Sadly for retailers, the vast majority of people will leave an eCommerce site without purchasing anything.

On average 69% of us will choose an item, put it in our basket and then leave (Baymard Institute, 2015). Maybe we got distracted, frustrated or perhaps we realised we were spending too much.

But in the fight against desertion, the online retailer has a secret weapon – the basket abandonment email. This is the automated email that re-targets the shopper who’s left your site – tempting them back to complete their purchase.

Basket abandonment campaigns are highly successful in what they do – in some cases recovering anywhere between 3 – 10% of sales and making up an average of 2% of total email revenue (Econsultancy, 2013). The average order value of a sale made from basket abandonment email is 58% higher than orders from people not receiving these emails (Econsultancy, 2103).

If you don’t have a basket abandonment campaign then set one up – you won’t regret it. Products such as Behavioural Targeting will get you started quickly and allow you to recapture sales. And if you’ve already got a recovery programme, there’s always ways to improve its performance.

In the following post we’ll be looking at how you can create or improve your basket abandonment campaign to increase your conversion rates.

Don’t suffer in silence

To state the obvious – if you don’t have someone’s email address then you will find it difficult to send them a basket abandonment email. Don’t be shy in asking for people’s contact details when they first browse your site. Simply ask them to sign-up to receive your newsletter.

Timing is everything

Experiment with the timing of your first basket abandonment email. Some retailers find that 20 minutes after leaving the site is the optimum time, but some feel 24 hours is better. Create a simple A/B test and compare your results.

Two is better than one

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one basket abandonment email. Many retailers use a couple – one email sent just after abandonment and another sent 24 hours later if they’ve still not completed the purchase. You don’t need to send the same content – the second can include suggestions for alternative purchases.

Make a good first impression

Transactional emails such as basket abandonment campaigns receive a great open rate. It makes sense – the person has only just left your site, so they’re more receptive to your communications.

It’s reported that 48% of basket abandonment emails are opened, and 33% of people opening them go on to complete the purchase (Salescycle, 2016). If your campaign isn’t receiving a high open rate then there are some easy fixes – try including the name of the product they’ve just abandoned or a playful ‘you’ve forgotten something…’

Be picture perfect

Remind them what they’ve abandoned and make your recovery emails attractive and playful. It could be a while since they were on your site so always include images of the product to remind them what they’re missing. And always ensure your email creative is mobile friendly. This is especially important when it comes to abandonment emails as more people abandon a purchase from a mobile than any other device (Baymard Institute, 2015).

Recover from the shock

According to research, 56% of people will abandon their online purchase due to ‘cart shock’ (Statista, 2012) .This is the term for when the shopper is presented with unexpected costs – either they didn’t realise how much their total basket was coming to or the shipping costs were too high.

One solution to this is to offer free shipping in your basket abandonment emails, but be careful – you may not need to offer discounts to tempt them back. If it makes economic sense then consider it but be wary of training your customers to abandon their purchases to get a free delivery offer. They may have abandoned their basket for another reason so there’s no need to reduce your margins if you don’t need to – a discount might be something you want to save as a last resort.

Prompt a decision

Warn your customers that you have limited stock of the item they’ve abandoned. They may well have put it in their basket so they could come back to it later. A scarcity mindset is a big psychological trigger for making a decision – customers are afraid of missing out.

Reassure them

Some people are still unsure about transacting online. Offer them information in your emails to reassure them – tell them how secure your site is, about your high level of customer service and how fast your delivery is.

Remember the bigger picture

It’s no good only focusing on your emails if you want to reduce your basket abandonment rate. Make sure you make it easy for the customer to pick up where they left off from by making it easy for them to complete the purchase.

You could reserve the item for a limited period of time which adds a further sense of urgency. Make it easy for them to complete the purchase quickly – don’t make them create an account if they want to check out as a guest. And repopulate their basket for them so it’s ready and waiting and they don’t need to find the items again. Like the email, make sure the site you’re directing them to works well on mobile.

By following these tips you should be able to create a great basket abandonment campaign or improve the results of your existing one.

Contact one of our team or take a look at our Behavioural Targeting solution to find out how you can get started.

Download the Sector Series: Email Marketing for Retailers guide