3 things ski resorts MUST DO to reduce cart abandonment

By now, ski resort operators know the truth: Around 70% of all online shopping cart transactions are abandoned.

That number reaches 80% for tablets and 85% for mobile devices; the smaller the screen, the bigger the bounce. And while there’s no specific cart abandonment rate for ski resorts, there’s every reason to assume that they’re no exception to the rule.

Why ski resort shopping carts are abandoned

In our experience with multiple resorts (from Crested Butte to Jiminy Peak), we’ve learned that online ski customers often have 5 or 6 tabs open when reviewing possible destinations.

They’re looking at logistics, trip duration, lodging, lessons, lift ticket prices, snowmaking, and other variables (not to mention the weather) to determine the best value. They may put multiple items in multiple carts just to compare costs and explore the online buying process at different resorts.

The point: Planning a ski trip is complicated and expensive and since cost-related factors are the #1 reason for overall art abandonment, ski resorts need to do a better job selling all the way through the checkout process. [BTW: If you’re using Siriusware as your checkout engine, we feel your pain.]

So consider these 3 steps.

Streamline the product selection mix

Around 17% of online US shoppers bail on orders because of a “too long or too complicated checkout process.”

For our client, Wachusett Mountain, we created a new booking engine with popup offers of “affinity products” – such as equipment rentals with a lift ticket purchase.

Building in this type of “integrated decision making” shortened and simplified the checkout process and earned a 48% increase in Average Online Transaction Value, with 40% lower cart abandonment rate.

Marketers used to call this “cross selling” but in fact it’s simply making the customer’s planning process easier. And it boosts conversion significantly.

Leveraging Email

Retargeting email campaigns for consumers who abandon carts generally lead to a conversion of the sale 10-25% of the time – but email conversion depends on content.

Best email practices include:

  • A quick reminder of their unpurchased selections: Subject line or 1st subhead
  • Provide more information: Emphasize benefits and value messages
  • Keep it branded: Remind them about experiences unique to the resort
  • Provide multiple quick links back to checkout

Automated retargeting emails can be triggered by order amount, specific products, duration of the visit, or other criteria.

And research shows that 45% of such emails are opened, with a CTR of 50%. For example, Snowbird, just outside of Salt Lake City in Utah, saw a 15% sales conversion rate on abandonment emails.

Have a “high-value abandoner” program

The NSAA reminds us that Season Pass usage represents 50% of all ski visits, outpacing regular lift ticket purchases for the fourth straight year.

To us, this indicates that ski resorts should create a special program for “high-value abandoners” who leave behind carts that hold Season Passes.

We suggest learning from the “Free shipping” technique: Nearly 80% of online consumers are more likely to complete transactions when free shipping is offered.

For ski resorts, the equivalent of Free Shipping may be a value-added popup for a completed Season Pass purchase. Potential offers:

  1. A free lift ticket for a guest
  2. Special parking privileges
  3. Lodging upgrades
  4. Kids lesson discounts
  5. First Tracks skiing with the resort GM (you’d be surprised how popular this has been at Cranmore and Jiminy Peak)

NOTE: We also recommend to our ski resort clients that they consider making an old-fashioned phone call to high value abandoners. Given what’s at stake, going door-to-door seems to make sense.

Shopping cart conversion may seem complicated, but making it easy for the customer is more than worth it.

For more insight into resort checkout abandonment, schedule 15 minutes to chat over coffee, contact us.