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How to reel shopping cart abandoners back in for the sale

  • Opinion
  • November 2, 2016
  • Cornelius Boertjens
How to reel shopping cart abandoners back in for the sale

Various studies have shown that shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem faced by online retailers, with 60 to 80 percent of shopping carts being abandoned over the last eight years. Are all of those customers lost causes – or is there something you can do?

There’s 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 percent of shoppers will return to make a purchase if you do nothing, but various remarketing emails by ecommerce marketers see a lift to about 18 percent, so it’s worth your while trying a few things. Here are some approaches you can take.

Email customers who abandon their shopping cart
Take action to improve your odds! Email is the best channel for this – in order to do 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 their email address. There 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 percent of the top 500 internet retailers do this already.

  1. 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 dialog with customers and expect to get responses from customers. Be personal, as in “Dear John,” so customers know this is specifically in regards to their purchase.

  1. 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 at converting them.

  1. Segment campaigns.

Not everyone that abandons a shopping cart is the same and you want to prioritise those which are most profitable. To do so, section the abandonment campaign based on the value of the cart, products or specific items that are abandoned.

  1. Include product images.

An image is worth 1000 words, so include them to help remind the customer why they wanted to make their purchase in the first place. Another tip: including an element of humor through an image is often effective in bringing a customer back.

  1. Include a 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 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.

  1. 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 the images of products that where 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 percent happiness guarantee”, free shipping on returned items, free shipping on purchases $75 or more, and their price-match program. The case study showed that the campaign earns an average of $4.80 per email, and a 50 percent exchange from the readers that click through. Wow!

JetBlue uses a lighter, personal approach in their retargeting emails. They state that once they hit the right balance, they saw a 150 percent increase in open rates and 200 percent higher conversion rates than regular promotional emails which resulted in a 1,640 percent increase in profits.

One more thing…
It is a good idea to consider taking the recovery email further and turn it into a full sequence. Remarketing campaigns that send out three separate emails convert 26 percent higher than a campaign that only send out one email.

Here is an example of what 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 percent 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 percent off discount and include it in the subject 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 customers’ 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. Subject line should say “Finish your order and save 10 percent off your order”.

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.

As we have seen, shopping carts are not a lost cause just because they were abandoned. Both Jet Blue 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.

​ ​

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