Guest Post

Written by Steve Chou

September 3, 2020

Cart abandonment is a serious problem among eCommerce store owners. On average, 69.57 percent of customers start checkout and never complete their purchase. And while every eCommerce website is different, here are some common reasons potential customers abandon their carts and how these sales can be recovered.

  • Lack of trust. Customers may not feel comfortable providing you with the sensitive information required to make a purchase. Reassure them by offering a generous return policy.
  • High shipping cost. Customers may get sticker shock after shipping costs are added to their order. Recover the sale by offering a free shipping promo.
  • Browsing. Some visitors who abandon their shopping carts are browsing with low buying intent. Incentivize casual shoppers to purchase immediately by offering a limited-time sale.
  • Price too high. Most online shoppers will comparison shop to find the best deals. Recover lost sales by offering special discounts and coupon codes that must be redeemed immediately.
  • Interruptions. Customers often get interrupted while shopping and simply need a gentle reminder to complete their purchase.  

All of the abandoned cart scenarios above can be recovered at a high frequency with the proper strategy. By using email, Facebook Messenger, push notifications, and dynamic product ads you can turn a reluctant shopper into a paying customer. 

Below we’ll discuss how to properly implement an abandoned cart strategy using real examples with data from major eCommerce retailers as well as my online store, Bumblebee Linens.

Four cart abandonment solutions to recover sales

Online retailers can use the four following methods to improve their online shopping cart abandonment rate:

  1. Email
  2. Facebook Messenger
  3. Push notifications
  4. Facebook dynamic ads 

How to send cart abandonment emails to recover sales

A high performing abandoned cart email sequence can recover up to 30 percent of your lost sales. Therefore, every major online retailer uses an abandoned cart email sequence.

For example, if you sell on Amazon marketplace, the tech company sends emails on your behalf to people who abandon their carts.

Amazon marketplace example

Similarly, Ebay also sends out an abandoned cart email to its shoppers as well.

Ebay abandoned cart reminder

In general, a good abandoned cart email sequence gives you insight into why online shoppers are bailing so you can improve your shopping experience.  To identify high cart abandonment rates across different steps of your checkout funnel, experiment with different product copy, pricing, or discounts to improve your overall conversion rate. 

For 99 percent of eCommerce stores, email should be the first line of defense for abandoned cart shoppers; and your abandoned cart flow should include at least three emails.  

The following is an abandoned shopping cart email sequence for Bumblebee Linens, which recovers 19 percent of my company’s sales.  

The first abandoned cart email

Abandoned cart statistics

According to Google Analytics, roughly 18.5 percent of Bumblebee customers enter their information but abandon their carts. 

No matter the reason for shopping cart abandonment, it’s safe to assume cart abandoners just need a little nudge. After all, they’ve already entered their information and are a step or two away from checkout. 

The first abandoned cart email is sent after four hours have elapsed since cart abandonment. After a bit of experimenting , I found that sending out the first email after four hours performed slightly better than after two hours. 

But the overall idea is to strike while the iron is hot. You want to reach out to abandoned cart customers while your products are still in their minds.  

Here’s what Bumblebee’s first email looks like. 

Bumblebee linens first abandoned cart email

The email shows the exact product the customer added to their cart before abandoning it. The customer can then click the big button, pick up where they left off, and finish checkout in a few clicks. This first email is crucial and recovers 10.5% of my/Bumblebee’s abandoned cart customers. 

The second abandoned cart email

Most eCommerce store owners only send out a single abandoned cart email because they don’t want to potentially annoy their customers. However, if you stop after one email you are potentially losing out on leaving a significant amount of money.

Customers are more receptive to email than you think. After all, your customer already gave you their email and physical address, which is a pretty good indicator that they want to buy from your store. Some people need time to think about a purchase, but if too much time passes, they might forget about your product altogether. 

By sending your customers a second reminder email, you are actually doing them a favor by giving them what they want. 

So I sent out my second abandoned cart email after 48 hours. This email is similar to the first one but with a subject line that says, “It’s not too late to have your order delivered on time.” 

