How to Use Email to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
Each filled shopping cart that gets abandoned should be seen as lost revenue. You managed to get the customers to your website, but you lost them at the checkout line. Unfortunately, unlike at a brick and mortar store, you can't directly ask each customer how you can help them complete their purchase. But you can use email in a similar manner. These email techniques have been tested by marketing researchers and shown to significantly reduce shopping cart abandonment without spamming the customer with constant emails. In some cases, conversion rates increase by over 100%.
Collect Email Addresses
Encourage potential customers to fill in an email address as the first step to checkout. If you collect nothing else, you want those email addresses so you can use it to bring them back.
What you say and how you say it will either bring customers back, or make them ignore your email. The email should be friendly and helpful. You want to ask how you can help each customer complete their purchase or find the product they are looking for. Also, and maybe most importantly, include a discount and announce this in the subject line of the email you send. The biggest incentive for customers to finish their shopping is to get a coupon code in a shopping cart recovery email. And it needs to be a significant coupon. Offer a onetime coupon code that will expire soon that's worth at least 15% off. Then include a link that's easy to spot and takes the customer directly to their shopping cart with the discount already calculated. Now all your customer has to do is input a credit card number and click complete order.
When and How Many Emails to Send
Send your first shopping cart recovery email right away, within one to 24 hours after the customer leaves your site and their shopping cart. If a purchase is still not made, then send another email one to five days later. Two helpful follow-up emails that include discounts are viewed favorably by most online shoppers. Sending a third email becomes risky. With that third email, you may recover some lost revenue, but your ecommerce business may also start to be seen as spam by some customers.
Also, consider where your customer base is located and when they are likely to shop for your products before deciding what day and times to send out the second or third email. For example, women tend to shop after the kids go to bed around 10 p.m. If you sell women's fashion, send the shopping cart recovery email at 9 p.m. so that discount is waiting for your customer when she starts shopping.
Sending a limited number of targeted shopping cart recovery emails has proved to be effective at bringing customers back without alienating them. But it's only successful if your ecommerce business doesn't cross the line from helpful to spam. If you understand your customer base, then using email to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate should increase your sales revenue quickly.
Marketing Experiments: Shopping Cart Recovery Tested
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