Twenty percent of the e-tailing group's EG100 merchants sent abandonment emails during the fourth quarter of 2009, a 6 percent increase over last year, according to a recently released EG e-tail detail report.
The report, which examined how merchants communicate with shoppers who abandon carts before completing their purchases, was based on a mystery shopping survey of 100 websites in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Abandonment emails are an effective tool to capture sales that might otherwise be lost, regardless of product category, the report found. Additional findings from the report include the following:
- 40 percent of the emails received had personalized salutations, down 17 percent from last year;
- consistent with last year, the average number of days from when the mystery shoppers left goods in a cart until they received an email was 6.15;
- HTML formatting was favored by 95 percent of the merchants surveyed — up from 86 percent last year — which enabled 40 percent of the merchants to include an image of the abandoned product; and
- 15 percent of the merchants surveyed included incentives in their emails — almost half the number that did so in 2008. The range of tactics ran from a percentage off to discounted shipping to daily specials.
The report also included the following top ten checklist for a shopping cart abandonment strategy:
1. Establish a strategy for saving items in your cart.
2. Ensure that real-time inventory messaging is provided on the product and shopping cart pages.
3. Communicate your cart strategy so customers know when and if their cart will be cleared.
4. Use HTML and photos to visually enhance abandonment emails.
5. Review abandonment opportunities, from branding to customer service.
6. Include merchandising tactics to foster customer relationships and encourage purchasing beyond the abandoned item.
7. Use promotional incentives to save the sale.
8. Consider moving items to consumers’ wish lists as an alternative to lost sales.
9. Understand current technology's ability to trigger abandonment emails.
10. If abandonment is due to out-of-stocks, consider a stock-alert capability sent via email.