Studies show that nearly 90% of customers abandon their shopping cards and don’t complete their purchase.
Fortunately, this doesn’t always mean the sale is lost. Setting up an email strategy for saving abandoned shopping carts is proven to be an effective way to reclaim customers. As online shoppers find even more ways to make their purchases on the internet, it’s easy to lose the sale to a competitor—which is why some form of cart recovery is quickly becoming an essential part of the sales cycle. Even if you start simple and work up to more sophisticated techniques, this is one place where you don’t want to be left behind.
Get their email
Make sure the email address is saved automatically with their shopping cart, or after the first step of submitting contact information. Often, you can request their email along with their billing address. Just remember that most customers, especially first-time visitors, do not want to be forced to create an account. Most online shoppers will abandon their purchase if they need an account in order to continue. Allow options to “check out as guest” or “save information for later.”
When you do ask for their email, reassure them that they will not be bothered by constant spam. Their email will only be used for order-related information, unless they choose to subscribe to regular company emails. You want to come off as a company they can trust, and getting on their nerves is definitely not the way to save a sale.
The majority of visitors to your website do intend to buy. Even if they don’t complete the purchase on your site, most end up buying it elsewhere within 24 hours. This means you need to act fast. Timing matters. If they abandon their cart, send the first email in less than an hour. In 2012, SaleCycle reported that sending the first email within 20 minutes showed a 5.2% save rate in sales, while retailers who waited 24 hours showed only a 2.6% save rate.
You don’t need to worry about the more sophisticated details right away. It’s probably best to start simple and test the waters before jumping into complicated, personalized, and automated emails. Even a simple email strategy can still be effective, and it’s much better than having nothing.
To start, watch for trends. Which auto parts are abandoned the most often? You can create email templates specifically for those parts, including relevant information such as reviews or how-to videos. Although you won’t have a template for every part, you’ll at least be able to hit the most popular ones without putting in a ridiculous amount of work. You can send more general templates to the rest of your customers.
Set up your Strategy
Until you figure out a strategy specific to you and your customers, a standard three-part email campaign is a good place to start. While sending these emails, it’s essential to remember that they are a service, not a sales pitch. You want the customer to see the email as transaction-related, not spam. As such, customers want the information tailored and personalized to them. Do not try to sell them other “add-on” parts that were not originally left in their cart.
The first email should be sent almost immediately. List the items they left behind, and ask if they need help completing the transaction. Do they need technical help? Are they confused? Do they have any questions about the parts? Encourage them to contact you for clarification. Make sure to include useful information, such as a link back to their cart, your contact information, and details relating to the part.
The second email should be sent about 24 hours after the first one. Gently remind the customer that you are “holding” their items. Again, keep the information relevant, include contact details, and encourage communication. During the second or third email, you can also remind the customer of any sales or deals going on. For example, if your site offers free shipping on any order over $50 and your customer’s cart surpasses that, remind a customer that their order qualifies for free shipping.
The third email should be sent about 7 days after the second one. This email is a “last chance” to claim their items. You can give a follow-up offer such as a discount or free shipping (if not already offered), but you don’t want to condition your customers to wait for a discount before buying. This might be something you save for your loyal customers.
Watch for Trends
Don’t just send off emails and hope for the best. Track your results. Realize that some strategies will work better than others for different items, depending on price and size. Play with the timing of when emails are sent out. Maybe you’ll find that a third email within 5 days works better than 7 days. Does it help if you include images? Does it help if you change the email subject line? How about offering a small discount in the 2nd email, and a larger one in the 3rd? Don’t be afraid to test different strategies.
Include a Guarantee
Above all, remind your customers that you have their needs and wants in mind. They can purchase the parts they need anywhere, so why should they choose you? Constant pestering to complete their purchase won’t convince them that you care—it’ll just make your company look bad. Not only do they need to trust you with their payment information, but also trust that they’re buying the right part. Reassure them that your payment gateways are secure. Be responsive if they ask questions. Promise good, honest business and service. If you foster a healthy relationship and guarantee satisfaction, customers are sure to choose you this time—and next time, too.