3 Steps to Successful Cart Reminder Messages
Everyone knows that shopping cart reminder emails bring consumers back to a site to shop and hopefully make a purchase. The rate of visitors leaving items in a shopping cart continues to rise, though many shoppers aren't truly abandoning carts with no intention to come back and shop. According to a study by Bronto, 40 percent of online shoppers will use the shopping cart to store items to view on a different device, and 36 percent will use the cart to view items on a mobile device while in-store.
Clearly, the shopping cart is a tool that consumers use as step in the path to purchase. This means the cart goes beyond acting only as a component of the checkout process. The shopping cart can also serve as a shopping list, a wish list, a research tool, a way to move the shopping process between devices, etc. In other words, the ways consumers use the shopping cart is a long, long list.
You may perceive this evolution of consumer shopping habits as more work and complexity for your resource- and time-strapped team, but there are many low-impact ways you can meet consumers’ needs, improve their shopping experience and boost sales. Here are three ways how:
1. Rework the shopping cart. The first step to a better shopping cart reminder program is to revisit your shopping cart. There's an average of 5.6 pages from carting an item to order confirmation. See how you measure up against that average, but don't feel like a lower number is necessarily better. Considering the variety of ways shoppers use the cart. For example, a one- or two-page checkout may be overloaded with information and form fields that won't meet the needs of the shopper who's using the cart to store items.
Look for repeated information, superfluous steps, unnecessary data requests or any other roadblocks that create a barrier between your shopper either completing their order or using the carting process as a way to temporarily store products. Review existing data to see if there are certain pages that result in more abandonment than others. This could mean either shoppers feel overwhelmed or that they've found a convenient spot to store items for later.
2. Don't overthink the cart reminder email. Bronto found that only 13 percent of retailers are sending any form of a shopping cart reminder email. Many marketers think these messages will be too challenging to set up or that they must debut a highly sophisticated reminder email program. With conversation rates that can reach 20 percent, cart reminder emails should be well thought out, but it can also be easy to overthink the message. A customer service-themed email that reminds shoppers about items left in a cart should include contact information and explain how you've made checkout simple. You'll be able to tap into performance data to build on your successes and avoid initial pitfalls.
3. Develop a cart reminder email series. Sending one cart reminder message is better than sending no reminder at all, but a series of messages highlighting items left in the cart can help to engage shoppers who still need more time before they buy. These additional messages will also give you more themes to test. A second message with a free shipping offer or discount could be the motivation needed to get shoppers who didn't respond to the first message to complete their order. A third (and final) message focused on the expiration of the discount or shopping cart could also give shoppers a reason to get back into the buying mood.
Shopping cart reminders have a reputation for being a technical, uncreative message, but they're actually fertile ground for marketers to reach highly engaged shoppers who are ready to buy. This pinnacle of a shopper's interest deserves some of your best ideas. A strong effort here will likely be rewarded with a boost in sales.
Jim Davidson is the director of research at Bronto Software, an email and marketing automation provider.