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What would you do if ¾ of your ecommerce sales disappeared overnight?
You’d probably declare a company-wide emergency, call all hands on deck, and put every resource you had into saving your business.
Well, you don’t need to imagine this hypothetical scenario because it’s already happening to you. It’s called cart abandonment.
The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69.57% (Baymard Institute). Chances are, your cart abandonment rate is in the same neighborhood.
And cart abandonment isn’t just about money you didn’t gain, it’s also about money you lost. Every shopper who abandons a cart represents money you wasted attracting and driving that lead through the sales funnel.
Cart recovery helps you recover sales you could’ve lost and reduce wasted marketing spend.
While there are many ways to optimize your carts and reduce leaks, we’re going to discuss one of the most powerful – cart abandonment emails.
Cart abandonment emails are not only easy to set up, but they’re automatically triggered. More importantly, though, they’re effective. The average conversion rate for abandoned cart emails is 18.64% ( Barilliance).
After reading this article, you’ll have everything you need to create abandoned cart emails that boost revenue for your business.
At InboxArmy, we help our clients implement the most effective email automation tactics, including abandoned cart emails. If you want to grow your business with email automation programs like abandoned cart recovery, get in touch with our ecommerce email marketing agency!
Why and how do abandoned cart emails work?
This may seem like a basic and obvious question. But understanding how and why abandoned cart emails work is critical to creating an effective cart abandonment strategy.
To properly answer this question, we need to break it down into its basic components.
Abandoned cart emails are automatic emails sent to people who add products to their shopping carts but fail to complete the purchase.
These emails remind the person of their purchase and use psychology to convince them to complete it.
Abandoned cart emails are effective at recovering sales and increasing profit.
But why do they work?
As most marketers already know, acquiring a new customer can cost 5 times more than retaining an existing customer. And the success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
While people who abandon carts aren’t necessarily existing customers, the same principle applies. They’re easier to convert because they’re already further down the sales funnel.
So when trying to increase profits, plugging leaks in your funnel and reducing your cart abandonment rate is one of the first places marketers should turn to.
Cart abandonment emails are an incredibly effective tool for doing so.
According to a study by Barilliance, the average conversion rate for cart abandonment emails is 18.64%.
And the results can be much greater than that. We were able to achieve a 220% increase in conversions for our client Autonomous using a cart abandonment email strategy.
To make this concept even more tangible, you can do some quick calculations to see how much you can gain by using a cart abandonment email strategy.
First, find your cart abandonment stats in Google Analytics. Multiply the number of abandoned carts you had that month by the average conversion rate of cart abandonment emails (18.64%).
Then multiply that by your average sale value. That’s the amount of money you can make with a simple cart abandonment email strategy that performs at the average success rate.
Shoppers add products to their shopping carts because they believe those products will make their lives better in some way. In the moment, they’re in an emotional state that is propelling them toward a completed purchase.
But just before they buy, some problem or interruption occurs that makes them abandon the cart.
Cart abandonment emails work by addressing both elements of that situation.
First, they remind the shoppers of the product they wanted to buy and the feeling they had regarding how it could improve their life. They put the shopper back into the emotional state they were in when they almost made the purchase.
Second, they attempt to identify and resolve whatever problem or interruption made the shopper abandon their cart.
The more effectively your abandoned cart emails accomplish those 2 goals, the better they’ll be at recovering sales.
You’ll need to use that info to create an email sequence that catches the shopper at the right time and influences them to finish their purchase.
Creating an effective cart abandonment email strategy is a 5-step process:
If you aren’t already, you need to measure your cart abandonment rates in Google Analytics.
Doing so will allow you to track how effective your strategy is at converting lost sales and make tweaks to optimize your campaigns.
You can learn all about how to set this up in Google Analytics here.
In order to send an abandoned cart email, you’ll need the emails of the people who abandon your carts.
Many ecommerce stores have no process in place for collecting emails from shoppers who abandon carts.
And for good reason – data shows that 34% of shoppers abandon carts because they’re asked to create an account – source.
So how can you collect emails without increasing your cart abandonment rate?
The first way is by splitting your check-out process into several pages and collecting a customer’s email address before prompting them to input their credit card info.
That way you still have their email even if they fail to complete the purchase.
The downside to this method is that it can potentially increase cart abandonment. The more info a customer has to enter before a purchase and the more time it takes to complete a purchase, the more likely a customer is to abandon a cart.
Two stats to keep in mind here are:
As long as you stay at or below this average, you should be in good shape.
So be sure to strike a balance by not requesting too much information and ensuring your checkout pages have a lightning-fast load time.
An exit-intent pop-up is a window that pops up when a visitor is about to leave a page.
