Abandoning an online shopping cart may not be a big deal for a customer – but, for an eCommerce company, it could be a lucrative opportunity lost.
An effective abandoned cart email strategy is the perfect solution.
Start with this list of four abandoned cart email examples that will bring folks back to complete their checkout on your website.
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Why are abandoned cart emails important for eCommerce?
According to an industry benchmark report, the standard abandoned cart email makes $5.81 in revenue per recipient. That same study showed that companies with an average order value of $100–500 also recovered 4–5% of their abandoned carts through this email marketing strategy.
In short, abandoned cart emails are a major customer retention lifeline for eCommerce businesses.
Every eCommerce brand should have a customized abandoned cart email framework as part of its email automation workflow and retargeting strategy.
A thorough framework will help you identify:
- The exact point in the buyer’s journey where the customer clicked out
- The kind of copy that brings them back to the site (or helps make a sale)
- How to then upsell and/or increase brand affinity
In addition to that, it also helps you grow your email list for further remarketing.
When coupled with a high-level understanding of customer needs and email marketing data quality, an abandoned cart email marketing strategy works as a great remarketing tool.
How does an abandoned cart email work?
An abandoned cart email is an automated response that’s triggered by the customer leaving an eCommerce site or product page. Depending on the site and the brand’s strategy, the email can have various trigger points.
For example, a customer could trigger an abandoned cart email if they exit the site during the payment confirmation phase of checkout. In other cases, they could opt into the email just by viewing some products and then clicking out.
In both cases, the business needs a customer to provide their email address. This can be done in exchange for a discount code via a popup right before the home page, or while collecting delivery information.
Getting Customers’ Emails
Some business owners ask: Can you retarget an abandoned cart without a customer’s email?
No. Email acquisition is the key to abandoned cart emails. And, while collecting email addresses as soon as possible in the buying journey is beneficial to businesses, it’s not always plausible, considering how few customers actually share this information upfront.
Luckily, there are many ways to collect email addresses from your customers, including through:
- Pop-ups: The tried-and-true method of email acquisition, you can use browser-close actions that ask for an email when a customer moves toward the exit button. You can also launch pop-ups at a certain step in the checkout process, or as a customer moves through different product pages on your site. Include discounts and other incentives to provide value for customers.
- Chatbots: Not every customer who visits your site will engage with a chatbot. However, those that do engage will do so with a purpose. Build on their shopping intent and ask for their email for personalized responses from your customer service team.
- Retargeted ads: If customers are leaving your site for a better buying opportunity elsewhere, you can market your business to them on other sites with a discount or personalized incentives. When they return to your site, make asking for their email the first pop-up that appears.
Creating Your Strategy
Like with all email marketing, testing is key with abandoned cart workflows. Before you implement your strategy, you’ll need to do some experimentation to identify the optimal timing, frequency, and trigger delay that motivates your customers to purchase.
Consider testing manual and automatic workflows, and don’t forget to include seasonal changes in buyer behavior and other parameters in your research.
While actually sending the abandoned cart is easy, the work required to design your strategy correctly is where you’ll spend most of your time. Fortunately, you’ll likely generate some degree of return on your investment while you’re still working out the kinks.
Using Your eCommerce Platform
Many eCommerce platforms make it easy to implement these triggers and workflows. Take Shopify, for example.
To set up this workflow on your site, you can go to the “Orders” page on the Shopify Admin dashboard and click on “Abandoned Checkouts.” From there, you can either send a recovery email manually by clicking on “Send a Cart Recovery Email” or automate the entire process by clicking on “Automatically Send Abandoned Checkout Emails.”
Contact your platform’s help team to see how the process works for your website.
4 Abandoned cart email examples and strategies to test
Every eCommerce business is different. Your customers have their unique needs and buying journeys, and it’s your job to identify how to best reach them after they leave your site.
That said, it never hurts to try a few successful strategies from other businesses first to see if any of them stick for your shoppers.
As you test these strategies, pinpoint the elements that seem beneficial to your brand, mix in your own insights and audience research, experiment, and accumulate the effective tactics into an abandoned shopping cart email framework that works for you.
1. Offer incentives to customers
Peel is a minimalist product retailer that offers incentives for uncertain customers at multiple stages of the buying process, including in the first abandoned cart email.
Sending a reminder email isn’t enough to convince browsers to purchase. Make it worth their while with a clear incentive. The top-level positioning of “Free Shipping on Orders Over $49” draws potential buyers’ eyes immediately upon opening the message.
In addition, Peel uses the copy “Still Thinking it Over?” to reignite customer interest. Don’t ever assume your customer has abandoned their purchase; your cart abandonment email should nudge them to re-engage with their buying journey.
2. Don’t wait for items to be placed in a cart
“Add to cart” is a great indication of customer interest, but you don’t have to wait for that action to send abandoned cart emails.
When you shop at JCPenney, you don’t have to click out at the checkout stage to trigger abandoned cart emails. Instead, you could simply browse some product pages for the system to register your interest and send a discount coupon.
Customers do need to link their browsing experience to a JCPenney account to receive this email, so always prompt shoppers to save their preferences by signing up or signing into their accounts.
Using this method as part of your triggered email workflow offers an opportunity to build or improve brand affinity — by offering value at a point in the buyer’s journey where customers often forget to complete their purchase or begin looking for alternatives.
3. Promote a sense of urgency
ELO (Export Leftovers) is an online retailer that offers exclusively production surplus clothing and accessories, with a focus on fast-moving items.
At first look, their abandoned cart email seems basic, with no consideration or incentive for customer needs. However, because their business is based on high-demand clothing at affordable prices (which causes unpredictable fluctuation in availability), urgency is emphasized in the “while they’re still available” copy.
Doubling down on availability-related messaging reminds customers that their viewed items may not be in store for long. It also works extremely well; urgency-related copy subject lines increase open rates by 22 percent.
4. Use creative copy
Shoppers are bombarded with eCommerce emails, so make yours stand out with copy that speaks to your unique audience experience and personas.
Dote, which used to offer trendy clothing and accessories for younger buyers, had this strategy down pat. Its message to almost-customers is one of the best-abandoned cart email strategies for its particular audience.
Dote’s email had it all, from clever copywriting to a very clear call-to-action (CTA). They played with language familiar to its Gen Z customers and incorporated feelings of endearment with a tongue-in-cheek approach.
As you draft your abandoned cart emails, use email copy that resonates with customers on a high level. Funny one-liners, prevalent social trends, or meme/punny language can turn a boring email into one that improves brand enthusiasm and perception.
Start testing these strategies today
When it comes to a solid abandoned cart email marketing strategy, a catchy and effective template is as important as any distribution strategy. However, like any other digital marketing toolkit, you’ll need to test components first to identify what works best for your brand and your customers.
Don’t have the time? Consider reaching out to an eCommerce email marketing agency for an expert’s help. They can create your abandoned cart email strategy from scratch and improve your chances of retaining a greater range of would-be customers.
Guest author: Entrepreneur and digital marketer Mike Belasco has been the founder and CEO of eCommerce digital marketing agency Inflow since 2007. His background as a web developer and SEO expert built an agency that has worked with major brands like Amazon, Overstock.com, Dish Network, and many more. Today, Belasco leads a team of more than 25 PPC, SEO, and conversion optimization specialists as a boutique, fully remote eCommerce marketing agency.