Your Cart Abandonment Program is Broken, here’s how to fix it
We’ll discuss the need for a more robust cart abandon process as the standard 3-message program fails on many fronts for most e-commerce companies. Do you run 24-hour sales? Then you are cart program most likely doesn’t take that into account. Do you sell large ticket items or have average cart prices over $400, then a standard 3-message program is losing revenue as with larger purchases people take more time to review and decide.
About: Chris Donald
CEO at Inbox Group Email Marketing Agency and Managing Partner at Inbox Army, Chris has over 20 years experience in the business.
Thank you for being here, my name is Chris Donald, managing partner at InboxArmy, InboxArmy is an email marketing agency built for heavy production. So if you ever need a production help give us a holler. That’s about all I’m gonna say about us. So let’s supercharge your cart abandonment programme. So we looked at a little bit of abandoned rates throughout the years, this is 2006 to 2018. they’ve risen a bit, for sure over time, fallen anywhere as much as almost 80% in 2017 2018, saw 75.6% I think the 70s, the mid to upper 70s is probably the new normal. Again, you can decide that for your own programme everybody’s programmes, different reasons for abandonment during checkout. So these were sort of the main reasons people gave extra costs too high, might be shipping might be something else. They had to create an account first, people clearly don’t like that. A long or complex checkout process. We’ve all seen those. They’re painful, especially if you’re on mobile. And I think mobile options here might not have been a question asked for the survey. But there are some sites that are just terrible on mobile during checkout. So I think that would probably fall in here somewhere. Can’t see the total cost, didn’t trust the site. website errors or crashes, we’ve all had those delivery too slow. We are in a world of instant gratification when we order something we want it tomorrow. Which is what why Amazon does what they do. Return policies can be an issue for some people, a lack of payment options, obviously, a card declined payment issues. What are the other reasons not listed here that we see when higher cart values are involved. So once you get two to $300 in a cart, and higher, people abandoned for different reasons, but we’ll go into those in a little bit. But that is another issue. If you’re a high dollar seller. You stopped for lots of reasons. And we’ll go through those in a minute. So some of the things you want to know first, when you’re reviewing your cart abandonment system, so what is your natural cart abandoned return rate? If you don’t know what that is? That’s a you don’t have a cart abandonment programme. People abandon and then they come back on their own. What is that rate? So you should have some idea of that rate, whether you do it at the you know, at the beginning of use a holdout group will give you that as well. So holdout groups are a funny thing. We’ll talk about that just for a second. I’m not a big fan of continually using a holdout group. Certainly not during the holidays or any major selling events. I think it’s a mistake, I think it’s lost revenue. I think if you need to do it is testing a few times a year for a month or so just to recheck where your rates are, that’s fine. But if you’re an e commerce and doing any type of volume, you want you holding out 10% just seems silly to do it 12 months a year. My opinion. Not everybody agrees with that. But and one of those things that kind of makes me crazy. What is your average checkout value? So knowing the average checkout amount will also decide of how many email how many cart abandonment emails, we might send in a programme the higher checkout value, the longer time people may need to make decisions. So a longer programme may be needed. What is the average number of people abandoning each month knowing this along with the cart value will you decide how much fun it must budget to spend on things like this. So if you’re a low volume site and don’t have a lot of traffic, you may not want to spend a lot just doing the basics of cart abandonment. It’s really a process up to you But the more volume, the more pay the more time you should, you should be paying attention to your programme. Here’s one of the things. So what type of sales do you run in your marketing campaign? So if you run a 24 hour sale or 48 hour sale a week long sales, you need this information, decide if you need multiple cart programmes or customised dynamic programmes. Do you offer an additional discount free shipping in your cart programme? So if you do offer a discount in your cart to try to convert those people and a lot of ecommerce people do, you may have to make rules for Cheryl abandoners? Or do you offer a discount to first time buyers? Maybe a larger discount to first time buyers versus repeat buyers? Again, one of those things, you’re going to have to test and decide what you want to do. Where are kardi Mail sent from? A lot of clients when they come to us, they may be using Shopify or Magento or something else. And they allow the the cart abandonment emails to come out of their Shopify programme because it’s sort of easy to set up there. They may not know how to do the integration with a platform to move it over. The problem with that is you end up with your data siloed, right you have you have your cart abandonment data over here and your marketing email marketing data over here. Not only that, but cart abandonment emails are not transactional messages. I know there are people out there that like to think they are, but they are not because a purchase has not been made. So cart abandonment emails, in my view, are marketing emails, and Gosh, they should be on the same IP as your marketing emails, not your transactional. So make sure as often as you can, if you use Shopify, you have all kinds of platforms out there that integrate with it makes sure that you try to keep your data all in one place, it makes life a lot easier when you moving forward. So let’s talk