American Airlines is using abandoned shopping cart emails to help encourage consumers who have searched for flights on their site to return to AA.com to make a booking. The company works with its email service provider e-Dialog to send triggered emails the day after a customer has abandonded their search. "It has to be timely," said Kay Kerman, director of email strategy at American Airlines, in a presentation at the Email Insider Summit today. "If you are shopping for airfare today, I can't give you an email in two weeks."
Technically speaking, the airline sends two email files daily to e-Dialog -- a files with a list of customers who have come to AA.com and searched but not booked and another file with flight pricing and airport information. e-Dialog creates the emails. Some emails have a single price point, some have dual. The single price point gives customers the price of the flight on the dates that they were searching for. The dual email gives two prices -- one on the exact date they were searching, another with different dates that offer a cheaper option. It can be a challenge since flight prices change regularly, but they try to send messages with prices that have at least six seats left at that price in hopes that it is still available when the customer opens the email.
All of the emails feature imagery of the destination to help get the customer in the mood for their trip. A New Yorker searching for a trip to Miami will be reminded why they need to get to South Beach through photos. "They create the email and turn it into a story," said Kerman of e-Dialog.
When they launched this triggered email effort, the company did this for 26 destinations. Now they do it for 70. The dual price point emails results in 70 percent of the company's email revenue. These emails have 300 percent higher open rates and 400 percent high conversion rates than other emails and they have very low opt-out rates.