There's Gold In Those Abandoned Carts: Email Can Help You Get It

Most people abandon carts when shopping — the rate is up to 75%. And many of those sales are lost for good.

But retailers can recover some of that revenue by sending automated reminder emails, according to a study by Klaviyo, a provider of a marketing automation platform for ecommerce firms.

“Abandoned carts make ecommerce stores a ton of money,” says Phil Weltman, content marketing manager at Klaviyo. "Abandoned carts is one of our highest-generating flows. It generated more than $60 million for our customers from April 1 to June 30th of 2017.”

Recovery emails work especially well if you follow a few key best practices, Klaviyo says.

First, don’t wait too long. 

Second, don’t stop at one email.



Third, offer them a dollar discount.

To glean these findings, Klaviyo studied 9,346,675 deliveries of abandoned cart emails, encompassing 3,490 messages sent by almost 3,000 clients.

Overall, the average open rate for an abandoned cart email is 41.18%, and the click-through rate 9.50%. The revenue per recipient (RPR) is $5.81.

But the metrics vary with the size of the order and a few other variables.

For example, firms with average orders of $100 to $500 recover 4% to 5% of their abandoned carts, whereas those under $50 capture 3%. The top 10% of companies do at least three times the average performance. 

As logic suggests, the first email pulls the best: an average open of 63.03%, and a click-through of 13.61%. The revenue per recipient is $10.76. 

The second and third emails generate slightly lower results, but still hover around the benchmark average, Klaviyo says. Click-throughs decline to 11.09% after two messages, 10.06% after three, 9.63% after four and 8.05% after five. They fall to 6.2% after seven.

Finally, the average revenue per recipient is $5.55 above average for the second email, compared to $8.65 above average for the first. 

Specifically, the first letter pulls an RPR of $10.76, the second $8.27, the third $5.52 and the fourth $4.29. The fifth is slightly higher — at $4.36 — but the sixth falls off to $2.59. 

The first letter is high because “you’re getting them at their most interested state, right when they abandon the cart,” Weltman says.

So how many should you send? Only 12 companies sent more than five, and almost half sent two. Klaviyo believes that two or three emails are the “general best practice.” 

And don’t wait. Of the top 100 performers, 91 send them less than five hours after a cart abandonment. And 42 send them within two hours.

“The success rate starts to drop as time passes,” Weltman says. "It’s vital to get to them as soon as possible — within an hour or two."

In general, coupons produce an average open rate of 44.37%, and a click-through rate of 10.85%.

Percentage-based discounts are the most widely used, but dollar-based discounts perform the best, pulling an open rate of 42.78%, a click through ate of 8.99% and an RPR of $15.91.

“I always assumed that percentage based discounts are the best, and they definitely are the most popular, Weltman says. “But I was surprised to learn that they had the lowest open rate, the second-lowest click rate and the second lowest RPR. Dollar-based had almost triple the data set average.”

Then there’s the subject line. The most popular line is, “It looks like you left something behind…”

Emails that remind consumers they left something behind pull an average open rate of 47.24% — almost 4% higher than the average — and revenue per recipient of $10.22.

The most popular subject line is “It looks like you left something behind…”

It pulls an average 47.67% open rate, a click-through rate of 11.21%, and an RPR of $8.89.

Adding an emoji depresses the open rate slightly: to 39%, although that’s still not shabby. The click-through rate is 8.5%. But RPR falls to $2.85.

Shipping costs are widely cited as the No.1 reason for abandoning a cart. So it pays to offer free shipping.

Free shipping offers achieve and open rate of 43.39%, a click through of 12.53% and an RPR of $3.07 

Weltman also recommends A/B testing because it “takes the guessing out of email optimization.” In this data set, companies that tested had an had a average open rate of 45.88% a click through of 9.7% and revenue of almost $6.”


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