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Designing An Abandoned Cart Email To Increase Conversions

How many sales—and how much profit— are you losing because you’re letting customers leave your site with items still sitting in their shopping cart? 

According to Shopify, a whopping 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes the sale.

That means you’re missing out on nearly two-thirds of your potential revenue, two-thirds of customers, and two-thirds of your business’s growth.

 

Terrible huh?

So, what can you do about it?

The first goal is to keep customers on your site and convert them right then and there. Although this is a valiant objective, it doesn’t always work.

If you can’t convert them with the first visit, you need to make sure they come back a second time. And you want to make sure they come with their wallets out. 

How can you bring customers back to their shopping cart to make a purchase after they’ve gone away?

Well, first things first, you need to understand why cart abandonment happens in the first place!

So, Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

When a customer clicks “add to cart” they do generally intend to make a purchase. But when they leave without completing the sale, that tells us that they’re interested in the product, but something is holding back from making the final purchasing decision. 

It’s critical that you understand why you lost the customer the first time so you can negate those reasons the second time.

So, what’s holding them back? Why did they leave with items still in their cart?

Here are of the most common reasons customers abandon their shopping carts: 

1. They forgot

Sometimes, customers have the full intention of purchasing but something else grabs their attention before they can input their credit card info. Maybe the dog needed to go out or they were on their lunch break, so it simply slips their mind to click “checkout.”

Remember, most people have very short attention spans. 

2. The price is too high

If someone adds a product to their cart, they usually don’t think the product price itself is too high. However, when they go to check out and taxes and shipping fees are added, the total price might be more than expected.

This is where you usually lose your most price-sensitive customers. 

3. They left to do research

81% of customers conduct online product research before making a purchasing decision. But when they leave to do research, they might never come back—either because they found a better deal, a better product, or they simply forgot. 

4. They were actually just browsing

Like window shoppers, some customers like to “walk” in and out of online stores simply to see the hot trends. It’s a form of retail therapy.

Their intent is not to buy, unless the see something that’s too good to pass up. Some customers like to add to their shopping cart simply because it makes them feel good.

Though they’re not actively interested in buying, they can be persuaded. 

5. The checkout process was too complicated (or the site crashed)

If a customer starts to go through your checkout and it takes too long to load, doesn’t feel secure, or is too complicated to follow, you’ll instantly lose credibility. Customers want an easy, streamlined checkout process. If there’s friction, they won’t move forward. 

You can’t always know the exact reason why your customers are leaving.

Sometimes it’s one major reason or a bunch of small ones. However, it’s important to listen to the feedback of your customer to get an idea where the hesitation is coming in.

You can do this with feedback surveys, emails, or even have a few ghost shoppers check out the purchasing process every once in awhile. 

 So, say your customer has left for one of the above reasons. 

 How do you get them back? 

Combat Abandoned Carts With Strategic Emails

An abandoned cart email reminds your customer that they’ve left items in their shopping basket.

The goal here is to push conversions by repeating impressions. You already know that your customer is interested in those products, so you’re going to address any doubts or hesitancies with a follow-up email. 

Nearly half of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and over a third of click-throughs lead to purchases on the site.

So how do you design an abandoned cart email that will gather these clicks and promote conversions?

Let’s take a look!

6+ Abandoned Cart Email Must-Haves

Abandoned cart emails are highly effective because they’re directed at a customer who has already shown interest.

So in this case, you’re not trying to prove your brand or product to them. You’re simply trying to sweeten the pot to get them to buy.

Here are 6 ways you can do just that:

1. Personalization 

Start by personalizing your message. Mentioning the customer’s name in the subject and first line of the email has a higher open and conversion rate than generic emails!

Check out how Beardbrand personalizes their abandoned cart message:

2. A Quick Reminder 

The first full line should remind your contact about their abandoned cart.

Make sure this copy is in your brand voice to quickly engage the reader, just like Casper does here:

 

3. Product Images

If possible, you should include images or descriptions of the items left behind. This visual will instantly remind them which products they were looking at and why they loved those products in the first place!

 

4. A Sense of Urgency 

You want to include at least one line that gives them a sense of urgency. This encourages the reader to take action right away and complete the purchase right now while it’s still top of mind. 

5. A Clear Path to Purchase With A Strong CTA

Make it ridiculously easy for your contact to complete their purchase. You should include links throughout the email, so they can click through to their cart. Even the images should be linked to their cart.

If possible, allow this link to skip the registration page and automatically enter their login info (through their email address). This makes the process even more frictionless for a faster conversion. 

Make your call-to-action compelling, just like Winc does here:

 

6. Add A Discount

Remember the reasons for abandoning we discussed earlier. If a contact got distracted, they’ll likely convert with just the previous 5 design elements.

But if they were concerned about price, they might be waiting for a deal to come along. 

Offering some sort of discount is a great incentive that encourages your customer to finally take the plunge. You could offer them 10% off their shopping cart (applied only to items currently in their cart) or offer a free gift with purchase.

Free shipping is one of our favorite add-ons because it doesn’t cut drastically into your margins, but does help minimize the checkout concerns that come from taxes and shipping.

Check out how Asics gives their readers incentive to buy with free shipping:

Either way, make it easy for the customer to take advantage of their discount. This usually means offering a one-time discount code that is automatically applied to their basket when they click on the link. 

Note: Be careful about how often you use a discount in your abandoned cart emails. If you do this too frequently, customers will start to catch on. They’ll add things to their cart, wait a few days, and get the discount. So, you might want to create a system where the discount only applies on target items or for first time purchasers. 

7. Request Feedback

If a potential customer still doesn’t convert after your abandoned cart message, you may want to consider doing a little recon. You might not be able to get them to purchase, but you can use this opportunity to learn how to better serve them for the future.

So, send a follow-up email that simply asks them why they didn’t buy. Offer a brief survey that allows them to input a little about their experience. Try to gather information specifically about their reason for not purchasing in the first place.

Collecting this information helps you better serve your customers moving forward.

You can find out where the greatest hold-ups are during checkout, so you can improve and streamline the process in the future!

Create Your Own Abandoned Cart Email 

It’s easy to create an abandoned cart email with Sendlane.

In fact, once your your Shopify integration is set up you can trigger automated emails to go out anytime someone abandons their cart!

Just choose Abandoned Checkout option from the dropdown when creating a new workflow:

Fill in your specific settings and click to create a new email:Then and add in your Campaign Info and start customizing your abandoned cart email!

The best part is, once you add a button, the system pre-populates your dynamic Shopify Abandoned Cart link so anyone that clicks will automatically be redirected to their abandoned cart on your Shopify store!

With gorgeous visuals, behavior-based marketing, and automated  workflows and you’ll always touch the right customers at the right time to get them to convert.

If you want more assistance creating branded content for your emails, check out Seller’s Choice. We can help create a series of emails that pair with your marketing campaigns so you have a consistent, clean brand that attracts new customers and engages long-term clients.

Learn more with Seller’s Choice here.

Andrew Maffettone

Director of Marketing & Operations at Seller's Choice
Andrew Maff is the Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Andrew is a digital strategy and marketing expert with over a decade of experience improving the online presence of e-commerce sellers all over the world.

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