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Get Buyers Back: Tips for Cart Abandonment Emails

By Shannon BarnesSep 27, 2013

AFlower vase close friend of mine who lives out of state recently landed a new job. Since distance prevented us from having a celebratory dinner, I opted to send her flowers. Shortly after hearing her great news, I logged onto ProFlowers.com, found the perfect arrangement and was midway through the checkout process when my phone rang. The phone call was followed by several other distractions, and, as you have probably guessed, the flowers were not ordered.

Whether it is a case of tax and shipping sticker shock, having second thoughts, security checkout concerns or, in my case, a simple distraction, shopping cart abandonment is a huge concern for online retailers. According to Baymard Institute, 67.75 percent of all online shopping carts are abandoned. One way marketers can reclaim abandoned shopping carts is through a series of “reminder” emails.

Within four hours of leaving the ProFlowers website, I received the following email.

ProFlowers Email

Here are a few things I like about this email:

  • Subject line: The subject line read “A Special 10% off to Finish Your Order of Fall Sunflowers.” It was clear at a quick glance what the email was about, and I also appreciated that it was personalized with the item name.
  • Timing: As I previously mentioned, the email was sent within four hours of cart abandonment. Ordering flowers for a special occasion is usually time sensitive; therefore, the four-hour window was appropriate. When determining the “right time” to send your email, consider how far the customer is within the process or funnel. Customers who have begun the checkout process should be contacted much quicker than those who just placed items in their cart. The only way to determine the time frame most effective with your customers is through testing. 
  • Imagery and copy: Including a picture of the arrangement was a nice touch. Images are much more effective than a simple text description.
  • Incentive: As an incentive to complete my order, ProFlowers offered a 10 percent discount and a free vase. I like how it showed the original price and new price with the discount included. The jury is still out on the value of incentives. Some retailers avoid discounts or freebies for the fear customers will intentionally abandon their carts in hope of some type of incentive. Others offer the incentive in the second or third communication. And in the case of ProFlowers, it offers multiple incentives in the first communication. As with timing, incentives are another factor to test.
  • Suggested alternatives: I also appreciated that ProFlowers offered four alternative arrangements, of which three were a similar “fall theme.” These arrangements also qualified for the 10 percent discount and free vase. Including related items in your email provides the opportunity to cross-sell and upsell. 
  • Ease in completing my order: Having customers jump through hoops to complete their order will not help your conversions. Minimize the amount of steps a buyer must take by providing a direct link to his or her cart or the item on your site. ProFlowers provided a direct link to the item on the site and the discount was already included, so I didn't even need to enter a promo or discount code.

Have you seen or received an effective abandoned shopping cart email? We would love to hear about it in the comments section below. 


Shannon FuldauerShannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.


 

The Buyer's Journey

photo credit: (matt)
Additional Topics: Content and Design
The Author

Shannon Barnes

Shannon Fuldauer Barnes has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.
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