The abandoned-cart reminder is one of the most successful emails you can send to your customers. But you need to set them up the right way to encourage more shoppers to act on them if you want to get the best results.
First: Why you should try to bring customers back
Consider these statistics:
Cart abandonment happens all the time, especially around holidays when traffic from both first-time shopping and loyal customers increases to your site. Cart abandonment rates range from 58% to 81% overall, although abandonment is higher in some sectors than others.
Cart-reminder emails can generate some of the best engagement of any triggered or broadcast email you send. Here’s how they stack up:
45% average open rate
21% average click-through rate
7% average conversion rate
They help you recover sales. Some people leave items in carts on purpose and plan to come back later. But, one of the main reasons people abandon carts permanently is because they had problems at checkout. One company estimated that a large ecommerce site could see a 35.3% hike in recovered sales just by redesigning their checkout process.
They give you a competitive advantage. The 2018 Email Marketing Census from the UK Direct Marketing Association shows only 29% of all email marketers send abandonment emails. So, the field is still wide open for marketers who can take that extra step.
How cart reminders can fail
As these statistics show, the decision to send an abandoned-cart reminder is a no-brainer. But just sending an email by itself won’t guarantee that your customers will come back to finish checking out.
This is the point where many marketers shoot themselves in the foot with their reminder emails. How you structure your reminder email is just as important, if not more so, than the decision to set up an abandonment program.
And here’s another key point: You’ll probably need more than one set of rules governing your reminder email’s timing and content to accommodate the different reasons customers come to your site.
Different reminder models, different purposes. While it’s true that sending one reminder email shortly after your customer abandons the site is better than sending none at all, it’s also true that there’s no exact formula for how you should structure your reminders.
The conventional wisdom around reminder emails is that you generally need more than one, that you should send your first email soon after the customer abandons the site and that you should follow up with one or two more emails within 24 to 48 hours after the first reminder email goes out.
Take a look at the series of two cart abandonment emails by ASICS.
That format, which could take as long as three days to a week to deliver all your emails in the abandonment series, works fine in uncomplicated abandonment scenarios.
Now, suppose you’re running a one-day flash sale. That standard three-message email sequence isn’t going to work beyond the first email, assuming you send it out before the sale ends.
In fact, you’ll end up aggravating your customers because they won’t be able to buy their items at the sale price if they return after the sale is over. If you compound that error by including the flash-sale price in the email message instead of the price they’ll encounter when they return, you might as well kiss those customers goodbye forever.
Solution No. 1: Add more rules
Every successful cart-abandonment reminder program is driven by rules that govern when to launch reminder emails and what content to include in them. Here are several popular ones:
Send the first email immediately after abandonment. Then, time follow-up emails according to activity, or lack of it, on the first email.
Withhold an incentive to encourage returning to the cart until the last email of the series.
Vary the incentive according to customer value (higher value to first-time visitors or loyalty-club members).
No incentive or lower-value offer for customers who have used an abandoned-cart incentive in the last 30 to 90 days.
Adding rules to your email program can help you create a more flexible program that accounts for abnormalities or anomalies in the abandonment procedure.
Take that flash-sale scenario we mentioned earlier. Let’s say you want to clear out some excess inventory before you head into the fourth-quarter holiday season. Or, you want to get some incremental sales on what normally would be a slow sales day, like a Sunday, and you offer some eye-popping discounts to attract browsing.
Here’s an example by Huckberry in which they have offered a coupon code for free product shipping.
The trade-off for those big discounts is a short shopping window. So, to bring back your abandoners, change up your rules for that campaign to launch your abandonment email sooner, deliver your series in shorter intervals and schedule the last email to go out before the sale ends.
Solution No. 2: Extend redemption time with a post-cart-abandonment program
Use this to retain high-value customers (they buy more often and/or at full price) or customers who rack up higher-priced carts. You can create a rule to trigger this program based on cart value or customer data.
The effect is that you will extend the time your abandonment program runs, giving your customers more time to come back and check. This is especially handy for high-value carts because those customers might need more time to decide whether to go ahead.
Giving them a few extra days to check their finances, talk to a spouse or partner or wait for the next paycheck could mean the difference between a purchase and a lost cause. Your emails continue to arrive at carefully spaced intervals, giving you opportunities to answer questions or head off objections, but you aren’t pestering them constantly.
Use the time to vary your content
That brings up another point about successful emails. It’s not just how you time your messages but what you put in your messages that can bring customers back.
People abandon carts for many reasons, and not just because they wandered away or objected to your shipping fees. Here’s a sample of reasons:
They got interrupted and had to break off their sessions.
