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Direct Response Marketing

Net Gains: Is Your Online Shopping Cart Killing a Great DRTV Program?

1 Feb, 2012 By: Irv Brechner Response

Orv BrechnerI saw a very compelling DRTV commercial last week. I went online to order it. I was so confused by the shopping cart, and bothered by how long it took to get through it, that I abandoned it and threw up my hands in frustration — and I’m a tech-savvy, experienced Web user.

I also recall wanting to buy a DRTV product, and going to a very well-designed landing page. But as I progressed through the process, I was hit with no less than six upsells — and no way to bypass them. There were literally screen after screen of offers. While I know that upsells are extremely important to direct response marketers, I also know that, as a consumer, they wore me out.

I wonder if either of these companies (both names you would recognize) took the trouble to test their shopping carts/conversion paths and determine where consumers were leaving the process — more simply known as shopping cart abandonment.

This very common problem plagues most every online retailer and could actually be derailing otherwise promising DRTV campaigns. Many producers of infomercials and DRTV media buyers may not even be aware of this problem.

However, it’s pervasive. Most of what I read about shopping cart abandonment is written about online stores, so this topic may be of value to single-product landing pages, typically associated with DRTV commercials.

The online shopping cart abandonment rate for the first six months of 2011 was a whopping 75 percent. It was 71 percent for all of 2010 (according to the Website Conversion Blog). Regardless of what your actual rate is, however, the goal is always to reduce it as much as possible. If you could reduce your abandonment rate by 10 percent for every 1,000 visitors to your site (with an average sale of $25), you’d pick up $2,500 in business.

Is your online shopping cart killing a great drtv program?The shopping cart abandonment phenomenon is both an opportunity (for extra sales and profits) and a pitfall (loss of sales and profit). It’s one of those nagging issues that keep marketers up at night.

Shopping carts, while around since the dawn of E-commerce on the Internet, keep getting more and more sophisticated — and theoretically easier — for online shoppers to use. But shopping cart abandonment continues to plague Web marketers. That’s not just a problem for online stores — it’s a problem for every marketer who sells a product online, especially when consumers are driven to the site from a DRTV commercial.

According to Forrester, the top five reasons why your potential customers are abandoning your shopping cart are:

  1. Shipping and handling costs were too high (44 percent).
  2. They were not ready to purchase the product (41 percent).
  3. They wanted to compare prices on other sites (27 percent).
  4. The product price was higher than I was willing to pay (25 percent).
  5. They wanted to save products in the cart for later consideration (24 percent).

What you need to do, armed with this knowledge, is to develop messaging that addresses these concerns. For example, take a hard look at your shipping costs and what you now charge. Consumers are used to getting free shipping online, so you need to take that into account.

At the end of the day, your shopping cart or conversion path needs to be easy, fast and have no cost surprises. Abandonment should be a top priority. Lowering your abandonment rate will lead to immediate bottom line profits.

For a great infographic on this topic, visit:

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