Did you know that more than $3 trillion in merchandise is abandoned every year in online shopping carts? The figure dwarfs the $1.4 trillion that’s actually sold.  As retailers struggle to find new ways to get merchandise from cart to check-out, the abandonment rate is growing – from 69% in 2011 to 74% in 2013, according to Business Insider.

For companies that overcome the challenge, the prize can be significantly more revenue, yet there’s a very small window of opportunity to capture it: CPC Strategy reports that 90% of leads go cold after just an hour as shoppers research, use a shopping cart as a wish list, and jump to another site.

The good news is that leading retailers are discovering strategies that can be highly effective in reducing shopping cart abandonment. Below are three key strategies that have been proven to work for industry leaders:

1. Proactive communications – This involves proactively contacting a prospect or lead via chat, voice call or video session as the shopper views the website, rather than waiting for the customer to request information, initiate first contact, or cut and run.  Online chat agents can tell when a customer seems ‘stuck’ or confused on the website, and can offer assistance with product questions, return policies, or other areas to help turn a browser into a buyer.

2. Co-browsing – This allows a sales agent, when communicating with an online prospect via chat or voice, to seamlessly lead the interaction with the shopper, providing guidance on products or discussing options  – all while seizing up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Agents have the context they need to close the sale, and shoppers have a more personalized and successful experience with the retailer online.

3. Re-marketing – If a customer does abandon their purchase, proactively contacting the shopper with an email and special offers immediately after they leave your site is an effective approach to bring back the sale. According to CPC Strategy, shopping cart abandoners spend 55% more when products or services are remarketed to them so you not only snag the sale, you increase it!

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