Email Strategies to Market to Abandoned Shopping Cart

Shopping cart abandonment is a common scenario in an online purchasing process. It happens when buyers abandon their online shopping cart due to circumstances ranging from personal indecision to the merchant’s poor marketing efforts.

In 2010, Forrester Research and MarketingSherpa reported abandonment rates of 55% and 52% respectively. By this year, 2012, the numbers hovered up around 72% according to Fireclick and DigitalRiver.

Apparently, there are roadblocks in the online purchasing process that frustrates or confuses shoppers and lead them to abandon their purchases. The reasons why this shopping cart abandonment occur can be classified into 4 categories: User Experience, Indecision, Technical Issues, and Total Order Cost.

Proven strategies to reclaim customers who decided to abandon their shopping cart

Be aware that setting up a shopping cart abandonment program need to be tested based on offer type, total dollar amount of the shopping cart, new or existing customer, and several other factors. Here are some pointers to follow immediately after the shopping cart has been abandoned.

1. Send the first email. Many industry researches stress on the importance of the first mail being sent immediately after the cart has been abandoned.

2. Start with a conservative approach and test. Three email sequences should be enough for the purpose of attracting the attention of targeted receiver. The followed time gap between all the mails should be like:
1st email: sent immediately
2nd email: sent after 23 hours of the 1st one
3rd email: sent after 6 days and 23 hours of sending 2nd mail

3. Tone of the emails. This is a negotiation and the tone must be such that the mail sounds more like an appeal to offer service rather than anything related to sales aspects. It should be more, like a customer service message, where the content has to be relevant and personal.

4. Offer Discounts. Often carts are abandoned by customers due to price of the product and timing for delivery. The price issue can easily be overcome by offering a discount. But, this is not a good idea. Instead, find the offer that best returns the most sales for the least amount of discounts.

5. Free shipping after a certain benchmark helps getting back customers. This also helps in effective promotions.

To put it simply, email marketing is a powerful tool and when employed strategically, can go a long way in combating shopping cart abandonment. Many online retailers have seen an increase in shopping cart completion when using a targeted email campaign that entices the customer to complete the purchase by offering an incentive.

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To effectively do this, merchants must first make certain they have permission to email the customer. An analytics system that can associate a user with the abandoned cart is needed. The easy way to facilitate this is through a registration process or through integration with an email service provider and the Analytics solution. Once these pieces are in place, testing can begin on various campaigns and tactics to see which ones lift your abandonment conversion rate.