Joanne Grantz
March 31, 2015 | eCommerce | Joanne Grantz

Ecommerce Holy Grail: Low shopping cart abandonment

Increasing online sales is the objective of every business engaged in ecommerce.  Winery ecommerce is no exception but the challenges are unique. 

One of the most talked about subjects when discussing ecommerce and selling online is shopping cart abandonment.  If you’ve made your site easy to navigate, the wines are easy to find and the checkout process is hassle-free and straight forward, then why a high abandon rate?

Baymard.com put together an aggregated list of the many studies on the subject.  The average abandon rate reported in the 29 articles was 68%!  One of the main reasons for cart abandonment is the sudden appearance of unexpected costs.  If your site is clutter-free and easy to navigate, then this is the next logical area to improve. 

In the wine industry, the high cost of shipping wine is a battle faced every day.  The cost to ship one bottle of wine via ground to an address in Southern California is right around $20.00, give or take depending on the carrier used.  A case is double that.  What can wineries do to combat the sticker shock of shipping costs?

No surprises
Display the shipping costs right up front within your wine store.  Show which states you ship to and add in the cost to ship there.  There are widgets that can be easily added to a site that outline the cost of shipping (typically ground) the states that you ship to.  No more surprises, you are letting prospective customer know where you ship and the approximate cost before the order is placed.    

Use shipping incentives
Beyond displaying shipping information prominently; there are other tools that you can utilize to encourage consumers to complete their purchases.  The first is shipping incentives.  In a presentation that Jim Agger gave earlier this year, The Top 20%, he discusses the things wineries do that makes them part of the top 20%.  One of those traits is the offer of shipping incentives.  Many wineries are reluctant to do this as a cost savings measure wanting to recoup 100% of shipping.  But if you step back and take another look, you may be convinced otherwise.

The math is simple.  Say you processed 500 one bottle online orders in a month, and the average order was $50.  You sold a total of $25,000 of wine that month.  The shipping on that wine is an average of $20, making the amount of shipping charges paid by consumers $10,000.  If you offered a shipping incentive of flat rate shipping of $10.00, the cost to you would be $5,000. 

If we use the 68% as a benchmark for abandonment, on the total of 500 orders, you lost 340 orders due to cart abandonment.  If we follow with the same average sale of $50, that is $17,000 in lost sales.  Is it worth it for a winery to cover of part the cost of the shipping in order to reduce the number of orders lost?  It might just be. 

Of course, shipping incentives will help overcome resistance to purchasing; but there are other steps you can take to ensure that the most online orders are processed to fruition.  IBM Digital Analytic Reports looked at the statistics from Cyber Monday 2014.  Not only were new online sales records set, the use of transactional emails that are triggered by an action like a purchase receipt or cart abandonment, increased 48% over the previous year. 

Use action emails
Action emails are created within your ecommerce platform.  An abandon cart action will trigger the send.  In the email, offer an incentive to complete the purchase.  The messaging can also be used to increase the order size as well.  One of the hallmarks of the wineries in the Top 20% was the fact that they actively engage an upsell strategy.  “You left wine in your shopping cart” or “add one more bottle of wine and shipping is on us” are examples of such messaging that can be used in action emails.

Use Incentive Messaging
As with action emails, online messaging is another tool to add to your arsenal to combat abandonment, increase engagement and sales.  Incentive messaging that occurs online while a customer is on your site is easy to set up in an ecommerce platform and can be very effective.  Friendly messaging that appears online during the process of browsing your site or in the shopping cart is a nice way to connect to customers.  The messaging can vary by situation and is displayed when certain parameters are met.  For example club member or not or purchase product or not. 

Will the employment of these practices guarantee no cart abandons?  No.  But they will decrease that percentage and move your winery closer to the Top 20% and the ultimate goal of selling more wine online. 


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