Do You Still Have Abandonment Issues?

Emails that remind customers to come back and finish checking out their shopping carts are some of the highest-ROI messages a marketer can send. So why aren't you deploying these high-value emails yet?

Here are a few reasons that process abandonment emails should probably be near the top of your email-marketing priority list:

  • They can deliver the highest ROI of any email message you send on comparatively low volume. Although cart-recovery emails often make up less than a few percent of your total email volume, they often produce 10% to 20% or more of your revenue from email.
  • They're one of the most relevant emails you can send, because they respond directly to customer behavior. I'm familiar with a few clients that see conversion rates as high as 50%, although 15% to 25% seem to be most common.
  • Abandonment emails aren't just for shopping carts. They can also help you recover other abandoned processes, such as account registrations, email confirmations, downloads, Web browsing, sign-ups for webinars and other online services.



Roadblocks to Implementing Abandonment Emails

Two years ago, my company found in a survey of retail marketers that only 40% sent reminder emails to try to recover more revenue lost through cart abandonment, although another 43% had plans to launch programs in 2010 or 2011.

Today, more marketers are asking about abandonment emails as a way to improve conversions through remarketing. (See my earlier column, "Email Marketers' Concerns Becoming More Sophisticated," for details.) But, as with most triggered messages, they are still a long way from being a standard practice.

What's stopping other marketers from launching these automated messages? I hear these explanations most often:

  • They haven't seen abandonment emails in action, so they're unfamiliar with the concept.
  • They didn't realize how high the conversion rates and ROI were.
  • They don't know how much revenue they're losing from abandoned carts or processes.
  • They are struggling to capture and integrate the abandonment data into their email program.
  • They don't have the budget or personnel to launch a program.
  • Their IT departments won't prioritize the necessary resources to enable the necessary systems integrations.
  • They prefer, or need, to work on other issues first.

How to Build Your Case for Abandonment Emails

Below is a simple approach to building a business case that could help you lay the groundwork you'll need to support your request for the budget, resources and interdepartmental cooperation necessary to launch a cart- or process-recovery email program:

1. Map and identify areas of abandonment within the prospect/customer lifecycle.

2. Create a conservative model that forecasts likely revenue recapture through remarketing efforts. Identify how much abandonment affects your company's revenue right now, such as money lost from abandoned shopping carts, a drop-off in new-customer acquisitions, leads lost from broken-off conference registrations or downloads -- whatever your relevant statistic might be.

3. Build a model that shows both potential and realistic ROI that an abandonment-email program could drive. (View this presentation to see how Silverpop client DEMCO modeled and built its program.)

4. Present this model to management, and use it to make abandonment emails a priority among all departments that will be involved.

5. Bring yourself up to speed on the topic of remarketing through abandonment emails and best practices. Heck, for starters, just Google "Loren McDonald cart abandonment" for a quick list of past Email Insider columns, blog posts, case studies and other resources.

Most Important: Just Get Going

The most important thing is simply to find a way to get your abandonment recovery email program up and running. Don't worry about making the messages perfect at launch. You'll have plenty of opportunity to expand into a series of messages and optimize copy, offers and even dynamic content.

One more thing: If you still have no plans to start, did I cover your reasons in my list above? Or is there another factor at play that is keeping you out of the game? Please let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, take it up a notch!

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