They usually work by tracking the movement of the visitor’s mouse on the page. When the cursor leaves the “active area” of the page, the pop-up window is triggered.
Exit-intent pop-ups can be used both to convince a customer to complete their purchase and to collect their emails if they don’t.
Simply create an exit-intent pop-up that offers an incentive for visitors to give you their email in exchange for something valuable (a discount, the latest deals, great content, etc.).
A well-crafted pop-up can save 10%-15% of lost visitors.
Check out this article from Opt-In Monster to learn more about creating them.
Read this guide if you want to know more about email pop ups
Pre-submit tracking is a feature on some email software vendors like Rejoiner. It allows you to capture email addresses that are entered into a checkout form field even if the shopper doesn’t complete the purchase.
By using pre-submit tracking and putting the email submission field early on in your checkout process, you can capture more emails from would-be buyers.
The success of a cart abandonment email strategy hinges on your ability to identify and address the reasons people abandon carts on your site.
Start first by addressing the most commonly given reasons customers abandon carts.
You should analyze your own checkout process to see if any of these issues could apply to your website.
But you could also try applying them to your cart abandonment emails. For example, you could address 3 of these issues by sending emails that:
While addressing these issues can definitely help you recover sales, it’s more important that you identify and address the issues that are specific to your business.
To do so, try sending survey emails that ask people why they abandoned their carts. Then create and test emails that address the most commonly given reasons.
Like we said earlier, when a customer buys your product, they do so because they think it will make their lives better by helping them achieve a goal or solve a problem.
In the heat of the moment, they’re in an emotional state that propels them through the checkout process.
But something comes along and interrupts their emotional state and the sale.
A successful abandoned cart email will help the customer return to that emotional state by:
So you’ll need to understand why your customers buy your products.
This, again, is where the trusty survey comes in handy.
Try sending surveys to customers who successfully purchased your products to learn more about:
This info is not only useful for your abandoned cart strategy, you can also insert quotes from satisfied customers into your abandoned cart emails themselves as a form of social proof.
Now that you have all the data you need, it’s time to create and test abandoned cart email strategies.
If your store sells multiple problems, this can create a unique challenge.
After all, the reason a customer buys one product can be totally different from the reason they buy another. So, too, can the reasons they abandon different products.
So how should you go about creating an abandoned cart email strategy that’s optimized for your entire store?
We suggest you start by creating a generic abandoned cart email template that gets sent out to every product. That should help you recover at least a small portion of your sales on all products.
Then create tailored campaigns for all of your other products one by one, starting with your top products.
Your top products include:
Starting here will have the greatest impact on your revenue.
Once you’ve identified your top products, create campaigns for each by:
Then create your campaigns, measure their effect, and optimize them.
In the next section, we’ll share 20 examples of abandoned cart emails to inspire you to create successful ones of your own.
But before we do, let’s go over a few key elements of successful abandoned cart emails that you’ll need to nail if you want yours to succeed.
Usually, the first abandoned cart email you send out will generate the most conversions.
But you shouldn’t just send one abandoned cart email. You should create a sequence that aims to catch shoppers when they’re most receptive and gives them plenty of opportunities and incentives to convert.
The key to nailing the frequency and timing of your abandoned cart email sequence is A/B testing.
Test out different email frequencies and delivery times to see what works best.
For our client Autonomous, we found that sending 5 emails – 1 hour, 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days, and 10 days after the cart was abandoned – produced the best results.
You can use our frequency and timing to get started. But remember, what works best for others may not necessarily work best for you.
You should also consider the fact that the optimal timing and frequency may be different for different products (i.e. less-expensive items vs. more expensive items).
Sometimes, shoppers need a little nudge before they take a desired action.
They want your product, but they may be hesitant about spending the money or some other objection.
You can easily increase the number of shoppers who complete their carts by giving them an incentive to do so. If they complete their cart now (or within a given time frame), they’ll get an added bonus.
Try experimenting with different incentives.
You can give shoppers a discount on their cart. Or you can give them a free gift that complements their purchase.
In our experiments, we found it best to hold off on the incentive until the 2nd or 3rd email in your abandoned cart series so we don’t cannibalize our client’s profit margins.
In other words, some people will naturally return and complete their purchase without an incentive. All they need is a little reminder. But shoppers who hold out past the 1st and 2nd email likely need an incentive to get them to take action. By holding off on providing our incentive, we ensure that the incentive is only given to those who need more convincing.
One of the most commonly used tactics in abandoned cart emails is to create a sense of urgency.
The reason it’s so common is because it works.
The goal of this tactic is to put pressure on shoppers to act fast unless they lose out on something valuable.
It works because of a principle called Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that any task will take up the amount of time you alot for it.
