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Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Let’s Get Real About Reeling Them Back In!

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You are losing money.

Globally, 75.6% of shopping carts are abandoned. This practice causes ecommerce businesses to lose more than $18 billion a year.

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Understanding Abandoned Cart Emails and Their Importance

This guide will show you how to recover a big chunk of that revenue. A look at the data around shopping cart abandonment reveals a huge opportunity.

Industry Statistics on Cart Abandonment

We mentioned that the global average rate of cart abandonment is 75.6%. But depending on different variables, this rate can be higher. 

How can you make sense of these statistics?

Understanding the Abandoned Cart Phenomenon

These numbers are reminders of a critical fact: Behind every abandoned cart, there is a real human being. 

If you can begin to understand why they abandoned their cart, you can begin to write abandoned shopping cart emails that bring them back.

The Psychology Behind Cart Abandonment

In 2016, Eye Studios found that the highest rate of cart abandonment took place around 8-9 pm

While this data was gathered years ago, its interpretation still makes sense. Shoppers may select items for purchase and then “sleep on it” before pulling the trigger.

If that’s the case, a friendly reminder the next day could help them commit to the purchase.

In fact, abandoned cart emails have a 48% open rate. This suggests that nearly half of these shoppers are still interested in buying. 

Breaking Down Psychological Triggers

Imagine that you’re about to buy a hoodie with a beautiful image printed on the front. But when you go to Checkout, you see an extra $21 added on for taxes and shipping. 

Suddenly your purchase doesn’t feel like such a bargain. The retailer didn’t mention these costs on the other pages of their store. It feels dishonest. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

This is a common issue related to shopping cart abandonment. A full 55% of customers ditch their carts because of these hidden, extra costs.

Another situation that triggers the trust alarm is an insecure site. It may be a simple technical issue. Perhaps you just need to renew your SSL certificate. But buyers are alert to scams, and this red flag can convince a would-be customer to abandon their cart. 

If loss of trust leads to cart abandonment, friction can be an even bigger factor. 

We already mentioned that slow-loading sites can increase abandonment rates. Shoppers don’t like to wait around. 

Baymard found that shoppers will drop 26% of online transactions if they are required to register an account. 

Similarly, if the checkout process is too complicated, 22% of customers leave. 

When you’re close to the finish line and suddenly asked to fill out unexpected forms, it’s frustrating.

Spot Studios found that checkout flows have 23.48 elements on average, when the ideal number of checkout form elements is 12. Unnecessary questions and information gathering are killing your sales.

Analyzing the Reasons Behind Cart Abandonment

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Many online stores make users feel impatient or distrustful. It’s no wonder that they give up on their planned purchases. But keep in mind that they were recently interested in buying – interested enough to find specific items and add them to a cart. 

Don’t abandon these shoppers just because they abandoned their carts. There’s a good chance that they were distracted or merely feeling indecisive. Or perhaps the purchase just doesn’t feel urgent, and they plan to complete the transaction later.

Address the issues and give your customers another chance. 

Addressing Technical Issues Leading to Abandonment

Before we discuss abandoned cart emails, it’s worth doing everything you can to prevent shopping cart abandonment in the first place.

Common Technical Glitches Explored

Build your store on the best e-commerce platform you can get your hands on. Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, and other large platforms do a lot behind the scenes to help you avoid losing a customer due to a glitch.

Still, there’s always a chance that a lost connection, an error, or any number of temporary issues will cause a transaction to fail. That’s one more reason to fire off an email campaign and give the customer another chance.

You should pay close attention to issues that impact the loading time of your site, such as the size and formatting of videos and images. Slow-loading sites increase the abandonment rate by 75%.

Identifying Abandonment Patterns

Aside from issues that we’ve already discussed, there’s another reason that carts are abandoned. Around 40% of shoppers place items in their carts without the intention of ever buying them.

You’ve probably done this. Maybe you want to save an item for comparison, or you’re just researching for a possible purchase in the future. The shopping cart is a convenient place to store these items, so you won’t need to search for them later on.

The good news about this practice is the opportunity that it presents to retailers. Your abandoned cart emails can finalize a sale the shopper was already thinking about. A solid email might even get them to reconsider an item that they put in their cart but never intended to buy.

Best Practices for Abandoned Cart Emails

We noted at the beginning of this article that $18 billion in revenue is lost each year due to abandoned carts, but Active Campaign found that 10.7% of that revenue can be recovered by cart abandonment emails. That’s almost 2 billion dollars!

Let’s get to work on your emails, so you can collect your share of that treasure.

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) determines the data that you’re allowed to collect on your site and what you can legally do with this data.

Can you legally send abandoned cart emails? Rules change by region and time; but to date, abandoned cart emails are considered to be transactional emails.

A transactional email is sent to an individual, based on an action they took while on your website. We are not attorneys, but transactional emails are generally considered a legal use of a user’s data. 