Bumblebee linens second abandoned  cart email

This second email converts between 2-4 percent. 

The third abandoned cart email

Between my first two emails alone, I’m recovering 12-14 percent of my lost sales, which is pretty good. But one day I found myself pondering what would happen if I sent a third email out. So I did, and was shocked at the results.

I  sent a third email at the 72-hour mark and got back 6 percent more customers. In fact, this third email performed even better than the second one. 

Below are the results from all three abandoned cart emails. 

Cart abandonment sequence from Bumblebee Linens

In total, this three email sequence recovers around 19 percent of my lost sales. 

Should you send more than 3 emails?

Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth experimenting with four or more emails for your store as well.  

Personally, I tried adding a fourth email to my sequence but it ended up converting less than 1 percent.  In addition, I started getting more email complaints from customers asking me to take them off my list or to stop emailing them.  

As a result, I  capped my sequence at three emails due to diminishing returns, but the bottom line is you should test it out and add as many emails into your sequence as required.

How to further improve your abandoned cart sequence

The results of my three email sequence are commendable. But I have colleagues who regularly recover 20-30% of their lost sales from abandoned cart emails. 

So how do they do it? 

They offer a coupon code in their final email. 

Coupons, free shipping, and discounts entice customers to finish a purchase and they work great. But make sure you set up your sequence properly and only send out a coupon on your final email. And if a customer makes a purchase at any point in your abandoned cart sequence, do not send them anymore emails.e

Tips for implementing your own abandoned cart email sequence 

Keep in mind that your results may vary from the stats in this post, and although a three email sequence works best for my eCommerce store, using fewer (or more) reminder emails may work best for you. So feel free to experiment with two, three, four, or even five emails, and observe your conversion rates.

The key is to find a balance between recovering enough sales while trying not to annoy too many of your customers; decide if the recovery rate outweighs the annoyance factor. 

How to use Facebook Messenger to recover abandoned cart sales

Email marketing shouldn’t be your only method of recovering abandoned cart customers. My abandoned email sequence has an open rate of around 45 percent, which means 55 percent of my customers are not getting my messages. 

To recover even more customers, you should also reach out with a Facebook Messenger bot.

Here are two ways my Facebook Messenger bot recovers cart abandoners.

(Note: You can implement the following strategy with a few clicks of your mouse while using ManyChat.)  

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Abandoned cart recovery in Messenger

My abandoned checkout Messenger bot targets customers who start the checkout process but leave before completing a transaction. The bot sends a reminder to the customer four hours after they’ve abandoned the cart. 

The message is extremely effective because it displays the exact items left in the abandoned cart, and a “Checkout Now” button makes it easy for customers to go back to the checkout page with their shopping cart pre populated. This message converts at almost exactly 5 percent%.

(Note: I do not send more than one message due to Facebook Messenger’s 24-hour rule.)

 Browse abandoned cart recovery

browse abandonment recovery

The browse abandonment bot is slightly different from the abandoned checkout bot in that it targets customers who view a product but don’t click “Add To Cart” or begin the checkout process.  

Two hours after looking at an item without further action, the customer receives a reminder to add the product to their cart. In this message, the customer is shown a photo of the product they viewed along with a “Shop Now” button to quickly add the item to their shopping cart. 

This message converts at around 3.5 percent.

Tips for implementing an abandoned cart Messenger bot

Due to Facebook’s messaging rules, you are not permitted to send more than one promotional message within  a 24 hour window. So be careful when you schedule your messages.

To comply with Facebook’s rules I use  the same message for both abandoned cartMessenger bots. But the methods used above can be implemented in other ways such as sending additional abandoned cart messages via email or SMS while avoiding the 24 hour rule. You can also enter a live chat conversation with a potential customer in your ManyChat dashboard to help recover sales in Messenger.

Read more: How to Recover Abandoned Carts on Mobile

How to use push notifications to recover abandoned cart sales

A push notification is a message people get on their smartphones (appearing in the notifications tray) or browser taskbars. 

Here’s an example of a push notification on a desktop browser. 

