January 9, 2015 | John Goethert

Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails Can Earn Back Thousands

Why Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails Earn Thousands

My many years of experience in working retail started back in college. In the attempt to augment my disposable income (i.e. beer money), I worked at a small shop selling t-shirts and trinkets.

Along with many unique, fun items, we had competitive prices and an educated staff. We knew that if someone walked in the front door, we would more than likely make a sale.

Fast forward many years later… Today, the goal of my job in inbound marketing really hasn’t changed much - get people in the front (digital) door. We polish websites’ text, create alluring content, and analyze traffic flow, all to get people “in the door.”

The t-shirts have been replaced with services and other products, and our clients’ doors can now be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

People can browse the store, learn about what works best for their needs, and drop it all into a digital shopping cart. The problem is that many people leave before ever checking out.

How Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails Can Help

Just how many are abandoning their shopping carts? After compiling 29 major studies, British web research company Baymard found that the average abandonment rate is over 68%. That equals approximately $4 trillion worth of goods and services sitting in abandoned virtual shopping carts, according to Business Insider.

Imagine the horror I would have had back in the day cleaning up stacks and stacks of partially-filled shopping baskets sitting by the door of that t-shirt store. The good news is that Business Insider believes that 63% of these abandoned shopping carts are potentially recoverable. But how?

First we need to understand why a shopper goes to all the trouble to fill the cart and not check out. The payment processing company WorldPay’s surveyed customers and found a wide range of reasons, everything from website crashes (24% !) to concerns about payment security (17%) and of course, those must be addressed.

However, the most common issues can be addressed in a way that will recover many of those sales. The best way to do that is with a little help from an abandoned shopping cart email notification.

Most ecommerce platforms have the added (paid) functionality to send automated emails to customers who abandon their shopping cart. These emails’ wording can be customized to directly address your customers’ main reasons for leaving, and sent at preset length of time after abandonment, such as one hour or two days.

When we first added an abandoned shopping cart notification to one of our clients' stores, we started by simply using the default text that was suggested by Bigcommerce. It was light and airy, reminding people that they still had an open cart, told them what was in it, and gave them a generous coupon code as an incentive to come back and finish their transaction.

In the first month, we saw 10% return to complete their orders, generating the client $2,730 in what would probably have been lost revenue. Obviously, this functionality is well worth the additional $19.99 per month.

But the client was also giving these people a coupon code that was cutting into that $2,730 dollar total. Knowing the default email can always be improved upon, and never being satisfied with merely good results, we felt we should be able to do better. Here is where knowing the client’s buyer persona is valuable.

Knowing that these people are loyal to the brand, the only "where-to-buy" competition is retail stores, and that promotional coupon codes are often running (indicating that price might not be their primary concern), we worked under the assumption that many people abandoned carts simply because distractions were pulling them away.

We tested this hunch by sending them two emails: one almost right away and another sent one day later.

Abandoned Shopping Cart EmailThe first email, which you can see above, was a simple reminder with tweaks to the text mentioning the brand, etc. In the event price also played a factor, the second email would contain a small 10% discount, and would mention that the company offers free shipping on orders over $50.

Our hunch paid off. Not only did we increase the conversion rate to over 17%, but most people acted on the first email, saving the client the discount amount. We were so excited by these results that we'll continue A/B testing to fine-tune our results.

Of course, which strategy works best for you will involve insight into your buyer persona as well as research and testing. If you have ideas that have worked for you, we'd love to hear them!

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John Goethert

John Goethert

John Goethert served as VIEO’s senior inbound marketing project manager for many years and enjoyed using his varied expertise on behalf of our clients.

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