It has been estimated that 75% of shoppers who begin shopping online abandon their carts.
That implies nearly three out of four visitors who add things to their shopping carts on your site will abandon their attempts to buy.
It's widely known that recouping some of that lost money is possible with a cart abandonment campaign, with as many as 60% of messages leading to a purchase within 24 hours of activation.
But sending a cart abandonment email doesn't guarantee conversion.
You need to execute your cart abandonment campaign the right way to convince lost shoppers to come back and complete their purchase.
You should optimize your cart abandonment email campaign for everything from design to copy, send time, and the correct sequence for the drives to be successful. And, you need to consider all of these things to get the results you are hoping for from these abandonment campaigns.
So, abandon these ten critical mistakes to get the most from your cart abandonment campaign:
Mistake #1: Not sending cart abandonment emails!
Many DTC brands don’t send cart abandonment emails. Maybe, they don’t have the technical capability to send them.
Few others don’t send them because they may be worried they’ll annoy customers or simply don’t think they will work.
The main argument against sending cart abandonment emails is that people will return anyway if they want to buy.
Is there a grain of truth in this argument? Yes, it’s true, there is a natural recovery rate for abandoned carts.
Shopping cart abandonment occurs for several causes, including but not limited to the following:
- Got distracted
- Still considering what else to buy
- Adding items in order to qualify for free shipping
- Need to check something with another family member before the purchase
- Not having the right debit/credit card beside them
- Payment gateway issues
So, some carts are not abandoned in the real sense, they are snoozing. In such cases, an email is not needed to recover such abandonments.
Also, each brand has a different natural recovery rate and a different amount of real incremental revenue.
To do or not to do?
With a holdout test, you can determine the true value of your incremental income.
Compare the income made by the group that receives an abandonment email to that made by the group that does not.
Keep in mind that the statistical significance of a holdout needs to be examined. It takes a significant number of cart abandonment messages sent to gain an accurate reading of their effectiveness.
Mistake #2: Timing it incorrectly
You may have spent weeks designing a good cart abandonment email campaign, and days crafting a good email copy for maximum persuasion. But, it may not have converted as well as you expected.
Maybe you’ve overlooked a crucial element: timing.
Timing is everything.
The most finely crafted emails may not get opened when sent at the wrong time. For example, if someone searched for a Christmas gift on your site/app on 23rd December, added one to their shopping cart, and then abandoned it, there’s a good chance that they needed it before Christmas. If you waited for 24 hours to send your cart abandonment mail, chances are high that they may have already bought it from elsewhere before they received your email.
Sending cart abandonment messages to cart abandoners within the first 5 minutes to an hour after abandonment is crucial in recovering these lost sales. This first message can be an email, an SMS, a push notification, or in-app messaging based on the customer’s preference as well as your product’s ticket size.
How to determine the right time
The best practice for abandoned cart emails is to send the recovery email within an hour of cart abandonment.
Recovery emails sent after 24 hours of cart abandonment have an average conversion rate of 12.2%; far underperforming emails are sent within 60 minutes, averaging 20.3% conversion.
Additionally, 72% of customers that completed a purchase after abandoning a shopping cart did so within 24 hours; 95% of shoppers that purchased after cart abandonment did so within two weeks following abandonment.
But, there is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet to send a cart abandonment email.
It depends a lot on the nature and ticket size of your product. For example, if you deal in products that require little research like grocery items, you can send the email immediately or max within an hour after abandonment. But, if you deal in products like mobile phones, jewelry, etc. that typically require more research then you can send within the first 24 hours post cart abandonment.
The time window between when the shopper abandons your cart and receives your cart abandonment email plays a critical role in recovering your cart. Too early and they will ignore it, but with too much of a gap, they may forget about it or buy it from elsewhere.
Constantly test and measure to find the ideal time gap.
Don’t let industry research or stats determine when you should send your email (use the research as an inspiration to get started). Please test a few send timings to find a sweet spot for your cart abandonment emails.
Mistake #3: Sending just one email
If you only send one email when a cart is abandoned, you're missing out on sales.
According to Smart Insights, cart abandonment campaigns that send three emails convert 26% higher than campaigns sending one email.
No matter how many emails a DTC brand sends, timing remains incredibly important. Research shows that the second email sent between 24-48 hours of cart abandonment averages 17.7% conversion versus the second email sent 49+ hours after, which averages 7.7% conversion.
The optimal timing to send the third email falls just after 72 hours, which averages 18.2% conversion.
By sending more than one cart abandonment mail, you increase your chances of getting noticed. However, like with any marketing initiative, giving careful consideration to the strategy behind your cart abandonment campaign will yield far better results.
Don't forget that the tone of your cart recovery emails should be more customer service focused than sales driven. Consider including a little soft-sell message like "Did you face any issues while ordering?" "Can we be of any help?", “Here is a list of FAQs and customer reviews that will help you…” and a few related product recommendations in your cart abandonment series to create a perfect cart abandonment series.
Mistake #4: Targeting every cart abandoner with the same message
Not everyone abandons a cart to receive a discount. So, when deciding on your cart abandonment offer, you should remember this.
Even a frugal customer can be persuaded by the price cuts to make a purchase. But, if someone is doing his or her last-minute festival shopping, maybe an express shipping or free shipping offer can induce him or her to complete a purchase.
