Ask a business owner with an e-commerce website one of his or her greatest concerns, and three words will come up: shopping cart abandonment. The majority of people abandon their shopping carts, and the average shopping cart abandonment rate is approximately 67%.
One way to prevent shopping cart abandonment is to send emails to remind customers of the items in their cart. A study by Internet Retailer looked at Movies Unlimited, a site that emailed shoppers 24 hours after they abandoned a cart. Shoppers were able to buy the items, save the cart for future purchase, or clear the cart. In the first three weeks of the campaign, Movies Unlimited saw a 1.5% lift in purchase transactions, and it attributed that lift to recapturing sales from abandoned carts.
I recently received two reminders from two different retailers, both trying to prevent me from abandoning my shopping cart. IĂ˘Â€Â™ve received emails of this kind before, but these two stood out. HereĂ˘Â€Â™s why.
A week after I put a pair of shoes in my shopping cart at Kate Spade, I received this email. It gives a code for a 15% discount off my purchase and tells me about free ground shipping on all orders.
The discount immediately stood out to me (and inspired me to write this post). ItĂ˘Â€Â™s also a proven tactic: according to a study from the e-tailing group, 56% of people say coupons and rebates are critical in their decision to purchase. The discount is also a great example of surprise reciprocity: it gives me an unexpected positive experience and it temporarily boosts my mood. This works from a consumer perspective (I get to buy the item at a discounted price) and a brand perspective (in the short term, Kate Spade prevents me from abandoning my shopping cart, and in the long term, IĂ˘Â€Â™ll remember the unexpected positive experience whenever I think or talk with others about the brand). Kate Spade gives me two weeks to use this discountĂ˘Â€Â”enough time so I donĂ˘Â€Â™t feel rushed, but not too much time that I forget about the purchase.
The free-shipping reminder is important too. The same study from the e-tailing group found that free shipping is the most important factor in the consumer decision-making process: itĂ˘Â€Â™s critical for 73% of people. And according to another study, 93% of people said free shipping would encourage them to buy more products online. (Free shipping also increases customer satisfaction: high shipping costs are rated as the number one reason why consumers arenĂ˘Â€Â™t satisfied with their online shopping experience.)
The email also makes the purchasing process easy; it lets me go directly to my shopping cart. It also offers me other products I might like and includes clear calls to action that take me directly to the specific product pages.
Anthropologie sent me this email 24 hours after I placed an item in my shopping cart. I like this email because itĂ˘Â€Â™s effective without being pushy or forceful. It gives me all of the essential information on the item: name, style number, color, size, and price. The language is soft and tactful; it asks me if IĂ˘Â€Â™m ready to make the purchase rather than demanding that I Ă˘Â€Âśbuy now!Ă˘Â€Âť or Ă˘Â€Âśget it before itĂ˘Â€Â™s gone!Ă˘Â€Âť
It also accepts the very real possibility that I may have changed my mind about the shoes, but because Anthropologie doesnĂ˘Â€Â™t want to lose me as a customer, it gives me a direct link to new arrivals.
And like Kate Spade, Anthropologie makes the purchasing process easy. I sign in to my account and click on my shopping cart.
When I do so, Anthropologie tells me up front exactly how much shipping is going to cost. This is important because 22% of people abandon shopping carts because shipping costs are listed too late. It also gives me the option to save my item for later or move it to a wish list. This is important too, as 24% of people abandon carts because they want to save the item and come back later.
A discount, a free-shipping reminder, exact shipping costs when free shipping isnĂ˘Â€Â™t available, clear calls to action, and a seamless transition to the checkout process are what make these emails effective. TheyĂ˘Â€Â™re also what made them stand out in the confused clutter that is my inbox. And theyĂ˘Â€Â™re easy-to-incorporate strategies that can give e-commerce sites an advantage in the battle against shopping cart abandonment.