7 Ways to Improve Your Abandoned Cart Email Campaign

We’ve all been there. You’re sipping your latte in the curbside pickup spot at Target when the creature emerges. Shifty-eyed and heaving many put-upon sighs, the cart abandoner does her dirty work. Not much is known about the creature, except that her name is usually Karen and she has lots of reasons she can’t walk 12 feet to return her cart to the corral.

While the Karens in the parking lot are a lost cause, your online shoppers are not. There are a number of common reasons they don’t complete their purchase. However, when you have a strong abandoned cart email campaign, you can win these consumers back and turn them into conversions. Here, we offer you seven tips to improve your email marketing strategy and bring your cart abandoners safely back into the corral.

 

7 Ways to Improve Your Abandoned Cart Email Campaign

 

1. Once More with Feeling

Studies show that cart abandonment is slowly creeping upward, with as many as 75 percent of shoppers leaving before pulling the trigger. Emails sent within one hour of an abandoned cart have around a 20 percent success rate, but that leaves a lot of potential buyers still debating. The key is finding a balance between sending just the right amount of emails, but never too many (a sure-fire way to make customers click “unsubscribe”). A three-touchpoint email strategy for cart abandoners is the best practice to reach as many as possible. A basic plan for your campaign would look like this:

  • Email #1: Sent within one hour. This will likely get you the most conversions, as these customers likely just need a gentle reminder to complete their purchase.

  • Email #2: Sent within 24 hours. By now, your customers have had time to evaluate their reasons for leaving their cart, and so should you. Provide them with the information they need to reach a decision.

  • Email #3: Sent within 72 hours. This is where you pull out the big guns. Make them an offer they can’t pass up. 

     

2. Get in the Buyer’s Head

You don’t often see shoppers at the grocery store filling up their carts, then walking away. So why is it common practice online? It’s important to understand the reasons your buyers stop just short of conversion. Once you know that, you can segment your email lists to address their concerns and win them back. The primary reasons for cart abandonment are:

  • Extra Costs at Checkout. Shipping, taxes, and other fees can be a major turnoff for buyers.

  • Account Setup Required. New customers often don’t want to go through a lengthy registration process to make a purchase.

  • Limited Shipping Options. In the world of free two-day delivery (or less), consumers want what they want…when they want it.

  • Payment Problems. Customers cite fears over payment security and lack of payment methods as two key reasons they fail to follow through with a purchase.

  • Return Concerns. Consumers want to protect their investment, no matter how big or small. If they aren’t satisfied with the policies regarding returning an item or pursuing a refund, they are more likely to halt the purchase process.

 

3. Get Subjective with Your Subjects

Subject lines are the beacons that guide your cart abandoners back to your shore. They should be succinct, catchy, and tailored to your customer’s wants and needs. Consider a play on words (like Casper’s campaign to lure customers back to mattress buying by imploring, “Come Back to Bed”) or evoke their sense of FOMO. When creating your subject lines, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Personalization Matters. With the amount of information we can now gather around our email lists, there’s no reason not to create a personalized subject line that mentions your customer’s name, location, or history of loyalty to the company.

  • Feature the Item. You're likely not the only brand sending this kind of email to consumers, so mention the product they were considering to jolt their memory and move them seamlessly back into the buying process.

  • Set a Deadline. If you’re going to offer an incentive for completing a purchase, make sure it’s short-lived so customers are motivated to act quickly.

  • Make It Pop. Subject lines featuring emojis or stars to indicate highly reviewed items often see a higher open rate.

     

4. Incentivize Wisely

You might think blasting out a substantial discount will solve your abandoned cart problems, but be cautious when using promotions. Over time, they can erode your profit margin and condition your customers to abandon their carts in expectation of a lower price. Smart incentives address the common motives for cart abandonment.

  • Offer Free Shipping. This will appeal to those who were turned off after going through the checkout process only to find high shipping costs in the final buying stage.

  • Provide Free Returns/Refunds. You can offer an exclusive trial period, cover the cost of return shipping, or promise no-hassle refunds.

  • Make Discounts a Last Resort. Discounts and promos should be offered in the final round of abandoned cart emails, once other avenues have been exhausted. 

     

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5. Showcase the Products They Want

In the digital age, more consumers are turning to ratings and reviews to make their purchasing decisions. Here’s how you can optimize your good standing to sway them to convert:

  • Include Reviews of the Products in Their Cart. This can help build trust with consumers and ease their skepticism.

  • Feature Similar Items. Comparison shopping is important to many consumers, and if you offer several like products that can meet their needs, they won’t have to go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for.

  • Highlight Products Most Likely to Buy. Many shoppers place multiple items in their cart, not sure which one is right for them. If you find most of your abandoned carts have numerous similar products, feature the highest-rated or best-selling item to help them in their decision-making process.

     

6. Capitalize on Customer Loyalty

Loyalty programs can be motivating to customers who’ve shopped your brand in the past. Frequent buyers expect to be rewarded for their dedication to your products, which can be leveraged in multiple ways to entice them to return.

  • Let Them Know Their Current Points Balance. Your customers may not be aware of the rewards they have available. Share how much they've accrued, and help translate it into actual savings.

  • Offer More Loyalty Rewards for Purchasing. Double their points, or elevate them to the next tier in your loyalty program. 

  • Keep Them Coming Back for More. Reward customers who complete a purchase with BOGO vouchers, store credit, or invitations to exclusive sales. Remember to always tie this incentive to future purchases. 

     

7. Simplify Your Checkout Process

As mentioned above, a lengthy or difficult checkout can be a huge turnoff for customers. Make sure your emails direct them to easily complete their purchase.

  • Implement One-Click Checkout. With more payment vendors allowing customers to store their payment information, you can provide options that allow them to finalize their purchase with a single click.

  • Let Them Know They Don’t Have to Register. Offering a guest checkout option is appealing to many consumers. Include a button in your email that directs them to the guest checkout for easy processing. This also helps with registered customers who can't remember their password.

  • Share Payment Options and Security Upgrades. Accepting only major credit cards no longer cuts it for most brands. Consumers want to know that their preferred payment method is accepted and that their payment will be processed securely.

  • Note End Dates for Sales and Promotional Pricing. Let customers know this deal won’t last forever, and set a hard deadline for them to act.

  • Display the Remaining Number of Items. If a consumer can see that the product they want is down to single digits (bonus points if you can show how many others have it in their carts), they are far more motivated to take immediate action to avoid missing out.

  • Hold the Contents of Their Cart…But Not for Long. This sets your brand up as the hero, but also reminds the customer that they won’t have indefinite access to their cart. This is especially effective for large carts containing multiple items. 

There are numerous email marketing best practices you can implement in your abandoned cart campaign. Read up on some of these in our 2020 forecast on email marketing. And if you want more customized solutions for reaching out to your cart abandoners, we can help. Our email marketing service can provide you with strategies to meet your customers' needs and grow your email revenue. 

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