Shopping Cart Abondonment Solved!
March 18, 2001

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Reaching Great Minds Online
March 18, 2001 Issue #81
Mike Valentine, Editor,

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Shopping Cart Abandonment Solved!
by Mike Banks Valentine

Imagine yourself at the local Sears carrying a shopping basket
down the isles looking for the perfect gift for your spouse
when you come to a great looking watch in the jewelry department.
You know she'll love the design, but also know she has a curious
allergy to white gold and call over a salesperson to ask them
what the bevel surround is made of. She reassures you that it's
made of platinum so you cheerfully purchase the watch, smiling
as you wander over to have it gift-wrapped.

Take the same scenario online and imagine you have the same
simple question to ask someone. Now what? You most likely just
abandon the shopping cart and leave the store because you can't
imagine spending that amount of money without knowing whether
your sweetie will break out in hives because the white gold
allergy affects her wrists so badly.

Abandonment of shopping carts online is blamed on everything
from fear of using credit cards on the web to privacy concerns.

My theory is as follows: If you have any questions about any
product or service you are purchasing online, ecommerce sites
expect you to either look up the answer in their FAQ's
(frequently asked questions page) or just search out their
800 number from the site somewhere and call them yourself to
find out. This can be a ridiculous process on some sites as
they simply don't want to be bothered with expensive phone
calls and leave their number off of the shopping cart pages.

They don't want to devote customer service reps to those fickle
shoppers that abandon online shopping carts at rates as high
as 90% at some ecommerce sites. I'd propose that most online
shoppers abandon those carts because they need to know something
that could never be considered for those FAQ pages like the term
of the product guarantees or how long the battery life is. If
there were a simple way to have your questions answered, I'd
like to suggest that those shopping carts would rarely ever
be abandoned.

I've found the solution and can't believe the brilliance of
the idea behind the answer to this thorny question. Customer
clicks a button labled "CallButton" and gets a pop-up screen
asking for their name and phone number so a representative
can call them at their convenience to answer any questions
and/or concerns! They fill out the form and receive a polite
response page custom designed to reassure the customer that
they will be contacted how and when they would like to be.

From the customers viewpoint, this is simple, responsive and
satisfying. From the sellers position it is one of the most
powerful ecommerce tools to be announced on the web this year!
This idea and the powerful software behind that simple button
were announced at a press event titled "Showstoppers" during
the Spring 2001 InternetWorld conference and show in the City
of Angels (Los Angeles) March 15th.

This tool receives my vote as a better ecommerce solution than
any seen at the huge eCRM (Customer Relationship Management) show
held concurrently with the I-World show at the LA convention
center this month. The powerful tracking and reporting functions
that come as part of the package with this incredibly simple
little button could turn around the fortunes of major e-tailers
like many of those we've seen sink in the economic downturn.

Priced at a very low per-call rate starting at about $1.50
per customer contact, you can have calls routed anywhere from
your cell phone to your home office and be assured of making
the sale to that customer that very likely would have walked
(or clicked) right out of your e-store without that personal
contact from a caring customer representative. Most so-called
CRM solutions are simply automated-database-tracking-purchase-
types of robotic de-personalizers.

CallButton offers the reporting and tracking tools available
in those complex CRM solutions with two major differences. Your
customer gets their questions answered and you make the sale!
It's installed on your page with a short line of HTML code and
you don't invest the tens of thousands of dollars required of
major corporations for their robotic de-personalizer software.

You make the sale, your customer is satisfied. Now comes the
bonus. The upsell while the customer is on the phone with you.

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Add seasonal content that fits in with the rest of your site. This
could mean creating an amusing site survey, that relates to the
seasonal event. Or it could mean writing relevant editorial about
the seasonal event. Or you could just add some seasonal resources
to your website, like images or clip art or electronic cards.

I run a shopping directory, so I simply decided to create a Mothers
Day shopping page -
(I'm a member of several affiliate programs and simply researched
each and every program until I found what I considered to be the best
and most suitable sites.) But you don't have to have a shopping-
related site to offer seasonal gifts for sale. You can find suitable
gift items whatever your site is about, and a suitable affiliate
program allowing you to offer the goods for sale.

For example, you might run a Tom Jones fan site!? It wouldn't be too
difficult to create a page of links that offered posters, books, and
music of the ageless Welsh pop star, appropriate to the seasonal event.
And if you didn't want to 'sell' on your site, you could simply
reprint the lyrics of his most suitable song. The content-
possibilities are endless, and only limited by your imagination.

Just offer content that you know your site visitors will enjoy.

Here are a few of the better affiliate programs you can join:


You need to announce your seasonal content to the search engines.
This could be as simple as submitting new pages to the major search
engines via search submission tools like:

Even better, however, would be to add the content to search engines
or directories that have human-edited content. For example, Lycos UK
- a UK search engine - supplements its search results with a human-
edited directory. This directory includes content for specific
seasonal events, and always welcomes new additions.

There are many other Lycos categories, all of which allow you to add
your content: just click 'Recommend a website for this category'

Another human-edited directory is the Open Directory Project

Or you could just check your favorite search engine/directory to see
whether it includes human-edited content.


The beauty of pay-per-click search engines, apart from a guaranteed
position for your keywords, is that new content can be announced in
only a matter of days. So add more keywords to your various
pay-per-click accounts. The cost of your keywords will increase as
the seasonal event approaches, so act quickly to take advantage of
low initial keyword cost, and constantly monitor.


Everyone is busy, busy, busy! This includes your family, friends,
colleagues, and newsletter subscribers. So whilst you have been
toiling away creating great seasonal content, everyone else has been
busy too. So you need to remind them about your site and about your
site's new content.

Remind everyone of the upcoming seasonal event - they might have
forgotten! - and then tell them how your new content can really
benefit them. (Maybe it can save them time and money; maybe it can
give them gift ideas; maybe it can simply provide entertainment!)

Just remember to tell:

* your family, friends, and colleagues;
* your newsletter subscribers;
* anyone else you e-mail (create a suitable signature file!)

and remember to tell them what's in it for them, focus on benefits!

~ ~ ~

That's it! 4 easy steps that show you how to take advantage of
seasonal events on your website.

Just remember, there's more to seasonal events than Christmas. AND,
seasonal events are repeated every year!! So think hard to see how
your website can take advantage of a seasonal event: it keeps your
website looking fresh, and it may increase sales!

Happy Holidays!
Steve Nash is webmaster at
He also edits the bi-monthly newsletter called Promote! Promote!
Promote! Subscribe now, and get a FREE e-book entitled:
"A beginner's guide to starting your own business on the Internet"
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Copyright 2000 Mike Valentine

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  June 10, 2001