Here’s Why You Need to Send a Cart Abandonment Email

Hand sketching Online Shopping Concept with black marker on transparent wipe board.

Did you know that cart abandonment rates hover at about 68% across the board? With online conversion rates at about 2%-3%, on average, there’s a 97% chance, or so, that a customer won’t convert when they shop at your store, even if they add an item to the shopping cart.

One of the most dreaded aspects of ecommerce analytics are those that have to do with abandoned shopping carts. For years, online retailers have tried their best to think of a plausible scenario where they can reduce these rates and woo shoppers back into the fold. But most ideas, such as retargeting, usually prove to only be semi-effective.

However, one commonly overlooked (and relatively simple trick) may be all that it takes to convert shoppers who have bounced away from your online store. The ace up your ecommerce sleeve may very well be a cart abandonment email. Here’s why you should consider adding this proven marketing method to your arsenal of conversion weapons.

When to Send a Cart Abandonment Email

The average ecommerce shopping cart abandonment rate hovers around 68%, according to a March, 2014, study by Baymard Institute. But many times you can recover abandoners and convert them to a sale that wouldn’t have otherwise happened by sending a cart abandonment email.

reasonsA good example, provided by KissMetrics, is a service called Peak Design, which sends a cart abandonment email 30 minutes after the shopper has left the cart. The simple message inquires why the shopper left the cart and asks if there was a problem. It also offers the unique value proposition of fast, free shipping.

After 30 hours, the company then sends another cart abandonment email. This time, they offer a unique value proposition in the form of a subtle discount to encourage conversion rates. The result is an average 12% reconversion rate. As the numbers have broken down, the first email gets opened about 66% of the time, while the second email gets opened about 59%.

The short lesson: Something as simple as sending two automated emails to abandoners can result in recovering 12% of otherwise lost sales. You can read a complete breakdown of the full study, with advice, tips and more on the KissMetrics Blog. Below is an effective example of a solid abandoner email that’s issued by Birch Box.

Why Discounts Lead to Conversions

A commonly pondered question, especially as it pertains to the cart abandonment email, is: Does offering discounts really equate to increased conversions with abandoners? The short answer is: Yes. But the why and how is a bit more complex than this black and white blanket.

Let’s take a look at a good case study. According to Biz Report, discounts that are featured in a welcome email (not to be confused with an abandonment email), deliver conversions that range from 2% all the way up to 30%. We’ve included this chart below to better illustrate this.

The Subject Line Matters

When sending a cart abandonment email, or just about any content marketing email, the most important thing, as numerous studies suggest, is the subject line. That’s because your primary goal, foremost, is to get the recipient to actually open the email.

As David Ogilvy explains, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

An Experian Marketing Services study found that the subject line accounted for 62% of the reasons why people would even open the email in the first place. Creativity came in second place at just 19%, with all other reasons placing at 6% or lower. Case in point: Your subject line matters greatly.

Crafting the perfect cart abandonment email, or any content marketing related email for that matter, takes patience, style and prose. That topic matter is reserved for a much longer article. Lucky for you, Digital Marketer has you covered with a massive write-up that can help you become an email marketing pro in no time.

Don’t Annoy Your Prospective Customers

Along the way, you want to make sure you are classy with your cart abandonment emails. This means that you want to take measures to avoid annoying people. After all, if you upset the wrong people, you’ll just end up being counterproductive to your entire end goal; which is to get conversions from people who abandoned the shopping cart.

In a study that was conducted by Marketing Sherpa, they asked 2,057 potential cart abandoners and frequent ecommerce shoppers this question:

What are your views of reminder emails that tell you when you have an item in your online shopping cart that has not yet been purchased?

  • 51% found these emails to be helpful.
  • 38% thought they were annoying.
  • 16% wanted the company to stop contacting them.
  • 12% never received any such reminder.

Bear in mind that these emails are going to inherently piss off some of your abandoners. But it’s also safe to say that marketing emails of any type will annoy certain people across the board. However, the study also found out these interesting facts, too.

  • 6% of people say that the emails are good reminders and they actually make a purchase following receiving them.
  • 7% say that they are helpful and will complete the purchase if a discount or special offer is made in the email.
  • 69%, the vast majority, say that even if they were slightly annoyed, the email still influenced a purchasing decision.

Do the Math

In closing, the numbers do the real justice here. The end result is that well-crafted and well-timed cart abandonment emails are purposeful and effective. They will influence the vast majority of shoppers, and can result in a conversion rate that ranges from 2% to 12%.

Basically, if you knew that by merely sending an email to a cart abandoner that you could stand to convert 12% of shoppers who had previously bounced would you do it? The obvious answer is: Yes.

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