Could your lack of engagement be terminal?
Could your lack of engagement be terminal?

Could your lack of engagement be terminal?

Category: Blogs
Empty airport terminal

Travelers often forget to pack something, but as long as it’s not their passport, they can breathe a sigh of relief. Yet, those in the travel sector are not nearly so relaxed, and are becoming increasingly concerned with a whole other raft of forgotten or abandoned items, which for some travel organisations means they don’t even see customers take-off!

We’re talking about the abandoned basket scenario. When customers are browsing holiday sites, they will often progress orders through to the final stage, adding items to their ‘basket’ or ‘cart’ then abandoning before making a payment.

How big is the problem?

Universally, across sectors, the rate of unclaimed baskets stands at 68.9% according to The news gets even more stark for the travel industry which has seen notoriously high rates of shopping cart abandonment, with rates soaring to over 80%, as reported by eConsultancy.

Online travel agencies (OTAs) see the worst abandoned basket rates at 89%, followed by the airlines industry at 79%. Hotels, cruises and car rentals aren’t doing much better either – floating around just under 70% abandonment.

Why do would-be-travelers abandon baskets?

On average, travel bookers search between three to five different sites before making a purchase, according to a recent survey by Skift, evaluating different locations and options, and comparing them against each other. This is doubly true for casual travelers, who do not have a favoured supplier.

As a result, it has become increasingly hard for the travel sector to invoke instant conversion or indeed long-term loyalty. The situation is further exacerbated by the prevailing price wars and an insurmountable amount of consumer choice and options available.

Another contributory factor is the rise of mobile as a search/booking device, evident across both the retail and travel sector. The experience of many brands is that conversion on mobile is much lower than on desktop, with many shoppers favouring the former as a research device, not a purchasing tool. In research amongst Intilery’s travel clients as many as 70% of travel bookers use their mobile device for searching, but as with Criteo’s findings many still prefer to book on desktop using the larger screened option. That said, it will become increasingly important to provide a slick, easy to use, conversion friendly mobile option if booking is to be encouraged on mobile.

Other reason cited by consumers as barriers to conversion included;

  • They like to take their time to research their options
  • They get distracted, thus forgetting their intended purchase
  • They arrive at the checkout and are put off by the total price
  • They receive poor user experience while browsing
  • They have no real intention of purchasing
  • They run into technical difficulties at the checkout
  • They are simply comparing prices

It may not be possible to persuade all basket-abandoners to progress to checkout. But it’s worth putting in the effort to resolve as many lingering hesitations as you can, because a significant percentage of customers are persuadable.

Actionable insight

During the process of visit, search and adding items to basket, customers leave unconscious ‘markers’ flagging their preferences and journey requirements which can be used by brands to encourage conversion. 

There is a big difference between customers who are looking to book a quick getaway to an undecided destination a few days out, to maybe families who are looking for a specific hotel and location 6 months in advance. It is essential that this data is captured and utilised in granular detail before one-on-one targeting can be effective.

By understanding the difference in customers’ needs, insight can be actioned to target the right customer, at the right time bringing them back to the sales process at the right moment. The critical element is collecting the right data in context in real-time so that you can react at exactly the right moment.

One of the ways this can be achieved is via the abandoned basket email.

The abandoned basket email

These types of emails are just one way you can save abandoned purchases. Sending emails to customers who have already identified a need and ‘prompting’ them to take further action is a sure fire way of increasing sales. In some cases, Intilery clients report increases in conversion rates of over 22% as a result.

Effective abandoned basket emails possess common characteristics -

Timing is critical

They are dispatched in quick-time from the moment that the customer abandons their search or basket. With the right technology this can be within minutes of the original search or selection.

Research carried out by MIT has found that most customers who convert will complete their purchase within 12 hours of visiting your site. They also discovered that 90% of baskets will not be reclaimed after the first hour of abandoning the checkout process. Don’t miss the boat – make your email reminder timely using real-time tracking and delivery.

Personalisation through content

We don’t mean just in terms of salutation, but including dynamic content scraped from the original search output, e.g. containing the itinerary, imagery and pricing included in the basketed item. This will resonate with the customer, saving them time and effort in terms of recall and action. To action this feature, travel operators require a powerful engine that can match basket contents and other data with demographic factors and even in some cases geodata too – at an individual customer level.

Offers can also be personalised for specific customer groups and dynamically presented for multiple segments, e.g. if you have customers who have abandoned baskets repeatedly over a set time period, you may want to offer just that group an incentive to purchase.

Social integration such as quotes from reviews lifted from sites like Trip Advisor is a great way to validate a customer’s choice and nudge them further along the path to purchase. In addition, messages stating, “Availability low” or “Tickets selling out fast” motivate customers to act quickly and book that flight or reserve that hotel room for fear of missing out.

Automate to accumulate

Ensure that links take customers back to the part of the sales process most relevant to customers – e.g. part filled forms, the completed basket, there, selection again, waiting on nothing except ‘buy now’.  Success will come from providing a frictionless process.

Device empathy

Ensure that emails are created for multi-device, for example if your customers are viewing emails on the way to and from work, it’s likely it will be via mobile. Ensure that a brand consistent view is available and that emails are optimised in terms of layout, not only for device but within device e.g. IOS or Android.

Authenticity – service is what separates similar productserna low

Finally, a helpful tone of voice is useful. The days of hard sell are well and truly over, so be sincere.  Your prospective customers will know if you are pushing for a sale, so ensure that abandoned basket emails are positioned as helpful, service related emails to provide the best chance of success – be authentic, put the customer first.

Moving forward

The foundation of effective conversion emails has to be personalisation triggered by insight gathered across multi-channels.

Your customer has a huge choice of suppliers, there will always be a host of competitors waiting for the opportunity to coax them away. Avoid just being a consideration, waste no time in responding to their needs, and utilise the important markers and signals they have left on your site.  Show them you know them by delivering relevant communications, in the way they will respond to at a time that is relevant. Don’t abandon your prospects mid-way through the process and perhaps they won’t abandon you.

Intilery provide a powerful engagement solution to not only support your abandon basket campaigns via email, but via app and onsite too. To find out more get in touch with Intilery today:

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