We get asked this question a lot, “Why should I create a multi-step triggered cart or browse abandonment program. Isn’t sending more than one message overkill?”
It is not overkill. Multi-step triggered campaigns deliver more revenue and they don’t antagonize customers. Instead, they are seen as helpful.
On average, sending a multi-step cart abandonment program generates a sales uplift of 21% compared to a single cart email (9.2% vs. 7.6% sales uplift). For retailers who send both browse and cart triggered campaigns, the uplift is 30% compared to a single-step program (13.6% vs. 10.5% sales uplift).
To better understand why a multi-step cart or browse abandonment program increases revenue, think about best practices for sending email, and then think like a customer.
Sending a browse or cart abandonment email within 30 minutes is an absolute best practice. You want to lure that customer back before they find something at a competitor’s site. It also helps re-engage them if they didn’t mean to stop shopping - they just got interrupted.
So why send a second or third reminder? Think about how you shop. Have you ever carted something and then thought, “I’m not sure I want to buy camel velveteen skinny jeans”? Many shoppers like to sleep on a purchase. Some have been conditioned to wait for a coupon. Others were tied up doing something else when the 30-minute cart abandonment email came in.
Therefore it’s important to test different frequencies for the second and potentially third email. Perhaps, email #2 after 24 hours and #3 after a week? Your audience is unique, so you need to test and optimize to build the perfect frequency strategy.
It’s also important to understand how prevalent cart abandonment is. Six in 10 shoppers place an item in a cart and leave before purchasing the item.
How two retailers gained from a multi-step approach
Kleertjes.com is the largest online retailer for children’s brand clothing and shoes in The Netherlands. A key goal of their marketing efforts is to make shopping easy for busy parents. Streamlined shopping = more sales. To make that a reality, they needed to be able to identify shoppers across all the devices without requiring them to log-in. If someone carts a product on their mobile device but views the cart on their laptop later, the item will be there.
Next came a different approach to browse and cart abandonment. Instead of sending one abandonment email two hours after the shopper left the cart, they sent within 30 minutes with another sent 24 hours later if the customer didn’t take action. The results: A 347% YOY increase for cart abandonment revenue and a 126% YOY increase for browse abandonment revenue.
In the UK, IronmongeryDirect.com sells specialized joinery hardware online to builders, joiners and job fitters. They initially sent cart abandonment emails through an external agency which gave them little control over the creative and also made accessing data and reporting a challenge.
IronmongeryDirect initiated a program of sending a cart abandonment message 30 minutes after the basket was abandoned and again after 24 hours. At least 4% of their weekly sales revenues can be directly attributed to their abandonment activity. That results in an average sales uplift of 7.2%.
A final word on browse and cart abandonment emails
Earlier in this post, we talked about customers who are conditioned to wait for a coupon with a cart abandonment email before they’ll purchase. With that in mind, it’s important to note that multi-step cart and browse abandonment programs work even when you don’t offer a discount.
We’ve conducted research that shows that blanket incentivizing doesn’t offer the best return on investment. For example, serial abandoners may respond just as well to a reminder email. Optimally, you want to include incentives in emails for people who don’t routinely abandon carts on your site. These targeted incentives can have a real effect on the open rate of the email, as well as the number of sales.
If your cart or browse abandonment programs aren’t delivering, explore creating a multi-step program using incentives very selectively. It will be well worth your effort.