Monday, March 11, 2013

Abandoned basket emails: the good, the bad and the ugly

With 73% of shopping carts left to become idle, abandoned basket retargeting is a key part of the digital marketing mix.
It might be that users are price checking, or that they intend to complete their purchase later or on a different device, so in truth, these may not all be genuine abandonments.
Either way, with the help of analytics integrations or third-party suppliers, marketing managers are proactively trying to recover that 'low hanging fruit' through abandoned basket emails, and with different creative treatments, messaging and abandonment times, there is quite a spectrum of tactics being employed to do so.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of campaigns it seems that 'getting it live' is where attention ends, leading to little or no ongoing optimisation. 

The good


We all know that when it comes to chasing that last penny of commission, our entrepreneurial friends in the affiliate industry never fail to innovate.
Quido recently sent me an email following up on a link to Easyjet Holidays that I'd clicked on whilst looking for a last minute ski deal. 
Subject line: You didn't complete your purchase...
Quidco abandoned basket recovery email
With a direct subject line, simple and clean creative treatment, it simply prompts the user they haven't completed their booking and re-explains the cash back benefit to the user to help influence the booking. 
Quidco also hedges its bets in this communication by displaying related offers of similar products and services that might be of interest.
Incidentally, Easyjet Holidays didn't bother to follow up on the holiday I left idle in their shopping basket. 

Boots Kitchen Appliances

I need to admit that this is in fact an old one now (I received it over a year ago, so I am digging into the archives a little), but I thought it was really effective so it deserved a mention. 
Again a simple subject line and clearly displaying a telephone number in the header, this email includes a call to action to take the user back to their basket, which recreated my shopping bag within the 7-days.
It also includes a whole host of reasons to complete the purchase including price, delivery methods, and Advantage Card points.
Subject line: Your Saved Basket
Boots Kitchen Appliances abandoned basket email 
I think the only additional elements that could be added to this are prices and quantity in stock, particularly if they are discounted or end of range items, and perhaps positive customer testimonials or product reviews.  

The bad

At this point, it's worth saying that by 'bad', what I really mean is 'could do better'

Paul Smith

These were intentional abandonments to test the approach of Paul Smith. 
I abandoned two separate products (on different browsers and with different email addresses) and found that this high-end luxury brand treats a shopper wanting to spend £45 on an keyring the same as one of high value worth looking to buy a handbag at £849.
Subject line: A Reminder from Paul Smith
Repeatedly in email marketing strategy we are talking about segmentation and profiling to offer more personalised messaging. So why Paul Smith, who in store would adjust their service to reflect the choice of items a customer was interested in, treats every online user as the same is beyond me. 
This has missed a trick. 
In fact, design of this email works for me. 


We're sure that anyone who has considered printing business cards, post cards, and even photo products will have agree that Vistaprint offers a competitive price to personalise virtually any product you can imagine.
What's more, its deperation to cross sell throughout the checkout process is like nothing I have ever seen before. (Try Go Daddy - Ed)
Unfortunately, its email retargeting is also like nothing I've ever seen before (or quite frankly ever want to see again).
Since abandoning a product, I have received no less than six emails reminding me to complete my purchase.
We'd suggest this was a little excessive, never mind whether it's actually legal. 

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