How to Set-Up a Successful eCommerce Abandoned Cart Flow

Shopping cart abandonment is when a customer adds an item to the shopping cart on your eCommerce site, but then leaves the site without making a purchase. Capturing these abandoned carts and marketing to the customers who left them behind is extremely important. These are customers who had a high intent of making a purchase on your site, so they are extremely valuable. 

According to the Baymard Institute, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.82%! This means that for every 100 customers that add a product to their cart, 70 of them leave without purchasing. Imagine the additional revenue you would have if an additional 70 people per day were making purchases on your site! What if there were a way to recoup some of those customers who were abandoning their cart? We have some great news for you. There is! Enter the abandoned cart email flow.

Need help setting up your email marketing strategy? Contact The Media Captain!

Before we started using Klaviyo about two years ago for our in-house eCommerce site, DermWarehouse, we had no way to capture the people who were abandoning their carts on our site. We were missing out on so much revenue and so many new customers! We switched over to Klaviyo primarily because we knew we needed to take advantage of abandoned cart email flows. Since we made the move, we’ve recouped thousands of dollars per month. In the last year, our abandoned cart flow has helped us recoup almost $100,000 of revenue from people abandoning their carts. That’s one hundred thousand! We pay about $1,500 per month for Klaviyo. While this may sound extremely expensive (I know it did for me when we switched from MailChimp which was costing us only a few hundred dollars per month), the return from this one flow alone makes the additional cost a no-brainer.

What is an Abandoned Cart Flow?

According to Klaviyo, “abandoned cart flows are a message or sequence of messages sent to someone who added an item to their shopping cart, but failed to complete the purchase.” 

Abandoned cart flows consist of an email sequence that has a goal of getting a customer to come back and order an item that was left in their shopping cart. Many times, abandoned cart flows will include some kind of discount or promotion and try to create a sense of urgency to place the order, such as a discount or your cart expiring. 

How to Set Up an Abandoned Cart Flow

The first thing you need to do when you’re setting up your abandoned cart flow is figure out who the flow is being sent to. For us, a trigger is created when someone starts checkout. If no order is placed after 4 hours, customers will receive our first abandoned cart email. We also make sure that the customer hasn’t received another abandoned cart email from us within the past 7 days, as we don’t want to inundate them with emails. 

Step 1

In our first email, we let people know that we have their cart saved and offer them a discount to come back and complete their purchase. Maybe the customer got distracted while on our site and forgot to finish their order. Maybe they were price shopping and doing research when they landed on our site and added a product to the cart that they intended to save for later. Whatever their reason for abandoning their cart, we want to remind them about DermWarehouse and give them a great incentive to come back (a discount on their order)!

In email 1, we make sure to dynamically pull in the products the customer left behind in the cart. Our email is short, sweet, and to the point. We want the main focus to be the items that they left behind, and their incentive to come back. Don’t overthink these emails too much.

Step 2

We’ve done some experimenting with the 2nd touch point in our abandoned cart flow. Initially, we had a 2nd email reminder that was similar to email 1. We then started sending a text message as our 2nd touch point instead. The thought behind this was that people are so inundated with emails that they may miss ours altogether. I know from personal experience that there are so many emails I delete without even looking at them because I just receive so many of them. We wanted to make sure that if email wasn’t the best place to capture our potential customer, we had the chance to capture them elsewhere. 

We send our SMS one day after email 1. The entire abandoned cart flow happens pretty quickly, as we want to capture these potential customers before they purchase products somewhere else or lose interest. 

Our SMS is very short and to the point. We’re able to personalize the first name in the message and include a photo of one of the products that the customer abandoned. We also include a link directly back to their cart. We hope that the personalization captures the customer’s attention and reminds them what they left behind, while also incentivizing them with a discount.

Looking for more SMS tips? Read our blog on some great text message marketing ideas for eCommerce businesses!

Step 3

Step 3 in our abandoned cart flow comes another one day later. We let customers know that their cart is expiring soon (along with their discount). Throughout each step of our flow, it’s also important to note that they won’t move on to the next step if they made a purchase at any point after entering the flow.

Setting up our abandoned cart flow for our in-house eCommerce brand, DermWarehouse, has given us one of the best ROIs of any campaign we’ve run. It still amazes me how much money is left on the table without something like this in place. 

Tips & Best Practices for Your eCommerce Abandoned Cart Flow

Getting set up with an abandoned cart flow is the first step. It’s also important to make sure you follow the best practices below to ensure you’re capturing as many cart abandoners as possible. For DermWarehouse, we’ve tested a ton of different messaging, promotions, and timing and from what we’ve experienced, paying attention to the following is the most important. 

Write a great subject line

The subject line of your email is the first thing your customer is going to see. It’s likely that a good subject line can be the difference between them opening the email or deleting it right away. With any email marketing subject line, it’s important to get your point across right away and make sure to mention any discounts or promotions. 

Show all the cart items within the email

It’s extremely important to make sure your abandoned cart emails show customers what it is they left behind. People are potentially browsing and shopping at multiple sites throughout the day, so don’t leave anything to question when they’re reading your email. 

Include a call to action

Not only should your email pull in images and prices of the products that were in the customer’s cart, it should also include a clear call to action with a link right back to the cart that they left behind. If customers click on the link in their email and they have their exact cart right there, they are much more likely to pull the trigger than if they end up back on your homepage and have to add each of the items all over again. 

There’s a certain time frame that you’ll be able to actually save their cart link, which is all the more reason to make sure your abandoned cart flow happens within a few days. 

Make the email enticing and something they won’t want to leave behind

The fact that the customer initially added the items to their shopping cart tells you that they were interested in making a purchase. Think through the reasons that they may have abandoned their cart in the first place. Were the prices too high? Were there hidden shipping fees that were added on at the last minute? 

This could be your only chance to get this customer back to your site, so give them the best offer you can. Whether that means a discount on the product, free shipping, or extra samples, keep in mind that you’ve likely already paid money to get this customer to your website (think advertising!) so you want to do everything possible to keep them around.

Timing is important

I’ve already discussed the timing of your abandoned cart flow and the fact that these should all be sent over a short timeframe. When we were initially building our abandoned cart flow, we stuck with Klaviyo’s proposed time frame, sending email 1 after 4 hours, email 2 one day later and then email 3 one day after that.

You want to make sure you’re striking while the iron’s hot and hitting your customer with reminders about what they were shopping for while those items are still on their minds. 

Browse Abandonment

Abandoned cart is likely a term you’ve heard many times before, but browse abandonment may be something new to you – I know it was to me. The same way that you’re able to capture data from customers who add items to the shopping cart and don’t check out, through Klaviyo, we have also been able to set up what’s called browse abandonment. This captures data when a customer lands on one of our product pages and leaves, without adding the item to their cart.

For browse abandonment, the intent is lower (the customer was just browsing a product page and never actually added the item to their cart), however, this campaign has been extremely successful for us as well, recouping $50k for us in the last year! 

We set this up similar to our abandoned cart flow, but with 2 messages (one email and one SMS) instead of 3. While you’re working on your abandoned cart flow, this is another great one to keep in mind as well!

In Closing

Setting up a successful eCommerce shopping cart abandonment flow is a great way to get customers with high intent of purchasing back to your site. If you don’t have an abandoned cart flow already set up, this is a great low hanging fruit to bring in additional revenue and get customers back to your site!

For more email marketing advice for eCommerce brands, check out our blog on the topic!

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