Segment cart abandoners
First, you should segment your cart abandoners, so that you can identify them and send them hyper-personalized messages.
For example, you can create a different segment for new subscribers, who’ve abandoned their first shopping cart or loyal customers, who’ve abandoned the cart. This will help you in deciding what content to send in your email, rather than just sending the same email to everyone.
Mistake #5: Not using frequency capping or proper campaign end goals
Online shoppers are easily irritated by retailers flooding email inboxes; whether transactional or marketing emails, too many or irrelevant messages can hurt conversion rates.
As previously mentioned, three emails for abandoned cart recovery is typically ideal, but it's important to ensure your campaign is set to cease sending emails after a customer has either recovered their cart (that is, he/she’s bought that item or another related product) or removed the abandoned item from his/her shopping cart.
Asking customers to complete the checkout for items they've just purchased or removed from the shopping cart can damage your DTC brand's reputation.
Mistake #6: Not having a targeted discount strategy!
MoneySavingExpert sends email tips to 12 million people who have signed up for them. They tell customers that the best way to get a discount is to abandon carts.
Quite a few repeat customers and serial online shoppers have understood that cart abandonment on most online sites/apps may lead to additional offers, discounts, or free shipping! So in your cart abandonment email campaign, your DTC/ecommerce brand may be better off just sending a helpful email and not including a discount.
Incorporate some form of smarter discount or deal if you must. Keep in mind it's possible the cart is only snoozing and not totally abandoned.
Make your discount strategy more targeted:
- Discounts should be used later in the campaign, rather than in the initial abandonment email.
- Dynamically include a discount just for first-time customers
- Vary the incentive based on cart value. Offer free delivery or a dollar-off discount on expensive items and a percentage-off discount on cheap ones.
Mistake #7: Adding too many distractions
Your DTC brand should ideally send its first abandonment email around 45 minutes after the abandonment event.
Its job is to get already engaged visitors back to the site. This is not the kind of email in which you explain a new proposition; instead, you should keep things brief and to the point.
Something like this email from Chubbies Shorts:
Their email has excelled on three dimensions of a great email: compelling visuals, great copy, and multiple links. No distractions or additional CTAs.
Your DTC or ecommerce brand should A/B test whether to include the abandoned product’s price information in the cart abandonment email. Test whether leaving that out converts higher or not.
Including price, information might just be too focused on the painful bit—spending money! It may start a conversation in the shopper’s head about whether they are happy with the price.
A simple focus on the product gets someone to the site or app before that question pops up.
So, think of these cart abandonment emails as non-promotional emails; in promotional emails, the price may need to be used as a motivation to click.
For abandoned products they were already selected, so the price is probably acceptable.
Test to determine what’s best for your buyers.
Mistake #8: Not including product recommendations
The vast majority of customers who purchase online agree that receiving emails with product recommendations is helpful.
Try cross-selling strategies to recover lost sales from shoppers who abandon their shopping carts, raise click-through rates, and upsell more expensive products
Including product recommendations in abandoned cart recovery emails can increase conversions by 10% and click-through rates by 50%.
Sometimes it helps the shopper decide whether they want something more than their original shopping cart items or it can open their eyes to products that better fit their wants/needs.
But while adding product recommendations, please remember to do it without distracting from the primary goal of cart recovery.
Product recommendations should be presented as an afterthought below the main content and CTAs in the email. These should be relevant cross-sells and upsells based on the customer’s past buying behavior and the targeted segment’s past purchases.
Mistake #9: Not segmenting messages based on historical data
Online stores have a wealth of historical sales and customer data, which helps marketers find trends and behavioral cues.
For ecommerce, the 80/20 rule is simple: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers:
- Who are these valuable customers?
- How can you find them?
- What can you learn about them when you do?
That’s where the 80/20 RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary) analysis comes in:
- Recency - When did a customer last purchase?
- Frequency - How often do they purchase?
- Monetary - How much do they spend?
These are the three metrics used to determine a customer’s lifetime value.
From RFM Segmentation to product/category association, your DTC/ecommerce brand needs to utilize all available information to customize cart abandonment emails.
Mistake #10: Not A/B testing your cart abandonment emails
In many ways split testing automated cart recovery emails is easier than split testing broadcast campaigns because the same creative is being used continuously. That makes implementing the findings of an A/B test very easy.
For instance, if you are sending 500+ cart abandonment emails per week, then you’ve got enough volume to start running A/B tests to improve your emails’ impact.
You should start with A/B testing based on your email content and design, such as:
- Subject line
- Product images and layout
- Product details to include
- Review/rating information for products
- Call to action (CTAs) and their placement
- Content to overcome common conversion objections
You should also A/B test the timing and number of cart recovery emails in your cart abandonment series.
Don’t be scared; let go.
By now, you probably know not to send more than three abandoned cart emails even if you never acquire the sale. Any more than this number may annoy potential buyers and turn them off from making a purchase in the future.
So, always include an opt-out link at the beginning and end of your emails so your customers know they’re in control and not going to be chased down.
There’s nothing more discouraging than running a seemingly successful campaign and losing conversions so close to the finish line.
But if you don’t commit these 10 mistakes of cart abandonment, you’re likely to win back those customers in less time and effort for better ROI.