Ecommerce sites lose out on many potential sales simply because customers abandon their carts in the middle of shopping, and it’s not always because they’re no longer interested in purchasing the product (although that might be true in some cases). A great way to recover these customers without investing a lot of cost and effort is through the deployment of abandoned cart emails.
An abandoned cart email is an email sent to a customer who initiates a shopping event by adding items to his or her online shopping cart but leaves the site before completing the order. These email messages can serve a number of functions depending on the customer, because there are a whole host of reasons why shopping cart abandonment may happen, both from the customer's and retailer's end.
Causes of Shopping Cart Abandonment From the Customer’s End:
- Internet connection times out
- Tab/browser accidentally crashes/closes
- Shopper must unexpectedly leave computer
- Unexpected final price after taxes and shipping are added (AKA “sticker shock”)
- Concerns about website data security
- Intent to purchase at a later time or date
- Simply not ready to purchase yet
- Loses interest in product
Causes of Shopping Cart Abandonment From the Retailer’s End:
- Registration required (no guest check-out)
- Technical issue with the web page
- Complex, confusing, or complicated web forms
- Selection of payment options is lacking
- Limited shipping types and destinations
Since there is little you can do as a retailer to fix problems that originate from the customer's end, abandoned cart emails are the single most effective counter-measure you can take to combat these issues. As for the errors originating from the retailer’s side: of course you should be working toward solving these problems. But you should still be sending out abandoned cart emails. Why? They will still be effective in encouraging the customer to try again, and by tracking certain metrics regarding conversion, they can even help you pinpoint trouble spots and road bumps on your website over time.
How to Get the Ball Rolling With Abandoned Cart Emails
Make sure your ecommerce page captures the customer's email address as early as possible in the ordering flow so you can reach out to all your customers no matter how far down the ordering “funnel” they get. Some websites will also ask for a contact number in order to reach the customer by phone, but most customers consider this to be intrusive when coming from online retailers. Unless your product or website is so complicated that it merits voice support, stick with the email address. You can always add a hotline number to your abandoned cart email to make it convenient for your customers should they wish to call you. Include a link that takes the customer directly back to their shopping cart.
When to Send Abandoned Cart Emails to Customers Who Jump Ship
Here’s a general rule of thumb: The further along in the ordering process a customer is, the sooner you should send an abandoned cart email. If they abandoned their cart relatively early in the ordering “funnel," wait a few days to remind them about their purchase. If sending more than one email is feasible, you can also consider a tiered approach, where a series of automated emails are sent at different time intervals following an abandonment episode. It is recommended to send the first within an hour of cart abandonment, a second within 24 hours, and a third and final reminder at the 72-hour mark. Any more than this, and your customer might start to cry “spam," so be aware of the impact that too many reminder emails can have.
Content That Should Be Included in Your Abandoned Cart Email
It's important to include a statement addressing why your customer is receiving the email. Make sure it doesn't sound too Big Brother-ish and that you're watching his or her every move on your site. Simply notify the customer that his or her transaction was not completed, and offer some guidance back to the cart. Be sure to include contact information at the end of the email in case the customer had an unanswered question that will help complete the transaction.
Sample Template for First Email:
Hello [Insert Recipient Name],
Thank you for visiting [Insert Company Name]!
We noticed that you didn't complete your order, and we wanted to do everything we can to help. To complete your order in two minutes or less, simply revisit your shopping cart by clicking this link [Link to Shopping Cart].
If you have any questions about our products/services, please contact us using one of the following methods:
[Insert Phone Number] or [Insert Email Address]
Please let us know if there is any other way we can help.
Are you effectively leveraging abandoned shopping cart emails in your ecommerce marketing strategy?