Crafting Effective Cart Abandonment Emails

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A report issued recently in the United Kingdom entitled Behavioural Email Study has discovered a fact which is so against all of the best practices which are widely acknowledged to form the core of email marketing that it truly may seem difficult if not impossible to believe. Fully 93% of the major retail brands polled do not utilize the most simple and basic of all behavioral targeting triggers to secure online sales: They do not send abandoned cart emails! How can it be possible that only 7% of these brands even try to recover the astounding 85% of all sales which bleed away through the problem of abandoned carts when it would seem to any experienced online marketer that it is absolutely fundamental to the entire ecommerce paradigm?

Oh why oh why did you abandon me?

There are as many specific reasons for abandoning a cart as there are consumers who do so. One of the most prevalent is the fact that checkout procedures are usually Byzantine to say the least. If you have profound usability problems in your checkout sequence then you are just asking for the consumer to take a hike. This simplicity and usability question also comes into play in the text of the email itself. If your customer has to read through several paragraphs of grey type while you slowly ease into the point of the entire email, then you are failing both them and your brand. Your cart abandonment email should be succinct and get right to the point without dallying. “Your cart is still available,” “Click to return to your cart,” “Were you unable to find what you were seeking,” or a phrase to that effect should be the banner headline of your cart abandonment email, making it crystal clear to the consumer that they can still pick up where they left off with no muss and no fuss.

Avoid the abandonment avalanche

Some consumers may be so indecisive that they get almost through the entire checkout process several times without even once making it through. If you are barraging them with an avalanche of cart abandonment emails they will see your brand as a stalker and run away screaming. Set a firm maximum of cart abandonment emails that you will send to any one particular customer, and if that level is more than just one per 30 day period, you’re erring on the side of too great a frequency. Remember that there are some customers who simply won’t check out no matter what you do so pushing them too far is always a mistake.

Shun the generic cart abandonment email

Far too many brands compose a single master cart abandonment email and then send it out to everyone who leaves products prior to checkout. This too is a serious mistake, as the technology to integrate the exact contents of the cart in the email itself is readily implementable. You will find that when you remind your customer of exactly the goodies that they are missing out on, they will have a greater likelihood of going back to the cart to continue with the checkout process.

Don’t become a well-known Santa Claus

There was a high tech retailer some years back who would automatically provide you with a 5% discount voucher as soon as you abandoned the email and if you were to go back into the same cart and abandon it again, would fire off a 10% discount. This flaw in their cart abandonment email logic was quickly discovered and exploited to the max. Techy forums were filled with the instructions on how to abandon your cart twice on purpose in order to get 10% off any purchase. While discount vouchers and coupons do serve a purpose in your cart abandonment email strategy you should take steps to ensure that it doesn’t become a blanket license to get a discount on every order.

You can increase the bottom line results from your brand’s ecommerce ventures by simply recovering as many abandoned carts as possible through an effective and efficient email marketing strategy. Don’t be like those 93% of brands which abandon their abandonment programs!

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