How Email Re-targeting May Re-start an Abandoned Sales Cycle

My usual shopping trip goes something like this…I walk into a store. I wander through its displays and racks. I survey the goods. I pick up choice items. Then, with an armful of stuff 20 seconds ago I was sure would change my life, I start to really consider the purchases. Such as, “Do I really need this sweater?” Usually, my answer is, “No.” So, I lay the sweater back on the stack. I leave the store. And that’s that.

Until later that night. I’m still thinking about that sweater. The more I think about it, the more reason I can find that it would have been a good purchase. Briefly, I consider returning to buy it, but ultimately, I’ve had too much time to reconsider, and it’s never worth it to me to return to the store.

Making purchases in a brick-and-mortar store may seem to present a longer buying cycle than experienced online; were I attempting my original purchase through a website, I wouldn’t have had the time to reconsider, nor the added effort to buy that sweater after abandoning my initial attempt. Yet, I’m just as likely to stop mid-buying-cycle online as I am offline. Others go through the same abandonment process online; as many as 45% of online shoppers, in fact, have done so multiple times, according to a recent white paper released by Listrak.

The white paper is based on data from comScore and PayPal, and recommends to online retailers who experience high shopping cart abandonment rates to send follow-up emails to potential customers. A simple email is not enough, however; Listrak additionally recommends retailers include the following in their re-targeting emails:

  • Provide direct links to the items included in the shopping cart prior to abandonment
  • Provide special offers, incentives, or coupons to shoppers if they return to their cart
  • List customer service contact information
  • Use security icons to indicate the email is safe
  • Make it as simple as possible for users to complete a purchase
  • Provide an unsubscribe option
  • Make the message as personal as possible
  • Use images of the items, or related items