Our Customers’ Top-Performing Abandoned Cart Series

abandoned cart series

When it comes to ecommerce, abandoned carts are without a doubt one of the most important email series, which is why we’ve written about them at length. Over half of shopping carts are abandoned, so if you’re in the ecommerce industry and you’re not sending an abandoned cart series, you’re leaving money on the table.

Recently, we’ve been delving into our own data (more on that here) to see what our top-performing customers have in common. For this post, I took a look at the abandoned cart data for our top-performing 10 customers in this specific area. I defined the “best” abandoned cart series by looking at revenue per abandoned cart email delivered. I further narrowed this down by only including companies that had delivered at least 100 abandoned cart emails in the past 30 days.

Some of the more astute among you might point out that this could skew results towards shorter abandoned cart series, which is true, and something to keep in mind when interpreting this data.

So, without further ado, here’s what I found:

Send your first email between 1 and 4 hours after a shopper abandons his or her cart

All the companies I looked at sent their first abandoned cart email during this window. This goes to show that it pays to act fast — but not too fast, otherwise you risk irritating shoppers.

Why not send an abandoned cart email right away? Well, you don’t want to accidentally email customers who have every intention of making a purchase but are just taking their time checking out. Maybe they needed to get their wallet out of the car. Maybe they decided to have a snack first. Whatever the reason, you can come off overly aggressive if you email them immediately.

If you’re sending more than one email, send the second 24 hours later

Of the companies that had more than one abandoned cart email in their series, 75% of them sent their second email 24 hours after a shopper left their site without checking out. Sending a reminder email a day later is soon enough after that the abandoned items will still be top-of-mind, but not so soon that it will feel pushy.

With that said, only four out of the ten companies I reviewed sent more than one abandoned cart email, and only one sent more than three. While the data might skew in favor of shorter series, we still recommend sending fewer than five emails in your abandoned cart series.

Show shoppers what they’re missing

80% of companies included an image of the abandoned product in at least one of the emails in their abandoned cart series. This is a no-brainer, especially since people might not even remember what they added to their cart in the first place. Remind them that they’re missing out on something tangible.

If you choose not to include an image of the abandoned product, make sure it’s for a reason. For example, you may choose to focus on the mission of your company or direct shoppers towards customer service.

Turn up the heat

All the companies I looked at include a sense of urgency in their abandoned cart emails. It’s important to use urgency to get shoppers to act fast. Try using language like “your cart is about to expire” or “these items are selling out fast!” to nudge them towards making a purchase.

If you decide to send more than one email, save your sense of urgency for the final couple of emails. Coming in with a sense of urgency at the beginning of a 4-email series can make you sound like the boy who cried wolf.

Sweeten the deal

Another good tactic to convince people to buy if you’re running a multiple-email abandoned cart series is incentivization. Of the companies that sent more than one email, 75% offered some type of incentive to encourage shoppers to complete their purchase.

These incentives ranged from 10-15% off their purchase to free shipping. These types of incentives are a great way to get people to buy, but you should consider only offering them to first-time buyers. Otherwise, your customers can become accustomed to receiving discounts and purposely abandon carts to reap the benefits.

Last but not least, test

Only one of the companies I explored was running A/B tests on their abandoned cart series, but it’s always a good idea to test subject lines and copy to see what works best for you. If you’d like to introduce a new idea — a new sense of urgency or incentive, for example — try testing it against your current model to see how it performs.

Interested in learning more about creating and optimizing abandoned cart automations? Check out these shopping cart abandonment resources.

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