Reclaiming Lost Revenue From Abandoned Shopping Carts

1. The context

Every business has a unique story and team behind its inception. Whether born in a coffee shop, bar, or stroll in the park, by one mind one mind or many, the correlation between a business’s differentiator, personality, and value is always wonderfully concrete.

It’s this marriage of passion and business that brings customers to you. Your business offers something that no other can. After identifying a mission, range of products and services, and building your website – you’ve done the lion’s share of getting off the ground. This was the hard part, or was it?

As you don’t have a brick and mortar location, your website’s performance is of the utmost importance. You’ve made this choice because you like the ability to manage your business from anywhere, and not having retail space overhead was a crucial step in the journey you took as an entrepreneur. Building on one of the many amazing e-commerce platforms availible could not have been more simple and easy. Your passion for your product permeates through the copy your wrote, and you’re getting good traffic to your site, however you’re not seeing some things performing as you had imagined.

However, making sales is not as easy as setting up an online shop. Here are some very common challenges e-commerce business are facing:

  • Typically, around 60% of visitors add something to their shopping carts, but no more than a 5% end up buying something. That’s a lot of people clicking away and a lot of lost revenue.
  • As is, a business owner only knows what each client is interested after they make a purchase. One does not have a way of knowing what potential customers might be interested in prior to purchasing. This severely limits your ability to perform targeted email marketing because your cannot align his offers with what people are interested in.

Chances are you’ve heard that cart abandon rates can be improved with an email marketing system that reminds customers about their abandoned carts. Logically, this system would be more effective if each email referenced the exact product they had added to their shopping cart and considered purchasing.

A generic link to the shopping cart can generate some conversions, so it’s better than nothing. But an email including specific details about the product the customer was about to buy (like description, characteristics, etc.) and maybe some suggested similar products, would be way more effective.

Many decide to use ActiveCampaign to set up their abandon cart system for his Shopify store. One can also design this system to allow him to send targeted campaigns that reference exactly what each contact is interested in.

2. The campaign and ActiveCampaign features used

Tracking activity of potential customers

Through the Apps section in ActiveCampaign, you can sync Shopify and ActiveCampaign together to perform automated actions like ‘When a new order comes into the Shopify account > Do this other action in ActiveCampaign’ and other similar actions. But for the abandoned cart follow-up technique we are discussing here, we need to go a step beyond and integrate ActiveCampaign’s Site Tracking feature to log all the activity of our customers in your Shopify shop.

→ What Site Tracking does

The Site Tracking feature allows you to log every web page a contact visits.

You can find your own code snippet in youraccount.activehosted.com/track (remember to replace ‘youraccount’ with the name of your own account). There you will find code similar as what you see below:

The difference between Site Tracking and Event Tracking can be confusing. To be clear, one would use Site Tracking to know that a customer has ‘visited X landing page, Y section and Z category’, and then would use Event tracking to pass specific information like ‘customer has bought an item from our shop with a value of $65 and he came from this other website’. Note: Event Tracking functionality is currently not available with the Shopify integration.

→ Integrating with Shopify

We’ll be using a hypothetical motorcycle parts and accessory store as an example for the rest of this case study.

To set up this ActiveCampaign feature in your shop, we have to modify your site’s template.
Once you are in your Shopify dashboard, you can access the source code of your template by going Online Store > Themes > Customize Theme. You will see a dropdown similar to this:

Clicking ‘Edit HTML/CSS’ in the top left navigation bar will take you to a list of all the pages of your Shopify website that you can edit. Instead of including copying & pasting our code into each page, we can use the ‘Add a new snippet’ option, so you can re-use the code across your theme.


Once you have your snippet of code included in the list of snippets, it just a matter of including the snippet in your template. Following the same steps as you did before (Online Store > Themes > Customize Theme > Layout > theme.liquid), you’ll find the code of your main page. Including {% include ‘ActiveCampaign’ %} before the </body> closing tag will include the snippet in all the pages of our shop.

