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One feature of ecommerce website design that I am obsessed with is abandoned cart emails. This one seemingly unimportant aspect of a business’ marketing strategy often gets overlooked, causing business owners to lose out on easily collectible revenue.

But what exactly are abandoned cart emails and how do they work? And, most importantly, why should you as a business owner care about them? Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these questions (and more!).

What Are Abandoned Cart Emails?

This is one of those things you’ve likely heard before, but you’ve never fully focused directly on the concept before now.

Abandoned cart emails are exactly what they sound like: emails that go out to customers that have left or “abandoned” items in their shopping cart without completing the checkout process.

We’ve all done it, the infamous shop and leave before buying. Just the other day I was shopping for a specific type of toothbrush on Amazon and I got interrupted before completing my purchase.

Wouldn’t you know it, shortly after I had left my cart, I got an abandoned cart email from Amazon reminding me that the toothbrush was still waiting for me (and they made several nifty suggestions of similar products that I might like too!).

These abandoned cart emails are not only a great revenue source for your business, but they can actually be welcomed by your customers since the email reminds them to complete the purchase of an item they actually want.

You get more money in your bank account and your customers get an item (or two or three) that they desire…this is the epitome of a win-win situation!

So why don’t more businesses use abandoned cart emails? Let me put it to you this way: If you were walking down the street and suddenly came across a $20 bill on the ground, you’d pick it up, right? Of course you would!

But all those people walking down the street that passed by that $20 bill before you came along didn’t do so because they just didn’t feel like bending down to pick it up. They simply didn’t pick up the $20 because they didn’t see it.

Business owners like yourself are pulled in so many different directions that it’s difficult for you to know everything you should be doing to maximize your income.

Let’s get you started off on the right foot with some abandoned cart email education.

How Do Abandoned Cart Emails Work?

Abandoned cart emails only work for those customers that have created an account with your online store. If they have not provided you with their email address, there’s no way to follow up with them via these emails.

But one great thing about this feature is that it is fully automatic once the cart gets abandoned, so you don’t have to address each customer’s abandonment issues individually and manually (thank goodness!).

Once you have created your reminder email campaign, you can let the automatic functioning do the rest. In other words, like a slow-cooker, you can “set it and forget it” and just watch as the do-re-mi starts flowing in!

Here’s an example of an abandoned cart email delivered from a Selz store:

Example of Selz abandoned cart emails

Why Should You Demand Abandoned Cart Emails For Your Business?

In 2017, the Baymard Institute took the average of 37 cart abandonment studies and found that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.23%.

This is an incredible number of carts going un-purchased. And just think about the number of individual items this represents.

If you could cash in on even half, or a third, or a fourth of the number of abandoned carts that occur on your business website in just one year, wouldn’t you want to collect that extra revenue?

Especially if it’s as easy as setting up an automatic system to do a majority of the work for you?! No one likes leaving money on the table, so let’s get you on the path of retaining every dollar possible from your website visitors.

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

This is an important question to ask since addressing this cart abandonment problem requires a thorough understanding of customer thinking. Referring to the Baymard Institute study again, it’s no big surprise that a majority (58.6%) of people that abandon items in their cart do so because they are “just browsing/not ready to buy.”

This makes sense when you consider our price-conscious, “I-can-get-it-from-somewhere-else-for-cheaper” consumer mentality these days.

Removing the “just browsing/not ready to buy” group, the remaining major reasons for not completing the checkout process were:

  • Additional costs being too high (e.g. shipping)
  • Account creation required
  • Checkout process was too long/complicated
  • Order total not easily calculable prior to completing the checkout process
  • Website errors
  • Not trusting the website with their credit card information
  • Delivery being too slow

Knowing these reasons why customers abandon their carts can help a business reflect on their own website shortcomings.

For instance, with this knowledge, a business might think about its own checkout process and realize that it is too long or asking the customer too many irrelevant questions.

Remedying that singular problem could translate into a significant increase in sales for the business by simply reducing the rate of abandoned carts on their own website.

Let’s do some simple math to tie it all together: Less Abandoned Carts = More Sales = More Do-Re-Mi. Sounds like #winning to me!

Now that you know what abandoned cart emails are, how they work, and why you need them for your own online business, next learn how to set up your email marketing to be as effective as possible in bringing in all that extra dough.

Even though it’s an automatic system that doesn’t need for you to hold its hand, you still need to learn more about customer psychology and what is effective in getting them to complete their purchases in order to use abandoned cart emails to your greatest advantage.

About the author

Kathleen Marks

Kathleen writes from Western North Carolina. In her free time (which is rare), she enjoys camping with her family amongst the mountains that she calls home.

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