Still, we don’t recommend spamming your customer by sending them dozens of cart recovery emails. 

To minimize the number and maximize the revenue recovered, your abandoned cart emails should be irresistible.

How To Craft an Irresistible Offer

Your customer is already interested in the items that they put in their cart. You don't have to sell the products as much as you have to sell the decision to purchase them.

Address the distraction, indecision, or frustration that caused the shopper to abandon their cart in the first place. Consider offering an incentive to sweeten the deal.

Focus on High-Value Abandoned Carts

Offering a coupon, discount, or free item is a common practice to encourage users to complete a transaction. But what if you have limited resources or narrow margins?

Flowium compared the revenue recovered from carts that contained less than $100 worth of merchandise (low value) to that of carts with more than $100 (high value). Their results:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

They found that an abandoned cart email sequence recovered 4-5 times as much revenue from high-value carts. 

If you can’t profitably offer incentives to every shopper who abandons their cart, focus on the high value carts for a better ROI.

Crafting Offers That Convert

Incentives are just one of many tactics that can turn an abandonment into a buy. Let’s look at what else can drive conversions.

Personalizing Your Email Approach

In a 2017 study, 65% of the companies surveyed reported a boost in conversions when they used personalization in their emails.

Hearing or reading your own name grabs your attention, but that’s just the beginning of personalization.

Tailoring Emails to Individual Preferences

If you have data on products the user viewed while they were on their site, it’s worth tailoring your offer to any apparent interests they have.

For example, Wolf & Shepherd offered a free pair of socks to a shopper who was checking out various shoe styles:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

You could also refer to the benefits of owning the item they almost bought.

Another way to use personalization is to upsell with an item that they viewed but didn’t place in their cart. 

Timing Your Abandoned Cart Emails

Your first abandoned cart email should arrive quickly. 

You’re more likely to consider buying an item that you looked at today than something you looked at a week ago. This phenomenon is known as the recency bias, and a quick email takes advantage of it. 

Recency bias is the reason that welcome emails are so useful, and it works for abandoned cart emails, too.

Determining the Best Time To Send Emails

You want to send your first abandoned cart email early, but not too early.

Rejoiner tested different send times and found that one hour after abandonment seems to be the sweet spot. 

Sending it sooner can irritate shoppers who were already planning to come back and complete the transaction, but waiting longer than an hour leaves time for them to make a purchase somewhere else or move on to a completely new activity.

Why Trust Us? All beehiiv writers are carefully vetted for their knowledge and experience. Jacob Bear has been writing email marketing campaigns for nearly a decade and was recently a Top Voice on LinkedIn. He deliberately abandoned five shopping carts to “research” what would happen. Only two retailers even bothered to send an abandoned cart email.

Crafting the Perfect Abandoned Cart Email Content

Our writer did a bit of “research” and loaded up his cart with mushroom coffee from Four Sigmatic. Then, he closed the tab and got back to “work” (or scrolling through Lord of the Rings memes).

But Four Sigmatic didn’t mess around. An hour later, our writer found this email in his inbox:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails
Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails
Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

The folks at Four Sigmatic are beasts when it comes to selling their products. 

This email and the two that followed it made use of personalization, social proof, urgency, and the recency bias. They even had the audacity to encourage the sale of more items. Let’s look at how they did this. 

Integrating Social Proof Into Email Content

The easiest way to tell if a product is good is to hear from other customers who bought or used it. This is why reviews and testimonials play such a big role in marketing, both online and off.

Incorporating Customer Testimonials

One of the first things you see in Four Sigmatic’s email is a collection of 5-star reviews and testimonials. 

Notice that this social proof didn’t take up a lot of space or interfere with the rest of the message. Think about ways you can add testimonials and reviews to your abandoned cart emails.

Real-Life Examples of Successful Abandoned Cart Emails

While Four Sigmatic’s email is highly effective, you can also benefit from a more simple approach:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

In three words, “life gets busy,” Wolf & Shepherd acknowledge the many factors that could have led the buyer to abandon their cart. 

Instead of piling up a lot of reviews, they simply show a picture of the product to jog the user’s memory.

This is the start of an email sequence that gradually builds more incentives and urgency.

Analyzing Successful Abandoned Cart Emails

If there’s a common thread among the most successful abandoned cart emails, it’s a sense of urgency. 

Most carts have an expiration date, and the best emails point this out. Let’s look at the other tactics that work.

The Role of Subject Lines in Open Rates

Arguably, the subject line is the most important element of email. 

We’ve seen that abandoned cart emails already have a relatively high open rate, but you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t do everything you can to get your emails opened.

Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

Fortunately, there are a few principles that can always make a subject line more successful:

  • Curiosity: “Hurry! Your abandoned cart holds a special treat just for you!” (Four Sigmatic)

  • Self-interest: “The price dropped for something in your cart” (Target)

  • Urgency/FOMO: “Oh No! This expires soon! Don’t miss it!” (The Home T)

  • Personalization: “Jacob, still interested in the Closer loafer?” (Wolf & Shepherd) 

  • Clarity: “Your cart is waiting” (Allbirds)

If you can incorporate more than one of these elements in your subject line, you’re likely to get a high open rate.

Don’t Neglect the From Line

Another important factor is making it clear where the abandoned cart email is coming from. At the very least, your company name should be included in place of a generic term such as “sales” or “accounting.” 

If possible, send the email from an account to which the reader can reply, such as “customerservice@yourcompany. This will allow them to get back to you if they have specific questions or issues.

Writing Engaging Email Copy

The copy for an abandoned cart email is a bit different than what you would write for a typical marketing email.

There’s always room for creativity, but put a stronger emphasis on being simple, clear, and direct.

This email from Casper has a clever but brief headline and then gets straight to the point:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Image Courtesy of Shopify

Writing Copy That Engages and Converts

It’s likely that your shopper abandoned their cart because they were undecided, confused, distracted, or in a hurry. The last thing you want to do is make any of these worse. 

Here are a few tips on writing good abandoned cart email copy:

  • Be clear.

  • Be brief.

  • Personalize.

  • Make it easy to scan and scroll.

  • Say more in your second and third emails.

  • Include social proof.

  • Address common objections in the form of FAQs.

Designing Abandoned Cart Email Templates for Maximum Impact

Since a straightforward email usually achieves more, your design and layout play a bigger role in your abandoned cart emails. Here are a few elements that will help.

Design Elements for High Conversion

  • Large buttons with a clear call to action

  • Images of the product(s) in the cart

  • Images that remind shoppers of your brand and why they chose you in the first place

  • Large text that’s easy to scan

Leveraging Mobile Optimization for Better Reach

Most people are using their phones more than any other device. Responsive, mobile-friendly design is an essential part of ecommerce. 

Fortunately, most platforms incorporate responsive design as a matter of course.

The Importance of Mobile-Friendly Emails

Mobile devices have a higher rate of shopping cart abandonment than other devices, according to Barilliance. 

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

This means that most shoppers are likely to read your cart abandonment emails on mobile devices, too. Responsive design will help you get these emails right, but it’s also important to keep your text in short blocks and paragraphs.

Finally, test each email on a mobile device.

Incorporating Effective Calls-to-Action

Many of the standard Calls-to-Action (CTAs) won’t work as well in abandoned cart emails. 

Your shopper is getting these emails because CTAs such as “Buy Now,” and “Order Here” have already failed. 

Instead, consider low-pressure phrases such as, “Get Your Gift,” “Return to Cart,” or “View Your Selection.”

Effective CTA Placement Strategies

Where you place your CTA matters. You want to appeal to the impatient buyer as well as the one who needs more information.

You don’t need a CTA in all of these places, but you should consider each one as you design your email:

  • Have at least one CTA above the fold where buyers can see it without scrolling.

  • Place a CTA at or near the end of the email.

  • Place a CTA near a special offer or incentive.

Optimizing Email Template Layouts

When someone abandons a cart, it suggests that their user experience (UX) was less than optimal. Make UX a top concern when creating your abandoned cart email templates.

Layout Optimization Techniques

  • Always use responsive design.

  • Keep your copy clear and simple.

  • Place your CTA buttons in strategic locations.

In addition, you should include an Unsubscribe link. BarkShop gets cute with this, and so can you:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Image courtesy of ConvertCart

Creating a Compelling Abandoned Cart Email Series

We saw above that a short email, sent an hour after a shopper abandons a cart has a chance of recovering some of your lost revenue. 

Sending two more emails in the days following can roughly double the odds. Here’s how you can create a compelling abandoned cart email sequence.

Segmenting Your Audience for Targeted Emails

Hopefully, you're already segmenting your audience for your marketing emails. Shoppers who abandon carts are no different from your other readers. They are likely to respond differently based on their age, interests, the products they buy from businesses like yours, and certain needs and priorities.

Targeting Techniques for Different Segments

  • Consider the language and offers you will use for someone buying a product for themselves vs. buying it as a gift for someone else.

  • Tailor your emails based on the types of products that the customer is interested in.

  • Use colors, fonts, and layouts that target different people of different ages and genders.

Sequencing Your Emails for Impact

The research done by Flowium seems to indicate the best sequence is as follows:

  • A short, basic email sent an hour after abandonment

  • A second email a day later

  • A third email sent three days after the abandonment

Building Momentum With Email Sequencing

The first email is usually the most simple and also the most effective. 

However, the first email usually marks a countdown until the shopping cart expires. Your second email is a good way to remind the shopper that the clock is ticking. You can also make this email a little bit longer and address common objections. 

