Though the majority of companies in the UK are failing to send emails to customers who have abandoned their shopping baskets, yet 46% of consumers say they would be likely to complete a purchase if they received a reminder. 

An e-Dialog survey revealed the latter statistic, while our Email Marketing Census earlier this year found that 67% of companies were not employing this tactic to attempt to revive abandoned sales.

The email survey also revealed some useful stats about email's effectiveness as a direct marketing channel, and the potential for driving offline sales. Some highlights after the jump...

Abandoned purchase emails

Sending emails to checkout dropouts seems like an obvious thing to do, yet previous surveys have shown that the majority of retailers are not using this tactic.

In our Email Marketing Census this year, we found that 67% of companies are not sending emails to customers that have abandoned shopping baskets, and this represents a missed opportunity.

The e-Dialog survey certainly suggests this, with 46% of consumers saying that they would be more likely to complete an online transaction if they received an email reminder.

If a customer has added products to the basket and gone to the trouble of entering personal details then this demonstrates a clear intent to purchase. By not even attempting to remind the customer, companies are missing a trick.

Effect on offline sales

As well as driving online sales, email can be an effective driver of offline sales, so providing details of stores where recipients can buy goods and take up offers can be a useful tactic. 60% of UK consumers in the survey said they would be more likely to buy something from the high street after receiving an email about it.

Having looked at a few emails from multichannel retailers, it does seem that they are not doing enough to enough to drive offline as well as online sales.

In emails from Comet. Next, and Office, all of which have a significant offline presence, the emails are promoting only the option of buying online, as in this email from Comet:

Comet email

Some do it a little better though; Boots promotes its order and collect service on its emails, while Marks and Spencer invited customers to browse and order from its 'Easter Feast' menu online and collect offline:

M&S email

Email as a sales conversion tool

The study also suggested that email marketing is the most effective way to drive direct sales conversions, with 67% of UK consumers saying that an email could prompt them to make an impulse purchase online, more than offers seen on other websites (47%) or through social networks (11%)

Graham Charlton

Published 5 June, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)


Kate Wooding

Totally agree that retailers are missing a trick by not emailing customers who abandon shopping baskets - it's why we built in the functionality for our clients to be able to see abandoned baskets in our eCommerce CMS. Obviously, it only works with those customers who already have a profile, rather than those who are new to the site, or adding to baskets without being logged in.

about 9 years ago


malcolm coles

Interesting. Receiving an email like this happened to me for the first time ever yesterday (perhaps more because I don't usually abandon checkouts but anyway). I considered it an extremely intrusive breach of my privacy (perhaps because I was on a pharmacy site) and vowed never to shop there again ...

about 9 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Malcolm, 

I think companies are treading a fine line between annoying the customer and providing a polite reminder, so they should be careful about wording and perhaps sweeten it with a special offer if possible.

However, if a significant proportion go back and complete their purchase as a result, then it's worth the risk of annoying a few.

about 9 years ago



I dont think Ive ever been emailed after abandoning a purchase. This cant be that common a tactic?


about 9 years ago

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