about why most cart programmes are broken. If you have a standard three cart message, cart abandonment programme, and I say standard, because that’s been the standard for a very long time, generally one hour after abandonment, and four to 24 hours after that, and then 48 hours after that. So it with a 24 if you so that’s a normal programme, right, that’s your your four. But if you run 24 hour sales, and you don’t have an adjustment or a 24 hour cart abandonment programme, then chances are it’s broken, because the second or third email reminder would most likely be sent when the sale is over. And if that included the lower price, then you’re going to make people mad because now they can’t buy it at the lower price. So you may want to make adjustments or have a 24 hour cart abandonment programme that you can switch over to that could be based on timings or time of day, based on your 24 hour clock. Whether you start your 24 hours at midnight or noon, I’m a fan that starting at noon. But anyway, if your average checkout value is $200, or more so to $300 are more into the $1,000 range. You’re losing money with a programme that ends after 48 hours. Once you kind of hit that two $300 threshold, people pause more during the checkout process before they actually hit the Buy Now button or Checkout button. Because for their lottery reasons, they may if it’s a household purchase, they may want to talk to their husband, wife, partner, whatever. To make sure our spending that three four or $500 is okay. They may want to wait till they get next payday they may want to do more investigation on the cost can I find a better price. Lots of issues if it’s a b2b type purchase, like office furniture, computers, things like that. They may need to get permission, they may need to get a credit card using different credit card, different things can happen. So what we find is if you have a higher checkout value on your cart programme 235 $1,000 you probably want to stretch that out more over five 710 days with multiple messages. So we talked about this if you’re running a 24 hour sale, you should have a second cart abandonment programme that you can switch between Or something rule based based on your ISP or marketing automation platform, you may not have access to specific rule options show, you’ll have to figure that part out by yourself. But make sure you do, it’s possible to base the cadence on time of day. So you may want them on a 24 hour sale, you may want to have those abandoned messages more often closer together one hour, four hours, eight hours. Again, do some testing. It’s going to take some time, right. But if you can get at least a couple out during that 24 hours, you’re going to be much better off than sending them after it’s over, obviously. Here’s something else we talked about. So if if you run a 24 hour sale, and we see a lot of companies using countdown timers, excuse me, which are really good to help with urgency. And let you know, as it gets down to you, you know, you open your email, it says there’s two hours left, you’re probably going to act, what we found, if you keep that same countdown timer, if you add that to the cart abandonment messages, it increases conversions every single time we’ve used it over the control. So it’s not, it’s usually not very hard to set up, you can add it to the existing creative relatively easily. So it might be something you want to test, we found great success with that with our clients over the years. We always every single time see an increase in conversions. Sometimes it’s a small increase, sometimes it’s a big increase. But the best part is it does not take a lot of time to do necessarily you already have it set up for the emails you may already have set up on the website. Not Not that very hard to know very hard to embed into the cart abandonment messages. Just so you know while I’m doing this, I’m trying to do it full screen. So I can’t see chat right now I’ll try to switch back and forth a little bit. But the technology on this side of doing this is kind of weird. So I apologise if I’m not seeing or answering any questions at the moment, I will give time at the end if you have some questions. So let’s talk about the high value card amounts. Because this is something that we’ve really really seen a big increase in conversions by changing from a standard Carter Bennett banded message. We talked just a little bit about this, right. So too much testing and data reviews carts with more than $200 or more tend to be abandoned, abandoned, so the users can do the price comparison check with partner so spouse, all that stuff, we just said if you have a variety of card amounts as small and large, you could base your messaging based on the amount of the card you can have a rule if you know the amount is small, you could use your standard three message. If it’s over 200 or $300, you could put them into what we we sometimes use and call a postcard abandonment programme. So if the amount of the cart is a certain amount, and we will elongate the cart abandonment programme, put them in the postcard abandonment programme and they’ll get an additional three messages over the next three to five days or longer sometimes current postcard abandonment programmes I like the idea of breaking it up instead of just having a six or seven message cart abandonment programme. Because it allows you to pause one or the other and make edits without shutting down the whole thing that can make life a little bit easier. It could also tell you really the value of that post a cart abandonment programme versus the standard as well. So consider longer cart abandonment programmes if your average checkout price is high to three $5,000. So we’re going to show examples of cart abandonment programmes. Where is my Hold on a second? There we go. So this is a client we worked with recently. They sell office furniture. So you know most of their products are 400 500 $600,000 12 $100. So their cards tend to be high value cards. They were doing a standard three message card abandonment programme. If you notice this design, not very exciting. Little bit of