Chapter 11 Abandoned Cart Recovery: Emails, Strategies & Conversion Tips

Recover Abandoned Checkouts on Shopify: 10+ Email Strategies and Actionable Tactics.

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Don’t be part of a growing statistic of Shopify stores with insane cart abandonment rates. Fight back and recover sales with email & other techniques. 

Ever see your visitors begin the checkout process then quit? You’ve probably had some internal dialogue akin to: “what on earth is the meaning of this??” 

Cart abandonment is a constant disappointment for anyone running an online store. Seeing your visitor show interest, put it in the trolley yet walk out of the store empty-handed. Hopes of sales are dashed, and confidence in your product can be weakened. This is the definition of abandoned carts and disappointment. 

But don’t worry. 

The logic seems skewed, but there’s a good reason for it. 

The problem of abandonment carts occurs with every single eCommerce store that has existed. Ever. 

In fact, according to stats from Baymard Institute, who conducted 41 different surveys with questions on cart abandonment rates with mind-blowing statistics, online brands are dealing with an average cart abandonment rate of nearly 70%

So you’re not alone. But you should be taking measures to lessen the impact and increase conversions

I. Abandoned Cart Recovery Data Tracking

“Before embarking on a journey of abandoned carts recovery, track the carts”

Tracking abandoned carts is vital. Otherwise, how do you know who to target and what needs to be recovered?

If you want to increase conversion rates, first you need to understand the data.

1.1. Shopify abandoned cart analytics

Over-analysis leads to paralysis. But that doesn’t mean you should be avoiding data completely. Numbers are you friend. They never lie, and are the only true metrics to understand behavior on your store.

If you are using Shopify, abandoned cart tracking is ready-made, although it’s termed as abandoned checkouts. This is because Shopify defines abandoned checkouts as when customers have entered their billing and shipping information but have yet to complete the purchase. 

If a customer adds to their cart without entering their name, email or shipping details, how are you meant to reach them? Therefore, use the abandoned checkouts feature to view abandoned carts and who left them there all alone. 

 This is how it looks from within your Shopify Admin dashboard. 

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Credit: datadriven.design

Customer Accounts are created for these cases normally, just like complete orders. There is also information about items in their carts so that you can review and study the cases. Therefore, you’ll find all the info you need on the left dash under “customers”.

Information about abandoned cart analytics and reports are stored in your Shopify Admin account for 3 months. Every Monday, abandoned carts that are older than 3 months will be removed automatically.

If a customer leaves before entering billing and shipping information, Shopify can not record these. No Customer Account will be created for the case and items in their cart won’t be saved.

II. Abandoned cart recovery 101: Prevention

If you truly understand the reasons behind abandoned checkouts, then eliminating them is the first best step. 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

The most effective way to recover abandoned carts is not letting it happen in the first place. 

Of course, an ideal cart abandonment rate percentage of 0% is almost impossible in an online world where customers have so many options. However, there are certain repeated reasons that cause customers to leave their carts unfinished. 

Eliminating these factors is an effective yet basic way you can mitigate this cart abandonment problem.

Before you start, take a quick look at the top reasons digital shoppers in the US abandon their carts as of 2018, statistic by Statista.

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Now that you have an idea of what causes online shoppers to abandon their carts, check out this list of strategies you can consider to minimize the rate of cart abandonment.

01. Be transparent about any additional costs

68% of online shoppers abandon their cart because “shipping costs too much”: A mind-blowing figure. 

But the actual problem does not come from shipping costs. Any mentally sane individual has a general idea of how much the shipping costs in today’s day and age, based on the estimated product size, weight, and shipping distance. 

Reaching the checkout page with the idea in their heads clearly proves their actual demand. It’s the unexpected cost that stops the process due to: 

  • Increased shipping cost
  • Sales tax
  • Product customization fee
  • Wrapping fee
  • Handling fee

Make it clear in the first place about any additional costs there might be. This earns your customers trust, and they’re more likely to convert into buyers.

Keep this in mind: No surprises!

02. Technical errors with your Shopify site

If you noticed, three of the above top 5 reasons have nothing to do with prices or products or shipping time. And somehow they all give a hint of bad customer experience. 

“The discount code doesn’t work”

“Having to re-enter shipping info”

“Having to re-enter credit card info”

Site technical problems are all avoidable and shouldn’t be the reason you lose customers. Constantly keep an eye on your page loading speed, use device responsive design or redirect links and make sure any unwanted errors are fixed as soon as possible.

