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7 Steps to Cart Recovery Success: Your Guide to the Perfect Basket Abandonment Email


A Short(ish) Introduction Figures show that on average 78% of consumers abandon their shopping cart online. We’ve all done it. You’re happily clicking away and ready to purchase that just-must-have-right-now pair of shoes when the phone rings and it’s the in-laws wanting to know when you’re next visiting… or you go to click buy on that really new 50” inch plasma that you’ve decided you probably can afford and will sort-of fit on the wall when the broadband connection on the train cuts out… or you’re about to buy a new sofa and are just plain distracted by the brilliance of Homeland on TV (go and watch it if you haven’t already!). The reasons for abandonment are pretty endless.

Many brands have an email programme in place to communicate with these hottest of prospects – but what does the perfect campaign look like? Well if you’re reading this (hello by the way, you’re looking well) then you’re probably interested in exactly that. Inspired by findings from 200 global brands, this guide runs through 7 simple tips to enhance your cart recovery email campaign and ensure it’s by far the most effective marketing email that your company sends. Enjoy.

Chris Sheen Head of Marketing, SaleCycle

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@SaleCycle.com TWEET US


Timing is Everything. It’s the first consideration of every single cart recovery campaign: How long should we wait from abandonment to send the email? “Maybe we should leave it a few days so our customers don’t feel like Big Brother is watching over them, haunting their every movement…?” This is certainly the way cart recovery emails were a few years ago, with batch processes and clunky integrations meaning that sending an email any earlier than 24 hours after the abandonment just wasn’t achievable.

Well things have changed, and so have your customers. Fundamentally, we’ve all changed. We’re online and checking emails pretty much 24/7 now. That’s in the office, at home… and on the go. We’re more and more used to (and expecting) our favorite brands to know everything about us and deliver a customer experience that is suitable and relevant to us.

Time for some numbers. Statistics from over 200 leading global retailers prove that it’s vitally important to send the cart recovery email when your customer is in the buying mindset, with a 50% drop in sales performance if you send after 24 hours compared with sending after 20 minutes.

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When to Send the 1st Email

Time FROM ABANDON

CONVERSION FROM SEND

RATE

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

4.9%

$

$

$

$

$

4.5%

$

$

$

$

3.6%

$

$

$

$

3.2%

$

$

$

20 mins

40 mins

$

5.2%

60 mins

1-4 hrs

4-24 hrs

2.6%

+24 hrs

QUICK TIP Test different sending times within an hour of abandonment to find the golden moment for your customers.

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@SaleCycle.com TWEET US


Get their attention. Right. We’re in the inbox, and at just the right moment too. But our work isn’t done. Our awesome timing will mean nothing if we don’t have a subject line to entice our customer to open the email. “Can we help you?” In the old days, a generic customer-service type subject line accompanied with good timing would probably have piqued the interest enough for many of us to open the email. But in a world where icons appearing in subject lines is becoming commonplace (yep, I know you hate them) customers expect something a little bit more interesting.

Knowledge is Power. Your cart recovery email is unlike any other that you send in that you know so much about what your customer is thinking and what they are interested in (or can at least make any educated guess). By the time you send the email you know the product(s) they are interested in. You know when they are interested in them (now). You probably know their name. And you know that they like you enough to browse on your site (yeay!).

Using this information in the subject line will ensure you achieve open rates of over 50% in many instances. That’s pretty cool. VISIT US ONLINE

@SaleCycle.com TWEET US


The Perfect Subject Line

55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

COMPANY NAME

pRODUCT DETAILS

PERSONS NAME

URGENT TONE

CUSTOMER SERVICE TONE

53%

52%

38%

44%

46% AVERAGE OPEN RATE (%)

QUICK TIP Try a subject line which mentions both your brand and one of the products the customer has abandoned, e.g. Your Bravia TV from Sony.

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Manners cost nothing. We all like it when we receive good customer service. Whether it’s our favourite hotel, restaurant or bar… it’s the personal touch that makes it special. In email, the initial greeting is a vital component of setting the tone and yet something that a staggering number of brands fail to do properly. It’s simple really, just talk to your customers as you would if you were following up a meeting with them.

“Dear John…” They’ve told you their name so use it. There’s no excuse for forgetting names here (something I’m terrible for admittedly) – if they’ve given you their name then kick-off the email with a nice bit of personalization which makes them feel a little more special. If they haven’t told you their name then just use a bit of script wizardry and put a nice salutation instead.

Keep it friendly and relevant. Accompanying that little personal greeting with a quick line or two which explains why you’ve got in touch and enforces the reason they should go ahead and purchase is a great way of making the right first impression when they open the email.

Good customer service will always have it’s place…

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The Personal Touch

QUICK TIP Generate some urgency by beginning your email with a couple of lines to enforce the reasons for purchasing now, e.g. Hi Kate, don’t miss out on our great products – they’re going quick!

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Don’t make me think. The key objective of any cart recovery email is pretty clear – to get the customer back to the website. That’s pretty obvious when you think about it isn’t it… so we need to make it really easy for the customer to do exactly that.

