Abandoned online shopping carts that contain one or more items a visitor might have intended to purchase—or at least further research—represent a significant sales opportunity for direct marketers. But converting these visitors from browsers to buyers is not a slam-dunk, particularly if you make some false assumptions in your follow-up contact.
According to Al DiGuido, president and CEO of e-mail marketing firm Epsilon Interactive, and Petra Schindler-Carter, customer experience director at Amazon Services, direct marketers should use a gentle, service-oriented copy approach when sending these abandoned cart reminders. DiGuido and Schindler-Carter shared their insights on effective e-mail marketing strategies at the ACCM 06 exhibition in their session, “360 Degree View of Your Customer Through E-mail.”
The two advised attendees to avoid the inclusion of any assumptive copy in such reminder e-mails, e.g., “We noticed you have two items in your shopping cart on our Web site. Perhaps you encountered problems with our checkout process or simply wanted more time to make a purchasing decision …” For one, you don’t want to appear intrusive and “Big Brother-like” to your visitors. Additionally, you don’t want to offer customers any reasons to further reconsider their purchase—reasons that might not have occurred to them in the first place.
The better approach, DiGuido and Schindler-Carter say, is to simply remind visitors they abandoned a filled cart. You just want to jog their memory, says Schindler-Carter, and then provide an easy way for them to get back to their cart to view the item(s). If your Web analytics software allows you to segment cart abandons based on where each group was in the shopping process (clicking back and forth between different items on your site, on the ship-to page, etc.), then you might want to develop special offers that could improve your conversion rates. But overall, simple is better when following up on cart abandons, especially if you hope to retain permission to contact these visitors via e-mail in the future.