we sell are purchased as gifts, and customers are concerned about shipping and delivery times. We have found that just interacting with another human being helps tremendously,” Karnovsky says.

Jomashop.com reports a 15% reduction in cart abandonment over the past 20 months, which Karnovsky attributes in large measure to the availability of live chat it implemented on its site, using a product suite from Bold Software that also includes a click to call option and inbound e-mail management.

Reason to reconsider

Choppingblock.com, which sells kitchen islands and chopping boards, is working with vendor Runa on a campaign that seeks to corral departing shoppers by offering them discounts on the unpurchased items in their carts. It uses Runa’s Conversion Marketing service, an optional service integrated in its Miva Merchant shopping cart.

For the past few weeks, the retailer has been testing customer response to discount offers ranging from 5% to about 15%. CEO Tim Dugan attributes an 18% to 20% uptick in sales overall to the campaign.

Runa takes a 9.5% cut of each recovered sale, which Dugan is so far willing to pay, since it helps him to convert more of the traffic he’s brought to his site through costly marketing techniques such as pay-per-click search engine ads. “Pay per click gets expensive in a hurry. So if I am going to spend those dollars, it’s not a loss to me to put Runa in the middle,” he says. “Yes, they do get a commission, but otherwise I’ve lost that cart anyway.”

Choppingblock.com will test personalizing the offers based on customer behavior and history in the next round of testing. Dugan expects that analysis to yield insights about his customer base that he can roll into other online marketing and merchandising.

“It may be that for some people, there is no difference between buying a $1,100 kitchen island and a $1,400 kitchen island. A sale or discount is not what is going to move them. So instead of offering them a discount of 15% to get them to buy, I want to offer them $50 off another product, like a $250 chopping block, if they buy both,” he says.

The benefit of such a campaign, he notes, is that it could not only salvage sales from abandoned carts but also increase basket size with discounted cross-sells.

It’s said that it’s easier for merchants to sell more to customers they already have than to acquire new customers. It’s certainly less costly. And with close to two-thirds of shoppers who place items in their carts leaving those carts without purchasing, e-retailers that focus on strategies to turn those shoppers into buyers are-wisely-seizing an opportunity that’s already in the palms of their hands.

mary@verticalwebmedia.com

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