Behind Retail Marketers' Best Secret: Abandoned Cart Emails

The increase of distracted shoppers and the rise of mobile shopping are a deadly combination for today's retail marketers.

Research from Baymard Institute, for example, shows that more than 68 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed. Furthermore, the average revenue for abandoned cart emails is at $5.64 (compared to $0.02 for promotional emails), according to Salesforce. While the power of abandoned cart emails is huge, the reality is less than a third of retailers actually send them.


It's critical that retailers understand not only the impact abandoned cart emails can have, but also ways to take advantage of this effective marketing tactic. The following article will highlight a few examples of great abandoned cart emails, along with some guidance on how to start implementing these into your own email marketing program.


First, a few examples


1. Glossier


Unlike typical "oops you forgot something" emails most brands send, Glossier's email playfully acknowledges that this is a triggered email but provides a clear call to action to encourage shoppers to "Get Back in There" and finish what was started. By keeping things focused, they encourage more conversions. According to Wordstream, using a single CTA can boost clicks 371 percent and sales 1617 percent.


2. Everlane



Everlane's email offers recipients a little dose of flattery but also serves as a helpful reminder to complete a purchase. Similarly, it includes a helpful tactic for shoppers: it reminds the recipient exactly what they left in their cart by including an image of the product and the price. The large, tappable button that takes shoppers right to checkout is another successful tactic that can help convince an abandoned shopper to return.


3. Patagonia




According to Forrester, 44 percent of cart abandoners do so because of shipping costs. Therefore, an important tactic to consider is offering free shipping to recipients as an incentive to complete a purchase. While brands will have to take on the shipping costs, it will likely be worth it in the end, as research shows contacts re-engaged through abandoned cart emails spend 55 percent more than the abandoned-cart total when they return.


Ideas for your own abandoned cart emails


Make sure to send one in the first place. This seems like a no-brainer, but according to Shopify, major retailers like Apple, Macy's and Nordstrom fail to send any sort of abandoned cart email. Retail marketers shouldn't copy their negligence. Since these emails are easy to set up, there's no excuse to leave the money on the table.


Remind them what they abandoned. Brands may need to jog a recipient's memory as to what they actually left in their cart. Incorporate an image of the product or products they abandoned, plus a reminder of the price. Marketers can also suggest similar items they might be interested in to help encourage additional purchases.  


Consider the timing. While marketers should always test timing to see what resonates best with a particular audience, be sure to send the email within 24 hours of cart abandonment. Research from Barilliance showed that the highest conversion rate occurs when the abandoned cart email is sent within one hour of the event, while sending an email 24 hours after the event dropped the conversion rate by 40 percent.


Brands won't be able to persuade every cart-abandoner to complete their purchase, as some customers may have never had the intention to purchase in the first place. But according to SaleCycle, nearly half of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site. Every bit of recovered revenue is worth it, so make sure to take this simple step and capture more of those hard-earned dollars.


About the Author
Colby Cavanaugh is the senior vice president of marketing at Emma, a digital marketing platform that makes it easy to create beautifully designed emails that drive results.