People are naturally indecisive. If they think they have all the time in the world to make a decision, they won’t take any action.
But by creating a deadline, you give customers a shorter window of time to act and create a psychological sense of urgency.
One tactic is to offer them a discount on their cart that expires in a short time window (10 hrs, 24 hrs, 48 hrs, etc.). They’re provided an incentive to act and are told they will lose out on that benefit if they don’t act fast.
Another way to create urgency is by telling shoppers that your products sell out fast. They must complete their purchase quickly before they lose out on the opportunity.
Whatever deadline or tactic you use to create urgency, make sure it’s real. If people know the deadline is artificial, they won’t be compelled to act and, even worse, you’ll lose trust and credibility with your customers.
Recall that abandoned cart emails have 2 goals:
It can be difficult to tell what stopped a particular customer from completing an order. The best approach is to survey customers who abandon your carts, collect the data, and address the most commonly given reasons in your emails.
Your abandoned cart emails give you multiple opportunities to alleviate these concerns.
Let’s revisit the most common objections that prompted cart abandonment from the Baymard Institute report and discuss some ways to handle those objections:
|60% of customers abandon carts because of unexpected shipping costs.||If you offer free shipping, remind them in your email. If not, consider offering free shipping as an incentive.|
|28% abandon carts because the checkout process is long and complicated.||Link directly to your checkout page and make checking out as easy as possible.|
|23% abandon carts because they couldn’t calculate the total order cost up front.||Include the total cost of the order (with shipping and taxes) in your email.|
|19% abandon carts because they didn’t trust the website with their credit card info.||Include badges from the SSLs and other security measures you use to secure your check out process.|
Dyson provides a great example you can model in your own emails. At the bottom of their email, they include a “Why Buy From Dyson?” section that handles many common objections including:
Put Shoppers In An Emotional State
People buy products because they think that product will help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.
Oftentimes, people buy products because the product is part of an identity they associate with (think clothing brands like Nike for athletes).
Whatever the reason, your product put shoppers in an emotional state that brought them to the brink of buying it.
Abandoned cart emails can bring them back to that state and increase the likelihood that they’ll buy.
Once you understand why your customers want your products, experiment with ways to instill that mood or emotion in your emails.
Two of the simplest ways to do so include:
Vans is a clothing brand that sells to skaters, surfers, snowboarders, and alternative lifestyles. At the top of their abandoned cart email, they include a picture of a man looking cool while playing a guitar.
The image captures a certain mood and an identity that their customers probably associate with. Including it in their email can help reluctant shoppers reconnect with that mood.Click to preview
While the average abandoned cart email gets a 45% open rate, you won’t get anywhere near that number without a great Subject Line.
No matter how well crafted your abandoned cart email is – how well it returns the shopper to the emotional state they were in before abandoning or how well it resolves the issues that made them abandon – it won’t convert anyone if they don’t open it.
So follow these tips and tactics to create Subject Lines that get opened:
Shoppers need to be able to read it, absorb all the info, and make a decision in seconds.
This is especially true because 50% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Most phones display about 30-38 characters in a subject line in portrait mode.
So the longer and more complex your Subject Line, the less likely it will be read and opened. Make sure yours are simple and convey all the important information quickly.
According to Experian, personalized promotional mailings have 29 percent higher unique open rates. The simplest way to personalize your subject lines is by including the recipients name.
You can also try adding the name of the product they abandoned so that they recall their previous purchase session.
Your entire abandoned cart email should have a friendly tone. But this goes double for your Subject Line.
Shoppers don’t like to be pressured into making decisions. You can reduce the pressure and keep them enticed by keeping things friendly.
A great strategy for doing so is to approach your abandoned cart emails as an extension of customer service, rather than a sales tactic.
Most companies rely one a few tried and true tactics that get shoppers to open their abandoned cart email. While they’re becoming common, they still work.
Test these out in your campaigns:
Giving shoppers a discount on their abandoned item is a great way to get them to complete their purchase.
And advertising this discount in your Subject Line is a great way to get them to open your email.
Try using something like:
Creating a sense of urgency with your emails is a great way to compel shoppers to take action. You want to make them feel like they must act now or lose out on something important.
By creating a Subject Line that instills a sense of urgency, customers will be influenced to at least open the email and see what it is they may lose.
Try something like:
If you want shoppers to open emails, pique their curiosity.
Two easy ways to pique curiosity:
An information gap is when you give someone an incomplete piece of information that can only be completed if they take your desired action. It plays on the human compulsion to obtain or complete information.
Try something like:
Read more about Email Subject Lines.
The purpose of your CTA is to move shoppers back into your sales funnel and get them to complete their purchase.
And while CTAs are a critical component of driving that action, the type of CTA you use will differ depending upon your circumstances.
