Online retailers are struggling to unearth the reasons why shoppers abandon their sites without converting.

Econsultancy recent Reducing Customer Struggle report reveals that a staggering 73% of the companies surveyed admit that they are unaware of the abandonment reasons 

“I’m just browsing” is reported as one of the major abandonment reasons. This reason accounts for anywhere between 37% to 57% of the total online shoppers who left without buying. 

To address the ‘just browsing’ shoppers, some ecommerce sites offer shoppers the option to save their wish list for a later time.

Alas, in order to save their wish list, shoppers are asked to register, supply their email address and choose a password. As registration is in itself a barrier, many shoppers choose not to register and disregard the wish list offer.

The ones who do register often forget their passwords when they return, resulting in the creation of multiple wish lists and annoyances for the customer.

The new ‘my favorites’ trend

In an attempt to improve the overall online customer experience, a new trend is emerging among ecommerce sites which are now offering a ‘favorites’ feature that does not require the customer to register at all.

I recently noticed this feature on various fashion sites. Take for example, Boozt.com.  

It chooses to symbolize this feature with a heart symbol. To highlight this feature, customers are alerted about this option with a visible message on the homepage.

On the category page, the heart symbol appears once the mouse is rolled over the product image.

The heart appears alongside the ‘add to bag’ throughout the shopping session, and shoppers are not required to register or produce details at any stage of the process.

Another good use of the heart symbol can be found on Revolve.com

The favorites feature is also implemented in different ways. In the case of Wanimo.com, shoppers are given the option to create their wish list, but they need to be proactive and press on the + icon on the right side of each product page, in order to include the product on the wish list.

The number of items on the wish list is shown on the top of the pink ribbon.  

To view the list (during the current or future visits), shoppers simply  need to press on the number which displays how many items are on the list.

Interestingly, when Wanimo recently revised the site, this feature was removed, but was reactivated as customers demanded to bring it back!


The logic behind a registration-free wish list

The marketers of the above sampled websites, are hoping that in the short term, just by offering this option, they will be able to learn more about their online shopper’s behavior and estimate the percentage of the ‘just browsing’ visitors among their site’s overall abandoners.  

In the long term, the assumption is that the shoppers will appreciate the opportunity to return to the site and complete the purchase.

Upon their return, they will be able to view their favorite items/wish list without the need to register and enter a password.

Although the above logic is valid, there is no guarantee that shoppers will revisit the site to complete the purchase, and by not capturing the occasional shopper’s contact details, those sites are missing out on the opportunity to remarket to these shoppers based on their wish list.


The middle way: a visit summary email

In an effort not to impose registration on the shoppers, but in the hope of still collecting their email addresses, another interesting trend is emerging in some of the ecommerce sites.

This is the ‘visit summary mail’ feature, a popup message that offers visitors an option to receive the products they viewed in an email, is displayed towards the end of the visitors’ sessions, so that they can keep a record of their visits and complete their purchase at a later stage.

See, for example, Mysize.com.au:

If the shopper accepts the offer and enters an email address, all items viewed during the session are then assembled into one email.

This feature is particularly useful for shoppers who visit the mobile site as it allows them to continue the session later on from their desktop or tablet.

The ‘win-win’ solution?

Including a registration free wish list option and offering the option to receive the list by mail might just be the ‘win-win’ solution for both shoppers and emarketers.

Instead of an upfront request for an email, the request is presented once the shopper is already engaged. Timing is everything, and if the shopper has been compiling a wish list, it is very likely that an offer to receive the list by mail will be viewed as a good service feature, rather than an email-grabbing scheme.

What kind of an online marketer are you?

What do you think is the best way: A wish list with registration that allows you to keep the user’s information, or a wish list without registration that is less intrusive?

Or do you think that a happy middle ground can be achieved with a ‘save my visit’ feature which is both convenient for the shopper and gives more marketing opportunities for ecommerce sites?