Push notification abandoned cart reminder

And here’s what it looks like on a smartphone. 

Abandoned cart push notification on mobile

Most browsers and smartphones support push notifications. But many eCommerce stores don’t utilize this tool to its full extent. When used correctly, push notifications can boost your sales and traffic without any effort.

Here are some stats from Bumblebee’s abandoned cart push notifications: 

  • Abandoned cart ecommerce conversion rate: 14.28 percent.
  • CTR for abandoned cart notifications: up to 18 percent.

In terms of performance, push notifications perform very well because they show up on smartphones, much like a text message. 

How push notifications work

Before you can send a push notification to a customer, however, you must get them to opt in.  

The first way is a one-step opt in, which is built into the browser. With just one click, a user can sign up for your push notifications. 

Here’s what a one-step opt in looks like on a smartphone. 

Two step opt-in for abandon cart recovery on mobile

The second type of opt in is a two-step opt in. This opt-in method lets you use customized copy to entice customers to sign up.

Here’s an example of a two-step opt in on my blog. 

Push notifications on desktop

The two-step opt in shows my brand and states a compelling reason to sign up for push notifications. 

After testing both opt-in methods, I found that the one-step optin performs better for my eCommerce store, but you should always experiment and see what works best for you. 

Sending push notifications 

The beauty of push notifications is that there is little to no regulation at all.  In fact, you can send as many push notifications as you want whenever you want.  

For my abandoned cart push notifications, I always send a picture of the products in my customer’s cart along with a short message. For example, when a customer browses personalized handkerchiefs in my store without making a purchase, they’ll receive the following message four hours later. 

Sending push notifications on mobile

I purposely craft the message to create a sense of urgency to entice the customer to make a purchase. Within seconds, the customer can go back to the product page and complete the transaction. 

For my online store I set up three different  abandoned cart push notifications. The “viewed product” notification leads a customer to a product page,while the “abandoned cart” notification links to a populated shopping cart. 

push engagement statistics

(Note: The label for the second notification is incorrect. The actual waiting period is four hours, not 15 minutes. The notifications were created in 2017 but have been running continuously without modification for several years now.)

A “viewed product” customer gets the first notification at the two-hour mark, and typical results in a 18.4 percent CTR.  

A shopper who added an item to their cart but didn’t finish checkout will get a second notification within four hours. And if they still don’t make a purchase that same customer is sent a third notification after two days. The second and third push notifications have a CTR of 13.81 and 7.69 percent, respectively. 

In total, the conversion rate for all three automated sequences is 14.28 percent. 

How to recover abandoned carts with Facebook dynamic ads

Both Facebook and Google allow you to upload your product catalog in order to show dynamic advertisements to your customers. With dynamic ads you can create advertisements on the fly that show customers exactly which products they looked at on your site.

This is by far the most powerful type of ad that I use in my online store and it converts like crazy.

Here’s a Facebook ad for people who added items to their cart within the last three days but didn’t make a purchase.

Facebook dynamic ad abandoned cart recovery example

I created a rotating lineup of these types of ads, each taking my customers on a journey, while also revealing different aspects of my brand. (You can also include product reviews, testimonials, lifestyle images, and interesting stories.)

Facebook dynamic product ads are among the highest converting ads you can run and should be used in conjunction with your other abandoned cart recovery efforts.

Conclusion 

In summary, here are the results from my email sequence, messenger sequence, push notifications, and Facebook dynamic ads: 

  • Email: My three email sequence recovers around 19 percent of my lost sales.
  • Facebook Messenger: The combined conversion rate for both sequences is 8.5 percent.
  • Push notifications: The combined conversion rate for all three push  sequences is 14.28 percent.
  • Facebook dynamic ads: My ads convert at around 16 percent.

In general, your abandoned cart sequences should perform very well since they’re at the very bottom of your sales funnel — which makes them particularly useful during busy shopping seasons such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday

If you want to get the most from your eCommerce marketing efforts, use all of these methods together. After all, your goal should be to plug as many holes in your conversion funnel as possible to improve your cart abandonment rate and make more sales. 

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