Brett is the CEO & co-founder of CartStack, a website abandonment & sales recovery solution for ecommerce businesses. Through CartStack, he and his team aim to change the way online companies recover revenue.

So I'm really excited to kind of delve into that topic. But before we get into it, why don't you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you got into what you're doing today? Yeah. So I started I used to do Consulting for back about 10 years ago or so, I start on the analytics team and I moved over to the email marketing team and from there my co-founders actually one of the first events.

Uppers of the shopping cart abandonment retargeting campaign for One thing we notice is just how well that campaign did was I think to this day affection the most lucrative I've sroi email campaign at Best Buy still runs. So we just we notice right away for early stage that those particular emails convert really well like to carve an email.

You're working together there for a while at the time or shortly after that. I started web development company and several eCommerce websites as customers and also the couple things started public up several customers asked about cart abandonment. So I decided to at that point instead of building out a 1l kind of one-off custom solution for those customers.

I decided I'd build ass a solution knowing that that was a pretty big pain point for some of the smaller e-commerce customers that could. Fired Dev team to fully built out a car batteries Harvey email solution themselves that they are we can build out a kind of simple solution and create as a SAS company and kind of go from there.

So that's how we started about six and a half years ago. That's awesome Britt. And yeah, it's really interesting is what you mentioned as far as your business partner and and Best Buy, I guess that's really kind of a testament to the kind of the groundwork E. He laid there because they're one of the few that have survived as far as.

Having a brick-and-mortar still having solid brick and mortar establishments across the country as well as a solid online presence and they're hanging in there mean. I don't I don't know it, you know too much about their financials, but they're still there. You know, that's right. Yeah for sure. So that's really exciting.

I mean one of the things that that I have noticed with Best Buy and they've been pretty fairly quick to adjust with the times and The Changing Times. And of course, you know dealing with the elephant in the room, which is an Amazon one of the things that they do now which there. I think there are a lot more flexible about now is that because I was recently in there is the price matching guarantee I think for it was a lot harder to you know, show a comparable price, especially with Amazon these days it's really easy that it's a seamless process if you show a comparable price, you don't have to go through too many Hoops to they'll match it right away.

You just have to pull it up briefly and it says lot smoother. Yeah, I used to work with some Dynamic email templates related to some pricing Seminole County prices out too. So that was one nice thing about working at Best Buy is that there's so much of volume there. So running different split tests optimizing campaigns you can I mean, it's just the feedback Cycles so fast, so, you know, especially for a smaller company that doesn't have a ton of volume.

You might spend six months running an a/b test on a subject line or something to get that volume up with Best Buy. It was really cool to be a part of. Being able to kind of run some tests and optimize campaigns and see results so quickly just learn learn really quickly from those. Yeah, that's awesome.

And I know that's a great environment kind of a great learning environment for you guys now. Oh really what I want to kind of talk about today, of course is the, you know, the issue at hand is of course website abandonment. So my first question is really how big of a problem is website abandonment and really what are some of the reasons people really just leave a website before purchasing.

So I think as far as how big of a problem kind of on the quantitative side. Typically a standard e-commerce company will only convert about two to two and a half percent of their traffic to their website. So just visitor abandonment in general is that, you know close to 98% So many out of a hundred visitors that come to site end up leaving.

I think why it's kind of such a big problem is and why it's so painful. Is because marketers specially are spending so much time energy money resources team member time all that stuff in getting people to come to a website. They were spending so much energy that can kill to come to the website more visitors and then you and then to have 98 percent of those people are going to your site balance and do nothing is extremely frustrating because people are pulling out their hair because of that so the huge problem with big pain point, Yeah, so I think just probably just because it's just so vast and in the percent of people that develops and Reva site is so high.

I think it comes just kind of write it down to those numbers. If you think about a visitor comes to a site like in the standard e-commerce site on average. I think the national average about eight to ten percent of those users will add some to their cart and of those users about 75 percent of those users won't bandhan.

