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updated 10/14/2014 7:15:07 PM ET 2014-10-14T23:15:07

Because ecommerce sites depend on people making purchases, shopping cart abandonment is a major issue for etailers

Indeed, the Baymard Institute states that 67.89 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned across the web. And that is a large number, especially when ecommerce sites only means of revenue is people purchasing products from their storefront.

So, if you’re like most online retailers, you try to make the checkout process is simple as process in order to avoid lost sales. You are upfront about your shipping costs, aim to reduce the steps in your checkout and making sure your call-to-actions are prominent.

These are all excellent steps to take, as both shipping costs and complicated checkouts are two of the biggest culprits behind cart abandonment.

Related: Wipe Out Shopping Cart Abandonment

But unfortunately, this only addresses half the issue.

It may surprise you, but less than half of visitors who fill shopping carts do so with definitive intent to make a purchase. The rest are merely expressing interest.

To dig deeper, let’s look at some shopping cart abandonment data from ecommerce platform Shopify:

And another graph from Forrester’s North American Technographics survey:

Looking at both these graphs, we see something interesting: a large percentage of these shoppers weren’t as committed to the purchase as we thought. 

So while conventional wisdom tells us cart abandonment results from complicated checkouts and unexpected costs, the data tells us that’s not the whole picture.

This information coupled with the fact roughly 81 percent of online retailers believe abandoners are a total waste of time causes many business owners to miss out on an excellent opportunity.  An abandoned cart is not a lost cause; it’s a hot sales lead that must be pursued.

Related: Combating Shopping Cart Abandonment 

How hot? According to SeeWhy, a company that provides Internet marketing tools, 75 percent of abandoning users intend to return to your site in the future to pick up where they left off.

SeeWhy also notes that when visitors return to the same page for a third time -- after abandoning twice already --  as many as 25 percent convert to customers. This tells us that many visitors require a series of interactions with your brand before committing to a purchase.

So how can ecommerce owners extend the relationship with noncommittal cart abandoners and convert them to customers? Well, here are two strategies.

Remarketing-- or retargeting-- is a cookie-based technology that allows you to market your product to people who have abandoned your shopping cart.

Retargeting works by placing a pixel on your checkout pages. When a user abandons the cart, an anonymous cookie is placed in her browser. This cookie allows you to serve additional ads to this user on other parts of the web.

Retargeting is a smart strategy because your ad spend goes exclusively to users who have already interacted with your brand, a user segment that -- as discussed earlier -- is much more likely to convert when they revisit your site.

Retargeting also allows you to maintain contact with the user without an email address, which can be difficult to obtain from privacy-conscious visitors.

Related: A New Tool Is Helping to Reduce Visitor Abandonment on Websites

A new technology called exit-intent is another great strategy for converting cart abandoners.

Exit-intent technology monitors user behavior as they browse your pages and add items to your shopping cart. If a user begins to abandon the page or cart, it activates a last-second message -- an exit overlay -- designed to engage the user.

These overlays can be used to convince the user to make a last-second purchase by offering a coupon or discount or capture the user’s email address so you can continue to promote your products to them

Exit overlays work for recovering cart abandoners because they a) can be targeted to shopping cart pages specifically, and b) only activate when the user is about to abandon the cart.

And since many users aren’t willing to commit on their first visit, exit overlays are a great tool for gaining valuable email addresses from prospective customers, which can then be used to promote your products through prospects’ preferred marketing channel.

Related: Why Your Ecommerce Site Is Losing Money (Infographic)

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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