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How to maximise ROI with cart abandonment emails

Cart Abandonment isn’t a problem – it’s an opportunity. Here’s how you can use cart abandonment emails to re-engage abandoning visitors and maximise your ROI.

Cart Abandonment. It’s the worst isn’t it?

We certainly couldn’t find any fan pages for it on Facebook, and a cursory Google of ‘I love cart abandonment’ brought back absolutely nothing of relevance.

And that’s because it sucks.

When your customer abandons cart, it can feel like they’re teasing you – putting the prize right before your eyes, only to cruelly snatch it away at the last second.

But with around 68% of visitors abandoning cart, the feeling can become all too familiar.

Not only is it damn frustrating – it’s also costly for your business. It’s estimated that abandoned carts are worth $4 trillion a year to retailers. Yep, that’s trillion.

Even if you divvied up this purported $4 trillion between every retailer, that’s a fair chunk of cash for your business. But here’s the good part – if you’re willing to get smart about it – more of that cash is destined for your bank account than your rivals.

It’s worthwhile quickly getting some perspective on the whole cart abandonment issue. Not everyone who abandons cart is intending on making purchase in the first place. However, vitally, a fair amount of them are genuinely thinking about buying (if not straight away): research from Business Insider suggested that 63% of of abandoned cart revenue is potentially recoverable ‘by savvy online retailers’.

As a result, as Business Insider so nicely puts it, cart abandonment isn’t a problem – it’s a huge opportunity. Just think, if you could recover just a third of that 63% of revenue, you’d be laughing all the way to the bank.

So – as compelled by the BI report – how can you get ‘savvy’ about reducing (or recovering) abandoned baskets?

Thankfully it’s eminently doable and this blog will help you along the way to understanding how you can re-engage abandoned visitors.

Why do visitors abandon your site?

Before we look at getting your customers back, it makes sense to look at the root causes to why they’re abandoning in the first place.

Statista’s oft-cited table offers a handy summary of the main reasons for cart abandonment.

It’s clear that website visitors rightfully despise unexpected costs and, as you’d expect, they’re prone to just browsing and shopping around.

Along with these fairly obvious reasons for cart abandonment, there are a host of user experience issues – from navigation down to payment problems – which cause visitors to leave without purchasing.

So, as well as fixing some of these UX problems and being upfront with all your costs, is there you much else you can do to re-engage your visitors that are abandoning cart?

Well yes, there’s plenty.

These days there are a fair few ways to maximise your ROI by making your visitors reconsider leaving their cart behind. From giving them a reason to stay on your site in the first place with personalised exit-intent overlays – to tempting them to come back with cart abandonment emails.

As you clicked on this blog, first and foremost you probably want to hear about email remarketing – so let’s get to it.

Cart abandonment emails

Abandoned cart emails, cart abandonment emails, basket abandonment emails, email remarketing…

Call it what you will, but how do the emails actually work? And should you be using them?

1. How does it work?

At its most basic, email remarketing is used to send an email to a user who has abandoned their basket. This email could give the visitor a reminder or maybe feature an offer, but ultimately the aim of the game is to give them a reason to return to your site and convert.

You can do a bunch of smart stuff with your emails to increase the likelihood of conversion – from sending them in batches to using clever design – but we’ll get onto that shortly. First, are they worth using?

2. Should you be using them?

The results make a compelling case.

Cart abandonment emails have been shown to increase purchases at a rate that’s 19 times higher than traditional promotional emails.

The mixture of personalised, relevant content that’s still fresh in a visitor’s mind means that cart abandonment campaigns are far more effective at re-engaging users.

A SeeWhy study revealed that 75% of new visitors abandon with intent to return at some point.

With this in mind, doesn’t it make sense to give them a reminder or incentive to come back?

At Yieldify we’ve seen email remarketing produce top results for clients across every vertical. From 66.2% open rates in the cosmetics industry, to 30% conversion rates for a home and gardens retailer.

There’s no reason your eCommerce site won’t see these kind of returns – cart abandonment emails could well be the key ingredient to maximising your marketing ROI.

So, we’ve shown you how well abandoned cart emails can work, the next step is to figure out how should you go about using them.

To get you started, we’ve quickly summarised some of the basic best practices below.