This is how Dollar Shave Club pre-addresses possible objections and concerns right in their copy:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Image courtesy of Shopify

The third email is a good time to issue a “last chance” warning about the expiring cart and the expiration of any special incentives. 

This email can also contain longer copy. If the shopper hasn’t lost interest by now, they’ll probably read it. Whiskey Loot promotes their products masterfully in this abandoned cart email:

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Image courtesy of Shopify

Measuring the Success of Your Abandoned Cart Email Campaigns

Analytics and testing are the twin superpowers that will guide you to crafting the most effective abandoned cart email campaigns. 

A/B Testing Your Email Elements

Practically all ecommerce and email platforms support A/B testing. If you’re not taking advantage of this, you’re losing money.

The Art of A/B Testing in Email Campaigns

The most important decision in A/B testing is what to test. 

Since testing always takes time and resources, we suggest testing high leverage variables. These variables are easy to alter and potentially bring large improvements:

  • Subject lines

  • Timing of cart abandonment emails

  • Coupons and other incentives

  • Time until cart expires

  • Best day to send cart abandonment emails

Analyzing Email Campaign Data

If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Regular testing will help you gather valuable data that can make your email campaigns more effective. But what you do with that data is what makes all the difference.

Understanding Abandoned Cart Email Analytics

At the most basic level, abandoned cart analytics will surface any glaring issues.

Recover Lost Revenue With Abandoned Cart Emails

Do carts tend to be abandoned at checkout? Does it happen once the shipping costs are calculated? Do certain products seem to trigger cart abandonment?

Equally useful, you can find out whether your abandoned cart emails are working. 

Analytics can often help you uncover factors you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. For example, are abandonment rates higher among shoppers responding to a specific ad?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) To Monitor

You can evaluate abandoned cart emails just as you would analyze any marketing email. How well do they do on various key performance indicators?

Your team will have to determine which KPIs are most useful, but here are some common KPIs to consider:

  • Open rates

  • Clickthroughs and whether they lead to sales

  • Conversion using different test elements

  • Products with highest recovery rates

  • Most effective emails by product

Abandoned Cart Email FAQs

What Should I Write in an Abandoned Cart Email?

Your abandoned cart email should be relatively short and to the point: “We’ve saved something you wanted. It will be available for another 36 hours. If you complete the purchase, you’ll get a free widget and a 10% discount.

What Is an Abandoned Cart Email?

An abandoned cart email is an email sent to an individual who visited your ecommerce site, placed one or more items in their cart, and then left without completing the purchase.

The purpose of the abandoned cart email is to gently nudge the shopper to go back and buy the abandoned products.

Can I Send Abandoned Cart Emails?

Yes, abandoned cart emails are considered to be transactional emails. 

Transactional emails are sent to an individual in response to an action they took on your site. Abandoned cart emails meet these criteria, so you are allowed to send them. They are not considered spam or a misuse of data.

Are Abandoned Cart Emails a Good Idea?

Abandoned cart emails are an excellent idea. Over 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts. This represents $18 billion a year in lost revenue worldwide, but abandoned cart emails will help you recover nearly 11% of this lost revenue. Statistically, you can expect to increase your revenue by 7-8 percent by using abandoned cart emails. 

The Unspoken Secret About Abandoned Cart Emails

There’s one more important factor we haven’t discussed.

You can prevent shopping cart abandonment and recover abandoned carts more quickly by building relationships through your email.

You see, people do business with brands they know, like, and trust. The more contact that shoppers have with their brand, the stronger the brand grows.

It takes time to build this kind of relationship, but it’s worth the effort. When a frustrated shopper is thinking about abandoning their cart, they might reconsider if they feel like your brand is a friend. Or if they go ahead and abandon their cart, they’re still going to be way more responsive to your abandoned cart email.

Introducing Multi-Touchpoint Marketing

They say it takes seven touchpoints to make a sale. You can make these touchpoints through email, but also through texting, instant messaging, and social media.

These touchpoints build familiarity. Users begin to know, like, and trust your brand. 

One of the most efficient ways to harness this effect is by having an email newsletter. Readers can opt-in, and now they’ll hear from you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

With a newsletter, you’ll accumulate trust and goodwill. You can introduce new products or promote existing products to an audience that’s biased in your favor. This takes a bit of work. But if a newsletter is a missing piece in your digital empire, beehiiv can do a lot of the heavy lifting. 

Our newsletter platform is designed for creators, which means we have tools to make your content look good and attract a larger audience. 

We’re constantly adding new features such as AI, better analytics, and creative ways to build new revenue streams.

beehiiv might not be the best platform for shopping carts, but we integrate well with Shopify, Wix, Zapier, and dozens of others. 

If you want to reduce the number of abandoned carts, build a loyal audience with a beehiiv newsletter.

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