If eCommerce marketers all over the globe collectively had one common arch-nemesis, it would most likely be cart abandonment. While cart abandonment does sound like just any other challenge marketers have to deal with on a daily basis, it’s easily one of the most massive ones that refuse to be completely defeated.
As per Barilliance, the average global cart abandonment rate in 2019 stood at 77.73%. That’s colossal, right? In fact, the number is even higher for mobile devices (85.65%). And these abandoned carts cumulatively make up $18bn worth of lost revenue each year.
Therefore, if not tackled cleverly, cart abandonment could be causing your eCommerce business a major chunk of your annual revenue as well. Now, reducing cart abandonment on your online store is majorly a function of improving user experience and making shopping as delightful, frictionless, and convenient as possible. Given that improving user experience on your site is an endless pursuit and you can never be sure you have done enough, shoppers are going to abandon carts for multiple reasons, and therefore, you must also have a backup of robust strategies that you can implement to recover those lost carts and sales.
Just like shoppers have plenty of reasons to abandon their carts and drop off (some of which we shall discuss later in this post), there are practically endless ways you can retarget these lost customers and win them back. However, one channel that has been working its magic fairly effectively in helping Shopify store owners recover their abandoned carts is emails.
Since recovering abandoned carts via email is a pretty conventional approach, it doesn’t really demand an introduction. But, the content, design, timing, CTAs, and literally every component could make a world of a difference in determining whether or not you are successfully able to drive shoppers back to your online store. And while there are some best practices that might work occasionally, you wouldn’t want to rely solely on them.
In this blog post, we deep dive into how you can create a solid abandoned cart recovery email strategy and win back a majority of your lost sales.
What are abandoned cart emails and how do they work?
Abandoned cart recovery or cart abandonment emails are simply follow up emails. These emails are sent to customers who abandoned their carts a few hours, days, or weeks ago (depending upon your strategy) with the sole purpose of reminding them of the items they had selected, answering their questions or queries, and ultimately driving them back to your online store and nudging them to complete the checkout process.
A typical abandoned cart recovery email consists of the details of the items lying in the cart along with its image, a small yet persuasive copy that nudges the receiver to reconsider purchasing it, a CTA that leads them directly to their cart from where they can complete the purchase, and support links and information in case the shopper needs to get their queries answered. It also more often than not features an enticing deal that makes it extremely hard for them to ignore the items they once had their eyes on.
Here’s an example of a classic abandoned cart recovery email:
Why do you need an abandoned cart recovery email strategy?
We’ve already talked about the enormous chunk of unclaimed revenue lurking in plain sight that could be simply claimed by minimizing cart abandonment rates on your eCommerce stores. And even if you aren’t able to drastically reduce your cart abandonment rates and improve these figures, rest assured that cart recovery strategies such as abandonment emails can help you retrieve a considerable percentage. But why emails, you may ask?
Owing to the high recall value and relevance they have, abandoned cart recovery emails have incredibly impressive open rates.
Here’s what these have been for the past five years (as per Barilliance):
And that’s not all! Even the average conversion rates for cart recovery emails are far higher than the industry average for other emails:
These whopping figures basically denote the percentage of recovered transactions from those who actually opened these emails.
Moreover, studies have concluded that online stores with average order values ranging between $100 to $500 easily recover 4-5% of their abandoned carts using such retargeting emails, whereas those with AOV less than $50, tend to recover around 3% of their abandoned carts. Also, if personalized and tailored well, cart abandonment emails can also help you upsell and cross-sell, thereby improving your AOV and making recovered purchases more profitable than normal ones.
Therefore, these numbers clearly indicate the efficacy of cart recovery emails in helping marketers win back lost customers by reminding shoppers of products they have already expressed their interest in and driving them to their abandoned carts.
Still not sure how you can set up an abandoned cart recovery email? Talk to our experts using the chat bubble at the right bottom of the screen.
How to leverage emails to recover abandoned carts?