03. Offer faster delivery to fight abandonment

For abandoned cart recovery to work in your favor, speed is a key factor.

Look at the third-place on the chart: “Orders take forever to ship”. Once again this is not a problem from your end and can totally be avoided. 

The solution couldn’t be simpler: Offer any type of shipping methods available. 

Sometimes, the only thing customers care about is when products can be shipped to where they are supposed to be. Money is just a matter of course.

04. Fight abandoned checkouts with payment options

Along with credit cards, try to offer at least one alternative payment methods that can function across boundaries, like Amazon Pay or PayPal.

Why? 

Because you are selling to customers from around the world. And cross-border payment methods like PayPal eliminates the frustration of card declines and turns purchasing on your Shopify store into a quick and easy experience.

Shopify lets you use PayPal to receive payments and prevent abandoned checkouts as long as you have an account. 

05. Add guest checkout to increase conversions

If not for an intended purpose or a strategic plan, you’d better allow guest checkout instead of requiring customers to create an account. It’s tedious, and people lose patience in this rapidly moving world. 

It’s important to keep the checkout process as simple as possible if you want to reduce cart abandonment rate.

06. Exit intent offer

An exit intent offer is triggered only when customers move their cursor close to the exit button. 

It’s like your final scramble before customers exit the page. People commonly offer a discount code as a last attempt to keep customers from leaving, but upsells are proven to work just as well. 

Be as creative as possible and do whatever you think will save your cart on the verge of abandonment.

III. Recover abandoned checkouts with retargeting

01. Facebook Messenger – a powerful ally against abandoned carts

If you are still in doubt about the use of Facebook Messenger remarketing for abandoned cart recovery, it’s time to give in. 

Facebook Messenger is a more recent addition to the eCommerce game. Give it a try and be one of the first few users. The result from this little messaging app might surpass your expectations.

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Besides improving customer experience with instant responses, using Facebook Messenger to remind customers of their awaiting checkout is an effective way to bring customers back.

Sending reminders to recover abandoned carts is common through emails. But with Facebook Messenger, people spend their whole day sending and receiving messages, which means the Open Rate alone is WAY higher

Try it yourself if you’re still in doubt.

All you need is an app integrated with Facebook Messenger that automatically sends a reminder when customers abandon their checkout. This requires Facebook signing in, of course. 

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However, once landed in their Facebook Messenger inbox, the messages also serves as a shortcut to your store, allowing customers to get back to their lonely cart to rekindle the flame.

GoBeyond App is a great choice if you want to test it for yourself.

You could also consider Facebook ads for retargeting.With solid ad copy, you can re-capture lost sales by specifically targeting demographics. It’s a bit more complex, so we recommend starting with email and messenger approaches.

02. Abandoned Cart Emails – still a highly effective strategy

Sending emails is probably the most common way to communicate with customers and recover their abandoned checkout. A simple reminder is sometimes enough to trigger a purchase. 

Let’s dig deeper into some email marketing practices to bring customers back to finish their abandoned carts.

2.1. Legalizing your abandoned cart emails

In general, you need permission to send emails to anyone in the world. In some countries, all recipients can do is mark your emails as spam. 

In other countries, sending a single email without legal consent can lead to thousand dollar fines for law violation.

Regardless of whether you’re running a million dollar enterprise or an early stage startup, a fine of about $1000 is probably strict enough for your company to not ignoring these privacy regulations.

Based on your target market, carefully research the local legislation system before conducting any email marketing campaigns. If you are selling to Europe or Canada, the markets with the strictest law systems in the world, keeping the following things in mind might someday save you from “accidental” law violation.

Canada: Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Are abandoned cart emails allowed under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)?

Have you ever asked this question? Well, regardless of your answer, this is something you should know: 

Abandoned cart email is not allowed under CASL. 

Under the effect of CASL, sneaking consent statement into your terms and conditions is not an acceptable way to ask for consent. Even requesting a quote or submitting checkout forms (without actual checkout) is not equal to consent granted.

In order to be legally eligible to send somebody emails, you need expressed consent, which is granted when people proactively agree to receive your emails, or implied consent, granted when customers take a specific course of actions

Simply put, if a customer purchased a product within the last 24 months or inquired about your products within the last 6 months, you have their implied consent

If you clearly state on a checkbox about the use of emails and ask for permission to send emails and people agree by checking the box, you have their expressed consent.

So a more precise answer for the above question is:

Abandoned cart email without consent is not allowed under CASL. 

