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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Talking the talk

Patti Murphy


Industry Update

Wal-Mart ends Visa debit moratorium in Canada

Ecommerce drives global economic growth

Double-digit growth in 2016 holiday spend

Frost & Sullivan probes cybercrime in APAC region


Mobile augments shopper loyalty

Lane Conner


Payments' accidental ecosystem

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

In defense of processor increases

Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East

2017: Three predictions and a little advice

Evi Triantafyllides


Street SmartsSM:
Mind your mental health

John Tucker
1st Capital Loans LLC

One merchant's brilliant solution for shopping cart abandonment

Chris O'Donnell
Instabill Corp.

ISO portfolio seller's checklist

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Company Profile


New Products

Driverless, multifunctional, networked check scanner

RDM Corp.

Unplugged, portable, touch screen POS

StealthTouch II
Pioneer Solution Inc.

Mobile ACH, check deposit services



Let new ideas flow


Letter from the editors

Readers Speak

Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 23, 2017  •  Issue 17:01:02

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One merchant's brilliant solution for shopping cart abandonment

By Chris O'Donnell

Joe Bowab has been shipping live and frozen lobster online from his website,, for nearly 17 years. He ships lobster and more than 20 different seafood dinners overnight anywhere in the continental United States. For folks across the country who long for Maine lobster and traditional New England seafood dishes, he's their man.

As someone who has a master's degree in education from Harvard and is midway through his doctoral degree, online seafood delivery isn't how Bowab envisioned making his living. But LobsterAnywhere is hugely successful. His chargebacks are less than one per year (every one of which he resolves). Reviews websites are overwhelmingly positive.

A common business challenge

In the month of December 2016, drew tens of thousands of visitors. Business was very good this holiday season. That's not to say Bowab doesn't have challenges. Like many ecommerce merchants, one of his challenges is shopping cart abandonment – when a consumer begins the checkout process but abandons the purchase for any number of reasons.

Among the most common causes of shopping cart abandonment are:

According to the Baymard Institute, an independent web usability research firm based in Copenhagen, the average e-commerce checkout abandonment rate was around 75 percent for 2016.

Shopping cart abandonment wasn't terribly hurting Bowab's business, but it irked him. "Our sales tend to peak near any gifting holiday: Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Mother's and Father's Day, even the summer holidays," Bowab said. During those times, his cart abandonment rate hovers around 48 percent, well below the average. "During non-holiday periods, it creeps up to about 60 percent," he noted.

An uncommon solution

Even though LobsterAnywhere's abandonment rate was below Baymard's average finding, curiosity got the better of Bowab. He wondered what he could do to get customers who had left in the middle of the sale to return and finish the checkout process. "You never let a customer off the hook," he said. "Customer acquisition isn't cheap. They came to the website for a reason, so you want them to buy."

Bowab wanted a strategy that would gently remind customers who abandoned checkout, not a strategy that might pester them. So he devised a solution: two email reminders, one in two hours, another in two days. When a visitor abandons an order on, the automated email sent two hours later states, "You've left something in your lobster trap!" Bowab noted his first email results in a 54 percent open rate.

If the consumer hasn't responded, the individual receives a second – and final – email reading, "Woo-hoo! You landed the big one!" If his second email draws no response, Bowab leaves it alone. "I think three or more emails is too much," he said. "People can get annoyed with too many e-mails. I try to make mine funny and off the cuff."

With the second e-mail, however, he'll offer a $15 coupon for orders over $100 or more, just for coming back. "You can incentivize the customer with the second email," he said. Since implementing his cart abandonment solution in late September 2016, Bowab has brought back 10 percent of the 48 percent of consumers who have left his checkout process. He is hopeful that figure will grow.

"I just felt that my [abandonment] rate was kind of high," he said. "I believe that when you have that customer come to your website, you can't lose them."

Chris O'Donnell is a Senior Copywriter for the Instabill Corp. in Portsmouth, N.H. Instabill is a full service provider of merchant accounts to e-commerce, MO/TO and POS businesses. A resident of coastal New England, O'Donnell is also a contributor to The Daily News (Newburyport, Mass.) and Newburyport magazine.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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