They ran into problems in your checkout process.
They need time to think or are shopping your competitors.
They’re using their carts like wish lists and will return later to sort through items.
Your email copy should reflect these potential scenarios, too. Adopting a helpful, service-oriented tone and adding links to customer service, FAQs, buying guides or other relevant destinations on your website can overcome objections and add trust.
But you can also use devices like countdown timers to gently prod your customers into acting, especially if their merchandise is part of a flash or limited-time sale. We have used this device in many client abandoned-cart emails, and we always see a measurable uptick in conversions, often when tested against a standard message with no timer.
FARFETCH sends a nice cart abandonment email with a countdown timer that evokes the fear of missing out and entices the user to complete the purchase.
Don’t forget to test!
This is vital, no matter which format you choose to create for your abandonment models. Test everything to see what works for you and your customers! Here’s a quick list:
Number of emails
Timing (first email and intervals between emails for a multi-email process)
Incentives (what kind of incentive, like a percentage discount, cash discount, free shipping, upgraded shipping and at what point in your series to introduce it)
Personalization (name, product info, link to cart, etc.) versus one-size-fits-all
Call on us to help you set up a great program
Whether you want to investigate launching your own abandoned-cart program or need to get better results from your present program, our strategy experts are eager to show you what’s possible.
We’re happy to offer you a free 30-minute consultation call to see whether we’re a good fit to help you recover more sales and revenue by testing the solutions we’ve offered here or whether you might try other tested tactics in our arsenal.
Just call us at 800-ARMY-253 (800-276-9253) or leave a message on our website. We’ve seen the results that well-thought-out abandonment programs can produce, and we’d love to share them with you!
According to a recent study, 74% of consumers believe that email will be the most widely used channel over the next 10 years. Another revealing figure: according to an Econsultancy survey, 73% of professionals consider the ROI with email is good, even excellent. This clearly demonstrates the importance of this communication channel for brands.
So, to help you create effective campaigns, here are three tips related to the different steps of emailing: creation, sending and follow-up of your emails.
1. Creation: Collaborate with your team members
Marketers work with many people on the design of their email campaigns. This is why it’s essential for professionals to be able to collaborate effectively with others on their emails. To do this, here are some simple collaborative solutions for you to try out.
1.1 Create dedicated sub-accounts
Companies carry out different types of email campaigns on a daily basis depending on their objectives and the target audience. And depending on the purpose of these emails, it’s not always the same person, or even the same team, who is in charge of designing and sending them. For example, one person will be in charge of the weekly newsletter and another will be responsible for transactional purchase confirmation emails. As a result, many people within the company are required to work on the same account.
The downside: this makes it easy for changes to be made on email campaigns that should not have been made in the first place. To avoid this snare when building your email campaigns, we recommended you create dedicated sub-accounts for your different types of campaigns. To take it a step further, you can even define personalized access and permissions for each team member based on their profile.
1.2 Keep control over your email templates
Most companies want to ensure that the style and content of certain sections of their emails remain consistent. You might have graphics and editorial content that you want to be the same from email to email to maintain that brand consistency across all your marketing communications. For example, it may be necessary to ensure that the footer is exactly the same on all emails. So, in order to ensure that no one can make changes to the design and wording of specific sections, you can lock sections of the email.
To go even further and make sure that all submitted templates have been validated by the right person, you can even set up your account to prevent users from publishing templates without permission. This means that each template will have to be validated by a specific person before it can be published.
1.3 Work with several people in real time
Have you created your sub-accounts, set permissions for each member of your team, and locked the design/content of the sections of your templates? That’s it then! You are ready to work with your team members or with external contributors on the creation of your emails.
Rather than wasting time waiting for another person to finish working on their part, you can work with several people in real time directly within your email editor. Not only will this stop you from overwriting your colleagues’ changes, but it will speed up the entire creation process.
2. Sending: Optimize your deliverability
Deliverability refers to the fact that your legitimate emails arrive in the inbox and not in spam. To improve your deliverability, it is actually a matter of following several practices, recommended by all the major players in the sector.
2.1 Show that you are a legitimate sender
There are several authentication protocols such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) that you must use to show your white paw to ISPs (Internet Service Providers). A SPF registration on the DNS server (a service whose main function is to translate a domain name into an IP address) allows domain name owners to protect their reputation by deciding who has the right to send emails on their behalf. Therefore, any person not on the list of authorized addresses won’t have the right permissions.
