One of the most effective methods for reducing the number of abandoned baskets is e-mail remarketing. It is based on using e-mail to contact customers who have visited an online store website but have not finalised their transaction (in this case – customers who have abandoned their basket). The benefits of E-mail remarketing come from its fast response time, which is usually in real time.
E-mail remarketing shortens the period of time it takes the customer to return to the website and finalise their transaction, because the customer receives a personalised e-mail message (for that reason, providing an e-mail address is required in the first steps of placing an order) that encourages them to return to your store website once they have left it. The personalised message is sent to the customer's personal e-mail account, and so it is perceived as more individual and attracts more attention than other advertisements.
How to use the full potential of e-mail remarketing and compete for customers?
Research conducted in the USA by McAfee on e-commerce found that the average period of time between the first visit to an online store and finalising the transaction (product purchase) is 19 hours. Nevertheless, almost 3/4 of transactions will be finalised within 12 hours of the first visit. For e-mail remarketing campaigns, there is one important point to take away: if e-mail remarketing is not conducted within 24 hours of basket abandonment, its effectiveness will decrease drastically.
Sending an e-mail message in a real time (shortly after a customer abandons their basket) significantly increases the chance that the customer will return and finalise their purchase instead of giving up on buying the products or buying them in another store.
The first 24 hours are of key importance when it comes to contacting the customer, inviting them to visit your store again and encouraging them to finalise their purchase.
However, a well planned remarketing campaign is not limited to only one message...
How many and how often?
Some customers need more time - and sometimes even a few visits to an online store website - to make a decision about buying a product. For that reason, it is worth sending several e-mail messages at specified intervals. We recommend sending 3 messages at various intervals:
Send the first message within 1 hour of a basket being abandoned. Offer your help in this e-mail. Perhaps the customer abandoned their basket because of technical problems or personal doubts. Such an e-mail will make your customer feel more confident and encourage them to use your help, if needed. Remember to include your customer service phone number and e-mail address.
The second e-mail should be sent 24 hours after a transaction is aborted. Inform your customer that there are still products in their account that were left in their basket. Attach a list (with pictures) of these products and add a link to the abandoned basket. If possible, add other customers' opinions about these products to the message. These actions will encourage the customer to buy the products and will make what you have on offer more valuable.
Send the third e-mail after about 7 days. If your customer was not motivated by previous messages, you can offer a dedicated discount or free delivery. It will certainly serve as a call-to-action. Do not forget to include the list of products that were left in the basket. This will remind your customer what he was planning to buy.
Obviously, you can create e-mail messages according to your personal needs and criteria. You can also mix various elements or send 1 message instead of 3. Make sure that you determine the maximum number of messages to be sent to one customer (we suggest 4-5 messages max so that the customer does not feel hemmed in) as well as the intervals at which the messages should be sent.
Remember: Sending an e-mail message in a real time (shortly after a customer abandons their basket) significantly increases the chance that the customer will return and finalise their purchase instead of giving up on buying the products or buying them at another store.
Everyone wants to feel special and remembered. The content and the graphics should be customised to an individual customer's profile. For example, use your customer's name and attach pictures of the products which they have left in their basket. Remember that customer activities in online stores are registered, and so you should use as much information about your customer as possible. If you use personalised content, you can be sure that you provide fully targeted content, which simplifies the shopping process and lets your customer recognise your offer immediately.
For that reason:
Show products that the customer left in their basket
Use personalised content, such as the name of your recipient
Be tactful and avoid using aggressive marketing language
Your e-mail should take a conversational tone, offer help and express willingness to look after your customer. Therefore, you should ask questions such as: "Have you encountered any problems when placing your order?" etc.
Each e-mail should explicitly focus on the goal. Remember that the main purpose of remarketing is to encourage your customers to return to your website and finalise their order. Helpful are a Call to action (CTA) and elements that help customers to reach a decision (recommendations from other customers, brand USP reminder, displaying trustmarks and security certificates). Use the above techniques to give your customers another reason to make a purchase!
This is a very important part of effective e-mail remarketing. With a proper system for sending remarketing messages:
One of the reasons why customers abandon baskets is a lack of trust in online stores. Customers may loose their confidence if a basket does not provide sufficient and clear information on its data, costs and delivery, or if there are no links to the Privacy and Return policies. Including accurate information about the retailer seems obvious, but many security elements are nevertheless often neglected. According to the research conducted by ConversionVoodoo, only 65% of stores have information about encrypted connections made when finalising orders.
Here is some advice on how to encourage your potential customer to trust you more:
Use SSL certificates, such as Unizeto Technologies.
Include detailed contact information in easily visible places.
Provide comprehensive descriptions and detailed photos of your products.
Include other customers' reviews – according to the "Trusted Reviews 2012" report conducted by Ceneo, a large number of other users' reviews is one of the most important factors(according to 70% of respondents) when choosing an online store.
Join buyer protection programs, such as Trusted Shops and Ceneo Trusted Reviews.
Use a simple refund form.
Provide links to your Privacy and Return policies.
Customers value information about the subsequent stages of placing an order. Clearly display the steps of making a purchase and number them. Your customers will not be concerned that they will still need to fill in 6 pages of the form before they successfully finish their shopping.
Moreover, for this process you can use elements of so-called gamification, i.e. getting customers involved in a game with your store. It can include granting additional loyalty points for placing an order. Nevertheless, this cannot divert customer attention from the goal, i.e. paying, but it should encourage customers to proceed with further steps of the ordering process. In this way, you will increase customer involvement and create a positive shopping experience
Imprecise information about the delivery time and unclear rules for determining delivery costs or additional fees can effectively discourage a customer from finalising their shopping. How can this issue be solved?
Provide clear information about the time of delivery (expressed in working days)
Provide specific fees for additional services (e.g. payment system commission)
When you determine delivery costs, you need to remember that many customers expect free delivery. Research shows that 20% of customers cite free delivery as the main reason they buy products from a specific retailer. In addition, about 55% of customers are likely to resign from purchasing a product if they have to pay for delivery. If you do not want to completely resign from charging for deliveries, try to introduce some conveniences. For example, enable free delivery if a customer buys products above a certain value or on particular days.
Customers like to feel that they have a degree of control over the process of placing an order. They want to be allowed to choose the payment method that suits them best. To fulfil their needs, you need to enable payment:
via several online payment systems
via bank transfers
via cash on delivery
via various types of credit cards (consider including their logos on your website).
According to the latest research by SeeWhy, 47% of customers will return to an online store website that they had already visited but had not placed an order at. In addition, 53% of customers will leave their basket for 28 days with the intention of making a purchase later (e.g., when they get their paycheck). For that reason, the recommended minimum time for storing basket content is 60 days. User baskets do not require much space, nor do they influence your website performance. Moreover, they bring the following advantages:
Your customer will be pleasantly surprised. This will benefit the image of your store.
The customer will feel that you do not treat them as a random guest at your store, but as a valuable customer who is remembered and appreciated.
The customer will save time required to browse for and find the products again, and so they will be more willing to finalise their order.
An abandoned basket does not mean failure. Unfinished purchases may result form various reasons. It is important that you treat such situation as an opportunity to contact your customer again and obtain information about how the basket is functioning (if there is a high number of abandoned baskets). You should perceive abandoned baskets as a perfect starting point for presenting your customers your main assets and building long lasting relationships. One of our last but most important tips concerns testing. It is enough that you place a test order yourself or ask your relatives to do so. This will help you learn which elements of a your basket need to be improved and what makes a customer abandon it.