Your online store is attracting a good amount of traffic, you have your inventory sorted and your customers are Tweeting jubilantly about your products. Everything’s peachy, right?
Well, maybe, not. Not if you’re experiencing a large number of lost sales. That’s what happens when visitors abandon their shopping carts before completing a purchase. The fact is there are things you can do to get those prospective transactions completed.
Abandoned shopping carts are a fact of life in the ecommerce era: according to the UK-based web research company Baymard Institute, a staggering 67.45% of online carts are left dangling in the virtual ether without proceeding to checkout. However, some facts can be changed.
Just think about it for a moment. If you could persuade even a modest proportion of those 67 visitors in every 100 to complete their purchases, you’re not only capturing sales that would otherwise have been lost, you’re generating appreciably more revenue for your business. That’s what we’d call snatching success from the jaws of failure.
We’re not suggesting that all 67 cart abandoners can be induced to complete their purchases: some visitors never intended to buy anything in the first place, even though they added stuff to a shopping cart. But that Baymard study we just mentioned found that 24% of customers didn’t complete their purchase because the website crashed, and 15% reported that the website had timed out; plenty more were simply hesitant.
These are the people who could be swayed by a timely and well-crafted cart recovery email. And according to behavioral marketing specialists, almost half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and more than a third of the clicks leading customers back to their carts lead to purchases. Many people leave their carts without intending to.
So, what are the key ingredients of successful cart recovery emails? Here are five we think are indispensable.
Remind people of what they’ve left behind (and make it easy for them to return)
Prospective customers who encountered website difficulties before they could buy (or who were simply hesitant) may very much want to complete their purchases after all. Your cart recovery email should make this easy for them, so it should contain the saved cart, displaying the items they’d intended to purchase (or considered purchasing). In addition, it should contain a link to the preserved cart so they’re just a click away from completing.
Make sure the copy is cramazing
Dreary content is verboten in cart recovery emails. You have to see them as extra marketing opportunities and that means you have to put the effort in to make them compelling. You need to tick three core boxes: a subject line that grabs the attention, eye-catching visuals and deftly composed, upbeat content that brings on an involuntary smile. “It’s time to turn this party up to 11” and “Please, allow me to transport you back to your internet shopping cart” are the content equivalents of a friend’s arm over your shoulder.
You can even be bold. Black Milk Clothing, for example, has “WHERE’D YOU GO?” as its subject line, while Tapiture uses “YOUR SHOPPING CART MISSES YOU.”
Create a sense of urgency
When people feel that an item is becoming scarce, they’re much more inclined to make the effort to purchase it, according to professor of psychology and marketing Robert Caldiani. This is how Tapiture does it:
“We noticed that you left a few items in your shopping cart. They’re not reserved so they could sell out. We’ve seen it happen before and it’s not pretty. Here’s a link to quickly get back so you can complete your purchase: (link)”
Offer to reserve the items for a few days
This is a variant of the scarcity factor. Most online customers appreciate that small online stores that lack ultra-sophisticated supply chains will sell out of popular items fast on a regular basis. If you guarantee that you’ll reserve the items in the cart for three days, it may be just the nudge a customer needs to go through checkout
Offer a discount
A fair number of people are enthusiastic as they start loading their carts but, as they tot up the total price and factor in shipping, they become more hesitant. These individuals could be won over by the offer of a discount. NOMAD, for example, has this as a subject line:
“(Customer’s first name), you want to make a deal?”
The email begins on a personalised basis and reminds the customer what he or she almost bought. Then it proceeds to the discount offer:
“I’ve got a proposal for you. Use discount code “NOMAD15DEAL” when you check out and save 15% on your order. The deal is available for you for the next 48 hours. Use this link to head back to your cart to resume your order: (link to cart)”
All you need to do is decide the discount amount, generate a discount code and send it in the recovery email.
Easy-peasy. Get that missed revenue streaming back into your business now dude!
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