So we kind of think like the funnels you have people to just kind of come home page. They start looking answer product pages. They add some to the cart, right? So you're finding that your weight on the bottom that bottle these people are taking action and they start the checkout flow and then they leave and at that point.

You look at the bottom 5% or so. So it's like extremely frustrating when that user is so warm at that point and to have them the only show a lot of intent to get close to that purchase and then leave it's very it's like they're the tip of your fingers for that sale. So, okay, so people's that is really really frustrating and I know there's a lot of reasons for it.

Is there like a general theme that you guys have seen, you know, dealing with different e-commerce businesses that. That causes a customer to be quick to add item to the car. But just you know not kind of follow through with it. Is there kind of a main thing that you've seen or maintained? Yeah, I mean there's there's several things that we've seen across just haven't used to work developing eCommerce sites and into work of parts that customers.

So there's kind of the obvious ones like SSL certificates. Like if someone doesn't like the site is secure obviously going to balance right away when we ask for payment information. Down to like that's that's kind of obvious big one, but then there's things like shipping costs, right? I think and different eCommerce sites show the shipping cost at different points in the checkout flow.

So we have some good data around kind of when we've seen kind of best time for showing her shipping costs. That's a big one it like it had just come General technical problems with the site lack of trust. So sites don't have a good kind of building any social engagement of social trust into the site, but it be testimonials or reviews those types of things, please we've seen those things be.

Issues and even in kind of getting bored and way more advanced example would be sometimes like the upsell cross-sell seemingly a good thing to say. Hey, it looks like you had these items in your cart. You might also be interested in this stuff. But when you're doing that you're taking them away from that in many cases, you're taking them you're distracting them from that that first initial purchase, which is the most important thing.

So this kind of a lot of data kind of back and forth on when to when and how to use upsells and cross-sells effectively without taking them out of their their flow that first purchase. Yeah, that is true. And you're right about that a lot of sites make that mistake of that upsell cross-sell having that either too early or not in the right.

They're not timing in the process and you can kind of get people diverted and you know kind of all over the place and I was actually just thinking about that earlier this week when I was buying something on Amazon. They do a really good job of that because they're kind of cross-sell or other recommended.

They make sure that they comes in afterwards, you know, when you're kind of thank you page and one thing that I did notice and I think it is pretty strategic is I recently bought some I could I go to the gym. I work out during the week and I bought some new workout gloves and so afterwards. You know, they showed some other recommended products some other gloves, but the ratings for the other ones weren't as good as they just weren't that many rating.

So I kind of felt a bit more satisfy that I okay. I think I got the right one. The the ones I bought had, you know, like almost a thousand some radiant with the ones in their recommended had only, you know, just a few so I think their strategic about that they intentionally put those products there.

They recommend them just just you know, To put that out there just in case you want something else but I think it's more of a kind of put it easier buyer's remorse. Yeah, super interesting tactic. Absolutely. I haven't noticed that before but I think you're right on just because I think a lot of people yeah, that's one of the problems with the upsell cross-sell especially with the with those automated recommendation engines.

They might just throw too many products in your face. So it's kind of the paralysis by analysis situation, but it's showing your product like, hey, here's some other products that we might we might recommend but they might not be quite as good idea. Much better as I scroll over the fear of missing out.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I think that's kind of the main main reason of it is really to put it easier your buyer's remorse and it's tough especially with the sites that have the reviews, you know, like like the Amazon now, you know, of course you talked about, you know, some of the reasons why that this is such an issue across eCommerce sites as far as SSL certificates not having the right messaging at the right.

Time so what are some of the right messages to use on a site really do to prevent? Site abandonment or cart abandonment? Sure. I think one thing that I want to touch on is my first before diamonds that has meant to mention to ask question is kind of like the what I think is a good approach for getting some data around your current checkout flow on your current website.

So obviously, you know, there's a lot of tools out there for like AV testing and getting you analytics and those types of tools. I'm sure most your customers are using those pretty effectively but I think one thing that people don't use that often is some tools on the qualitative side. So I. Tools I've seen those be really helpful for a lot of customers that we use those I used to use those were some of the e-commerce companies that work with and work that we're doing some of that on our marketing Center car stack is instead of simply looking at the data Papa survey of someone's on a product page on our the card paid say why aren't you buying today?