Europe: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

FYI, the General Data Protection Regulation, better known as GDPR, covers more than just emails spamming. However, when it comes to email marketing, things work almost the same way as it does with CASL. You need to ask customers for their consent before sending them abandoned cart emails. 

2.2. Affirmative action required

In order for the consent to be legally valid, it needs to be granted in the form of affirmative action. That is, customers must be fully aware that they are agreeing to receive abandoned cart emails from you

And if you have an intention to send them any other types of emails, or use their emails for any other course of action, this MUST be included in the messages.

The consent can only be granted once customers literally by any means agree to all of that.

2.3. Opt-in proof

As if it’s not enough (it actually is), another requirement for the consent to be fully valid is that you must be able to prove the agreement. The easiest and most common solution for this is sending a verification link to the emails customers have just provided. 

Sidenote: GDPR and CASL are just two of the attempts to keep the online world under control. Just keep in mind that it works exactly the same way as our daily lives: You need permission to take any action that might affect other people’s interests. 

03. Abandoned Cart Emails Best Practices

3.1. Subject lines

The subject line is where your customers first meet your email and acts as a headline in this case. 

The subject line determines whether people click the email or not. No matter how compelling your offer is, it makes no sense at all if customers don’t even read it.

This triggers the click that opens the email.

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So what makes a great abandoned cart email subject line? 

Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is the best way to figure out how the subject lines should look. 

Tips: Clearly and briefly state the reason you are sending them emails. It could stop frustrated recipients from throwing your email in the trash. 

Ex: “We miss you. Here’s 10% off to seal the deal this time”

3.2. Abandoned checkout email copy and content

What to include in your abandoned cart emails is dependant on the reason your customers leave their carts. 

Ideally, you study the cart abandonment to list out the common reasons for abandoned checkout and then your abandoned cart email(s) should adopt a problem-solution approach.

For example, if it’s the long shipping time that causes them to leave, then offering discount codes might not be the best choice.

Also, consider that people might be simply not in the right stage of the conversion funnel. If they are just browsing, giving them more information about the product can convert well. 

Discount codes are not the only solution. But they do work under the right circumstances. 

There are some basic yet helpful things to include in your abandoned cart emails:

  • Offer help: Make sure people know they can reach out to you at any time.
  • Valuable information: People might not come back right away. But if it’s really what people are looking for, you’ve just made a great impression.
  • Don’t worry about your email design. Simply include your logo and write your copy as you would speak. 

Tips: Use non-format email.

Customers are sophisticated enough to filter out Social and Promotional emails. Sending a non-format email will increase your chances of falling into their nbox instead of Social or Promotional box.

Pro-Tip: Timing is everything when recovering carts with email. Punce too soon and your prey will flee for the hills. Wait too long and they’ll lose interest or likely have bought from your competitor already. 

3.3. Recover abandoned carts with MailChimp

So, we’ve established emails are one of the most effective ways to recover the dreaded abandoned carts. But which software should be using to execute this?

MailChimp is a top program for autoresponder and email campaigns in general. 

You can grab the MailChimp app from the Shopify app store. After you create your MailChimp account, you can start creating an email automation sequence series for anyone who leaves their checkout without paying. 

Active Campaign is another decent option for abandoned carts, but if you’re new to the world of retargeting, I’d stick to MailChimp for now. 

For a step by step guide to the process, check out this article covering creating abandoned cart series by MailChimp themselves.

3.4. Template examples for abandoned cart emails

A quick Google search will give you a lot of great examples of email templates. But of course, you need to understand your customers and their problems before copying and pasting a generic email. 

Part of your workflow should be to first get past this phase of initial understanding to create the best email possible. This is the best way to generate ideas for your own campaign.

Some top tips for crafting your own awesome, super enticing email to get people returning for purchase:

  • Spend time creating an eye-catching subject line. It can state a clear benefit, be mysterious, elusive or funny. Or, weird and random enough to warrant a click. 
  • Show the product in your email
  • Make the call to action clear, and offer an incentive for them to come back and buy
  • Stick to the same tone of voice used throughout your entire website. Consistency is key and vital for strong branding
  • Be unique in your approach to abandoned cart emails. 

When you’ve considered all these, you can look to the internet for inspiration and modify abandoned cart templates with the above points in mind. 

There’s a high chance the fight to recover abandoned carts will be an infinite war, where the only thing you should expect is to minimize losses. 

Get your hunting hat on and start targeting the abandoners. It can help you stay profitable long term in this wild eCommerce game. 

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