text to read up here which probably isn’t really needed. The Hey, you forgot something that’s fine. The subject line Hey, don’t forget about me not bad. They do have the picture of the product easy by now. So they had a standard cart abandonment. One went out after an hour. The second main email went out for 24 hours later in 48 hours. So really the basic setup of a cart abandonment programme They can brand well either. So the brand is up here, but certainly doesn’t stand out. Well. The Hey, you forgot something, unfortunately, is in every single email that they send of this cart abandonment programme. So if we go to the next one, here’s the next one. And it’s basically and I, it’s identical except they are offering a 10% discount, which is great, except the 10% discount is below the Buy Now button, right? So you want to put this up top in their face, give them the code, make it easy. In the subject line, your cart will be empty tune, they didn’t even call out the discount, right. So great idea, given an offering a discount, they’re happy with their margin. So they can do that. But just executed badly, right? The idea right idea was there, but executed badly. And then the third message going out, you notice the same layout the same look, nothing’s very different. The same, hey, I forgot something almost looks like an identical message to the others. They didn’t repeat the offer though, if you’re going to offer, you may want to repeat the offer. Not everybody will open the offer email, they may open the next one. So this just wasn’t done well. So the what we did is we redid the new strategy, right? So I kind of want to walk through what we did here. So the new strategy was to expand the number of emails to five over three over a 10 day period or more if needed, depending on testing. We also redesigned it a bit to brand emails better put some visuals in there that tied to the site, so they pick up exactly what it’s for. We did test some different timings where we put the offers. But the offer ended up really doing well. On three to five with the least amount of cannabis cannibalization as well. The timing of the messages after testing ended up at one hour, 24 hours, three days, seven days, 10 days after we did our testing, that’s where we went. And interesting thing was 23% of the conversions of the cart abandonment programme came from messages four and five. Overall, we increase the conversions by 220% revenue by 240%. With only 40% using the discount code, roughly it’s it, it’s kind of moves back and forth. But that’s a rough estimate. Another interesting fact and you may want to look at this and pay attention to it because it is it is something we see on a regular basis is 15% of those that converted on the message with the discount code, didn’t use the discount code. And also, conversions were at 4.5% before the update, and we got them up to 13.8%. And it’s actually still climbing a little. And we’re going to continue to tweak it. But looking for the next message. So the next message, we change it up a little bit. You may ask about the we got three call to action here, right one right here before we do anything here and here. So we tested this again, right, so we tested these multiple calls to action, and they actually helped. We actually got 20% more clicks with three calls to action than we did with two. The first call to action gets about 20%, the second 30. And the buy now gets about 50%. Just so you know, I did not think this was a good idea putting it up there. But it did improve. So what you think may not be right, it’s why we test. So the third one is where we put the discount. So we did again, we changed the look up a little bit personalised gave them the discount, check out your discount code by now. The subject line for this was we called out to 10%. And just so you have an idea of the conversion across these of all the conversions 35% happened on the first discount email that was number three. Number one had 24 number two at 18. So these two did not have the offer. So the first and second one did well. Third 130 5% fourth one at 8% fifth one had 15% of the conversions, which is pretty astounding that we added that many at that level, we did the almost sold out or to gone. Simple low stock message. But it did Garner about a percent of conversions. And then the last day to save 10% on your discount cart. Again, we had 15% of the conversions on this email, we repeated the awkward sort of grab anybody left on the fence. We are going to continue to keep testing these but it is it’s an ongoing thing, right? Your automations especially your low hanging fruit, you’re welcome your cart abandonment. For some with high traffic. Browse abandonment may be one of those you you test a lot. browser abandonment tend to have a lot lower conversion rate. So discount, let’s talk a little bit about discount programmes in cart abandonment programmes, are they good? Or are they bad? And how do you decide if it’s a good idea? Well, it’s really not that difficult, right? We know that discounts increase cart abandonment conversions, just like they do when you send sales emails. So whether or not to add one to a discount to your programme really comes down to the profit margin, inventory, things like that, that make you decide whether you want to offer that if you’re fine with a 10% discount, and it doesn’t hurt your bottom line that much and you’re happy with the conversion rate, go for it. It does eat into profits, but you may have high profit margins, a lot of companies do. If they’re tight, you may only want to offer a discount to first time buyers. So you could put a rule in that says if previously purchased don’t show the discount, if they are a first time buyer, show the discount. You know, you may want to have a rule in there to kind of fight back abandoned cereal abandoned or so if they’ve used a cart abandonment discount in the past six months or more, then they wouldn’t get a discount at all. If you know that if you get someone to buy your product or service. And you know that anybody who buys one spot tends to buy three and a half times