While cart abandonment emails work their magic in winning over lost customers, you need to get some basics right to ensure you are on track to leveraging their maximum potential.
1. First things first: Capture email ids as early as possible
Now, it goes without saying that in order to successfully recover carts, you need to first have captured email ids of shoppers that begin the checkout process or even add items to their carts. So, the primary step would be to analyze the entire customer journey on your Shopify store and decide how to capture email ids as early as possible so sending recovery emails isn’t an issue if need be.
To that end, you can even figure out ways to do this as soon as shoppers land on your store via attractive offers wherein you promise to share an exclusive coupon code if they submit their email address or sign up. Here’s an example of the same:
Alternatively, your safest bet is to ensure your checkout process is structured in a way that it first captures the shopper’s email id before any other information so that if they decide to drop off midway, you have a chance at recovering their lost sale. Many stores, however, fail to understand this aspect and end up overwhelming the customer in the first step itself with a huge form that doesn’t necessarily highlight the “email” field.
In fact, you’d even want to go a step further and optimize your checkout form by dividing it into multiple smaller sections so that shoppers can traverse one after the other, with the first one obviously capturing their email address. To make the experience smoother, you can even consider adding a progress bar so shoppers know how far along they are in the process.
Here’s an example of Hyphen Mattress’ checkout form that captures shoppers’ email address upfront regardless of whether they wish to checkout as a guest or existing user:
2. Create smart customer segments and personalize emails
Even though all cart abandoners have this one thing in common, their other habits, preferences, pain points, and behavior are not necessarily the same. Therefore, instead of reaching out to your entire email list of cart abandoners with the same messaging, it makes more sense to carefully slice and dice your list to form segments of customers based on their purchase history, shopping habits, average order value, and other parameters. You can then target them with relevant emails that are more likely to get them to convert.
While these could vary depending on the nature of your business, some of the most common customer segments you can create from your list could be:
- Basis their stage in the customer journey – Window shoppers or first time shoppers or regular customers or inactive customers. This will help you understand their thought process behind making the purchase so you can better tailor all communication to them. For example, if you are reaching out to a first time customer, you might want to include more social proof and support links in your mail, and in the case of inactive customers, it might be a good idea to offer discounts or reward points on completion of purchase.
- Basis their cart size and/or value – You can divide your list into low, medium, or high average cart value so that customers who have abandoned big ticket items are offered extensive support in case they need assistance in making the purchase. Smaller cart abandoners, on the other hand, can be targeted with one standardized messaging that includes several upsell and cross-sell opportunities so that you can increase their AOV over time.
- Basis their interests or preferences – This will ensure you personalize the emails as per the specific interests of a particular segment of customers and have a fair shot at increasing your AOV by offering relevant and enticing upsell and cross-sell products.
If you are wondering how to go about creating these customer segments and analyzing purchase behavior, you can use RevTap to collate and turn all your data into 24+ customer segments.
An all-in-one customer analytics platform, RevTap digs up customer data for you, fetches relevant insights on shopper’s purchase patterns and preferences, and creates smart customer segments based on all this historically collected data. Whether it is active, inactive, loyal, repeat, first time, or lost customers, RevTap’s comprehensive dashboard gives you a sneak peek into all your customer segments.
Not just that.
You also get to analyze your customers’ purchase behavior, source of acquisition, average order value, preferences, patterns, motivations, interests, and pain points using RevTap’s performance marketing reports and checkout funnel report. The eCommerce analytics app simply integrates all your marketing and sales platforms and software into one consolidated and centralized Shopify analytics dashboard that can be your single source of truth for any insight on your customers.
3. Ensure your emails are responsive
Did you know that mobile email opens make up nearly 46% of all email opens? If your emails aren’t entirely visible or functional on mobile devices, you are automatically giving up almost half of your abandoned cart recovery opportunities. Therefore, ensuring your emails are responsive i.e. fully functional on any device is a hygiene check you cannot afford to go wrong with.
