Abandoned shopping carts provide a sales opportunity for

January 8, 2016 12:12 PM

Web shoppers have lots of reasons for leaving products in a shopping cart and when they do, it opens a door for e-retailers to follow up. Shopping cart abandonment messages serve as gentle reminders that a shopper left items in a shopping cart and can rescue a sale better than 20% of the time.

E-retailers have been sending emails trying to rescue abandoned shopping carts for a decade and a half, but still only about a third of e-retailers do so, according to a new study from email services vendor Listrak. And while Listrak’s latest 2015 Shopping Cart Abandonment Research Study  shows an uptick in the amount of Top 500 and Second 500 retailers that use shopping cart abandon email campaigns, the increase is slowing. In 2015, 35.2% of the Top 1000 retailers are sending at least one cart abandonment message vs. 2014 which is a 5.1% increase.The number of retailers that send at least one shopping cart abandonment message increased more aggressively each year from 2011-2014 so it appears this campaign is starting to plateau, according to Listrak’s report.

But sending emails reminding shoppers of their abandoned shopping carts is well worth the effort, retailers say. At, for instance, those reminder messages garner a conversion rate of 11%. By comparison, the welcome emails it sends convert at 5%. uses Bronto Software as its email provider.

“In some cases people leave a shopping cart for simple reasons such as an interruption or perhaps the credit card they need is not at hand,” says Boaz Ariely, vice president of online marketing at, No. 380 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide.In other words it doesn’t always imply lack of interest or a change of heart so these emails help distinguish those who could still be active purchasers.

Shopping cart abandonment emails are among the most productive, according to the Listrak study. The study, Email Benchmarks and Trends, found shopping cart abandonment emails have a conversion rate of 21.73% where the more general “batch and blast” emails sent for a general sitewide promotion have a 3.69% conversion rate. The study was conducted in March 2015 based on a survey of Listrak’s clients.

For the cart abandonment emails are not a one-time proposition. The retailer sends out a series of reminders and the first usually goes out within 24 hours. This first message includes a picture of products left in the cart as a visual reminder and the text might say “We noticed you left the Tom Ford TF5254 Yellow progressive frames in your shopping cart. Are you still interested in purchasing?” The retailer also includes suggestions based on customer browsing history and will suggest similar designs for consideration, along with an incentive.

If there’s no response, sends a second message with an additional discount. The discount might be for 50% and the subject line in the email will read “Your 50% off Glasses Offer is Still Waiting,” which aims to motivate customers who are still on the fence.

Retailer incentives can range from discounts to free shipping and not all retailers include one with the abandoned cart message. For the incentives differ according to occasion, purchase history and customer profile.

“The key is to figure out the timing of when you send your first, second and third email, and the incentive doesn’t necessarily have to come with the first email,” say Boaz.




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