The All Important Buttons. We’re a bit geeky at SaleCycle and genuinely enjoy the art and science behind call-to-action buttons. Colours, arrows, text, gradients, shadow and placement all have such a huge bearing on the unconscious in the human brain which leads them towards clicking on our beloved button. It really is fascinating… honest.

Embrace Testing. If there’s just one thing that you test on an email creative then it should be the buttons. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Hell, get your kids involved… if you don’t have any, then borrow some. We’re all just like our customers. We get tons of emails… (often browsing them whilst distracted by the things going on around us) so don’t make it difficult to find the key call-to-action and the reason you want them back on the website – to ‘Buy Now’.

It doesn’t have to be a painful process… just take inspiration from what other great brands do and find the right style for you.

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The Button Gallery

Book Now

View Item

Continue

COMPLETE YOUR ORDER »

COMPLETE YOUR ORDER »

COMPLETE YOUR ORDER »

Book Now

View Item

Continue

QUICK TIP Research shows that we like clicking on arrows and the colour green has a ‘Go’ connotation. See how it works for you!

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We’re all different. Do you remember the days of chunky direct mail brochures? Expensive weren’t they. Often over $2 a pop to show off your latest product ranges, and you didn’t even know if it would make it past the dog at your customer’s front door.

We got lazy. With email came a far cheaper and more measurable route to communicating to customers. But it also made us a little bit lazy. An accidental positive of direct mail was that the heavy costs involved meant there was a real focus on delivering a relevant message. Mrs. Smith, 65, and looking forward to retirement didn’t want to receive a shiny brochure on your must-have board shorts for next summer. Companies spent time and attention segmenting the database to make sure money wasn’t wasted.

Old school methods still ring true. Right message. Right person. Right time. It’s the classic marketing mantra, and applies perfectly to your cart recovery email. You know the person and we’ve got the timing down to a tee… but what about the message. Should we include a banner telling customers they are eligible for free delivery if the basket value is over the threshold? Or, what about a dynamic design based on gender? Simple to implement and highly impactful.

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Know your Customers

Forever 21 - Boys Version

Forever 21 Girls Version

QUICK TIP If the sub-total of the basket is double your average order value then use a different creative and subject line. This is a potential VIP customer!

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If at first you don’t succeed… At SaleCycle we love an impulse purchase. Whether it’s deciding that we really do need a Beer Fridge for Friday afternoons and so getting it that Friday lunchtime… or replacing our whiteboards with blackboard wall-stickers (they’re retro cool) – we just love buying stuff. But we’re not all impulsive. Plenty of people out there like to take some time and due consideration before parting with their hard earned cash. And rightly so (the blackboard wall-sticker is actually quite hard to clean to be honest). Therefore, it’s important to be in touch with customers when they are ready to purchase.

Sachin’s Story. Sachin is one such customer. That first email you sent within an hour of abandonment is great. Sachin opens it. He reads it and remembers why he loves your brand and products so much. But Sachin still wants to think it over. 24 hours later and Sachin receives your 2nd email. He’s thought about it over night and when you prompt him he goes right ahead and purchases. Well done Sachin and well done you.

On average, 2nd Cycle Emails deliver an extra 20% of sales revenue to a cart recovery campaign… keep in touch. VISIT US ONLINE

@SaleCycle.com TWEET US


Paul Smith Keeps in Touch

Fully Personalised Clear Call to Actions

Customer Service Tone

Dynamic Recommendations

Product Details

Social Links

QUICK TIP Implement a 2nd Cycle email which goes out 24 hours after your first email to any customers who’ve not yet purchased. Trust us, it’ll work a treat!

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What else have you got? Take a quick glance back to the great example of a 2nd Cycle email from Paul Smith and you’ll notice something. Not just that it’s a particularly clean and simple email design – although that is interesting, and has worked really well for Paul Smith’s customers – there’s something else.

Recommended Items You’ll notice the email also dynamically pulls in recommendations of other products that may be of interest to the customer, based on what has been left in the shopping cart.

Makes sense when you think about it. We’ve got a really warm potential customer who we know is considering buy a new suit and shoes… so why don’t we also recommend a shirt, tie and pair of socks to complete the ensemble. He can picture himself in the whole outfit and he looks good. Hell, he might even insist people call him Paul Smith from now on.

Easier than you’d think. Recommendations aren’t particularly difficult to add to your cart recovery campaign. SaleCycle have done the tricky data logic bit – you just need to add a placeholder in your email creative.

Done.

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The Personal Shopper

QUICK TIP Add recommendations to the bottom of your 2nd Cycle Email and make reference to them in the subject line – customers will scroll down to look for the items ‘Handpicked Especially’ for them.

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Quick Summary A great cart recovery email campaign shouldn’t just be your top performing email, it should also be one of the top performing marketing tactics you have, delivering a revenue uplift of over 6% in many cases. Putting in a small amount of effort to implement the tactics outlined in this snappy guide really will produce big results. If you want more detailed information about any of the 7 Steps to Success in this document then please contact info@SaleCycle.com. We just love talking shop.

Look Book Great Brands. Great Design. See what we can do for you!

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7 Steps to Cart Recovery Success  

Inspired by the likes of Paul Smith, Monsoon and Sony this is your guide to the perfect basket abandonment email.

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