No one in the ecommerce world likes cart abandonment. It’s a statistic we like to see drop and drop and drop.

But are all abandoned carts the same? Plenty of customers abandon online carts because they changed their mind about a purchase. Maybe they got distracted, or something unexpected popped up.

Some customers just aren’t ready to buy yet. When this is the case, you’re looking less at an abandoned cart and more at a paused cart. That means you have a big opportunity to nurture that user until she’s ready to buy.

There are a few ways you can hang on to those customers, so your store is top of mind when they are ready to convert.


The Buyer’s Journey

Before we dive into keeping customers engaged until they’re ready to buy, we have to understand the buyer’s journey. Every customer goes through a series of steps. They identify a problem they’re having, seek out solutions, and finally make a purchase decision.

Let’s break down the three main stages of the buyer’s journey:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

During the Awareness stage, customers are beginning to identify their problem. They do research to understand and put a name to whatever plagues them. Toward the end of this stage, customers start looking at possible solutions.

Once they begin to weigh potential solutions and compare features and prices, they’ve entered the Consideration stage. Customers here are looking for the best possible solution to meet their needs.

After researching solutions and weighing options, customers are finally ready for the Decision stage. They're ready to move toward making a purchase. These are the customers who are ready to buy from you.

When customers aren’t ready to buy, it’s usually because they haven’t yet arrived at that final decision-making step. Identify these customers and provide tools to ease them through the buyer’s journey, and you’ll start to see abandoned carts in a whole new light.


Why Customers Aren’t Ready

Customers in the Decision stage are ready to make a purchase. That's why we’ll focus on handling those still in the Awareness and Consideration stages.


1. Still in the Awareness Stage

Buyers in the Awareness stage are still figuring their problem out. They’re trying to understand the challenge, and imagine what a possible solution looks like. These customers aren’t ready to buy because they don’t even know what type of product they’re looking for yet.

The vast majority of visitors to your website are in this initial stage. They’re looking for information about their problem, to learn about the topic and its potential solutions. That’s why you’ll see them interact with your blog, social media, and any other educational content.

Solution: Lead Nurturing

These visitors are hungry for information, and that makes them ripe for a lead nurturing campaign. Include an email opt-in on your social media profiles and any educational content you create. By grabbing emails from the very start, you can help customers learn about their problem, take control of the dialogue, and get an early foot in the door.


2. Still in the Consideration Stage

Once consumers enter the Consideration stage, they’re actively looking for a solution. They’re searching for different options and comparing things like features and price. Some consumers are also considering which online store they want to do business with. That includes larger issues (like social responsibility) and more everyday things (like customer experience and trustworthiness).

These customers are hunting for information about your products and your company. They visit product pages and descriptions, About page, and any pages dealing with your expertise.

Solution: Wishlist

Customers in the Consideration stage aren’t ready to make that final buying decision, but they are looking at your products. The last thing you want is to get lost in the deluge of competing products they’re checking out. A wishlist or other tool that allows customers to save products they look at makes it easier for them to come back and buy when they’re ready.


3. Stuck in Quicksand

Every customer who buys from your online store goes through the buyer’s journey. Most move through the stages and either choose you, or don’t. Some buyers get caught up in one of the first two stages.

As the internet and capitalism progress, we end up with thousands of options for some products. Different online stores, varying features, 15 colors…

It sounds like a good thing, but it can make it impossible to get beyond the Consideration stage.

When a hundred different online stores are selling the same thing, we want to pick the best one. The best store, the best price, the best warranty. It becomes an endless cycle that never leads to a decision. Here are two of the more common reasons customers get stuck:

  • Comparison Shopping. The solution? Price matching. Assure customers they’re getting the best price available.
  • Analysis Paralysis. The solution? Competitor comparisons. Make it easy for customers to get the competitor info they’re looking for.


Don’t Let Customers Fade Away

It’s normal for most of your online store’s visitors to be unready to buy. This isn’t a knock on your business – we’re all subject to the same buyer’s journey. Use the techniques above to help nudge customers from one stage to the next, and you’ll see those abandonment numbers come way down.

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