If you have any questions about pricing you can do an exit 10 pop up at someone's screwing off the screen on the cart page like One-Stop you for buying today and just had like an open field. I'm kind of hearing that stop in your in your target market. Your target segment of customers have gone really far out.

They looked at a product page. It adds to the cart. They start a checkout process and then they leave that's a really high-end customer so you can get in their own words why they identify they did purchase a and reviewing, you know, just going through maybe a hundred of those over several weeks or something like that and reading through those are really gonna start to see some things Trend up.

So I think the qualitative pieces is one piece. I don't think enough e-commerce customers are using as kind of. Because then you're able to use that language like your customers language in some the copy on your page and the product descriptions in your pickup testimonials that use that to the language so you can really learn a lot from that qualitative data, I think right right.

Yeah for sure that's really interesting especially these days because there's so many tools out there that cannot analyze you know what your customers are doing. Yeah. I live on the site because like you said if somebody's just. Let's say at one of the checkout Pages or in that process and the cart page and they're just sitting there, you know at a certain amount of time.

Yeah, you could have some type of pop-up that engages if somebody's been on that page at a certain time period because you know, maybe they have second thoughts and there's some hesitation there, you know, you don't know and that the survey this would be a great way to you know to try to uncover that and figure out what's going on.

So you these days are so many tools. There's really no excuse to not cash. Right? So I guess related to kind of right message at the right time. That's what we talked about a lot on our site and as we're building campaigns her her customers. A lot of it is based on kind of hitting customers of where they're at in the funnel.

So for instance, you typically want to have a very sales email like let's say some lines at home page and scroll off. You wouldn't want to have some type of exit intent pop-up say hey before you go enter 5% to start and you see that all the time. Of course to nudge people through the phone. I think example that would be so it comes to your home page.

Then they browse a category page they win a product page and then they abandon at that point having some type of retarding message whether it be an on-site pop-up or with our system. We use what's called browse of an email retargeting. So we'll send someone an email that specific to the Quality.

They last viewed in those instances a lot of times. It's just simply re-engage that user to see if they had a question about that product. So we would use that email. Say we noticed you checking out, you know, these these new workout gloves like just reply to this email if you have any questions, so just kind of keep that as an open way for them to reply and talk to your support team your sales team or go ahead and click here to go back to the site and learn a little bit more kind of nudge long as opposed to like click here to add to cart right now.

So just kind of hitting them with where they're at in the funnel I think is is a big is a part of that different messages are going to have their Goin of course people all in different ways depending on where they're at and a couple of kind of common things we talk about is time sensitivity. And inventory sensitivity.

So couple of times sensitivity is simply civil within that so long as remember, you know, if you order today, there's free shipping. For an inventory would be there's only five left in stock. So, you know, so make sure to check out today those types of things. Obviously you want to be like really poor to be honest with those types of things.

You tell customers not to use like generic things like free shipping today. If you offer free shipping everyday, I like about that stuff when it comes to inventory. Sometimes it takes a little extra work to make sure your messaging on your site will only pop up if you have three left in stock, whatever but I would suggest taking the time to do some integration with something.

Tools to track inventory and and time sensitivity stop just because I that type of messaging. Definitely works. Nothing is too would let's say someone they added to a part of the cart and then now they're the checkout process and maybe they've on the pavement sections was enter the building stuff now than the payment section and then the words of and at that point at that often times.

It's like just give me a call or their this they're really ask them to take that final step of editor edit a I see their credit card information. That's a biggest step that the biggest point of drop off the biggest leak in the funnel a great thing that offer them there is payment options. So, you know if there is go on that page something.

Just meal before you go just know that we have we have an option with PayPal where you can pay later or another tool that we we partner with is called Sizzle. They give you a chance to make installment and it's you know, four or five installment payments for buying something with this game option to a way to choose a different payment option at the point where they're going to be paying as doing that there as opposed to if they were looking at probably page.

