Everyone is doing basket abandonment emails today… or so I thought. But I have just been proved wrong.

According to our research, less than 10% of the top 100 UK e-commerce sites (as defined by Hitwise) currently do basket abandonment emails, so I thought I would post the top 10 best practice learnings that we have had from the last decade…

Address the reasons why someone has abandoned the basket

The top three reasons why this happens are an over-complicated checkout procedure/usability, the price or the fact that the person was comparison shopping. Which is the most likely to have occurred on your site?

Stick to the subject

Do not clutter the email with any other messages or confuse the consumer. Short, ‘postcard’ style creative addressing the potential problem is best. Keep the text clear, detailing the reason for the email and use white space to enforce the singularity of the message.

Get the call to action right

The call to action (CTA) is as important, if not more so, on a basket abandonment email as on a ‘newsletter’ format. Keep it above the fold and relevant to the issue, such as “return to your basket here” or “Have you not you not found what you are looking for?”. 

Don’t send too many emails

If an individual abandons five times in 10 minutes, don’t send five emails!! Set a rule that the individual can only receive one abandonment email per month.

Offer help and assistance

Offer help and assistance, for instance by publishing a telephone number, but don’t forget to make it a bespoke line so the value of the extra bookings can be attributed back to the basket abandonment email.

Reinforce brand value / USPs

Reinforce the reason why the individual chose your company in the first place… clearly and succinctly state your brand values and USPs.

Remind the customer of the product(s)

Dynamically generate the content and the product/s sitting in the basket… remind the consumer of what they are missing out on.

Test timings

Test the timeliness – 6sixhours, 24 hours, 72 hours… very often this will depend on both the type of product. Large ticket items encourage comparison browsing, so give the individual a few more hours to do their comparisons and to discuss the purchase with their partner or family.

Experiment with follow-up emails

Test a follow up abandon basket to those who don’t open or those who open but still don’t buy.

Don’t be too generous with discounts

Finally, DON’T teach your best customer to abandon baskets by offering a blanket discount in the basket abandonment email. If you want to offer free P&P or a discount, either do it irregularly (eg every third time) or only if are convinced that pricing is key and they are/are not a loyal customer.

Basket abandonment email can be your most effective email, with the highest open and click rates and generating the greatest revenue. Not doing it seems foolhardy!!