It doesn’t have to mean the end of a purchase when a potential customer abandons their shopping cart. In a recent Internet Retailing webinar, Richard Evans, director of marketing, EMEA at Silverpop, shared his experiences of how cart abandonment remarketing email programmes can be the highest performing email marketing programme a retailer uses. During the course of his hour-long presentation and question-and-answer session Evans also shared examples of relevant techniques, demonstrated how they could be used most effectively and answered some common questions.
Mass marketing is now a thing of the past. Today, marketers are concerned with behavioural marketing. This is the next logical step in a journey that is concerned with sending customers the most relevant messages. Today, said Richard Evans, director of marketing, EMEA at Silverpop, we can go beyond the segmentation-based approaches of the recent past in order to communicate with customers based on their specific behaviour. We do that, he said, because behaviour-driven emails return higher levels both of revenue and profit. While old-fashioned broadcast emails generate, according to recent JupiterResearch analysis, $45,600 a month in revenue and $5,155 a month in net profit, clickstream-based emails, which trigger individual email communications, deliver profits of $162,631 a month on turnover of $401,942. “Revenue from behaviour-driven emails is a full nine times higher than their broadcast counterparts,” said Evans.
In a poll held during the webinar, Evans found that 70% of participants to the webinar did not currently send emails when baskets were abandoned, while 30% did. What kind of obstacles stood in the way?
Making the business case
Evans analysed how Silverpop client Demco went about presenting the business case for their own programme, showing that optimising conversions would increase sales, while automating routine tasks would free up manpower. Integrating revenue per send with web analytics would allow it to track email sales. “They wanted to focus on all the revenue that was coming very near to purchase but being abandoned and left in the shopping cart over a period of time,” said Evans. They also forecast the type of revenue that a cart abandonment programme could generate. “How big a pool of money could we gain by implementing a programme like this?” That recovered revenue would finance the programme. At the time they were looking at it, 99.7% of their emails were broadcast promotional email while 0.3% were abandoned cart emails. The promotional emails brought in 81.4% of email-related sales, while abandon cart emails generated 18.6%.
Another client, S&S Worldwide, found that 95.9% of emails sent were batch campaigns, and 4.1% were triggered campaigns. Triggered campaigns accounted for 40.2% of sales while batch campaigns accounted for 59.8%.
Data and integration
Evans went on to explain how retailers could get the data they need to launch an abandoned cart email programme. Using the abandoned cart emails calls on simple data: email addresses linked to data from the use of the site, including the date of any abandoned cart emails or product purchases, for example, can be used to send out relevant emails. The timeline on using such information in a campaign takes around four months. During the webinar Evans ran through all the details of what data is required, how to gain it and how to integrate data with the email systems that underpin a triggered email programme.
Timing and number of emails
In a webinar poll, Evans asked webinar participants how long they waited before sending an email. Some 56% said they sent the email in less than 24 hours, while 35% left it between one and three days, and nine percent from three to seven days. That was a significant reduction in time on a similar poll held just a few months earlier.
Retailers who are most successful share two common characteristics, said Evans: multiple follow-ups in the wake of abandonment and near real-time engagement. He went on to show examples of emails sent at varying intervals following an abandoned cart and to discuss the revenues generated by each.
Creative – design, content and incentives
No marketer wants to train their customers to expect a promotion or discount. And while promotions do generate sales, said Evans, the most productive use is to offer that discount in the final one of a series of abandoned cart emails, going on to demonstrate with a series of emails sent by retailer SmartPak. He went on to discuss the design and tone of emails, from photography through to subject lines. Human and service-oriented emails from client Gaylord showed strong levels of return, said Evans, despite an initial lack of promotion or incentive to buy. Meanwhile clarity, a sense of urgency and reference to incentives all help to encourage shoppers to open their abandoned cart email.
“Everything we’ve talked about, from creative to timing and frequency, is dependent on businesses and the individual sectors that you are engaging with,” said Evans. “Put them to the test.”
In summary: Richard Evans’ recommendations
* Just get started
* A series is better than a single email.
* Test timing – but early can be key.
* Use incentives carefully, later in the series.
* Take a helpful, human approach with content/copy.
* Test and optimise over time.
Click here to see this webinar in full for yourself, with more detail on how retailers can go about gathering and using data and optimising their email campaigns, to see the accompanying slides and hear the live question and answer sessions for free, and download the presentation on demand.
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