Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails - Our Top 10 Tips

Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails - Our Top 10 Tips

For many ecommerce businesses, a huge amount of revenue is lost when visitors abandon at the checkout before making their purchase. Learn how an abandoned cart email series can help you capture some of those sales.

Written by Matt Allen

5 min read

Growing visibility and online presence to enable visitors to find your store = key.

Keeping them engaged and onsite = vital.

Encouraging them to add products to their basket = essential.

The customer hitting the ‘buy’ button = priceless.

Why does cart abandonment matter?

For many ecommerce businesses, a huge chunk of lost revenue is represented by visitors who don’t progress beyond step 3, i.e. they add products to their cart but abandon at the checkout before making the purchase.

Average cart abandonment rate is probably higher than you think: an astonishing 69% (based on the aggregated results of 40 cart abandonment studies conducted since 2012). But why is this?

Why do people abandon their carts?

A large number of cart abandonments are simply a natural result of how users navigate and browse ecommerce sites – many are window shopping, might be going through a price comparison exercise, saving items for later, or exploring gift options. These are unavoidable cart and checkout abandonments. However, there are people who abandon carts who do not have to represent lost revenue, and there are steps you can take to persuade them to complete those purchases.

Tactics to reduce cart abandonment

There are things you can implement across your whole site to reduce cart abandonment, and we will cover these broader tactics in another article (coming soon!) - this piece will focus specifically on steps you can take after the cart has been abandoned, using email marketing.

Abandoned cart emails best practice

A recent Barclaycard survey showed that on average, UK shoppers alone abandon £30 of products per month, totalling £18bn of potential sales each year. Using emails to follow up and persuade cart-abandoners is a sure-fire way to capture some of that lost revenue. Here are our top ten tips for making sure you implement a robust abandoned cart email series.

1. Consider using an email provider

There are lots of ESPs (email service providers) out there to help you automate your email operations. A good entry level option for email automation is Mailchimp, and as your business grows, other ESPs like Klaviyo or Bronto are definitely worth considering.

2. Craft superb subject lines

These elements are key because they’re the first thing your cart-abandoner will see when they receive your email. You need to write snappy, clear text to entice your customer back. A couple of simple, effective examples are subject lines like ‘Did you forget something?’ or ‘We’ve held your [product name] for a limited time.’

3. Write good supporting preview text

The preview text (or the preheader) is the short snippet they’ll see below the subject line before they open the email. A sentence or two which follows on logically from the subject line is good practice. It’s a good opportunity to include some enticing text to help you stand out in a crowded inbox and encourage your recipient to open the email. Try to keep it to fewer than 40 characters so it doesn’t get cut off for any users (although some email clients do show up to about 90 characters). It may seem like a small detail, but a good preview that accompanies a well-written subject line can dramatically increase open rates.

4. Make sure the messaging is clear and to the point

You want your recipient to understand immediately who the email is from (you), and why they’ve received it (to buy something). To help this, make sure the style, branding and messaging matches your website. The subject line and preview text mentioned earlier should support this too :)

5. Show the item

Remind the customer of the beautiful item they’ve left behind! Show them the product image and entice them back.

6. Link directly back to cart using a clear call to action

You want to make it as easy as possible for them to get straight back to the cart and finish the process. The best way to do this is with a clear, obvious button that will take them directly back to the cart when clicked, making their path to purchase as frictionless as possible. Phrases such as ‘complete your purchase’, ‘buy now’ and ‘finish checking out’ all work well as effective CTAs.

7. Offer incentives

While it’s important not to simply send a 10% off code to everyone who leaves something in their cart (shoppers are wise to this and may deliberately abandon items simply to squeeze a discount out of the retailer) there is a place for incentives. Consider a discount or free shipping for first time buyers only, to encourage them to make the purchase.

8. Ensure the email forms part of a series

Shopify includes the ability to send an abandoned cart email to customers if they have entered their email address. This is a good starting point, however we recommend going beyond this single follow-up email and creating an abandoned cart email sequence. Following up with 3 emails, sent in the hours and days after the item is left behind, is an effective way of capturing some of those potentially lost sales.

Email 1 - within an hour of the item being left behind

We’d recommend sending the first email straight away - this is when the potential purchase is still at the front of the shopper’s mind. Perhaps they got distracted by a phone call or email. They might still be at their laptop and just need a reminder to get them back into the buying zone to complete the purchase. It’s important this email isn’t pushy. Aim to make it helpful - is there anything you can help them with to finish their buying process? Ensure you provide customer support details so they can contact you if they’ve had problems with the process.

Email 2 - 24 hours after the cart was abandoned

Leave it for a day. You don’t want to annoy them by chasing for the sale. 24 hours later, if they’ve not completed the purchase, get in touch again. Use this opportunity to create a sense of urgency and to let them know you’ve held their items, but only for a limited time, and product availability or any discounts can’t be guaranteed forever.

Email 3 - 48 hours after the cart was abandoned

It’s been 2 days since your customer left their item behind. There’s less chance of a purchase at this point but all is not lost. Now could be the time to incentivise with a discount, free shipping or other offer. As mentioned earlier though - be careful with how you use discounts to avoid people abusing the system.

Here at ESC we have a dedicated team of marketing professionals who have crafted successful email strategies for many of our clients - if you’d like to know more, get in touch for a chat!

9. Product recommendations

This is something you can incorporate into your email sequence - perhaps in number 3, when the original item has been left for 48 hours. Using a ‘you may also like’ approach could entice the customer back by showing them similar items to the one they showed an interest in originally.

10. Tailor your messages

Many ESPs allow you to intelligently send emails, appropriate to the segment (for example, a first time buyer needs trust building in the brand and may be swayed by a discount, whereas a repeat purchaser might form part of a VIP segment). You can use the data available to you in your contact database to understand groups of customers to enable you to tailor your message appropriately. Using the person’s name is a great touch too: personalisation is key.

To conclude, if you craft a series of well-positioned, clear emails that make it easy for your customers to come back to complete their purchase, you’ll be able to capture revenue from people who hadn’t quite made up their minds, were distracted, or just needed that extra incentive to buy from you!

We’re putting together another blog with useful tips and advice on other tactics to maximise your sales through reduced cart abandonment. Make sure you subscribe below, and we’ll notify you when it’s published.

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