I was a Web consumer yesterday, buying flowers online. First, I went to ProFlowers.com and searched for what I wanted. I found it and started through the checkout process. But when I neared the end, the price (including shipping) had grown to a point where I thought I was paying too much. So I abandoned my shopping cart and went to another site, where I found a better arrangement for less money. I checked out and that was the end.
Several hours later (at least four) I received an email from ProFlowers, offering 10% off my abandoned order, along with a free vase - or 10% off just about anything else for that matter. Now, had I seen this email immediately after abandoning my cart, I would have gone back. I would have saved money over the other website, and ProFlowers would have had my business today, and possibly in the future.
There are two important takeaways here: First, as a Web consumer, it pays to shop around. More importantly, as a retailer, it is a good idea to offer incentives to return to a shopping cart. It can make a sale. But it needs to be done immediately. My inbox in my browser tells me when I have an email. My mobile even alerts me. Even if I don't see it right away, the re-offer will remain in my inbox, and I'll know that I got an immediate opportunity to save. Instead, I'm left with spending more money than I needed to.