You should test your CTAs just like you test every other component of your abandoned cart email strategy.
Primarily, you should test the difference between low-commitment CTAs and high-commitment CTAs.
High-commitment CTAs prompt shoppers to take a strong, direct action. This includes phrases like “Buy Now”, “Complete Your Purchase”, “Checkout Now”.
High-commitment CTAs tend to work best on inexpensive, low-ticket items. Less expensive products generally require less thought from the customer. In other words, if they can be bought on impulse, then you can use a high-commitment CTA to prompt the shopper to act on impulse.
But low-commitment CTAs merely prompt shoppers to take another easy step towards a purchase. They aim to slowly coax the shopper down the sales funnel without scaring them off.
Low-commitment CTAs include phrases like “Return To Cart”, “Continue Shopping”, “Return To Order”. They avoid high-commitment words like “Buy”, “Purchase”, or “Checkout”.
But high-commitment CTAs can work well for some high-ticket items, just as low-commitment CTAs can work well for some low-ticket items. It all depends on your customers and why they buy your products. That’s why testing is crucial.
Also, you may use a low-commitment CTA in your first email and gradually try to put more pressure on customers later in the sequence with more high-commitment CTAs. Or vice-versa.Click to preview
This is an abandoned cart email we created for our client MEGAChess – a distributor of giant chess sets and chess boards.
With their unique product focus, MEGAChess shows that abandoned cart emails aren’t just for big brand retailers. Any business in any niche can utilize and benefit from them.
Dyson is a manufacturer and distributor of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and more. They sell multiple products at different price points.
JawlineMe is another one of our clients. They sell exercise equipment for your jaw. We created an abandoned cart email sequence for them that includes the email above.
Have a specific email marketing challenge you need met? Or have no idea where to start? InboxArmy’s corps of email marketing strategists provide actionable advice and suggestions to improve and optimize your email marketing programs to enhance ROI.
Aeropostale is a retailer of men’s and women’s clothing, with a focus on younger customers.
Sit ‘n Sleep is a mattress retailer based in Southern California. We created an abandoned cart email sequence for them that begins with the email above.
JustFab is a “membership shopping platform bringing stylish women together.” They sell shoes, clothing, and other accessories.
We created the above abandoned cart email for Staccato 2011, a company that produces handguns for duty and home defense.
Anthropologie is a clothing, accessory, beauty, and wellness company that caters to “creative, educated and affluent 30-45 year-old women.”
We created the abandoned cart email above for our client Vitamedica, a company that sells recovery, anti-aging, health, and wellness supplements.
American Eagle is a clothing company that sells casual clothes and swimwear for men and women.
Versare is a company that produces room dividers, cubicles, and acoustic partitions to help people organize space efficiently and affordably. We created an abandoned cart email sequence that begins with the above email.
Fabletics is a clothing brand that sells high-quality workout gear for men and women.
Whiskey Loot is an Australian whiskey club that sends members monthly boxes of premium whiskey. The email above is sent to shoppers who abandon carts for their yearly membership plan.
Vans is a clothing brand that caters to the skater, surfer, and snowboarder aesthetic. The email above is sent to those who abandon carts for their shoes, clothes, and accessories.
Email automation allows you to engage your customers over a period of time, increase the relevancy of your messaging based on data you collect, and drive higher lifetime value as a result—if done correctly.
InboxArmy’s squadron of email marketing experts can help you construct automated email marketing programs that focus on building and maintaining long-lasting, profitable relationships with your most engaged customers.
Retrospec is a manufacturer and distributor of bicycles and skateboards. The email above is one in a series of emails sent to people who abandon carts for their products.
Brooklinen is a supplier of luxury bedsheets, pillows, comforters, and blankets. The above email is sent to people who abandon their carts.
State Bicycle Co. manufactures and distributes high-quality single-speed, fixed-gear, city, and off-road bicycles and bicycle gear. The above email is sent to shoppers who abandon carts.
Dollar Shave Club is a male grooming membership club that sends members razors, shaving cream, soaps, sprays, and other male grooming products.The simple email above is sent to those who abandon the cart for their membership service.
Bearsville Soap Company is a producer and distributor of premium, environmentally-friendly soap for men. The email above is sent to cart abandoners.
Atlas Coffee Club is a “coffee of the month club” that curates coffee from around the world and delivers it to customers on a weekly or monthly basis. The above email is sent to shoppers who abandon carts for their monthly subscription.
Apart from abandoned cart emails, we’ve identified the automations that consistently provide the greatest ROI for most eCommerce stores. check our guide on ecommerce email automation.
At InboxArmy, we help our clients implement the most effective email automation tactics, including abandoned cart emails. Grow your business with our email marketing services.