Twitter has just drawn my attention to a piece of advice on basket abandonment that I personally feel is misleading. The idea that 24 hours later is industry best practice for sending a basket abandonment emails is something I have never before come across.

Instead, I would assert that best practice should fall in line with the reason why someone has dropped out of the basket.

This information will be provided by which specific stage of the basket they drop out of, such as confirmation of order, credit card details or the stage at which the browser is informed of shipping advice. Each separate stage will demand a separate treatment. Alternatively, it could be determined by previous browsing behaviour (eg are they perennial abandoners or or do they usually buy?).

Sending email follow-ups within 24 hours might be seen as a bit Big Brotherish, but this does not stop you using the contents of the basket in a behavioural, offer-led email. If you suspect a prospective customer is out there comparing prices with your competitors then you may not feel that you can wait for 24 hours. Alternatively, if it is a big ticket item such as a holiday, then seven days later may be optimum.

So the advice is, as usual, test (the great cop out!). It depends on product, value and the potential motivation to abandon.

Use behavioural data to inform your decision and – where available – assess customer type. Getting it right may be worth an extra 1% in incremental income.

Finally, hats off to Listrak for an some excellent (US centric) stats.