If at First You Don't Succeed, Market, Market, Market Again

Cart abandonment emails. They're becoming a standard among marketers in retail and ecommerce. My guess is that if you are a heavy online shopper like me, you've experienced them yourself.

Abandonment emails are those emails you receive after putting at least one item in an online shopping cart, but for some reason, you don't buy. Although you've chosen products—and in some cases even dared to submit your personal contact information—you don't follow through. But a few hours later, or perhaps the next day, you receive a reminder email of what you first though about purchasing.

These emails are getting more creative, personable, and alluring. So much so that Pinterest users are paying homage to some of the most creative abandonment emails. Yes, entire Pinterest boards are dedicated to some favorite designs of these emails.

A couple of weeks ago I received a cart abandonment email that stood out to me. I love unique fashion. And I found a pair of leggings from London designer House of Holland that caught my eye. (The stockings had the letters of the alphabet all over them. Très cute, right?) So, I went to the designer's ecommerce site, put the leggings into my online cart and filled out my contact information. But when it came time to type in my credit card information as the final step, I decided to not purchase leggings, and wait for my next paycheck in a couple of days. But even before 24 hours passed, I got a sleek, fashionable email from House of Holland, reminding me that I didn't finish buying those fabulous leggings.


Abandonment emails help marketers reconnect with customers, reinforce a brand, and possibly recapture a lost opportunity. (You can see I'm still thinking about those Alphabet Black leggings.) They allow marketers to collect actionable data—email addresses, ZIP Codes, addresses—or even predict similar products shoppers may like. These email campaigns are successful because they're relevant, and are becoming more creative, engaging, and personal. For those reasons marketers often are seeing higher conversion rates than with batch-and-blast emails.

When I think about abandonment emails, a mantra made popular by British writer W.E. Hickson comes to mind. “If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.” From a marketing standpoint, these emails help you to market, market, market again with customers who have shown that they're interested in buying your products. If your marketing team has never used or considered this strategy, it may be worth incorporating abandonment emails into your campaigns. And be creative with the design and message. You never know. Your reminder emails may even be featured on the latest Pinterest boards.

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