If you have ever shopped online, you will know exactly how this scenario will play out. Something catches our eye in an online store, we agonize over whether we should get it, we decide to get it, then at the checkout page on the cusp of clicking pay now, our senses catch up and shove our impulse back into its hole and we abandon the cart. What happens then? Is there a better way to shop than the straightforward browse —> checkout —> pay? What do companies and marketers do when you abandon your shopping cart at the cusp of payment?

The tug of war between your wallet and logic

cute dog pulling on rope
Image Credit: Darinka Kievskaya | Unsplash.com

If you’ve ever done this, sometime later, you might receive an email from the store tempting you to come back and finalize the purchase. Some may even send a discount code to sway you, lower shipping costs or a simple message about their quality, service, after sales support or any number of reasons really.

Sometimes, it might feel that this message is personal because it is the exact reason why you didn’t click “buy”. This is because marketers gather immense amounts of data and to figure out why customers like you ultimately chose not to make that purchase. Not only do they do that, they also do their best to change your mind.

Retailers and marketers call this re-targeting.

Abandoned shopping carts?

empty shopping cart
Image Credit: Unsplash.com

The Baymard Institute estimates that 69.89% of shopping carts are abandoned. We’ve all done it for various reasons but the top reason for shopping cart abandonment is shipping costs. Other reasons include having to make an account, the hassle of returning items and poor reviews of either the store or product.

So, does re-targeting work? Apparently, yes. Almost all merchants reach out to customers who’ve abandoned their shopping carts with data suggesting that they have a success rate of approximately 70%.

Another study has shown that despite privacy concerns, customers actually prefer targeted marketing that delivers relevant information or deals based on their specific needs despite privacy concerns.

Their methodology

data in a textbook
Image Credit: Lukas | Pexels.com

Retailers know shoppers are very price conscious and take great pains to either have their offerings at the lowest price or make it seem like they have the lowest price.

Re-targeting works well and there are various ways retailers accomplish this:

  1. Social media

Social media is one. Almost everyone on the planet uses social media in some form and retailers are perfectly aware of this. This is why whenever you browse certain stores or products, you suddenly see ads on Facebook, Google and many others that suspiciously show the exact same product that you were eyeing.

  1. Emails

Emails are another way where some may seek only to find out why you didn’t purchase, other companies may entice you with a discount or lower shipping costs. No matter what strategy they use, however, all of them are keen to have you make that purchase all along.

Turning their tactics to your advantage

lightbulb on a chalkboard with thought bubbles
Image Credit: Pexels.com

So knowing that these companies gather reams of data and expend a lot of resources and time based on this data to change your mind, you can actually use this knowledge and turn it to your advantage:

  1. Fill your cart but don’t submit your order

The first and most obvious way is to simply fill your cart with what you want, but not actually buy and wait for the retailer to email you to complete your purchase. Sometimes this can include a discount code or an incentive that makes it more worthwhile for you.

  1. Make use of free trials

Other ways they may do so, is through free trials of premium services or features such as Amazon Premium. Amazon offers a free trial of their premium service which allows for access to a host of services such as e-books, videos and music. Cancel as the trial is about to expire, however, and you are offered another 30 days of free premium.

Sound familiar? when you are on a store page and display what is known as “exit intent” you may get a message or a pop-up saying “WAIT DON’T GO! We have a special offer just for you.” The reason why so many retailers utilize these strategies is that it works. Being offered an additional incentive to an item you already intended to buy is a great way to get you to tip over the edge and actually commit to a purchase which means a sale for them, and a discount for you.

So while knowing that they are collecting data on your preferences, what you browsed and your shopping habits, you can deliberately use this to your advantage (even though it may seem stalkerish).

For example, you can search for a product you want. In this case a messenger bag. While you may have a go-to brand, hold off on buying and allow the advertisements to appear to you on your social media and other feeds.

From this, you can get sort of a personalized shopping list presented to you with various options for you to consider and perhaps even discover new brands.


Becoming a better, smarter shopper

Knowing how the game works allows you to game the system. Educate yourself by reading how marketing and personalized advertising collects data and how they determine what to present to you.

Knowledge of this will allow you to wield this as a weapon during your conquests online. While it is natural to be annoyed and averse to an intrusive form of advertising and marketing, this is simply how things are done now. Rather than ignoring or blocking it out, why not try something a little different and evolve with the times to utilize this to your full advantage?

Speaking of which, with 11.11 sales coming up, why not begin adding stuff to your cart now? Taobao, Lazada and Zalora typically have major discounts during this time of the year. Be sure to make your purchases using Lazada vouchers and Zalora promo codes!

Read More: 11.11 Ultimate Guide With Protips: How To Taobao And Tmall Like A Pro!

*Feature Image Credit:  Charles Deluvio | Unsplash