It’s the 80-20 rule for the majority of marketers. Even though abandoned cart emails have consistently shown to produce 20% conversion rates, more than 80% of marketers don’t bother sending them. They think that customers find the reminders bothersome. They’re wrong, says Jim Davidson, Bronto Software’s manager of marketing research.
“Only 13% to 15% of marketers send [abandoned cart] messages at all. That’s shockingly low considering that conversion rates on these are insanely high,” Davidson says. “This is when the consumer is so close to hitting the buy button. Purchase intent is close to its peak.”
This purchase cycle paradox has nagged at Davidson for years, and he’s regularly asked clients why they refused to send the reminders. Three responses always floated to the top: Their customers find them annoying, intrusive, and not helpful to the buying process. Davidson didn’t believe it, so he surveyed 1,000 online shoppers to see what they thought about “Did you forget something?” emails.
More than half of online shoppers between the ages of 18 and 50 said that, indeed, they found the emails helpful. Only a quarter of them deemed cart reminders intrusive and fewer than a third found them annoying. Most expected to receive the messages, in fact, some with the hopes of discount offers or added content.
“You have to make sure the message you send adds value to the buying process. Consumers who say they’re intrusive are worried they’re being used for data collection purposes,” Davidson says. “And if shoppers truly made decisions not to make the purchase, they’d probably find that annoying. But you can do testing to determine how far along in the process they were. How many pages did they visit? Did they fill in their shipping address?”
Bronto broke out survey results in five age groups, another segmenting adjustment marketers can use to keep abandoned cart emails from causing ill feelings. More than half of those surveyed across all age groups said they figured on receiving the reminders. A third of those under 40 said they expected the emails to contain discount codes to coax them to push the submit button, and one out of five 50-plussers hoped for a free shipping offer.
Davidson counsels marketers have to use discounts wisely, however, since triggered offers can form future expectations. “What we suggest is that you send the first message with a customer service theme, or with additional content. If that doesn’t cause them to take action, they you can send a second message with an offer, but at a limit,” he says.
The long-time observer of the email marketplace says marketers tend to fall into one of two categories concerning abandoned cart emails. The first are those who have been doing it for some time, but need to refresh their messages and introduce up-to-date technology to personalize content. The rest just aren’t doing it. For the second group, Davidson has a big sign saying “20% Conversion” and three words: “Just please start.”
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