How to
By -

No one likes thinking about Christmas in August—unless you’re an eCommerce retailer. As the shopping high season looms around the corner, marketers in the online retail space are getting back to the drawing board, strategizing new and better ways to capture an even bigger slice of the market share. But there’s one thing that always seems to stand in their way: cart and browse abandonment.

You’ve probably heard the term countless times before. There are enough stats, studies, and infographics on the web to make your head burst. But that doesn’t make cart and browse abandonment any less detrimental to your bottom line. Here’s why:

Online shopping is at an all time high, both in North America and abroad, where eCommerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. As more people turn to mobile, desktop, or tablet to get their shopping fix, cart and browse abandonment rates continue to rise, with nearly 88% of your online visitors bound to leave your website before reaching the cart. That’s huge. Even businesses with a recovery platform in place can’t guarantee that they’ll get more people to complete the checkout process—that’s because there’s an art and science to the well-designed recovery email. Gear up for the busy holiday season with the following 5 tips for recovery emails that convert:

1. Keep it simple, stupid!

The most effective cart and browse recovery emails are clean and simple. Think Scandinavian minimalism as opposed to 18th century Baroque. Extraneous design elements only distract the customer from making a beeline to your checkout. Eliminating unnecessary design components puts your product images and CTAs front and center, increasing your chances of a successful conversion. Online beauty retailer Julep does it well—clean, simple, and to the point:

Juelp Example Cart Recovery

2. Make it Personal: Include images of recently browsed or carted items.

The best recovery emails give your customers a visual reminder of the products they’ve left behind. It’s a much stronger means of personalization than “Hi, [First Name].” By scraping live web-behavioral data from your eCommerce site, cart recovery platforms like Fresh Relevance are able to create a profile of an online visitor’s recently browsed or carted items. You can then re-market these very items to the reluctant customer via targeted recovery emails like the one pictured above.

And just when you thought cart and browse recovery couldn’t get any cooler: top-tier platforms offer dynamic, real-time content, meaning that as your customer’s browse behavior or carted items change, so does the content within the recovery email, even if it’s already sitting in the inbox! You can’t even get this type of personalization in a brick and mortar store.

Book Outlet goes the extra mile by not only showing the abandoned item, but also the RRP, the Book Outlet price and the total savings (in red!) to really close the sale:

Book Outlet Recovery Items

3. Make every word count

A clean template design is nothing without the copy that lies within. Let your customers know why you’re reaching out to them and what actions you want them to fulfill (Buy! Buy now!). But do it in a way that’s service minded and reflects your brand image. Are you a fun-loving cat accessories vendor? Don’t be afraid to me-wow them with fully-branded copy and a few puns for good measure. Keep your tone light and colloquial, as if you’re writing to a friend. And sandwiched between all of that jovial copy is your sense of urgency, which lies at the crux of closing the sale. Anyone who’s read Robert Cialdini’s Influence knows that mentioning the scarcity of a product or service makes us want it that much more—besides, haven’t you ever heard of FOMO?

When assessing the contents of your cart or browse recovery email, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you shown the customer the items browsed or left behind?
  • Have you included service-minded, personalized messaging?
  • Have you included a clear CTA that encourages the customer to view cart, continue shopping or go to the checkout?
  • Is your copy branded and consistent with your other communications?
  • Is there a sense of urgency in your messaging?

MEC’s template header really hits the mark with playful, branded copy and a clear call to action:

MEC Cart Recovery Image

Book Outlet nails it with consistent brand colors, a strong sense of urgency, and a link to customer service. As an added bonus, they also include details about reduced shipping (more on that later).

Book Outlet Recovery Header

4. Offer discounts… sparingly

According to Forrester, 48% of shoppers surveyed attribute their cart abandonment to the total purchase cost being higher than expected. 57% said it’s because they didn’t want to pay the shipping costs.

It’s clear that a huge part of eCommerce abandonment stems from unforeseen costs. Alleviate this major pain point by a) offering free shipping or b) including a time-sensitive discount. If you go with option b, keep in mind that savvy shoppers are catching on to the abandonment game, intentionally leaving items in their cart in order to trigger a recovery email minutes later. Reserve discounts for loyal customers or serial abandonners—they’re the ones that need the most love!

5. Include user reviews

This technique is underutilized in our opinion.  The internet is a black hole of information—most consumers rely on it to inform their purchase decisions. Make it easy for your shoppers to do their homework by including customer reviews within the body of your recovery email. Reviews also lend your brand the transparency it needs to foster deeper customer engagement.

Ready to recover?

Every element on your cart or browse recovery email should be placed with intention. Unfortunately, the copy and design is only half the battle; execution is what will really set you apart from your competition. Stay tuned for the second part of our recovery series, where we’ll discuss best practices for recovery email deployment.