There are a bunch of different practices you can follow to ensure your emails are responsive. Some of these include avoiding hyperlinks and sticking to CTAs instead, using smaller images, avoiding large blocks of text, and going with a single column layout so that minimum horizontal scrolling is required.
4. Carefully time each email in your drip sequence
The first decision you must make is the number of emails you need to have in your cart recovery sequence. Since there are multiple pain points that you might want to address and doing so in one email is not possible, you need a strategically planned email drip sequence that has a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 emails sent out periodically.
Next, you also need to prepare for when to shoot the first email. Should you send it in a few hours of abandonment? Would that end up frustrating or irritating the customer? Or should you wait for a couple of days to send it out? But what if the customer has already found a great deal elsewhere by then?
These are some of the questions you need to answer for each of your customer segments (basis their previously analyzed attributes) and strike the right balance between not frustrating the customer and still reaching out before they make a purchase from your competitors or simply lose interest.
Typically, the first email is sent out in a couple of hours of cart abandonment, the second maybe a day or so later, and the third and fourth 2-3 days apart each. You can also carefully decide the messaging of each of the emails so as to improve the chances of conversion. For example, the first email could just be a quick reminder, the second could have certain support links and a coupon code, and the final one could mention that only a few pieces are remaining in stock so as to create a sense of urgency.
5. Craft a unique and enticing subject line to improve open rates
A persuasive subject line is important as you don’t want your email to be left unread or worse, be deleted unopened. An enticing subject line equals half the job done in this case if you are successfully able to remind the receiver of the abandoned cart and items.
Here are some examples of exceptional abandoned cart recovery email subject lines that you can take inspiration from:
1. Forever 21 – Short, crisp, and effective
2. Massdrop – Personalized, yet straightforward
3. Fab.com – Creating FOMO and urgency
6. A/B test your cart recovery emails
Even after putting all the best practices into use, you cannot be sure that you have done enough to get the most out of your cart recovery email campaign. To really understand which variation of your email receives the maximum positive response from customers, you should go ahead and A/B test your email subject lines, design, images, copy, and even CTAs and let data validate the same. This way, you let your audience choose and tell you which versions actually lead to an uplift in conversion rates before you end up deploying your campaign universally.
A/B testing helps avoid all confusion and keeps the guesswork out of your retargeting strategy. You can build hypotheses based on observations on your customers’ behaviour and buying patterns, test them out by creating multiple variations of your emails, and then deploy the most promising one universally.
Now that you have laid the groundwork, here are a few statistically proven strategies that you can implement to send conversion-oriented cart recovery emails.
Abandoned cart recovery email strategies that work
Enough has been said about the power of social proof in driving conversions. In fact, studies have concluded that 88% of consumers trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, if a particular skeptical customer has dropped off from your online store to do some more research before they make their purchase, it would be greatly helpful to tell them how highly rated the product of their choice is and what other customers have to say about it.
You can share average ratings or detailed customer reviews in your emails depending upon the product so as to instill a sense of confidence in the receiver regarding their choice and nudge them to complete the checkout process.
Following are a few examples of emails from brands that have nailed this aspect of social proof in their cart recovery strategies:
You cannot assume that customers would only abandon carts because of a price issue. They might need assistance in making the purchase or even be looking for a different variant of the product that they couldn’t find by themselves. In order to rule out the possibility of them dropping off due to any such apprehension or confusion, you need to offer enough support links in your email so they can reach out if that is the case. The more channels you can offer, the better the chances of recovering a lost customer by assisting them in completing the purchase. You needn’t offer them in each email in your sequence; one is probably enough.
Let’s take a look at some cart recovery campaign examples of the same:
3. Make a single product the hero of your email
Customers might have abandoned a bunch of products but their purchase intent for each of them could vary drastically. Therefore, to drive them back to your store, you should only target one such product that they have the maximum inclination towards rather than confusing them with 5-6 products that they are more likely to ignore. Also, by focusing your copy on a single product, you can detail out its USP elaborately by shedding the complete spotlight on this item.
