Maybe the price is too high, or the process too aggravating, but three-fourths of all online shoppers abandon their carts, studies show.
How do you win them back? The standard way is with triggered cart abandonment emails. But there’s another, not-so-obvious option: Email newsletters.
Yes. You can put a content block in a newsletter template or a regular email and send it only it to that person.
While not as effective as straight triggered emails, newsletters produce “a small but measurable incremental slice of revenue on top of the triggers,” says Mike Austin, CEO and co-founder of Fresh Relevance, a behavioral marketing company based in the UK, with a U.S. office in Boston.
Why would a person convert via a newsletter?
“It probably comes down to content — the newsletter has more engaging content,” Austin says.
And the ROI?
“The conversion rate from an abandonment email can vary widely, but it normally is in the 5% to 20% region for emails sent,” Austin answers. “For newsletters, it depends on the industry and company, but it’s typically between 0.1% and 1%.”
This shouldn’t be your first or only action, of course. Cart abandonment reversals can require several attempts.
“We always recommend a series of emails,” Austin continues. "Three or four are probably optimal for most companies over a few days or over a week.”
Austin adds: “We can send them out a minute after they abandon, but that can be a little bit to soon,” Austin says. “Tests suggest the first reminder should be sent in 20 to 30 minutes — it’s the best balance between pestering people too much and getting the best sales response. “
He then states the obvious: that “the first gets the biggest response, the second next-highest response and third gets smallest response. “
There’s real money on the table. “The sales uplift for cart abandonment emails is between 5% and 10% of total online sales for that company, a significant amount of revenue,” Austin says.
That is, if they’re well done. A cart abandonment email — or newsletter — should feature a reminder, product images and links to the products. You can also place personalized pop-ups on your website.
Why do consumers abandon carts?
“There are various drivers of abandonment,” Austin observes. “People get busy, their child has a tantrum or whatever, and they go off.”
Then there’s price shopping: “Maybe they look at other sites, and do a comparison,” Austin adds.
Another factor is shipping costs. Some firms find that “shipping costs are an issue for an expensive item,” Austin continues. “Sometimes you put out a free shipping or reduced shipping email to try to recapture people who may go to find cheaper shipping.”
One more possible turnoff is the conversion process. You need to have “a smooth conversion process in terms of pop-ups and personalization on the web site,” Austin urges.
He adds that firms “quite often need to improve that.”
Who’s good at cart abandonment emails? "Travel is probably the leading sector in terms of adoption and sophistication, and fashion probably a close second," Austin says.
Fresh Relevance specializes in triggered communications, and is in position to observe this activity. What are brands doing wrong?
“A lot of companies either have no cart abandonment program or have very ineffective ones,” Austin says. “They send out a single message, not personalized, with no product pictures. It doesn’t resonate.”