four and a half times five and a half times, then putting a discount. To those first time buyers make sense. Because while you may lose a little bit of revenue on your first conversion with them, the numbers say they’re gonna buy three, four or five more times, regardless of discount, and in that value down the line, right. So getting them to be a client is always the hardest thing. So again, it’s something you have to look at yourself, look at your programme, look at your profit margins, discuss that internally, decide which way you want to go. But serial abandoners do exist. I know that because my wife is one. So you know how you deal with that, again, is just you may have to make that decision. If you’re fine with the temporary additional 10%. That’s good. If you only offer the additional 10% on non sale items, that’s an option as well. Just make your decision, do some testing, see what works for you. And go forward from there. You know, the timing on this session may be a little off. And I’ll apologise for that. Originally, they told me I had 20 minutes, then they told me I had 40 minutes. And they told me I had 30 minutes. So at times I was a little goofy and they were trying to juggle things and and you know, thank God, they’ve been able to pull this off as they have, under the circumstances they’ve had. I don’t know that that Nellie or or Mr. Bonner have had much sleep in the past few weeks. But I do want to appreciate appreciate them doing what they’re doing. So I want to show you a couple of abandoned emails I I do like right. So and we just have a couple of these. So we kind of liked this one, right? This was pretty easy. Email calls out the discount in the subject line. And in the hero image, right, so the discounts right up front in the cart and it should be right don’t hide it. There’s a photo what’s left in the cart, the call to action, the CTA is large right calls out the Save option. They do offer additional similar products to what was left in the cart. So sometimes maybe they decided, I don’t know if I really want that one. So here they’re kind of doing a sort of a cross sell or other options. Hey, if you’re not ready to buy this one, maybe you like these. I like that really, really good. So what would we change on this? So one of the things is the coupon code is here. Right. So if you look, think about this on a mobile device, you might even have a hard time even seeing it, especially if you have older eyes. So we’d make sure that the coupon code was much larger really stood out, make it easy for people to find it. It would be certainly worth a test, take a 10% if you complete your purchase in the next 24 hours, right. So one of the other things is give them a short window. Give them something to push them to use that 10% in a given amount of time, and you could use a countdown timer with it if you wanted to write again, cash things, think outside the box, have some fun. A lot of these type of things don’t take a huge amount of time or cost. I know most email marketers and people running programmes are understaffed and underfunded at times. But if you focus on your low hanging fruit, like cart abandonment welcomes things like that. I think you’ll see a benefit for sure. Then any meals we liked. So this one here from your shopping cart, or a shopping bag has abandonment issues, right? So funny. We love humour in email and car programmes any anything like that I’m a big fan of humour, of course got to be careful. It’s just keep it very generic. You know, people seems as these days are hypersensitive, so you know, have some fun, but keep it really in the middle. So we did like the fact that they having some fun, there is a photo and description of the price of the piece in the cart, really large CTA, good call to action button there for fat fingers on mobile. What we would change not much on this one, right? Unless they offer free shipping, then they could call that out. They could include a few additional products that fall in here to to improve that. I think that would make a lot of sense. But overall, I think it worked pretty well. So I’m coming to the end here. So let me get out of here for a minute. And let me get back to my my session here. All right, everybody, how you doing? I’m trying to try to go back and see if I have any questions here. Did I repeat what on purpose? Sorry, got that one is three minutes. So why is three mil standard? It isn’t? It isn’t? Well, it’s sort of been the standard everybody that a lot of the email, or sorry e commerce companies that come to us at an agency. That’s what they run. In fact, I would say, Oh, 30 40% of the customers who come to us have one cart abandonment email. And that’s just crazy, right? Three messages is short of what we’ve always seen used on average doesn’t mean it’s the same for everybody. Hopefully, it’s not for you, and you’re doing things really out of the box. But rarely do we ever see anybody with more than three messages come to us when they need help. So if you don’t know where you are in your programme, I think the the best thing to do is test always test test test. Anybody have any specific questions out there? Happy to answer anything if I can. One of my favourites most of my clients so online. Oh, good. eV. Glad that worked. I think we’re pretty much done. Because I think this was was just 30 minutes or 40. I got all confused because have changed so many lengths. I believe it was set for 30 or 40. So we do have a little bit more time. Sorry about that. It was a little quick, but maybe have time to go to the bathroom before your next session. Right. That is the problem when they’re back to back anyway. But if anybody doesn’t have any other questions, we can end it here. give you guys a little time in between sessions. Hopefully you found some value there. They will be making the session available as well. But I appreciate everybody coming. Thank you. You’re welcome everybody Lauren Steven. Appreciate you coming. Kim, thank you. Nely welcome. You know, got to do today. That’s great. Now I got to try to get back and get all the stuff off my plate that I have