Here’s an excellent example of the same:
4. Offer irrefutable deals and loyalty program rewards
One of the most dependable strategies to win back lost customers is undoubtedly offering enticing deals that are impossible to say no to. You could offer free shipping, a discount, or even remind your customers how many loyalty reward points they could be earning by completing their purchase. So, in case they dropped off because of a high price or to look around and check out your competitors’ pricing, this is your best shot at driving them back to their abandoned carts.
Here’s a cart recovery email example from Sephora that highlights the reward points customers are missing out on by abandoning their cart:
5. Display product recommendations in your cart recovery email
It’s not necessary that a shopper would continue to wait on your reminder to make the purchase. There’s a high chance they buy a similar product from a competing store.
In another scenario, the shopper may not be all too interested in the product they had added to the cart. But they left without looking through the other product ranges available on your store.
Now in both cases, the one strategy that will help your abandoned cart recovery email convert, is including personalized product recommendations. By displaying products either similar to the one they left behind or those complementing it, you increase the chances of re-engaging the cart abandoner and bringing them back to your site to either complete the purchase or maybe even buy more!
You can do this easily by using smart eCommerce product recommendation apps like WISER that integrate with your email marketing solutions easily.
6. Supplement emails with other retargeting channels
While the emails are extremely effective in helping you recover abandoned carts, if supported by other retargeting channels, they can be far more powerful in yielding the desired results. Using retargeting ads on Google and Facebook Messenger, web and mobile push notifications, for example, along with emails will only make your campaign more scalable and increase your conversion rate by grabbing customers’ attention via the channel of their preference.
Let’s look at some interesting examples of cart abandonment and retargeting ads:
Similarly, push notifications are equally effective in reminding abandoners about the items in their cart with a subtle nudge:
Here’s another example of cart recovery on web push notifications:
Innovative abandoned cart email examples (and why they work)
In this section, we look at a bunch of cart abandonment emails that are proven to have worked in driving the desired outcomes. We shall also analyze what stands out in these emails and why they actually worked so brilliantly.
1. Chubbies Shorts
Why it worked:
- Quirky, well-crafted, and attention-grabbing copy that is hard to ignore
- Multiple CTAs (All links in the email lead the receiver to their abandoned cart)
- Interesting use of visuals (Image of the product in use and not just the product standalone)
Why it worked:
- Minimalistic design and copy with sole focus on the product
- Reminds customers about perks such as free delivery and easy returns
- Email design consistent with the brand’s homepage and site design which promises better brand recall
Why it worked:
- Excellent use of social proof in the form of user reviews and ratings
- Discount + free shipping mentioned upfront making it impossible to overlook
- 3 channels offered for reaching out to support
- Multiple CTAs (Activate 10% off and Go To Cart)
Why it worked:
- Quirky, yet minimalistic copy
- Single scroll email and basic design so the receiver doesn’t get distracted or overwhelmed
- Mentions complete product details along with the price
Why it worked:
- Minimalistic design and copy to avoid distraction
- Offers multiple deals (10% off as well as free shipping on orders above $49)
- Unique coupon code mentioned to create FOMO and a sense of exclusivity
Why it worked:
- Mobile responsive design, content, and visuals
- Minimalistic design with a heavy focus on images
- Upsell and cross-sell opportunities leveraged smartly
Why it worked:
- Quirky copy that is simply hard to ignore
- Clear mention of the price to leave no room for confusion
- Clear mention of all product details including color, size, quality, and style – almost like an actual checkout page
- Link to FAQs mentioned so customers can quickly refer to TnCs or shipping policies if need be
Why it worked:
- Contextual copy (“Don’t give up on your dreams, the best sleep of your life awaits you – since they sell mattresses”)
- Multiple, clear, and attention-grabbing CTAs
- Minimalistic design and copy
Why it worked:
- Creates a sense of urgency by mentioning ‘Your cart is about to expire’
- Multiple and clearly distinguishable CTAs
- Unique coupon code to create a sense of exclusivity
- Links to social media handles also present in case customers want to check out customer reviews or lookbooks on Facebook and Instagram
- Creates FOMO by mentioning that the unique coupon code is valid for 24 hours only
Why it worked:
- Extensive focus on visuals
- Unique promo code to entice abandoners
- Links to all social media apps mentioned
Why it worked:
- Focus on a single hero product
- Almost half of the email design focuses on contact details
- Clearly mentions express delivery and free returns within 28 days
Why it worked:
- Multiple and clearly distinguishable CTAs
- Links to social media handles clearly present
- Product recommendations used wisely to increase average order value
- Heavy on visuals – multiple images of the product showcased to entice the customer
These were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovative abandoned cart email campaigns. For more inspiration, check out a few others here.
