Whenever I shop online, I like to comparison shop before I buy most things. In fact, I often browse multiple online stores before finally choosing where to make my purchase.
Sometimes in the middle of shopping, I get sidetracked by my kids. Sometimes, my wife forces me to do some chores or run a quick errand.
Sometimes, I get last minute jitters and abandon my shopping cart even after I’ve entered in all of my information.
One time, I was shopping for my wife’s anniversary gift online when I was rudely interrupted by screams from my kids downstairs.
Now I must have had thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in my various shopping carts.
I was also in the middle of carefully planning an elaborate getaway to exotic locations around the world…5 star hotels, the finest restaurants….you name it!
All of a sudden, I had to tend to my kids downstairs and I lost all of my momentum. My once elaborate anniversary plan turned into just a dinner at a nice restaurant and a movie on Netflix.
Anyway when I explained to my wife what happened, did I get any credit for all of my shopping efforts and elaborate vacation planning? Hell no!
Clearly, it’s not JUST about the thought that counts
Shopping Is Full Of Interruptions
But seriously, people are constantly interrupted from their online shopping and it’s very easy to forget where you left off.
That day when I was shopping for my wife, my son actually cracked his head open jumping off the couch into our fireplace and I had to rush him to urgent care.
But guess what?
When I got back to my computer 4 hours later, I saw an email that urged me to complete my purchase.
Minutes later, I received a coupon code for 10% off from a different shop that I was shopping at before my son decided to ram his head into a brick wall.
Had I not received these emails, I probably would’ve forgotten about it.
After all, I visited so many Italian boutiques that day that they all began to blur together.
Recovering Lost Sales
Now the concept of an abandoned cart email sequence is not new and if you don’t have one, you’re missing out on a lot of sales.
But how do you implement one? And more importantly, how many emails should you send and what should you write in them?
You also have to consider the annoyance factor.
How many customers will you drive away by emailing them repeatedly with abandoned purchase emails?
In this post, I will show you my thought process and why I settled on my current sequence.
The First Abandoned Email
Looking at my funnel statistics, I’m losing roughly 23% of my customers during checkout after they’ve entered in their information.
Note: This number is abnormally high right now because I’m currently running a free plus shipping promotion where I don’t reveal the shipping cost until after they’ve entered in their information. My typical numbers are around 15%ish.
In the case of my free plus shipping offer, some people balk at the shipping price. Other customers get interrupted and some get cold feet.
Whatever the reason, these customers are all extremely close to checking out and often need just a tiny little nudge to complete their order.
As a result, I send the first abandoned cart reminder email out at the 4 hour mark.
Why 4 hours?
I experimented with 2 and 4 hours but 4 hours seemed to perform a little better so I stuck with it. The important thing is to get that first email out while the iron is hot.
Here’s what my first email looks like.
There are a few things to note. First of all, the email contains a picture of exactly what was in the customer’s cart at the time of abandonment.
Furthermore, there’s a big button that will take the customer back into checkout with their shopping cart pre-stuffed with their items.
The result is that this first email recovers roughly 10% of abandoned customers.
How Many Emails Should I Send?
Most stores that I’ve encountered stop at a single email because they don’t want to annoy their customers. But if you are stopping at 1, you are missing out on potential sales.
Think about it this way.
You got a customer to enter their email and their physical address. They want to buy your stuff! So emailing them a few more times won’t kill them.
Some people just need time to think about a purchase and they may forget about you altogether unless you remind them. In fact, you are doing them a favor!
As a result, I send out my 2nd abandoned reminder email after 48 hours.
My second email looks a lot like my first email except the subject line reads “It’s not too late to have your order delivered on time”
This second email converts at between 2-4%.
Is More Than 2 Emails Too Many?
Based on my conversion numbers from the first 2 emails, I’m recovering between 12-14% of my lost sales.
Not bad right?
In the beginning, my cart abandonment sequence was only 2 emails. But then one day, I noticed that some of my colleagues were sending out 3 emails or more!
In fact, one of my friends uses a 5 email abandoned sequence. Crazy right?
Anyway for the longest time I was against sending out more than 2 emails for no logical reason but then one day I said “what the heck”, let’s try it.
And the results were eye opening.
By sending out a third email out at the 72 hour mark, I was able to convert 6% more lost customers! In fact, the 3rd email outperformed my 48 hour abandoned email!
Here’s a photo of all 3 of my cart abandoned conversion rates.
Should I Send More Than 3 Emails?
At this point, I decided to experiment with 4 emails just to see what would happen.
But the 4th email conversion rate was less than a percent and I started to get some email complaints from customers.
Take me off your list!
Stop emailing me!
I didn’t sign up for anything!
Even though people were still converting on this 4th email, I decided that less than a percent of conversion was not worth pissing off customers and getting our emails marked as spam.
Improving This Abandoned Sequence Further
With these 3 emails, my abandoned cart sequence converts at around 19% which isn’t bad.
But other people I know have been able to achieve conversion rates between 20-30%.
What’s their secret?
You can send out a coupon code on your 3rd and final email to entice them to make a purchase.
The promotion can be something as simple as a free shipping offer or a percentage discount but sending out a coupon on the last email will likely be your highest converting one.
But make sure that you don’t send out a coupon to customers who have purchased since starting your abandoned sequence.
You only want to send out discounts to people who haven’t completed their purchase.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Sending Out Email
When I first implemented my sequence, I didn’t send out more than 1 email and I was afraid of annoying customers. But think about it this way.
The whole point of email is to make money. If you don’t send out emails, you are just paying for a service that does nothing. And who cares if you accidentally annoy someone who isn’t going to buy from you anyway?
In fact, the annoyance rate did not manifest itself until I started sending out 4 emails. Going forward, I may experiment with a coupon code on the 4th and final email to see what happens.
But in the meantime, a 19% couponless recovery rate isn’t bad.
Keep in mind that your mileage may vary. For your own shop, you should run some experiments with 2,3,4 and even 5 emails to see if the recovery rate is worth the annoyance factor.
Now that I’ve shown you my abandoned cart “email” sequence, who says that it has to stop at email?
If you look at my stats, you’ll notice that my open rate hovers around 45% which means that 55% of my customers aren’t getting the message!
So as a follow on step, you should export your cart abandoners to Facebook and create a custom audience.
The Facebook ads we run to cart abandoners convert at over a 10X ROAS which makes it a no brainer.
Because cart abandoners convert so well, you should do whatever it takes to get these customers back. Good luck!
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