This article is a recap of “Growth Decoded” a show that investigates the relationship between the customer experience and business growth — one topic at a time. Register here and never miss an episode!

What is an “abandoned cart”?

In an online or ecommerce store, you might come across a product or item that you like. You might like it so much that you decide to buy it. So you choose your desired size/color/variation and put it in your ‘cart’.

But then… life happens. And you leave the online store before completing your purchase.

You had every intention to buy it and keep shopping, but you:

  • Navigated away from the page
  • Didn’t like the price
  • Didn’t want to create an account
  • Felt the vibration of a text message so you checked your phone and got distracted
  • Heard something strange and went to go investigate
  • Felt your stomach growl and realized it’s been 14 hours since your last meal so you went to take care of that

OR… literally anything else happened that caused you to get up, walk away, and leave that item in (abandon) your cart.

This action (or inaction) leads to a high number of lost sales and hurts the bottom line of ecommerce and online stores worldwide. Cart abandonment is all too common.

How common? What percentage of online carts are abandoned?

More than you might think. Take a look at this:

So… how many carts?

Too many carts.

And if you’re an ecommerce business, or a business with an online storefront, this means a lot of revenue left on the table.

But what can you do about it?

Well. If you run an online shop or ecommerce store — you can remind your potential customers about the thing they put in their cart. And you can use automation to send it every time.

But how?

With the large majority of online shopping carts being abandoned, it seems like a fairly significant number of potential customers and revenue are within reach.

Reclaiming even a tiny percentage of these lost sales could have a disproportionately positive impact on your bottom line.

Does an abandoned cart email reminder actually help with that?

How important is abandoned cart functionality to ecommerce businesses? How much of a difference does it make?

Abandoned cart emails, on average, recover up to 10% of your lost sales!

Sending a simple reminder to your ecommerce store visitors and potential customers is often all it takes to increase your sales. Your contacts are already 90% of the way there, and all that’s needed is a gentle nudge to remind them of the product.

Your abandoned cart email doesn’t need to push, it doesn’t need to be a masterclass in psychology or sales tactics, and frankly, it doesn’t really need to ‘sell’ at all!

Lead with empathy. Life happens. Things get in the way. People are busy and things fall through the cracks. Most people will appreciate this angle — and it’s important to keep this perspective.

Good abandoned cart emails aren’t bothersome or pushy. They can come right after the cart is abandoned, or they can come a few hours later.

You can send a single reminder, or multiple reminders. You can even include an incentive to sweeten the deal.

So… what do effective abandoned cart email automations look like in real-life?

Dawn uses the ActiveCampaign Abandoned Cart Reminder email automation recipe to send a series of emails that remind contacts of what was in their cart.

If the first email doesn’t convert, a day passes and another email comes through with a discount code and coupon.

Jonathan and J!NX take a different approach:

Jonathan has taken steps to optimize J!NX’s abandoned cart automation and tested for things like:

  • Emojis in the subject line
  • How long before the first email is sent
  • Size of incentive and discount in the second email

Like Dawn, Jonathan sends more than 1 email and the incentive comes across after the first gentle, general email reminder.

Abandoned cart email automations can, and should, be unique to your business. From the brand voice, to the style, to the number of emails you send — you can customize it all to fit your individual business.

Both Dawn and Jonathan send multiple abandoned cart email reminders. However, Finch’s abandoned cart email sequence for Scofflaw differs from both:

Now that we’ve seen a few different ways to send abandoned cart emails (and a furious avocado-toad), what makes a good abandoned cart email?

There are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your abandoned cart email:

  • Keep it low-pressure, no one likes a hard sell
  • Include the items that they left behind, and a clear CTA to the checkout page
  • Make sure the email’s tone is in line with your brand, so it doesn’t feel impersonal or inconsistent
  • Know your customer and write for them — what do they want to know? How do they talk?

So far the idea of an abandoned cart email seems to be nothing but positive. But it can’t just work like clockwork can it?

Like anything, there are unexpected results and surprises. Jonathan and Dawn both shared some things that they encountered that were outside of what they had expected:

The beauty of abandoned cart automations is that you set them up, and they run.

And they work!

In Finch’s experience, they have been a huge benefit (they convert at 12%!) and haven’t required further changes — but not everyone sees it this way. Some businesses, like Jonathan and J!NX, are iterating and changing their automation pretty regularly.

From refreshing the copy to even adding an additional email — there are countless tests and experiments to run to see what might work better than your current strategy.

Dawn is also thinking about developing her emails further and including a more personal touch in the form of a video.

There are always ways to take your emails to the next level, to iterate, and to improve.

But what are some ways that this might happen?

We asked Dawn and Jonathan to tell us more:

A third email might be in the cards soon for JINX that includes information on the added benefits of shopping with them and includes some potential objection handling.

Again — note again that J!NX isn’t pushing hard for the sale, rather they’re letting you know the benefits and advantages of shopping with them.

This is a great example of how you can take the abandoned cart automation further. You can use it to share information that’s more specific and relevant to a particular group of people.

Dawn has ideas to take her abandoned cart automation to the next level as well:

To tell the story of the products and create a more personalized experience for your potential customers.

But not just any product, the product that the customer left in their cart. Dawn plans to seize the opportunity to give her customers more — more than just a gentle reminder to buy, but a reminder of what the company stands for, what the products mean, where they came from.

This is similar to Jonathan’s potential third email with JINX. It’s answering questions that the shopper may not have even realized they had. It’s creating a deeper connection with the customer and helping them to feel closer to the company.

Both Made for Freedom and J!NX have success with using abandoned cart email reminders.

But what about someone who just opened an ecommerce store, or is thinking about setting up a digital storefront?

What about someone who hasn’t yet set up and abandoned cart automation for their store?

What advice or best practices exist for someone who might be looking to get this out the door and off the ground?

And there you have it.

At the end of the day — the best thing to do is get started.

Use the resources available to you. Whether that’s a pre-existing framework like an ActiveCampaign automation recipe, or the data you receive from your ecommerce platform to determine if you want to test or not.

Know your customer. Talk to them in a way that makes sense to them, and is consistent with your brand voice. Tell them the things that they want to know.

Don’t push too hard, gentle reminders work astonishingly well — remember, your potential customer is 90% of the way there.

And create some urgency while providing an incentive.

So… how can you automate this type of thing?

This article is a recap of “Growth Decoded” a show that investigates the relationship between the customer experience and business growth — one topic at a time. Register here and never miss an episode!