Want to know how well your abandoned cart recovery emails are performing? Install RevTap and get a performance report now.
Metrics you need to measure to keep a track of cart abandonment and recovery
To get a comprehensive understanding of how cart abandonment is affecting your online store’s sales and how effectively your abandoned cart email campaigns are working, track the following metrics:
1. Abandoned cart value
It is important for you to know the average cart total of the ones being abandoned to craft a relevant email retargeting strategy. Like we discussed in the previous section about targeting each segment differently, you first need to have an understanding of the segment of customers that fall into the low abandoned cart value category, those that fall into the medium, those who fall into the high cart value category, and also which of these is the most common one for your store.
2. Length of the customer journey
The number of sessions, visits, and the overall time it takes for buyers to complete a purchase on your store is an indication of how smooth your shopping experience is. By tracking how shoppers are moving through your customer journey will give you insights into their pain points and friction areas so you can rightfully address them via your cart abandonment emails.
3. Traffic sources
Whether it via social media, organic search, paid ads, or referral traffic – how customers land on your online store will tell you more about their motivation, preferences, and interests and also potentially why they might have abandoned their cart.
4. Time taken to complete the checkout process
Since long or complicated checkout processes are one of the most common reasons for cart abandonment (as we shall discuss in the next section), the average time taken from adding items to the cart to completing the checkout process will indicate how smooth or complicated the flow is.
5. Abandoned cart email open rate
This will tell you what percentage of cart abandoners who receive recovery emails actually end up opening them. A poor rate means you will have to work on your subject lines, timing, and frequency.
6. Abandoned cart email click-through rate
This metric is an indication of the percentage of abandoners who opened the link and actually clicked on one or more of the CTAs. An extremely crucial metric as it directly tells you how effective your emails are in driving traffic back to your online store.
7. Cart abandonment email unsubscribes
This indicates the percentage of people who unsubscribe to your cart abandoned emails. This could be because of poor timing, uninteresting copy, or simply bad design.
Want to learn about these abandoned cart metrics? Read here.
And now you’re all set to set up cart recovery email campaigns that convert. But if you’re wondering why shoppers abandon carts, to begin with, let us give you a quick rundown on some reasons.
Why do customers abandon carts?
There could be literally endless reasons for customers abandoning carts on online stores. The most common ones, however, are more or less the same across categories, geographies, and verticals.
As per the Baymard Institute, the top reasons for cart abandonment in 2020 are:
1. Extra costs too high
Whether it is shipping charges or taxes, unexpected extra charges that show themselves only during the last stage of the checkout process are more often than not huge trigger points for online shoppers and cause the most percentage of drop-offs.
They are perceived as an unpleasant surprise that makes shoppers feel that an important piece of information was being kept from them and thus makes them lose trust in the brand or the credibility of the checkout process. Be it shipping or delivery charges, or handling fees, be transparent about your costs.
2. Guest checkout not available
Many stores make it compulsory for shoppers to create an account to continue with the checkout process which at times becomes too frustrating for them causing them to abandon their carts. You might want to leverage every opportunity to get visitors to sign up and share their precious contact information or join your mail list, but buyers are usually in a hurry and if they won’t be able to shop on the go, they are not going to put in that extra effort to go through a complicated process of signing up.
