I’m all for following up with customers who abandon carts on your ecommerce site, but a follow up call for an abandoned cart?
(Disclaimer: Let me start off by saying that I am a marketing professional. I am also a huge proponent of following up with site visitors who abandon carts on your site. The reality is that by reengaging the customer you can save the sale and if not, learn something about why the shopper abandoned the cart. This is good stuff. You should DEFINITELY be reengaging with customers who abandon carts…but via phone call?)
So, today I was trolling the World Wide Web checking out the buzz from the world of ecommerce like I do from time to time and I stumbled on an article detailing the concept of using follow up phone calls to customers who abandoned shopping carts.
A follow up phone call?
I figured that I must have misread something–so I backed up and tried again. Nope.
The idea was to CALL a shopper in response to an abandoned cart.
This is where my skin starts to crawl a little.
Let me state outright that we aren’t talking about a situation where the consumer requests a call back by a company representative. We’re talking about an outbound phone call to a customer who put an item in a cart and then left the site for an undisclosed reason.
The scenario I envision goes a little something like this:
I surf through the Willy’s Wonder Widget Emporium ecommerce site, add a few widgets to my cart, and then for whatever reason (the dog wants to go outside, the baby cries, my phone rings, or I don’t like the shipping and handling charge applied to my order), I abandon my cart of widgets.
An undisclosed amount of time passes. (5 minutes? An hour? A day? Two weeks?)
The phone rings. I answer.
“Hello Rachel. This is Wanda from Willy’s Wonder Widget Emporium calling. Our records show that you were recently shopping on our website and added some widgets to your cart but didn’t checkout. Is there something I can do to help you complete the purchase?”
No matter how I spin the situation out, it gives me the creeps.
I know that the call is meant to be helpful, but if the phone rings minutes after I abandon the cart, the call has that spooky, “How did they do that so fast??” feeling. If the call comes in two days or two weeks from now, I’m left wondering how much of my online traffic companies are actually tracking…and what they plan to do with it.
Now I know that I risk sounding like a fuddy duddy when I say this but a phone call might be a bit more invasive than most consumers want. We have the National Do Not Call list for a reason. How does a remarketing phone call differentiate itself from any other type of telemarketing?
One item of note–whether a follow up phone call is appropriate or not may be determined by the relationship a company has with the customer. A B2B company that knows its customers well would have an easier time making this call successfully versus a consumer electronics superstore that doesn’t have a true relationship with the shopper.
Of course, I realize that I would have to be logged in for the company in question to legitimately call me (never mind the less-than-scrupulous practices out there), but just because they have my number from a previous order, does that mean they should use it now for an abandoned cart follow up call?
I say no.
And if this sort of reengagement technique is going to be the new “normal,” I envision doing most of my online shopping as a guest from now on. I suspect that I am not alone.
Have any of you used this sort of remarketing technique and if so, what were your results? Or have you received this sort of call as a consumer? Please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear about your experiences!