So to see them at the right place on the phone with or messaging. Yeah, so it definitely is clear that there is. Different things that you need to do to prevent the drop off their band images at the website alone versus a card level when somebody gets into the car because like you said, there's a lot of companies, you know, make the mistake of.

Putting those accidents in popups on the homepage and it just kind of bombarding somebody but guarding their customers right when they get there to the site and those are no no definite turn offs, but for whatever reason a lot of companies, even the larger R and still do that that has to be separated from you the things that you do to prevent the drop off when they're when they're going through the checkout process.

So yeah, see, there's definitely a. What kind of a clear distinction there now, I think one thing is it's helpful. It just kind of thing about the funnel again. It's helpful to start with your highest intent customers. So if that try and try instead of trying to throw up a pop up on the homepage try to capture a thousand emails that you're not sure what to do with start by focusing on those users that their the 8% that adds up to the cart.

And they've shown the most intent. So focus on those users have a really good ex content strategy or good email retargeting strategy for those users first. And then once you've done that then start moving off the phone a little bit because it's going to get more difficult as you as you go up the file just because there's those users are less.

They only showed less intend to make that purchase. So your low hanging fruit is absolutely in those people like a warm warm leads to finish the card check out process that makes total sense, you know people that have maybe been on your site. You know five-plus minutes versus some of those on the site like 30 seconds.

Yeah, that's a that's definitely a huge difference. Now, you know, one of the things that I always like to do and I mentioned this on several episodes is looking at some of the larger Brands and so what are some large brands that really have good messaging that small businesses can use as a model and can learn from.

Recently, I saw some things at Nordstrom was doing Nordstrom online. There is kind of a multi-channel retargeting stuff with SMS push notifications and e-mail retargeting. So kind of hitting hitting users with multiple multiple channels and just their messaging in general seems to be pretty pretty on point and very personalized.

So, yeah, if your users want alerts on just have to go north as into the cart navigate around a little bit and just kind of take a look at what they're doing another one that I think recently I've seen do some interesting things is $5 shape. Club scene just maybe have some interesting creative and they're in their email designs for their brows retargeting campaign.

So there became retargeting campaigns, you know, one of the great things to do is, you know, like I mentioned before at Best Buy in in fact, they had so much volume variable. The feedback loop was so quick on different tests and they would run so I would say to customers just go up to 10 to 20 sites, you know have huge volume like Best Buy Nordstrom and go just look at the site at startup.

Like a do a couple different types of an a product page abandon the cart page of had a check out and just kind of sit back and and wait and see what kind of message do you get because you could be assured that those messages you're probably part of a test right now, but those messages are there are several iterations into their campaigns.

They're probably going to be a really good foundational campaign to start with just kind of some of those those guys. It's true that those are some great suggestions for sure what I always like to tell people is, you know, look at these big guys these large Brands because they've got. Marketing teams that are you know, brainstorming and millions of millions of dollars that are going behind every single decision from the smallest things on their website dear to some of the larger things.

And so, you know, you can you can definitely learn a lot and that's kind of the Beauty and the power of the internet is that it's really all out there and you know, you can see what they're doing see if it would be effective to do for your site and you know, just really learn from there. You know for sure another awesome records resources Dame art institute is be a ym Ard bam art institute.

They they do how much it really really good in-depth reports around. I think I don't know. It's just e-commerce, but I know the majority of the reports are on e-commerce. They have one. That's basically I mean, it's really in depth like optimizing your home page for your eCommerce site optimizing your product pages.

They have several on cart abandonment and check out pull those types of things. No, the maybe they're a hundred bucks or something. But those are like by far the best and just just most in-depth resources. I've seen when it comes to really focusing in digging deep on one part of an e-commerce site.

So yeah, I think that's a that's a great resource. I have no affiliation or anything with that but I just really like their stuff gotcha. Gotcha. We have reshaped that I hadn't heard of that site. So I'm definitely check that out and I recommend all of the listeners to to do that as well now all you know, since we talked a lot about timing and we know.

