So you're running a successful ecommerce store. You've figured out your ecommerce platform, organized your marketing, got a good level of traffic, and are sending regular emails to keep in touch with your customers.
Now you can sit back, relax, and look for the next opportunity. Woah! Hold on there! Your sales are a lot smaller than they could be, because of two linked profit-killers, called cart abandon and browse abandon. Research proves that you are losing a huge number of sales unnecessarily, when customers drop out before completing their purchase.
Amazing but true, research shows that:
- Of customers who get around to putting a product in the cart, around 60% or more abandon before they finish buying (58% - Real-Time Marketing Report December 2014) and
- 88% of shoppers don't even get that far: on average 39% of Shoppers look at products but only 12% cart any!
Imagine getting almost 8 days' income per week, not 7!
Reduce these two types of abandonment - which is very easy - and your sales will jump. If you could persuade all cart and browse abandoners to buy, your sales would jump 10x.
Obviously that's never going to happen, because some customers may have never had the intention to purchase in the first place. But it’s really worth while trying to resolve their lingering hesitations, because many of them *are* persuadable, and you can boost sales significantly. On average you can gain about 11%.
Today I want to explain how just two simple emails can recover lost customers after they abandon your site or their cart: Cart Abandon and Browse Abandon emails. You need to create both, or else you're leaving money on the table, but you only do this once and they earn you money forever.
Then I'll explain how to set them up for yourself, using your ESP. From a Fresh Relevance analysis of over 100 stores, ranging from the very small to the very large, from fashion retailers to holiday companies, we’ve derived the essential characteristics of great cart abandonment and browse abandonment emails.
Plus a bonus: Read to the end to find links that explain abandonment and help reduce it before it happens, together with links to another 20 example emails.
First, what are abandoned cart emails?
Abandoned cart emails are sent to customers who have added products to their cart but failed to check out.
It’s remarkably effective as a sales recovery tactic. On average, cart abandonment emails increase your turnover by about $80K per $1m turnover, and browse abandonment emails add another $30k.
You need to understand that customers often abandon their carts without intending to, for example because they got distracted and forgot, because the process was complicated, or because they remembered the product they'd chosen but not your site, so they searched again on Google and bought it from your competitor.
Here’s a quick example (all these examples were from Fresh Relevance customers).
It's a simple but very underused tactic, even by some of the biggest brands on the web. Stores that fail to send abandoned cart emails include Macy’s, Apple, Nordstrom, and the Gap. A lot of very big retailers are leaving money on the table.
You can easily do better, because abandoned cart emails are so simple to set up.
First, the essentials
Abandoned cart emails are easy to create. Your customer may not have intended to abandon: for example maybe they got distracted by real life, or they lost their internet connection, or they wanted to do more research before committing. Now they may want to buy, but need a gentle reminder.
Sending them a copy of their shopping cart is the easiest way to get those customers back.
Take a look at this example from dialaphone. It’s basically a very simple message telling them what they've given up. Better yet, it gives them the link to "get your new phone" and easily get back to their cart, skipping the registration page so that they don’t have to provide their info all over again.
Here’s another email, from jessops. This one stands out for its visual elegance.
We have one more great example, with a very distinctive Whistlefish style. It looks simple, but it includes the three dimensions of a great email: on-brand visuals, easy-to-read copy, and a clear call-to-action.
Pay close attention to the way Whistlefish wrote this email. Clear and extremely simple. Just the sort of thing that will get you up-and-running quickly.
Next the Great to Have Features
The next example from Moss Bross is an opportunity to show a feature of great Abandonment Emails: related product suggestions.
Maybe the customer abandoned because they didn't find exactly what they wanted, or maybe you can upsell to them.
Think of abandoned cart emails as a bonus marketing opportunity. You try hard to make all your marketing materials compelling and you shouldn’t slack off here. In addition, because an abandoned cart email serves a useful purpose, it may be a much more welcome email than your normal marketing.
Our favorite emails in these examples are from Jessops, because of the strong visual imagary, as befits a photographic company. Note the "Snap up your basket" pun.
This next email promises "FREE Next Day Delivery", which is a great idea and may just seal the deal.
WARNING: Free delivery is great, and works well, but don't get carried away. We don't recommend including large offers in abandonment emails. If you offer an extra 15% discount in your email, for example, you're basically telling shoppers not to accept your published prices, but to abandon their cart and wait for your offer email. Not only does this reduce your unit price, it complicates the buying process (instead of "buy", you are encouraging customers to "don't buy, wait for email, return to site, buy") and there's ample evidence that complicating the buying process causes more people to drop out. (Some research that shows large incentives don't work).
The next example is from Purdy's Chocolate - and who doesn't like chocolate? Don't worry about the mail-merge code, that's our mistake when we did the screenshot.
Next Browse Abandon
Now let's look at another type of abandonment, which happens earlier in the sales funnel. Some customers do a lot of research, but don't put any products in their cart until they know everything they plan to buy. When a customer looks at one-or-more products, but abandons without carting any, this is called browse abandonment.
You can send them a second kind of abandonment email, called browse abandon, such as this example from Book Outlet:
It's very similar to a Cart Abandon email, but the "cart layout" shows a list of products that they've seen, rather than a traditional shopping cart.
Here's another browse abandon email, this time from Jessops:
Another browse abandon email from Julep, showing just a single browsed product and related suggestions.
One final browse abandon email
This is a great example with products you've viewed, a personal message to encourage you to return, and related products.
That's great, but how do I start sending out abandoned cart and browse emails?
By now you should see that abandoned cart emails needn’t be too fancy: they've basically the same as your existing marketing emails with a block of products in the middle.
Whatever your shopping cart and email provider, sign up with Fresh Relevance and we'll get you going:
- Create a cart abandonment email and a browse abandonment email in your existing ESP or Mandrill, based on your existing email templates with a standard mail-merge in the middle where the cart will go
- The cart is formatted by Fresh Relevance, so configure it there. Choose a template, make the colors and fonts match the rest of your marketing etc. Do this yourself, or else our services team can do it for a small fee.
- Configure the sending in Fresh Relevance, e.g. enter your ESP account details and the delay before sending.
One note on timing: We recommend that you choose a send delay of 30 minutes. You don’t want to wait to the point that someone has bought the products she wanted from your competitor, before you send her a reminder email.
Abandoned cart and browse emails are very easy to set up, and every marketer who is doing email marketing should send them too because the average ROI is so good. Learn from the brands above, and start recovering sales today.
- 8 of Our Favorite Cart and Browse Abandon Emails and Why We Love Them
- Top Tips for Successful Email Subject Line
- Case Study: Emma Bridgewater Drives a 10.5% sales uplift using abandoned cart and browse emails from Fresh Relevance
- How To Reduce Cart Abandonment before it happens
- How to Design Cart and Browse Abandonment Emails
- How to Design Browse Abandonment Emails
Want to find out more?