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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.

Matthew Kelleher

Published 18 August, 2009 by Matthew Kelleher

Matthew Kelleher is commercial director as RedEye and a contributor to Econsultancy.

27 more posts from this author

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Rufus

I have always hated the blanket approach to this. The counter-example I always use is grocery retail. I add things to basket but do not go to checkout until i have a full shop done. this takes days. If you send me an email everytime you decide I have abandonned I will jus tlearn to shop elsewhere.

Oddly enough I have a similar approach to other areas too. I put books in my basket when I hear about them but do not buy until I am running low on my "to read" pile. SD cards and phone pointers, exactly the same. Anything that i think of as a consumable.

If you do not take product usage cycles into account you can simply incentivise them to shop elsewhere.

over 7 years ago

David Goldie

David Goldie, Senior Business Development Manager at Stickyeyes

Well said Chris. There is a fine line between good CRM and I'm stalking you online.

The E-com sites that get the balance right, the ones that have looked at the bigger picture will be the ones who win.

over 7 years ago

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Mark Bolitho

good subject, but first of all i think it's preferable to separate basket and checkout abandonment here, as the 2 stages are distinct and will quite likely have different factors behind the user dropping off.

i'd say a checkout abandonment - where somebody has actually started the checkout process - is more serious; having made their mind up to buy, their mind has suddenly changed, whereas adding to the basket does not necessarily denote a commitment to buy, especially if the site doesn't have an 'add wishlist to basket' capability.

to address the question directly; i have no idea what industry best-practice is, or should be here. to be perfectly honest, i think the question is the wrong one - why not use the time to do some qualitative research and phone a sample to uncover the reason for their abandonment?

time much better spent in my view. this information can then be fed back into the process and should result in less abandonment.

over 7 years ago

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Mark Bolitho

good subject, but first of all i think it's preferable to separate basket and checkout abandonment here, as the 2 stages are distinct and will quite likely have different factors behind the user dropping off.

i'd say a checkout abandonment - where somebody has actually started the checkout process - is more serious; having made their mind up to buy, their mind has suddenly changed, whereas adding to the basket does not necessarily denote a commitment to buy, especially if the site doesn't have an 'add wishlist to basket' capability.

to address the question directly; i have no idea what industry best-practice is, or should be here. to be perfectly honest, i think the question is the wrong one - why not use the time to do some qualitative research and phone a sample to uncover the reason for their abandonment?

time much better spent in my view. this information can then be fed back into the process and should result in less abandonment.

over 7 years ago

Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller, VP, Member Relations at Direct Marketing Association

Love this discussion, thanks to all.

Isn't this better tested than guessed at?  Simply test how long after a cart or checkout has been abandoned (with specific messaging to each) and see if 24 hours or one week is better.  Some apparel retailers find that one week is preferable to a faster reminder, and some food retailers find that a quick reminder is preferable, especially with a coupon offer.

Best,

Stephanie Miller
VP, Return Path, NYC

@StephanieSAM

over 7 years ago

Rob Mclaughlin

Rob Mclaughlin, VP, Digital Analytics at Barclays

I agree - basket abandonment is thoroughly subjective

The nature of the brand can have a huge effect. The more 'conversational' the brand - where the customer feels an interaction with brand, perhaps through customer service/social media - the less the shock/unsavoury the email

An abandonment email should feel like a helping hand, not a push.

over 7 years ago

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