New ways online retailers get you to buy (and how it could benefit you)


Have you ever been ‘stalked’ by a product you viewed online? 

With Christmas fast approaching, online retailers are pulling out all the stops to get your business. But, they are running into what is perhaps their biggest problem: abandoned shopping carts.

According to the Baymard Institute, about 69% of online shopping carts are left discarded. Christian Holst, the institute’s co-founder, says this is up about 3% from 2012. Websites are trying out different tactics in order to close the deal, however.

Read more: Online Shopping: How to get the best price possible

The cause of abandoned shopping carts

Shoppers abandon their carts for the following reasons:

  • Unexpected costs at checkout, such as tax or shipping: 33%
  • Users forced to create an account: 23%
  • A ‘complicated’ checkout process: 18%

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, companies are doing more to recover these abandoned carts, such as sending ads related to recently viewed items, making selections more intuitive and humanizing the customer experience. In addition, by improving technology, retailers have begun to implement ‘omnichannel’ shopping.

For example, this year Kohl’s improved its technology so that if a customer adds an item on his or her smartphone, later when they access their desktop computer or tablet the product will still be in their shopping cart waiting for them.

Zappos has taken a different approach, by encouraging shoppers to call them on the phone, making the shopping experience more human. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says, ‘The idea is to develop that feeling that you are buying from a friend and not a faceless corporation.’

How this can work in your favor

While this might sound creepy, improvements in shopping technology and user experience can in turn making shopping easier, save you time and sometimes save you money. Some retailers offer coupons as incentives to purchase after a customer abandons a shopping cart.

In the future, retailers will probably use artificial intelligence to predict what someone would most want to buy. For now, shopping is just a bit more advanced than it used to be!

Read more: Online holiday shopping: How to protect your wallet & identity


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