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Jake is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment company for retailers and online sellers.
When entrepreneur Amy Venzke started Strolleria with her husband Drew to sell high-end strollers and car seats, she had no illusions about the competition she was up against. “We sell the same products at the same prices as many other retailers,” she says.
The Venzkes opened a brick-and-mortar store in Scottsdale, AZ, in June of 2016. They launched a Shopify e-commerce store at the same time. On the web, Strolleria competes against every large retailer that sells car seats and strollers. Venzke knew that she would have to do something special to stand out in the wide world of e-commerce.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Amy Venzke about their strategy to stand out in the e-commerce space. These are the insights she shared.
Calling Back Abandoned Shopping Carts
The Venzkes opened their brick-and-mortar store because there was no store specializing in strollers in the Phoenix area. Despite facing much more competition on the web, more than two-thirds of Strolleria’s sales come from the e-commerce store. This may be because Venzke is just as committed to reaching out to potential customers online as she is to greeting the ones who walk into the store. Venzke came up with a strategy that is both simple and unusual: She calls people who have abandoned their shopping carts.
She started this follow-up when Strolleria’s e-commerce site first launched simply because, as a startup in a competitive industry, she needed to hustle for every dollar. She has continued to make the calls because they work.
Venzke phones every customer who abandons a shopping cart that contains large-ticket items, such as a stroller or car seat. She makes about a dozen calls a day and usually leaves a short voicemail, so the practice doesn’t take a big bite out of her time. However, the calls have taken a big bite out of Strolleria’s shopping cart abandonment rate. Venzke estimates that approximately a third of the people she phones come back and complete their purchases.
“It’s a very small investment on our part for sales that can be over $1,000 in some cases,” she says.
Industry sources report shopping cart abandonment rates ranging from two-thirds to more than three-quarters. Online retailers fight to achieve small percentage reductions in abandonment rates. Reducing that number by a third is an enormous boost to sales.
Venzke notes that new parents are often overwhelmed by the number of items they need to buy when they bring their baby home. A car seat and stroller are essential purchases, but choosing the right ones can be a challenge. “It’s something that people need a lot of help with,” she says. Strolleria’s customers have a lot of questions. If she can answer them, Venzke has found, she can often turn a browser into a buyer.
The phone call idea doesn’t work for all e-commerce business models, but inevitably there is something you could be doing to add a truly personal touch to your most valuable customers. Why not test the impact of a hand-written note added to orders above a certain dollar amount? Sure, something like this takes a bit of additional time, but what if it noticeably enhances the retention rate for these five-start customers? Taylor Swift’s recent weekend commenting on her follower’s Instagram accounts certainly indicates that sacrificing a bit of time and effort can result in noticeable brand enhancements.