Vintage Tub recoups its lost revenue with email program

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Vintage Tub recoups its lost revenue with email program
Vintage Tub recoups its lost revenue with email program

Client: Vintage Tub & Bath

Vendor: Listrak

Objective: To convert the
consumers who abandon their online shopping carts to customers.

Vintage Tub & Bath customers are not impulse buyers. The online retailer's flagship products are its clawfoot tubs. Dawn Bobeck, VP of sales and marketing at Vintage Tub & Bath, says that the average order rings up in the $300 to $400 range. The site's shopping cart abandonment rate hovered around 80%, a gaping revenue opportunity the company couldn't ignore.

STRATEGY: In February, Vintage Tub & Bath launched a sequence of three follow-up emails to remind customers that they had left products in their online shopping carts. The first email was sent 24 hours after a cart was abandoned, with a second and third email triggered two and four days later if the cart was still abandoned. "We're always looking at creative ways to grow our revenue, and we felt this could be one," says Bobeck.

Bobeck says that the company opted to stagger the emails in this fashion because it didn't want to overwhelm consumers, and immediate follow-up email would likely be unwelcome given that its customers follow a longer purchasing process and might have abandoned the cart to consider the purchase. He also notes that 54% of the company's customers purchase over the phone with many initially checking out online, so the 24-hour window permitted the company to update the abandonment email list to not include those customers.

Vintage Tub & Bath included product reviews for all applicable items in order to maximize conversions that the abandonment emails would generate. She estimates that 8,000 of its product SKUs feature reviews.

Ross Kramer, cofounder and CEO of Listrak, applauds the company's inclusion of product reviews. "The underlying genius of [the program] is they're taking an asset that they literally paid nothing for," he says. "This is all user-generated content; it smacks of social commerce. To drive more traffic back to their site, they're using one of the core human fundamentals of communication, which is social proof."

RESULTS: Bobeck says that Vintage Tub & Bath expects to recoup $193,000 in 2011 from abandoned shopping carts.

In the immediate months following the campaign's launch, it saw a 122% lift in email-generated revenue. Those emails that included reviews averaged a 16% conversion rate, while emails sans reviews averaged an 11% conversion rate. Additionally, Bobeck says the shopping cart abandonment emails outperformed the company's regular emails with 26% higher open rates and 137% higher click-through rates. 

Going forward, Vintage Tub & Bath is considering adding mailing list opt-ins to the abandonment messages to further expand its marketing efforts.

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