Shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem faced by online retailers, with 60 to 80 per cent of shopping carts being abandoned over the last eight years. Are all of those customers lost causes – or is there something you can do?
In short, there are two things you can do: either get people to come back and finalise their purchase later, or influence a user to complete their order during the initial visit.
Interestingly, only 8 per cent of shoppers will return to make a purchase if you do nothing, but various remarketing emails by e-commerce marketers see a lift to about 18 per cent, so it’s worth your while trying a few things.
Here are some approaches you can take:
Email customers who abandon their shopping carts
Take action to improve your odds! Email is the best channel for this, so you need to capture email addresses as part of your checkout process.
For example, implement a pop-up that offers a promotional gift in exchange for the customer's email address. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind with your follow-up email:
1. Be prompt
Send the first recovery email out as soon as possible. About 60 per cent of the top 500 internet retailers do this already.
2. Be personal
Persuade your customers to reply to your remarketing emails with any questions or concerns. Do not use a 'no-reply' address – customers should be able to contact you if they need to. Try to use this as a way to start dialogue with customers, and expect to get responses. Be personal, as in 'Dear John', so customers know this is specifically in regards to their purchase.
3. Stay relevant
Add related visual reminders to your recovery emails. Get your remarketing partner to populate related items such as names, imagery and/or review items.
They should also give you the ability to offer additional cart attributes, such as cart value or other product categories – the more relevant the email is to the specific customer, the better your chances of converting them.
4. Segment campaigns
Not everyone who abandons a shopping cart is the same, and you want to prioritise those who will be most profitable.
Section the abandonment campaign based on the value of the cart, products or specific items that are abandoned.
5. Include product images
A picture is worth a thousand words, so include them to help remind the customer why they wanted to make their purchase in the first place.
Including an element of humour through an image is often effective in bringing a customer back.
6. Include your phone number
It is important to make your business as accessible as possible. A customer may have stopped their purchase because of a concern they had, so make it easy for them to contact you. Include your phone number and other contact information. Having a call-tracking system to track and route phone calls that come in from recovery emails is important to correctly measure conversion rates.
7. Customer satisfaction reminders
Remind customers that you care about how satisfied they are with the product. A warranty or customer satisfaction guarantee may be just what the customer needs to take the jump and make the purchase. Be sure to feature these in your email.
Does this stuff really work? Yes! Let’s check out a few examples.
SmartPak Equine, a horse supply company, has excellent recovery emails. They send out emails one day after a shopping cart has been abandoned featuring the names and images of the products that were in the shopping cart, as well as the prices, the ratings, and a link to go back to the shopping cart.
The emails also show a reminder of the company’s “100% happiness guarantee”, free shipping on returned items, free shipping on purchases over $75, and its price-matching program.
The case study showed that the campaign earns an average of $4.80 per email, with a 50 per cent conversion from the readers who click through.
JetBlue uses a lighter, more personal approach in their remarketing emails.
They state that once they hit the right balance, they saw a 150 per cent increase in open rates and 200 per cent higher conversion rates than regular promotional emails, which resulted in a massive increase in profits.
It is also a good idea to consider taking the recovery email further and turning it into a full sequence.
Remarketing campaigns that send out three separate emails convert 26 per cent higher than campaigns that only send out one email.
What should an email sequence should look like?
Email 1: Send out within 30 minutes of the shopping cart being abandoned
Use a helpful customer service tone. The subject line should be something like 'Oops… did you have a problem with checking out?'.
Include the phone number for customer service, 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee and any other important value offer parts, with a single call to action.
Do not bribe your customers because that will encourage them to abandon shopping carts in the future.
Email 2: Send out 23 hours after the first email
A second email should be sent out 23 hours after the first email if the customer does not respond to the first one; it would be about the same time they were originally shopping, which may be a good time for them to continue shopping.
Offer a 10 per cent discount and include it in the subject line of the email. Bear in mind that by offering a discount in your second email, you might risk people abandoning carts on purpose on future shopping visits.
Offer a coupon code that is hyperlinked to the customer’s shopping cart, applied automatically, and add a major call to action that encourages customers to complete their purchase.
Email 3: Send out six days and 23 hours after the second email, exactly one week later at the same time as they began shopping
If the customer has not completed their purchase about four days after the second email was sent to them, send them an almost identical email to the second one. The subject line should say 'Finish your order and save 10 per cent'.
The first email in this sequence has the highest chance of recovering the cart, and the third has the lowest chance because leads get cold very fast.
Abandoned shopping carts are not a lost cause. Both JetBlue and SmartPak Equine have driven significant results with proper remarketing strategies.
Use the guidelines and tips provided above to follow up with your customers and guide them through the checkout process.
Congratulations! You now have another tactic to increase your bottom line.
Cornelius Boertjens is the managing director of Catchi, a digital conversion specialist company.