DKIM is a standard used by ISPs to verify that no phishing acts have been committed during the delivery of the email. Essentially, it adds a unique signature to the email you send. The receiving server can check the domain signature to confirm the origin of the message and ensure that its content has not been manipulated along the way.
2.2 Focus on the quality of your contacts rather than quantity
The quality of your contact lists has an important impact on your deliverability. This is because ISPs learn by analyzing how recipients interact with messages that arrive in their inbox. The takeaway is to limit the number of unsubscriptions and spam, and to increase the opening and click rates. For this reason, we strongly advise you not to buy or rent contact lists from third parties. Just don’t do it.
What we do recommend is that you optimize the quality of your lists by collecting the addresses of your subscribers with a double opt-in system. This means obtaining confirmation of the user’s consent in two steps before adding it to one of your mailing lists. Once a new customer fills out a contact form, they will be asked to opt-in again via a confirmation email. For example, the email will ask them to click on the link to confirm the subscription.
2.3 Take care of the content of your emails
In terms of content, there are several elements that trigger ISP alarms and can cause your emails to fall into your recipients’ spam folders. That’s why we’ve got some tips for you to follow so you can avoid the spam box:
Do not use capitalized words in the subject or body of your messages.
Avoid the use of words frequently identified by spam filters as being at risk, especially when they are used in the subject of the message.
Make sure that your email subject line does not exceed 35-50 characters.
Insert an unsubscribe link (this is mandatory!) in each of your messages.
Send relevant content that is in line with the expectations of your recipients
3. Monitoring: Analyze and improve your performance
For your emailing strategy, keeping an up-to-date list of contacts, creating attractive content and then pressing the “Send” button is good. Monitoring and analyzing the performance of your campaigns to continuously improve them is even better! This is the part where we explain some statistics, how to analyze them, and above all, how you can improve them.
3.1 The “positive” statistics
Let’s start with the basic statistics: the sending and deliverability rates. The sending rate is the percentage of emails that have left the sending server on their way to your contacts’ inboxes, while the deliverability rate is the percentage of emails sent that have actually reached those inboxes. Generally, these rates should be between 95% and 100%. If it’s not in that range, you should check that you are applying all those good practices related to deliverability.
The open rate is the percentage of delivered emails that have been opened at least once. This is a good way to find out if your recipients want to read your messages. We recommend that you compare your opening rates with those of companies working in the same industrial sector as you. But to give you an idea, a good opening rate is generally between 15 and 25%. If your rate is below these figures, you should review the elements that mainly impact the opening of the message, namely: the subject line of emails, the pre-header, and the sender address.
The click rate is the percentage of open emails where recipients have clicked on the links at least once. It lets you know if your content is interesting enough to encourage your readers to visit your website. As with the opening rate, the click rate varies depending on your sector. But generally speaking, a good click rate is between 3 and 8%. If your results are below these rates, you should take another look at the design and positioning of your Call-To-Action (buttons that encourage the reader to click). You can also check that the content of your emails is relevant enough for your target audience. A way to figure this out is to send your recipients a questionnaire to collect their feedback on your content.
3.2 The “negative” statistics
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked on the unsubscribe link in the email. Remember that it is mandatory to add an unsubscribe link in each of your email campaigns. Your churn rate, the percentage rate at which your customers are unsubscribing to your emails, should never exceed 1.4%. If this is the case, you should analyze how your contacts are added to your lists. In the context of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), you must obtain the clear and explicit consent of your contacts in order to be able to add them to a list. You also have to be able to prove this consent.
The bounce rate is the percentage of emails that were stopped before they could reach their destination (your contacts’ inboxes). A distinction must be made between soft or temporary bounces (saturated inbox, a message of absence from the office, etc.) and hard or permanent bounces (invalid domain, non-existent server, etc.). Your bounce rate should never exceed 8%. If this is the case, we suggest you clean up your contact lists.
The spam rate is the percentage of recipients who have placed the email in their spam box. The spam rate statistic is the one that has the greatest impact on your deliverability. A rate that is too high can have you marked as a spammer by an ISP. This rate should never exceed 0.08%. If so, you should check that your unsubscribe link is easily found. Otherwise, your recipients might mark you as spam you if they can’t easily unsubscribe.
Now more than ever before, email marketing is an important tool for companies to take advantage of. To reach its full potential, every step in the process needs careful consideration. Creation of the email campaign needs consistency, as well as creativity and collaboration. Sending requires diligence as well as a good deal of patience. And lastly, monitoring your efforts to be able to improve your correspondence goes a long way to understanding what your audience wants. All together, when done well, the email creation process can be rewarding for both your company as well as your subscribers.