The Ultimate Guide to Abandoned Cart Nurturing

According to SalesCycle, the average eCommerce website has a 73% shopping cart abandonment rate.

This is not entirely because customers have lost interest in the products they intended to purchase. Between the distracting nature of the internet and growing customer expectations for discounts (which we’ve brought upon ourselves through perpetual discounting), customers have short attention spans and trouble committing to a purchase without a discount.

However, not all hope is lost. We just need to re-think our abandoned cart nurturing approach a little bit.

First, we just need to embrace this customer behavior as an industry. What if instead of viewing items left in a cart as a lost sale, we viewed this action as another indicator of purchase intent? This action is just another step along the way… just like the first site visit, the first product pageview, and the newsletter subscription.

If we faced this head on rather than ignoring it, and expected it the way the data tells us we should, we’d give this action the attention it deserves and drive more revenue.

With this approach in mind, there are a few things you should consider for your abandoned cart strategy:

1. Personalize Your Emails With Data

Track the right information so you can personalize the content of your nurture emails. This will make your nurture program much more effective.

Here are two ways you can use data to personalize your abandoned cart emails:

  • Name – Calling out the customer’s name in the subject line will help you stand out in the inbox and drive a better open rate.
  • Products left in the cart – The common message of “Forget something in your cart?” doesn’t resonate unless you remind recipients what they forgot. People shop around a lot before making a purchase. The specific product in your cart may be one out of dozens of products they are considering. You can prompt their memory by pulling in an image of the products they abandoned.

2. Use Discounts Strategically

It’s tempting to offer a discount to get customers to convert, but you have to beware: people can grow accustomed to expect them.

Segment your lists and only offer discounts to abandoned carts of new customers. Rely more on your brand value, product quality, and customer loyalty to drive repeat purchases from existing customers.

Additionally, remember that a discount isn’t the only thing you can offer to drive conversions.

You can also offer:

  • Personal style consultations (for fashion)
  • The opportunity to see the product in person (great for fashion but also for big-ticket purchases, like furniture or cars)
  • Customer support or another way to ask product questions (great for electronics or auto parts)
  • 3rd party validation/positive reviews
  • Helpful reminders about state of product inventory

If you’re only competing on price, you’re competing against Amazon. That’s going to be tough.

You have to offer other unique qualities and services to convince a customer to make a purchase. Don’t be lazy and over rely on discounts in your abandoned cart emails. Think creatively and don’t hesitate to experiment with other types of offers.

3. Create a Sense of Urgency

The point of abandoned cart nurturing is ultimately to drive customers to action via your abandoned cart emails. With this in mind, creating a sense of urgency encourages customers who have made up their minds to go ahead and complete their purchase.

No matter what your abandoned cart nurturing emails offer, you need to make that a limited time opportunity. Use discount codes that expire after two days or offer a consultation during a specific set of hours.

Additionally, keep in mind that selling a product on your site can always be a limited time offer. Because inventory does run out, customers will miss out if they keep leaving things in carts. Leverage this reality and remind customers when an item they left in the cart is almost out of stock.

4. Be Repetitive

People are busy and easily distracted. With three-quarters of your customers abandoning their carts, one meek reminder is not enough.

Klaviyo customer Andrew Youderian of eCommerce Fuel and Trolling Motors wrote about his great success with three-part abandoned cart nurturing program. His program looked like this:

  • Email 1 –   An email reminding them about the cart
  • Email 2 –  A second email asking them to finish their purchase
  • Email 3 –   A final email offering a discount to complete their purchase

This approach netted Andrew an 11% recovery rate. Combined with other overhauls of his email marketing strategy, this nurture program helped him achieve an 8% revenue growth.

Moral of the story? Don’t email just once – it’s still too easy for people to forget. If you’re going to commit to abandoned cart nurturing, create a three-part series for maximum impact.

5. Invest in Retargeting

Retargeting enables you to serve ads to users who have previously engaged with your website, whether that’s anyone who was on the website, or ads targeted at people who have abandoned carts.

The period after a consumer abandons a shopping cart is a particularly critical time to implement retargeting. With segmented campaigns, shoppers who have abandoned a cart might see an ad highlighting free shipping on orders over $100. For example, with dynamic retargeting, you can generate an ad in real-time that features the shoes the customer left in the cart.

Focused retargeting ads, plus a well-thought-out email nurture program, are a powerful combination for winning back indecisive shoppers.

6. Prevent Abandoned Carts From Even Happening In The First Place

This tip potentially flies in the face of the advice I gave in the beginning – which is to accept that abandoned carts are part of the purchase process.

But they don’t always have to be. By inserting more touchpoints into the customer lifecycle, you stand a better chance of remaining top of mind and inspiring customers to come back.

You want your customers to be so in love with your brand that there is no other choice for the product you sell. It’s tough to forget to click “Check Out” for a product you just have to have. You need more than strong SEO to achieve that kind of customer relationship.

There are a number of ways to achieve this level of desire:

1) Proactively drive newsletter subscribers

Newsletters are a way to build your customer relationships, and you can convert traffic and “window shoppers”  to email subscribers by proactively asking your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter list.

A few ways you can do this:

  • Newsletter sign-up CTA: Put this at the bottom and top of every page on your site. Piperlime takes this approach.
  • Place prominent sign-up forms on your blog: Put them in the sidebar and underneath blog posts.
  • Slide-Outs: The slide-out is a more friendly cousin of the pop-up. The slide-out is an email collection form that comes out at the bottom of the screen. It still forces a decision, but it doesn’t block any content on screen.  Klaviyo customer LIFX does this on their blog.
  • Pop-ups: Pop-ups black out the screen when a new visitor arrives and asks them to sign-up for your newsletter. They  a discount or coupon to reward customers who sign-up and to encourage them to go ahead and purchase. LA Made does this on their site.
  • Email Gates: Some sites block access to their site unless you sign-up. Rue La La is an example of a store who uses this approach.

2) Use welcome emails wisely

Most welcome emails are very basic transactional communication, but this is a missed opportunity.

Because you have your subscriber’s attention at this moment, take advantage of it to point your new subscriber to another marketing channel to create an additional touchpoint (for example, social media channels or a mobile app).

The customers will be constantly reminded of the value you offer to their lives because you will be in their newsfeeds, inboxes, and on their phones each day. If this happens, you’re less likely to have customers forget about the products they wanted to buy from you.

3) Create content that educates

Curating content is important from a brand building perspective, but creating your own stuff helps you tell the story that you want your customers to hear.

Use your own blog to educate customers about the need for your product and how to use your product to achieve whatever it is they can achieve through what you sell.

An educated customer won’t be confused about why they wanted your product in the first place. If she’s read your content, she will be much less likely to forget your product in the cart.

Abandoned Cart Nurturing: Bringing It All Together

Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Use data to personalize the content of your emails.
  • Segment your lists. This will help you treat your shoppers appropriately in the nurture program based on their based behavior.
  • Don’t just rely on discounts. Expert advice and third-party validation are just two of the many other value propositions you can use in your abandoned cart emails to nudge indecisive shoppers over the edge.
  • Send more than one email reminding people about their abandoned carts. Your nurture program should be a three-part series for your best chances at success.
  • Think of your nurture emails as part of a full marketing program that includes retargeting, social media, mobile, and content.

Want even more ideas for recovering revenue from abandoned carts? Check out our latest roundup of abandoned cart tips »


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1 comment

  • Nice, article but perhaps you should double check your writing. Heaps of grammatical mistakes, loads of sentences don’t make much sense. A bit unprofessional.

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