Written by Matt Warren
5th February 2016 • 12 min read
Not so long ago, the Christmas sales began in a fury. How did things go for you? Did all of your store visitors make purchases?
I bet you wish they did, however it obviously doesn’t work out like that. Every day, customers put their favourite items into shopping carts and then leave without going through with a purchase.
There are various ways to deal with this: either you experiment with different call-to-action buttons, redesign your website, or you use all your efforts to retain those who abandon.
I would choose the latter and I will tell you why:
- Redesigning a website requires either your technical knowledge and time or extra money for other professionals to do it. Still, you can’t even be sure it will work with the improvements made.
- Retailers cannot do anything about outside things that distract customers that prevent him/her from purchasing. So even if your website is close to perfection you will lose customers anyway.
- An experiment with cart recovery emails will cost you almost nothing and it will create extra value for both you and your customer.
Retailers can’t prevent outside distractions from customers purchasing
On average, 68.63% of customers who are intent on purchasing, leave their carts. This means that only 3 customers out of every 10 buy something. In this way billions of dollars are lost every year.
Hubspot has conducted a study of the reasons why customers leave their carts before going through with purchasing. The main reasons are:
- Unexpected shipping costs
- Credibility concerns
- Outside distractions
- Over-complicated website navigation, etc.
Whatever the reason, once you have their emails and you know what they are interested in, you can retain them and convince them to finish their purchase.
For this you may need to send a series of cart recovery emails with reminders and extra incentives like free shipping or a discount.
However, only 20% of retailers take action to win back lost customers. If you are one of the other 80%, here are the top 2 reasons why you should try to send abandoned cart emails.
80% of retailers do nothing to win back customers
1.High performance of cart recovery series
Abandoned cart emails fulfil their role – they retain a lot of customers. According to Soundest’s experience, the open rate of this kind of reminder is 40-60%, whereas the click through rate is 15-30%.
This means that half of all those who abandon their carts reconsider purchasing and almost one third return to the store. Every email marketer knows that is huge!
Usually, to achieve a better result, retailers use a cart recovery series of emails, as it sometimes takes a few tries to get noticed. The series contains three email reminders periodically sent to the customer after he/she abandons the shopping cart.
Emails include alluring text and the items that were abandoned: images, descriptions, prices, and buttons asking the customer to proceed with the purchase.
The best time to send a cart recovery series is the first 24 hours after the cart is abandoned. Approximately 72% of customers will return to complete their purchase within 12 to 24 hours.
Let’s be more precise and analyse real examples.
#1 An online store selling musical instruments has recently started to send the Soundest cart recovery series to its customers. The first email goes out an hour after the cart is abandoned, the second emails goes after 12 hours and the third one – after 24 hours.
Over the last weeks, this tool has identified 4996 abandoned carts. With three cart recovery emails, 24.5% of customers returned to the store once again and 22.8% of returned customers completed their purchases.
#2 The email below is the 1st of three reminders. It has been sent to almost 5,000 customers. The open rate is 47.05%. The click rate – 14.32%. It generated more than 200 orders. Overall, this entire series resulted in 465 orders.
#3 If we compare the revenue per email from the promotional email and cart recovery email, the latter is a lot bigger. For example, 20,000 subscribers to an underwear store results in €0.04 in revenue from each promotional email. For the same store, every cart recovery email brings in €2.10.
The revenue per email of an abandoned cart email far outweighs promotional emails
The results of the cart recovery series are good because the emails are highly relevant and according to surveys, half of all customers find them helpful.
One more interesting thing is that some of the customers have already learned about abandoned cart emails. We can even make an assumption that they leave carts on purpose.
This idea has occurred to me due to the survey results: 47% of all customers expect a follow-up email after they abandon their carts.
Moreover, 13% of the customers expect the discount in a such kind of email reminder (see the chart below). It means that they know that an email might be coming with extra incentives.
The advice from my side is to not include the incentive (discount or free shipping) in the first email. Leave it for the 2nd and 3rd emails. Sometimes it is enough to remind a customer about his/her cart.
Customers might be expecting a discount, so don’t include that in your first email
To sum up the first benefit, customers that abandon their shopping carts have great intentions to buy, so certain actions and the right timing can help to retain and encourage them to buy.
2.Raising effective brand awareness
A strong brand is the engine of every successful business. It is not only a logo, it is your business reputation that you’ve earned over time. The strength and awareness of a brand depends on effective communication.
This might be through social media interactions, email marketing, advertising, PR or community activities. You can read more about this by entering “Rule of seven in advertising” into a search engine.
What is most important in our case is that brand awareness is actively built every time a customer interacts with your brand. When you deliver the relevant message at the right time, you can expect to move your customer from interest to acquisition.
If you send follow-up emails after your customers abandon their carts:
- You improve your credibility in front of a new customer. If you remember, one reason why customers abandon their carts is due to concerns over credibility. So you can banish the doubts.
- Your customer gets at least several additional interactions with your brand.
- You can satisfy your customer with relevant emails and additional incentives. It helps to fight their indecisiveness and concerns about expensive shipping. These are the rest of the reasons why they do not buy.
Positive communication can help to build a positive brand image and will stick in the heads of your customers the next time they think about making a purchase.
The bottom line
Cart recovery effectiveness is evidence that you can use “small data” in a smart way and keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. The fact that only 20% of online stores use this solution is hard to believe. People, don’t leave your money on the table!
The cart recovery series is an easy to implement email marketing automation feature that is affordable for the majority of small and medium-sized online businesses.
The guest article is written by Karolina Jasvinaite, a content marketing manager at Soundest | Email for e-commerce.
Written by Matt Warren
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