→ How to check if it’s working

The best way to test if the code integration has been done correctly, is to enter an email address in a form on your website and check in your ActiveCampaign account to see if those page views appear for that contact. You’ll find that data on the Contact page under the tab labeled “Site & Event Tracking:”

Did they abandon their carts? Using Site Tracking to trigger perfectly timed emails

Once you have has setup both services to communicate with each other, it’s time to configure an automation in ActiveCampaign that will send an email to those ‘almost customers’ who added items to their cart but left before purchasing them. This email could just be a reminder or it could give them a discount if they follow through with the purchase.

Site Tracking makes it easy to see where a contact goes on your website. You need to define the path of URLs that indicate that someone shopped around, added items to their cart, but did not place an order. Usually, the cart will have a distinct URL and there will be a specific order confirmation page. If they visit the cart page but not the order confirmation page, you’ll know they did not complete a purchase.

You can take a look to what a log in one of our contacts would look like if they have visited our fantasy motorcycle shop:

JMmotorbikes.com/overview

JMmotorbikes.com/helmets/

JMmotorbikes.com/helmets/product-A

JMmotorbikes.com/helmets/product-B

JMmotorbikes.com/yourcart

JMmotorbikes.com/orderconfirmed

You could create automations like:

  • Specific purchase reminder email after 1 hour:
    • If shop visitor has visited a product page, and afterwards has visited the shopping cart page, but has not visited the confirmation order page
    • Send email to remind to perform his purchase.
  • Generic purchase reminder email after 2 days:
    • If shop visitor has visited a product page, and afterwards has visited the shopping cart page, but has not visited the confirmation order page
    • Send email to remind to perform his purchase
    • If after 2 day he has still not visited the confirmation order page
    • Send email with similar suggestions as the first product he was looking for

Another, very simple way to do this would be to trigger an automation for contacts that have reached the shopping cart page but have not been tagged as ‘paidCustomer’ in their profile. You can read here more about how to apply a tag when a purchase is performed from Shopify.

A similar automation could be used to know what products our customers are interested in, taking as reference the products pages they have visited and tagging them accordingly for future campaigns.

Something similar could be done with categories of product they might be interested in by tagging them by the section they have visited:

With this tracked information, you could set an automation to remind them about a specific product later on for instance if you’re having a sale, and you could also send another reminder to complete a purchase with a more generic email.

If you are interested in learning what else you can build by interacting with logged activity of your contacts, check out a blog post from ActiveCampaign’s Brian about behavioural targeting.

Customizing emails depending on the products they have browsed

Once you’ve configured automations like the ones above, you’ll know exactly what contacts are interested in what product, and also have a general idea what other similar products they might be interested in.

That’s very powerful information because it can trigger specific emails 100% customized to what each contact has been interested in. Rather than just displaying products you think a contact is interested in, you can send them the exact products they viewed on your website.

This screenshot below shows how one of your emails would look like:

Since this fantasy shop sells many different motorcycle products (brakes, bearing, electronics components, tires, mirrors, batteries, etc.), it would not make sense to send an email offering brakes or tires to someone that has indicated interest in only the ‘Helmets’ section (they only viewed helmets while on the website).

If you take a closer look to the email, you can see that you are displaying specific blocks of content using the Conditional Content feature. This feature basically tells ActiveCampaign to include specific blocks of content in an email if the contact, who is going to receive them, matches certain conditions or has an specific tag and more.

If you need some ideas of how your abandon cart emails could look, try to perform a purchase at one of your favorite e-commerce sites and wait for them to send you theirs. Here is an example from Amazon:

3. The output

Using Site Tracking to begin automations that follow-up with contacts who abandoned their carts can dramatically increased your conversion rate and revenue:

  • Recover around 50% – 65% of the purchases that made it to the shopping cart but are not completed.
  • Gets around 10%-15% sales done directly from the biweekly newsletter sent with information about news, industry competitions, etc. but also where you include targeted offers & promotions (uses the tags of each contact to fully customize each campaign for each contact).

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