Tricks of the marketing trade

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How Virgin Atlantic reduced booking abandonment and boosted online sales by over 5 per cent

Cart abandonment is a huge challenge for all e-commerce companies, but those in the travel industry suffer more than most, with the latest figures showing that over 80 per cent of visitors will leave a site without completing their reservation. Research shows that there’s a variety of reasons why people abandon their booking, from payment issues to needing to check with other travellers.

One tactic travel brands can use to keep shoppers engaged and reduce booking abandonment is on-site remarketing. This solution can identify the moment someone is lost or about to leave the website. It involves the use of on-screen messages to help these visitors continue with their booking or encourage them to enter an email address to receive more information.

Top reasons for abandoning online bookings

Virgin Atlantic already had successful booking abandonment emails in place which targeted would-be bookers after they had abandoned their flight reservation. However, they identified a huge proportion of visitors (some 96 per cent) who abandoned a booking did so without leaving an email address, meaning Virgin Atlantic couldn’t re-engage them with email remarketing.

Working with SaleCycle, Virgin Atlantic rolled out an on-site remarketing campaign with two aims: reconnect with visitors at the moment they abandon their booking to encourage them to return to the booking and capture the email addresses of visitors to trigger their email remarketing campaign.

Occasionally brands can be concerned that on-screen messages can be intrusive and annoying to their website browsers. However, by displaying the right message at the right time brands can re-engage and help their customers as well as reduce cart abandonment.

This was certainly the case for Virgin Atlantic who have been able to send over 45,000 additional remarketing emails thanks to the details captured by the on-site remarketing campaign. With the combined effort of Email and on-site remarketing Virgin Atlantic have boosted online bookings by over 5 per cent.

There are some other quick fixes brands can make to reduce cart abandonment as well as looking to use on-site remarketing.

Tip one -  Provide a guest checkout

Try making the purchase process as easy as possible by introducing a guest checkout. Obviously brands need key information such as name, email address and card details, but they can stop there. Retailers can then provide the option to sign-up for an account right at the end when the purchase is complete.

Tip two – Offer a range of payment options

It’s no secret online shoppers have concerns regarding payment security and as the research above showed, 7 per cent of travel bookers are abandoning due to limited payment options.

Tip three – Show what’s in the basket

Providing a brief but clear description of what is in the shopping cart before the checkout can reassure shoppers that they have the correct items in the basket before clicking to purchase.

Jack Ford is EMEA marketing manager for Salecycle.

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