Ask any online retailer to name their most frustrating business challenge, and the chances are very
good they will say it is shopping cart abandonment. Probably a 75-percent chance or better, which
is exactly how high the abandonment rate itself has climbed — to 76 percent, according to the latest
report from Forrester Research.
Strangely, while cart abandonments are costing e-commerce
merchants nearly $20 billion annually in lost
sales, the chances are also high that you know a retailer
who does not attempt to regain these customers
through an email retargeting program. Sixty-eight percent
of merchants do not, according to a study by Econsultancy
and RedEye, compared to just 32 percent who
do have such a program in place.
When executed correctly, cart recovery emails generate
an average of nearly $18 in revenue per message
sent, according to research conducted by retargeting solutions
provider SeeWhy. The study also showed that an
average of 20.8 percent of cart abandoners go back to
the site and buy something after receiving these targeted
emails, and that they wind up spending 55 percent
more than shoppers who made purchases without
abandoning their carts.
“The revenue achieved by retargeting emails far outweighs
the cost to implement these solutions,” says
Heather Bonura, the director of brand strategy for email
marketing services provider Listrak. “Not to mention
that you’re building customer loyalty with every sale
and engagement, so these retargeting solutions can increase
customer lifetime value. And they’ve also been
known to convert at a much higher average order value
than standard site orders.”
Listrak’s cart abandonment email solution is one of
several on the market today, but the company has established
itself as one of the most aggressive vendors in
the space by partnering with multiple e-commerce platform
providers in the past year. Retailers utilizing platforms
such as Magento, Volusion, Miva Merchant,
3DCart and X-Cart can deploy the Listrak email retargeting
solution to automatically send one or a series of
emails to cart abandoners with the intent of guiding
them back to the site to complete their orders.
Additional email marketing service providers such as
MailChimp, Campaigner, Constant Contact, Exact Target
and others offer retargeting solutions as a way for
merchants to reclaim sales otherwise lost to cart abandonment,
yet the abandonment rates continue to climb
and the number of retailers using these solutions remains
in the minority. If you are a merchant who is dissatisfied
with the fact that three out of four shoppers will abandon
their carts before checkout, it may be time to rethink your
own strategy for fighting cart abandonment.
Below are four proven best practices to follow when fighting
cart abandonment through email remarketing:
Make it possible
Merchants cannot retarget cart abandoners through email if they do not have an email address.
This is why getting that address in the first step of the buying process is so critical,
and making it a simple, email-only “form” is the most effective way to accomplish this.
More research from SeeWhy has shown that 54 percent of all carts successfully recovered
are regained within the first few hours after abandonment, and most vendors
offer solutions that send automated responses in real time to within the first three
hours. Average conversion rates for recovery emails that are sent immediately after
abandonment are 11 percent, and that number falls to 6 percent after the first day and
drops down to 3 percent after a week.
Plan to send a series of three emails, one in real time or within the first few hours of
abandonment; the next (if necessary) two or three days later, and the third (if necessary)
two or three days after that. The first message should be a reminder of the items left in the
abandoned cart, and if that message does not result in a sale, the second message should
include an incentive such as free shipping or 5 to 10 percent off the order. If a third message
is still necessary to complete the sale, up the ante with a last-chance attempt by
sweetening the offer to 15 percent off if purchased within the next 24 hours.
Test and tweak
Only through analytics, however, will you be able to identify any “serial abandoners” who
try to gain these incentives by repeatedly ditching their carts. This makes it all the more
important to you’re your messaging constantly and segment your email lists accordingly.