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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!!

Matthew Kelleher

Published 1 November, 2010 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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Anonymous

Timing is fundamental to sending remarketing emails - an MIT study found that 90% of ecommerce leads go cold within an hour of abandonment. It is therefore vital to have the capability to send remarketing emails in real-time.

Also the follow-up emails should be 'send-time optimized' - i.e. a second email could be sent 23 hours after the initial abandonment as we are creatures of habit and are most likely to be online at the same time each day so the email will be in their inbox when they log-on.

Another point to note is that the email tracking and triggering should be integrated into one process so that it is easy to see if an individual has come back to purchase by another means (i.e a Google search), rather than through the email link. This keeps you in step with the customer and avoids the automatic triggering of subsequent follow-up emails if a purchase has been made.

Remarketing emails are even more important at this time of year, leading up to the holiday season when shopping cart abandonment is even higher than usual. There’s a great blog on this here.

almost 6 years ago

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David W

Great overview on effectively using email to reduce abandonment rate and bring back customers.

Blending other digital technologies helps reduce abandonment rates. Ad retargeting delivers ads to visitors after the leave your web site, and have proven to be very effective in bringing back visitors. Nearly 50% of users return to the site within an hour of being retargeted.

Also most markers fail to take advantage of tried and true direct mail. This is a great way to build loyalty and bring in return visitors, referrals and establish loyalty programs.

Thanks for the info!

almost 6 years ago

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Anonymous

Timing is fundamental to sending remarketing emails - an MIT study found that 90% of ecommerce leads go cold within an hour of abandonment. It is therefore vital to have the capability to send remarketing emails in real-time.

Also the follow-up emails should be ‘send-time optimized’ - i.e. a second email could be sent 23 hours after the initial abandonment as we are creatures of habit and are most likely to be online at the same time each day.

Another point to note is that the email tracking and triggering should be integrated into one process so that it is easy to see if an individual has come back to purchase by another means (i.e a Google search), rather than through the email link. This keeps you in step with the customer and avoids the automatic triggering of subsequent follow-up emails if a purchase has been made.

Remarketing emails are even more important at this time of year, leading up to the holiday season when shopping cart abandonment is even higher than usual. There’s a great blog on this here.

almost 6 years ago

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Gav

Great overview - I feel this is a great opportunity to tip some potential purchasers over to being customers, and think it's less invasive than some of the retargetting activity which seems to be everywhere at the moment.  I'm shocked at the level of adoption of this though, at 10% there is an opportunity being missed by a large number of these companies, for what shouldbe a relatively hygiene piece of functionality...not necessarily going to change the world, but possibly cheaper and more effective than other channels to converse with a warm lead.

almost 6 years ago

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Deborah Krier, Email Marketing Analyst at The Tire Rack

You missed a very important reason why someone has abandoned the basket: they got interrupted. Whether the boss walked by or their kid yelled for help, customers can fail to complete their purchase for relatively benign reasons that have nothing to do with price or website usability. So don't underestimate the effectiveness of simply sending an email which simply reminds the customer that their abandoned cart is still available and ready for them to complete their purchase, along with instructions on other channels for them to complete their purchase (phone number for customer service, for example).

almost 6 years ago

Matthew Kelleher

Matthew Kelleher, Commercial Director at RedEyeEnterprise

Deborah, you are absolutely correct. The research we did covered about 17 different reasons for an abandoned basket. For the sake of brevity I only commented on the top 3 but you are spot on to say that 'distraction' is an important factor also. Maybe I should blog the results of that particular research. Thank you.

almost 6 years ago

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