Abandoned Cart Emails in 2020

Now that the 2019 online holiday shopping season is behind us, it’s time to reflect on your results and refocus your plans for 2020. How did your ecommerce infrastructure hold up? How effective were your marketing efforts in driving traffic and sales? Perhaps you found that your online store suffered from a large percentage of abandoned shopping carts. You weren’t alone.

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?
The online holiday shopping season is notorious for shopping cart abandonment. What exactly does this mean? It is a term widely used in ecommerce to explain what happens when a customer fills their online shopping cart and then leaves the website before completing the checkout process.

Cart abandonment is a phenomenon that is unique to online shopping. Most offline stores don’t have issues with abandoned shopping carts cluttering their aisles. But, the nature of online shopping encourages browsing and allows shoppers to be fickle without sacrificing a lot of time and effort. Can you imagine getting into your car on a snowy day, circling several times for a parking spot, fighting the crowds in the store to search for the right brand, sizes or colors, and then just ditching all of that effort and walking out of the store? Of course not! The time investment is too great; not to mention the fact that your cart would probably not be there if you returned. Abandoned shopping carts aren’t even worth measuring in the offline world. But, in the online world, cart abandonment is the rule, not the exception: for the average ecommerce website, more than 75% of shoppers that add items to their cart will abandon them. That is a lot of missed sales opportunities!

How to Address Shopping Cart Abandonment
Many online retailers have invested in retargeting ad campaigns. That means that if you have been shopping for a desk chair, let’s say, and then you leave the site, you may notice multiple ads for desk chairs in your browser. This is done in an attempt to remind you, or even lure you, back into the store. Or, with the same scenario, you might encounter desk chairs as you scroll through your social media feed. Same idea, different venue. As popular as these tactics may be, there are even better ways to spend marketing dollars.

Online marketers would be wise to take their budgets and invest in email campaigns. Email might sound like an old school tactic, but don’t be so sure. Email has been credited time and again with better ROI than retargeting, SEO and other online tactics. According to email benchmarks, on average, email open rates are about 20% with a click-through rate (CTR) of 3.7%. And, the response is even better when used as part of an abandoned cart email strategy: when a message is sent from a known online retailer that specifically references items in an abandoned cart, the open rate averages 39% and the CTR is 11%. Clearly customers react differently when they have a connection to the content of the email!

Abandoned cart email campaigns are growing in popularity because the data shows they work. Plus, the technology of sophisticated shopping cart software and other programs allow them to be more advanced. Here are some keys for having the best abandoned cart emails.

No Email, No Campaign
Collecting email is a critical component to your online marketing effort. Consider it Step Zero in your multi-step process. There are different ways to capture email, but of course, you must be able to associate that email with a specific shopping cart. The sooner you start collecting emails the better because, most likely, your competitors already are. In data reported from Statista, the growth in the total volume of email continues to grow at a rapid pace. In 2019, 269 billion emails per day were received and sent out. But in 2022, that same metric is projected to increase to 347 billion emails per day. Make sure your business is part of that growth!

Capture Attention with Email Subject Lines
With all of the email filling customers’ email boxes, it is your challenge to make your message stand out. Off the bat, you must use the email subject line to capture the recipient’s attention. The subject is what makes people open email. According to data quoted on neilpatel.com, “35% of email recipients open an email based on subject line alone.” Starting with eye-catching email subject lines will take you far. Be relevant and create a sense of urgency, but be brief since well over 50% of email is read on a mobile device. To be mobile friendly, the best email subject lines will have no more than seven words or 30 characters.

Market researchers recommend testing different options to measure effectiveness. Try first using a simple message and test it against a more creative or humorous one. Maybe test a promotional message to see if that is more compelling: a discount, free shipping, etc. Every customer base is different; find the email subject line messaging that is best for your business.

How Do Abandoned Cart Emails Work?
Once you get your customer to open the email, the contents have to convince your customer to return to your site. The key is to remind your customer why they liked the product. Images get that job done quickly and effectively. Remember the mobile users—optimize your images for easy downloads and consider having a version of your email specific to mobile that includes words like “tap” or “swipe” that are more mobile-friendly.

Try these tips:

  • Put your calls to action high up in the content, in headlines easy to see. Also, repeat them throughout the copy.
  • Be sure to reinforce key selling points for the product.
  • Include reviews to help drive your points home.
  • If you have a larger group, segmenting and customizing your messaging could help in the targeting—for example, maybe you would provide a discount for a first-time customer, but not for a repeat customer.

While everyone’s first instinct is to offer discounts or promotions to entice customers back to the site, be careful with this tactic. You don’t want to train your customers to abandon carts and expect an emailed discount.

When to Send Abandoned Cart Emails
We all know that timing is everything. While we can’t always predict why a cart is abandoned, research from multiple sources shows that 20-30% of shoppers abandon carts because they are actively browsing. Therefore, abandoned cart email timing is critical! According to one group, emails that are sent within one hour of cart abandonment have a 6.3% conversion rate. That’s a significant win back!

If the immediate email doesn’t do the trick, some report success with a series of emails. Three seems to be the magic number, with each one creating a greater sense of urgency. This could be a scenario where a retailer reserves a promotion or discount for the third email. Others report success with including relevant product recommendations or upsells.

If you haven’t been using abandoned cart email campaigns in your online marketing strategy, 2020 is the time to add them…and start capturing that lost revenue!

For eCommerceCart clients: you can customize the abandoned cart email template with copy to fit the tone of your business, or include any promotion you choose. To find these options, click “Drift Marketing Campaign” under “Marketing” from within your admin panel.

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