“Oops, you forgot something!” How Effective are Abandoned Cart Emails?

4 minute read

Whether you’re a self-confessed shopaholic or merely online window shopping, I can guarantee that an abandoned cart reminder will have hit your inbox at least once in the past month – possibly even the past week.

And with good reason: in 2018 alone, cart abandonment rates reached 75.6%; that’s three-quarters of online shoppers reaching the checkout stage, only to change their minds.

Such high numbers mean an obvious impact for marketers: Shopify argues that this means you might only be making one-third of your potential sales. Could a successful cart abandonment strategy, therefore, triple your figures? It’s a nice thought, though other factors obviously come into play. Let’s look at what you’ll need to consider when developing your own strategy:

What’s Stopping Customers From Completing Checkout?

It’s an obvious question to ask, but commonly overlooked. While the statistics slightly vary depending on the country, according to eMarketer the most common reasons are hidden transaction fees and delivery charges, followed by people deciding to shop further or realizing their chosen product isn’t in stock.

abandonment cart chart

Look at your current checkout process. Are you declaring delivery charges up front? If a product is not in stock, can a customer provide their email to be notified when it is? Is your website fully optimized for all devices? A large e-commerce site can increase conversions by 35.2 % through better checkout design.

Do note, however, that some of the points above simply reflect a customer’s personal indecision. This is where abandon basket emails can make all the difference in encouraging a final purchase.

What are People Leaving Behind?

You may find a pattern in the type of products and services that people chose to leave in their baskets.

abandonment chart of specific items

Depending on your industry or type of product, you might be facing very different challenges. It’s perfectly usual for fashion retailers to observe high levels of cart abandonment, for example, since they have a plethora of other retailers and special offers to choose from. Consequently, clothing brands might want to look at how their follow-up emails can stand out in such an oversaturated environment.

In the travel industry, however, customers tend to look at several different options and start planning early. As such they may not be in the purchasing mood at that point in time, and it would be better to nurture that relationship rather than force a purchase.  You should know how long your sales cycle is, the customer’s frame of mind and, most importantly, the challenges that can stand in the way of making a sale.

Are You Forgetting Anything?

Finally, look at the reporting of your abandoned cart emails to see how they’re performing. In the first quarter of 2018, the average open rate for cart abandonment emails was 48 %, with a CTR of 6.5%. Again, these vary by industry, but it is a well-known fact that open rates for these types of emails are high.  You may need to look at implementing some changes if your figures do not reflect this.

Are Abandoned Cart Emails Compliant with GDPR/PECR?

These types of emails are part of your marketing activities, not your service communications. So, if you’re planning on using them, you will need to consider what their lawful basis is. Do you have consent, or can you use a ‘soft-opt-in’ as part of their interaction with you? Either way, make sure you clearly state your intention when collecting their data.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Successful abandoned basket emails may help you triple your sales figures.
  2. Make sure your checkout process is simple and transparent.
  3. Design of this process can have a major impact on your conversion rates.
  4. Be aware of the challenges you may be facing based on the overall industry you are in and the length of your sales cycle.
  5. Analyse your abandon basket emails objectively and compare your results to industry benchmarks to find out if you need to implement some changes.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post for tips on how to improve your abandoned cart strategy further.


DISCLAIMER: The content and opinions within this blog post are for information purposes only. They are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances, the Data Protection Act, or any other current or future legislation. Adestra shall accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on materials contained within this blog post.

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