Cross-device shopping has created an enormous challenge for online retailers. If eCommerce managers thought it was difficult to create great experiences on desktop, imagine how difficult it is to create a consistent, usable experience across mobile, tablet, and desktop via mobile sites and native applications.
As of Q4 2015, 37% of all eCommerce transactions involved multiple devices and mobile commerce now represents 35% of total eCommerce transactions globally. The rate at which consumers are using mobile devices to convert is outpacing the average retailer’s ability to build experiences for these new mediums. The conventional wisdom that customers don’t convert on mobile just isn’t true anymore.
This trend is reinforced by the data we see from our own clients.
Over 50% of the cart abandonment emails sent by Rejoiner are opened on a device that is different than the one the customer originally abandoned on.
Think about that for a second: More than half the time, customers will consume your cart abandonment emails on a different device than where the first touch occurred.
In this post, we’re going to explore how email marketers can drive more cross-device conversions for their online store using an integral, yet often overlooked feature – session regeneration.
But first, let’s define exactly what we mean by session regeneration:
Session regeneration is the ability to restore a user’s previous shopping session regardless of the device they use to return to your site.
Session regeneration is about creating a frictionless experience for your customers that makes it easy for them to complete the checkout process.
Imagine this… You were shopping online at work and found a pair of shoes that you really liked. You began the checkout process but then abandoned before purchase because you had to run to a meeting.
Later that evening, you’re lying on the couch with your tablet device and check your emails and see a reminder for a product you were looking at that day (with an enticing offer).
You click into the email and it opens up an empty cart. Now you have to go through the entire process again… Meanwhile your favourite TV show comes on and again, the conversion is lost.
If you are not employing session regeneration and customers are not signed into your site on their mobile/tablet device (hint: they probably won’t be), customers will have a disjointed, frustrating experience trying to complete their transaction.
It’s still amazing to us how many retailers get this wrong.
Don’t Make Them Think
The primary benefit of session regeneration is lowering the barrier to conversion.
The goal is to provide your customer a direct line back to their previous cart and guide them as closely to the point of conversion as possible.
Here’s a fantastic campaign from 1-800 Contacts that demonstrates a frictionless path from email to regenerated session. All the end user has to do is hit, “Complete Order” and they’re done. The experience is really quite delightful (especially for #emailgeeks like me).
Now think about the opposite scenario. An end user receives a cart abandonment campaign from you, clicks through on mobile, and then returns to a blank cart page.
As their frustration rises, they then have to go back through your site, unfamiliar with the mobile UI, to re-add all of the items they had previously been interested in. Never going to happen.
Not only is this a time consuming process for the end user, it can also be a confusing one if they’ve never used your mobile site before. If your mobile experience is less than ideal, you’re drastically lowering your chance to win back that order.
Remove that friction and guide customers back to the point of sale.
Edge Cases to Handle
We’ve built session regeneration into many of our platform add-ons. Over the years, we’ve come across several edge cases to be aware of if you’re building this out yourself:
OUT OF STOCK ITEMS
First, be sure that you’re able to handle cases where an item has gone out of stock from the point at which the customer originally abandoned it. If they click through a cart abandonment email and stock is no longer available, show a notification or better yet, suggest an alternative product that is currently in stock.
If you’re offering some kind of discount and/or promotion, incorporate the ability to dynamically apply promo codes/discounts to the order along with your session regeneration logic. Make it clear to users that a discount has been applied and reward them instantly for taking the time to return to their order.
Supporting the dynamic application of discounts has three benefits: 1) You won’t have to include a promo code in your email template which could get out into the public. 2) Again, you’re reducing friction and the number of steps required to finish a sale. 3) You’re reducing the possibility that the customer will go searching for another discount.
RETAIN ALL SESSIONS, NOT JUST REGISTERED USERS
On average, 70-80% of the sessions we track are anonymous. This means that end users are shopping as “guests” and have not logged into an account on-site.
We routinely see retailers believing that retaining session data for registered users is enough — when registered customers make up a much smaller percentage of sessions that could become identifiable. (Hint: Pre-submit tracking can greatly increase your percentage of identifiable sessions).
The point is that sessions should be retained for any user that adds to cart, not just registered ones.
Customizable SKUs can present a challenge for session regeneration, given there could be multiple layers of user defined data added to the item before it was carted. Do your best to retain as much of that configuration data as possible. Remember, we’re trying to get customers as close to the point of purchase as possible and asking them to re-configure a customizable SKU is adding more friction.
A Session Regeneration Case Study
We ran a test inside a client’s account to measure the impact of session regeneration on conversions.
Our hypothesis: Without session regeneration it is harder for consumers to complete the checkout process when switching to different devices. Adding session regeneration to the abandoned cart email campaign will help reduce friction and increase conversions.
Control = Cart regeneration OFF
Variant = Cart regeneration ON
The control generated 106 conversions from 11,057 sends.
The variant generated 142 conversions from 11,016 sends.
The variant (which had cart regeneration ON), outperformed the control by 33.96%.
Because mobile commerce now represents 35% of total eCommerce transactions globally, it’s becoming more important to ensure you are creating a frictionless experience for your customers.
Not only is it better for customers, but it’s also great for your bottom line.
Cart abandonment campaigns are great revenue drivers for eCommerce companies and session regeneration helps improve this campaign’s performance over time.
If your cart abandonment software provider does not provide cart regeneration, then I’d say it’s probably a good idea to switch to a new email marketing solution.
What to Do Next
To see how much of an impact session regeneration can have on your revenue from email, schedule a free strategy session.