Cart abandonment email top tips

Make them mobile friendly

Stats from July 2017 say 56% of email is now opened on a mobile device. The below graph, taken from March 2016, gives a more visual indication of just how much more popular mobile devices are than their desktop and webmail hosted counterparts.

This means one thing for your emails – always make sure they’re mobile optimised! (Wouldn’t normally go for the exclamation mark, but as you can see we’re really passionate about this.) Otherwise your cart abandonment emails will be practically unnavigable for more than half of your customers – far from ideal.

Clear pricing

Unexpected costs are the main reason for you customers to abandon in the first place, so don’t go making the same mistake twice. Your pricing, including shipping and returns must be expressly clear in your email.

If you’re offering a discount, apply this to the basket to entice your customer with the improved price.

Time to perfection

From half an hour – to a day, retailers like to play with the timing of their email remarketing to see what works best.

Results show that usually the sooner you send your email, the better.

But don’t take this for gospel, test what works for your brand. Emails close to time of abandonment generally work as they’re fresh in the customer’s mind. However, for more expensive items they’ll probably need longer to consider making a purchase.

Your timing may also be dependent on how many emails you intend to send…

Send multiple emails

Don’t forget, visitors who have abandoned basket are essentially warm leads – so treat them accordingly. A sequence of drip emails is a good way to nurture your visitor and to help push them down the funnel.

Sending multiple emails works: sending a second cart abandonment email has been shown to bring a 54% lift in revenue.

N.B. If you’re sending your cart abandonment emails in a drip sequence, don’t offer your incentive until the final email. You may well be able to convert your prospect beforehand by pushing other content such as a simple reminder or by emphasising our USPs. By leaving that incentive (eg 10% discount or free delivery) till last, you won’t cut into your margins unless you really need to.

Sense-check your subject line

Your open rate is going to largely rely on your subject line.

Ambiguous or ‘clever’ subject lines aren’t really needed here.

Stay true to your brand’s tone of voice – but whether you’re sending a reminder, inciting urgency or offering an incentive – make it very clear what the email contains.

Slick design

Your abandoned cart emails’ success will lean heavily on their design and layout. Here are a few key tips…

Make the email design consistent with what your user expects from your brand, and purchasing online in general.

  • Incorporate your website branding
  • Show the products a visitor has added to basket or the products a visitor has shown interest in
  • Make the email look like a checkout page
  • Make any drip email sequences consistent in look and feel

Your cart abandonment emails really should be a continuation of your visitor’s onsite experience. In terms of usability, ensure it’s as easy as possible to make a purchase directly from the email. This means things like linking through to your checkout page and, if you’re offering one, automatically adding discounts to your onsite cart.

Welcome your user back on site

Again, this is all about consistency and giving your customers a coherent customer experience across channels.

By linking your email remarketing with onsite remarketing you can create a full-circle customer experience. Essentially you can target visitors based on their onsite behaviours both when they’re browsing – and once they’ve left with targeted emails.

When your user returns to your website via email remarketing you can then welcome them back on site with messaging relevant to the email’s content and take them directly to where they want to go.

By creating this coherent loop we’ve seen customers increase conversions by up to 13% in comparison to just using onsite overlays.

Bonus tips

Scarcity & Urgency – scarcity is a psychological sales principle as old as time. We’re all more likely to buy something that’s running out. Apply this to your email remarketing to incite urgency and give your customers fear of missing out.

Incentive – a 10% discount on their cart abandonment campaign saw Yieldify’s client, a leading home and garden brand, get a 30% conversion rate. If you don’t want to damage your margins pushing existing relevant offers or your brand’s USPs. However, an incentive such as a discount or free delivery will usually see a greater boost in conversions.

Social proof88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 90% read online reviews before visiting a business anyway. Do the leg work for our customers and by providing some social proof with customer testimonials and reviews in your emails.

To round up…

You put heaps of time and money into getting traffic onto your site in the first place…

You then spend endless hours optimising your onsite experience…

Don’t let cart abandonment spoil all your hard work.

Try to shift your perspective and see it as an opportunity not a problem – there’s no reason to give up on a visitor as soon as they leave.

By using cart abandonment emails to re-engage and convert just a small percentage of the visitors who’ve left your site you can maximise ROI and smash your revenue targets.