So while nudging a visitor to create a customer account might seem appealing, make sure you also offer them a choice to checkout without sign up.
3. Too long or complicated checkout process
Another extremely common reason for abandonment, complicated checkout processes simply leads to annoyance and irritation that is hard to ignore. No one wants to go through a 10-step process to buy a pair of jeans. Therefore, long or complicated checkout processes simply overwhelm customers, who end up losing interest and dropping off midway.
Most online shoppers make purchases on mobile devices or when they’re on the go. So also make sure that your checkout process is mobile-optimized.
4. Total order cost not visible upfront
Very often, shoppers are unable to view or calculate their final bill amount upfront before the very last step. This happens when shipping is added towards the end or there are some surprise charges that get added which confuse the buyers.
Shoppers are usually not comfortable making a purchase if they can’t see the total amount upfront before sharing their personal information and hence end up dropping off due to the apprehension.
Even if it means the shipping costs, make sure you provide them with an estimate upfront.
5. Unsatisfactory delivery timelines
Most online stores are quite flexible with their shipping and delivery timelines these days, yet there are times when shoppers need a product urgently or want to gift it to someone on a particular date and hence cannot compromise with the delivery timeline and have to cancel the checkout process.
Some stores even have certain logistical challenges in a few geographies due to which they cannot deliver items as swiftly as they would in other areas leading to unhappy customers.
To optimize your delivery times, you need to be able to implement a logistics recommendation solution into your eCommerce operations.
6. Lack of trust in sharing credit card information
Even though online shopping is more prevalent than it ever was, most shoppers are highly apprehensive about sharing their personal and sensitive information with eCommerce stores, more true in the case of newer or relatively smaller or unpopular stores.
Therefore, even if shoppers like a few items on your online store, but are not completely confident of how trustworthy it is, they are more likely than not going to change their mind about making a purchase.
You can deal with this upfront by displaying social proof like reviews, ratings and customer testimonials on your site. You can also display security certificates to let your shoppers know they would be transacting safely.
7. Unsatisfactory return and refund policies
With online shopping, the biggest apprehension with buyers remains not being completely sure of the quality and look and feel of the product they purchase. To that end, if the store’s return policy is something they are not completely satisfied with, they might end up with second thoughts regarding their purchase just in case the product does not live up to their expected quality standards.
To tackle this efficiently, you can set up self-serve returns on your store using logistics solutions like ClickPost. Seeing how easy it will be for them to request a return or a refund, will make them trust you more.
8. Not enough payment methods
Again, most shoppers have a limited selection of preferred payment methods and if they don’t find one of those in your dropdown, it mostly ends up being a cause of concern as they wouldn’t want to go the extra mile and download a new payment app or use a new payment gateway, etc.
These were some of the reasons why your customers are abandoning carts as well. However, to truly figure out which ones are the most common for your store, which customer falls into which category, and which of these you need to address urgently, you need to continually analyse your data. This is where a Shopify analytics app like RevTap comes in.
It helps you identify which payment methods are being used the most, which coupons are used more often while completing checkout and which shipping method is preferred too.
With all this data at hand, you can recover abandoned carts on email in no time!
Let’s set the ball rolling and win back those abandoned carts and lost sales!
Cart abandonment is a boundless sea and we’ve only just explored the tip of the iceberg. It’s a challenge extremely unique for each eCommerce business and the key to overcoming it is understanding your customers’ motivations, preferences, and apprehensions so you can rightfully address them. The more you analyze your store’s performance dashboard and customer data, the more insights you are going to discover that will take your abandoned cart email strategy to the next level.
So, it’s time you put your knowledge to test and win back those lost customers by delighting and engaging them using abandoned cart recovery emails.
Ready to make your abandoned cart recovery email strategy convert higher with personalization?
Create your customer segments with RevTap today.