Timing of messaging is really so important. Do you think is there really a general rule of thumb when displaying certain things to websites? Because like we mentioned earlier even some of the larger Brands seem like they hit you at the wrong place or just seems kind of awkward. So I don't know is what do you think?

Is there some general rule of thumb as to what you should do and when and then we're. Yeah, so I mean a couple things to all talk the on-site Versa and and kind of some when it comes to retarget emails. So the on-site stuff I think you mentioned a couple minutes ago saying a user it's on the side for five minutes versus 20 seconds or so.

I think a good a good start is to look at your analytics and kind of figure out where that 50% ranges like, you know thirty percent of people are saying your site for. Any two minutes or so like that kind of that middle Ranch and at that point, I think it's good to start a campaign. They're just as general rule of thumb.

So just ignore those other 50% that are the site as long start with and then focus on the other ones that the other 50% there on a little bit longer. And then from there you can kind of revamp it really get down to send different messages to even different timing segments, but start there as a rule of thumb.

I would say for the standard e-commerce website. Maybe that's maybe that's kind of that two-minute two to three minute range roughly companies can figure that out pretty quick and cool and exert where were told are using. Yeah. So I think that's a good spot to start with the on-site exit intent type stuff.

That's more just on the time delay. So obviously if it's exit intent then if you're that use a scrolling up the screen, then you just play it right away to kind of interrupt interrupt that action but it was simply something that would say the user comes the home page. They're scrolling around looking at the categories listed.

You know the spot where you might display that mess around two minutes would be good and most tools allow you to display a message to a user that have been on the site on the site for x amount of minutes. Not just a particular page. So I think that's that's important too because 2 minutes on one page is a decent time, but I could probably hit people earlier if you want to do just the page, but if you see a tool that allows you to display a pop-up just kind of delayed message if you can do a cross page on so that's a more effective way to do it because really the time they're on the time that.

The site is oftentimes more important than the number of pages are looking at first for sure. Yeah, so really sounds like the best thing to do is kind of before really, you know, getting kind of getting too deep into coming up with different messaging and different spots of your website is to look at your analytics and really see where the drop-offs are help how long people are are at on certain pages and then kind of go into the cart level and then, you know making your decisions there.

So it's it's always best to make decisions based on. So you really have kind of you're going in a solid Direction and you're not you're not just kind of guessing and then doing what what some of the other e-commerce companies are doing. So, yeah, that's some great advice and I really appreciate that and then the retargeting campaigns as far as timing there.

This is something we really focus on is so we've been testing doing a lot of stuff at the past six years or so. I think MIT to study a few years ago you talked about online leads to websites and what they found is 95% of web leads. To typical e-commerce site go cold within one hour. So that's why it's extremely important to hit that user with that first retargeting email in less than an hour.

We usually suggest 20 to 30 minutes for that first email super important because then that's when the that lie is pretty warm. So again typical cart abandonment sequence for instance would be that first email go up 20 minutes after the abandon second one about one day and third one kind of tourist seven days, depending on how aggressive you want to be.

That's just a kind of a standard. Standardized sequence for retargeting and browse abandonment would be very similar to that. Yeah. The important thing is to get that first email out for sure. Mmm Yeah. It makes sense. I see that you have to be aggressive. You got to kind of got to get them while they're hot because you know these days with so many buying options that people have you know, if they if they bounce off to the competitors site.

And you know within the next day or even sooner than they've got forgotten about you. Yeah, you really have to get in there for sure. And one thing you might we were talking earlier. You asked me why people abandoned. I didn't even mention this one of the myths about cart abandonment is that people always always abandoned for some reason that's wrong with the site driver some issue on the side like it's because shipping is too expensive for tax or to hire.

