If you run an eCommerce store, there are two dangerous, hidden competitors stealing your profits every day.

But you may be surprised to learn that these competitors aren’t in your niche or your market, and they don’t even sell any of the products or services you’re offering.

Here’s the thing—according to independent research from the Baymard Institute based on 27 different studies—an average of 67.91% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.

Think about that statistic for a second. No matter how well optimized your checkout funnel is, close to 7 out of 10 people are going to fall at the last hurdle. Frustrating, isn’t it?

What’s more shocking is that recent research from Forrester estimates that every year $31 billion dollars is being left on the table by eCommerce stores because of abandoned shopping carts.

Now, for the kicker that may surprise you: The majority of your visitors aren’t necessarily abandoning your site in favor of buying elsewhere; they’re abandoning your cart because of two often overlooked competitors…

Competitor #1: Attention

Let’s face it, in today’s world of information overload, you’re not competing for customers, you’re competing for attention. You’re competing with attention-grabbing websites like Facebook and YouTube, even more than you are with your “direct competitors.”

The average Facebook user spends 700 minutes per month accessing their news feed and consuming content on the site. On top of that, over 6 billion hours of video are viewed each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on the planet. Your visitors’ attention is being demanded everywhere.

Here’s another little thought: your visitors aren’t shopping in a vacuum when they’re on your site. Their attention can be stolen by any number of everyday offline interruptions. Their doorbell or phone might ring, their spouse may call out that “dinner’s ready,” or their children may barge in on them.

And once their focus is disrupted, it’s hard to get them back on track. So you need to grab your visitors’ attention immediately…and keep it.

So how do you grab visitors’ attention?

First, you have to understand you have a maximum of 3 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention when they arrive at your store.

Because of this fact, talking about yourself, your company or your product too much—or worse—droning on about something entirely irrelevant are all conversion killers.

The answer is simple: you have to make your website all about your visitors.

In those vital few seconds when a visitor first arrives, you need to join the conversation going on in their heads and quickly answer these three questions:

  1. Do I think that this site has what I’m searching for?
  2. What exactly are they offering?
  3. What’s in it for me?

Here’s why this works:

Your visitor wants immediate affirmation that they’re in the right place and that they’re easily going to get what they want. So make sure you instantly communicate what it is you’re offering, what your site is all about, and what’s in it for them.

As an example, Duluth Trading does a fantastic job of capturing their visitors’ attention on their jeans category page. It’s immediately obvious what the page is all about and they swiftly convey the benefit of being able to “crouch without the ouch”.

 

Duluth Trading Company eCommerce Store

Competitor #2: Apathy

Now, here’s something that you may never have considered as a competitor—customers doing nothing.

How many times have you been sparked to search for an item by an idea, an ad, or a conversation with a friend? You found the item, added it to your cart, but weren’t quite convinced that you need it when it comes to getting your wallet out.

This is just one example, but this kind of apathy costs you plenty of sales. Your visitor may have decided the timing isn’t right or they’re not entirely sure the item is exactly what they need or they can’t justify the expense right now.

Whatever the reason, when the moment has passed, customers rarely come back. At best you might get a few that add the item to a wish list and come back sometime in the future, but the reality is that most do precisely nothing.

It’s easy to assume you’re losing business to your direct competitors, but often visitors are searching for a product on a whim. If they’re not persuaded, they leave and forget all about your product and store.

How Recovery Emails Win Back Abandoned Carts

Do you remember when I said that close to 7 out of 10 visitors abandon their cart? Good. And now you know a significant proportion of these abandonments come from lost attention spans and apathy, not just your direct competitors.

So how much more money would you be making if your website was able to recover 10%, 20% or even 30% of your abandoned carts?

Cart abandonment email campaigns can easily put extra profits to the tune of six to seven figures in your bank account simply by sending a timely reminder about your product to distracted or apathetic customers.

Not only so, but getting a second chance to close the sale provides another opportunity to drive home your value proposition, your guarantee, and your return policy. On top of that, you can use recovery emails to tip the balance in your favor by reinforcing any social-proof elements you have such as reviews, number of customers served, or any notable media mentions.

If there’s one key takeaway, it’s that you need to close ranks on these two conversion killing competitors—attention loss and apathy. You can deal with the first one by using clear messaging that immediately let’s customers know they’re in the right place, and you can deal with the second one by using recovery e-mails to win back abandoned carts.

About the author: John Hutchison is a conversion rate optimization expert and co-founder of Conversion Rate Academy. He specializes in helping eCommerce stores increase their sales and profits using CRO and sales funnel automation.

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