“Come Back!” – The Abandoned Customer Basket

With the advent of digital, you would be forgiven for thinking that tracking the online and offline touch points of a customer journey is easy – however this isn’t always the case.

Despite having the luxury of greater customer data to draw on, brands are also faced with the challenge of monitoring multiple platforms, and collating all this data into a single customer view. This job is paramount to the success of any marketing strategy and effectively managing the digital and in-store experience.

With the number of channels now available for customers to connect with their favorite brands rapidly expanding, it is easier for companies to lose sight of customers in the multichannel maze.

A lot of businesses struggle when it comes to recreating the in-store customer experience online, whether it’s via their website, email, or social media platforms.

Replicating certain elements of an in-store experience online can be difficult to execute without conveying a “pushy” tone. Imagine, for example, a customer collecting items in a basket while perusing a brick-and-mortar retail store. If the customer suddenly puts the basket down at the counter and heads to exits the store, a member of the staff would hopefully intervene and check that everything is OK. They could then rectify the problem and encourage the customer back into the store to complete their purchase, or alternatively, return at a later date.

However, online a brand doesn’t have such an easy opportunity to interject. It is easy for a customer to put items into their digital basket, then become distracted and navigate away from the website – abandoning their basket in the process. It is far more difficult to offer support in this circumstance.

A solution to this problem could lie in marketing automation, and a smart use of email. However, astonishingly, recent research conducted by Adestra reveals that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of companies say an abandoned customer basket in the digital world wouldn’t trigger an automated email being sent to the prospective customer.

Implementing a comprehensive range of triggers, based on a variety of customer actions, is vital to any marketer’s email strategy. When it comes to an abandoned basket, conversion rates can still be improved by encouraging people to return at a later date to complete their transaction.

Timing is pivotal when it comes to salvaging a sale, and businesses should run tests to understand when is the best moment to approach a customer with an “abandoned basket” email. Advisably, it’s best to avoid scheduling the email to land in their inbox immediately after they have abandoned their basket. Equally, you don’t want to wait too long as they may switch to a competitor to purchase the product. Typically, somewhere between three and 24 hours is the ideal time to follow up with these customers.

In terms of what to include in the email, the following points act as a good guide:

  • Avoid cluttering the email; including other messages alongside those that focus on the abandoned basket could confuse the recipient
  • Pull the products the recipient has in their basket into the email creative, reminding them of what they wanted to purchase
  • Place a strong and clear call to action within the email, e.g. “Return to your basket here,” or “Did you forget something?”
  • Reinforce your brand values: why should they buy the product from you?
  • Offer the recipient help and assistance in order to complete their transaction: include a phone number they can call in case they are having problems purchasing online or have a question they wish to ask

Using incentives to tempt customers back to a purchase can also be an option, but shouldn’t be regarded as common practice. In order to establish whether one is needed, marketers should try to get to the heart of why a customer abandoned their basket. Otherwise, it is easy to revert to simply offering an incentive, which will only lead the customer into expecting one every time.

As a rule, it is best to compile two abandoned basket emails: the first to remind the recipient that they have things within their basket, and the second offering an incentive if they have opened the first email and still not completed the purchase.

Throughout the whole of this process, the most important task for marketers is to try and map out the touch point of each customer’s journey. Once this is achieved, the job of where and when to position triggers becomes significantly easier, providing companies with greater insight into how soon follow-up emails should be issued and the content to include in a message. Furthermore, by driving greater engagement with customers, brands will create a more compelling customer experience, consequently pushing conversion rates upward and, most importantly of all, increasing sales.

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