There's SSL cert all the stuff, right? We talked about through those but the reality is in 2019, as you know, we're absolutely inundated with. Passages and disruptions and phone calls and yeah all day every day, right? So yeah, I think one of the most common to all the common myths is that if a user comes to my site and they had some to the carts and they start entering their email, they start entering payment for information and leave it must have been because shipping is too high, but just making some assumption like that or it must be that means there's no way they're going to buy like the pocket is just too too expensive.

That's just not faced with a slap message to team members. Dinner, like there's so many different distractions. And those that that's typically that's extremely common for someone just get pulled away from a site. That's why Carter vomit and browser and emails are so important because you're at that point.

They leave their office site for whatever reason and then later you nudge. Somebody remind them because oftentimes it's just a simple reminder and that cups to if they get distracted or if they're doing research and they're kind of comparing your product versus five competitor products and we're doing some research that compared you the tickets notes mental notes written notes, whatever and then later that evening.

Here the next day they get an email from you say hey, we know it's you're checking out these this product like git question. Let us know as quick here to purchase the call. That's right. I forgot that was looking at that. I got distracted and at that point, they might not even go back and go look at the competitors again because you presented them in their inbox with kind of that link to go back and purchased it easy for them.

So that's a big thing. It's just the fact that people are distracted. So if you can. You can simply remind them. You're an absolute going to recover a percentage of those users by just by reminding them. That's it. Yeah, that is so true. And you're right about that. I hadn't thought about that. But it see there are so many distractions.

It may not necessarily be an issue with the site. It's just yeah, we're in the day to do with so much stuff and then you know, of course you also have people that are at the site across on mobile devices. So yeah, you never know people are. In route going somewhere. They could be walking they could be in a car train or even a plane and so, you know, they may have just popped on your site.

And the reason they left could be because you know, they're gonna pop their phone they airplane mode and they got it. They getting ready to take off or you know, the kitchen a train or something like that. So you're so right about that we had with that then it's like you said the main thing is just to be able to get them so they don't forget about you.

Um, and you know, if you're able to capture something from them then. You know, you can hit them with the in a sequence of the your campaigns for sure. So we have bread. I definitely appreciate having you on here on the e-commerce marketing podcast. I think everything you've related is a really insightful.

I'm like I said, I hadn't delved too deep into the website or cart abandonment issue and the strategies to combat that but I think you've kind of. You know given us a lot to think about and a lot to try to implement with our e-commerce sites for sure. But yeah, what I would like to leave our audience with is something that I always ask my guests these days is what is one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you.

Is this wise our team is remote well will separate all the country and some overseas. So every the last Friday of every month, we do a Skype happy hours. So we get together at Skype and we have a drink or cocktail and hang out and get to know each other a little bit and have a good conversation. So obviously it's a way better person and we try to get together once a year so person but it's kind of a fun thing we've done and.

And I really look forward to it. So that's kind of my thing about our team. Yeah, that's awesome on the personal side. Let's see. I don't know I have I have my fifth child on the way so, okay. Well basically zero two four six eight year old so pretty busy on that side. So wow. Yeah, you have got your hands full for sure.

Yeah, not only not only a few students getting distracted. And I can imagine not only do you you running the business which is got five kids there. So yeah, I don't know how you do it bread. I mean I have no kids in a business and that's that's almost that's enough for me. I really I guess I should like six kids.

I with the business. But yeah, yeah, that's that's all you have to do. Well great. Well, I appreciate you sharing that that's the moment some great things and I like that virtual happy hour. That's that's I've heard of different companies do stiff stuff like that, but I can imagine that there really.

Does help your kind of your team building and get to know your virtual employees, you know, if you can't really get together on a consistent basis, so that's awesome. Yeah for sure you definitely so so Brett. Yeah, if any of our listeners want to get ahold of you and get in touch with you. What's the best way for them to do it?

Yeah. Sure. Anyone can email me anytime at Brett be re TT at cart or just check out the site Okay. Awesome. Well, thanks a lot for joining us today Brett on the e-commerce marketing podcast, which is. A pleasure having you. Yeah, our thanks a lot man. Really? Appreciate your time.

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Podcast Guest Info

Brett Thoreson
CEO & Co-founder of