Persistent Carts: Preserve Revenue with a Seamless Customer Experience

In the world of ecommerce retail, brands need every tool at their disposal to improve the user experience for consumers and generate revenue from sales.

E-Commerce Marketing 101

For many businesses that sell products online, the shopping cart is a key element of the customer experience, a website element that helps users compare prices and decide on their final purchase. That means it’s essential for brands to maximize the sales potential of their cart functionality, in part by making use of persistent carts.

What is a persistent cart?

Persistent carts are a feature that preserves the items that a customer has placed in their shopping cart when they exit the site without purchasing, using a cookie that identifies the customer for future sessions, even on other devices. When the customer returns to the ecommerce site, their cart will be the same as it was when they left, allowing the user to pick up where they left off and make a purchase without having to go through the entire shopping experience from the start. Maintaining the customer’s cart information across multiple sessions helps brands meet their customers where they are and create a seamless progression through the buying funnel that recovers potentially lost revenue from abandoned carts. This is especially important considering that some 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts at some point in the buying process.

Why are persistent carts important for ecommerce?

Ecommerce is about maximizing the potential of every customer interaction, and persistent carts are critical for capturing revenue that might be lost if a user’s cart disappears between sessions. Here are three major reasons why persistent carts are so important:

  • They create a more seamless shopping experience
    Customers have many ways to shop in today’s world of digital retail, with multiple entry points and devices all expected to deliver an intuitive, easy-to-navigate experience for potential consumers. Today’s online shoppers expect that brands will preserve the items in their carts across sessions and even across devices. Imagine a customer who starts shopping on their home desktop computer for new shoes and workout clothes, but they leave several items in their cart and leave without purchasing. With persistent cart functionality, the customer can resume shopping on their lunch break from their smartphone, allowing them to pick up where they left off, compare the items they’ve saved for consideration in their carts, and make a final purchase decision. If the customer were to find an empty cart when they accessed the brand on their phone, they might be frustrated by the experience and leave your store without returning at all.
  • They are easy to install and pay for themselves quickly
    Most ecommerce shops, especially those using Shopify, can integrate persistent cart functionality in their digital storefronts with a quick plugin download. Better yet, persistent carts deliver a high ROI, typically paying for themselves in just a couple days after installation with increased sales.
  • They ensure customer privacy
    When consumers shop from an ecommerce store, they expect that their information will be kept secure. Persistent carts use customer data to identify and maintain the cart between sessions, and installing a strong cart plugin gives brands more control over how their customers’ data is stored.

How do persistent carts reduce cart abandonment?

The shopping cart is a key part of the user experience for online shopping, and research suggests that over half of online consumers use the shopping cart to save specific products for later viewing. Having a persistent cart means that when the user abandons their cart (maybe after adding several items while browsing on a mobile device), the selected items will remain in the cart for when the user returns (say, to finish their purchase on a laptop or desktop computer). Over a third of online shoppers need more than 24 hours to complete a purchase—persistent carts make this kind of shopping possible.

How to implement persistent carts on your ecommerce website

One of the many benefits of persistent carts is that they are generally very easy and simple for brands to implement. Some ecommerce platforms, such as Magento, have the persistent cart feature built-in. For brands using Shopify, there are a range of persistent cart apps from the Shopify App Store that will do the job or you can take the DIY approach. Combine your persistent cart functionality with emails that remind customers to return to their abandoned carts for the best results.