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Sheri Hebbeln
 
July 31, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Email Marketing | Sheri Hebbeln

Bringing Back Customers to Their Shopping Cart Through Email Marketing

The situation with online shopping carts has deteriorated significantly in recent years. According to a new survey by the e-tailing group, the number of sites reporting a greater than 50 percent shopping cart abandonment rate has increased by about 8 percent, covering about half the merchants who knew how many customers were leaving. It's turning into a crisis for online stores, including those that sell wine online. Several tactics are necessary to help bring shoppers back to their carts in order to complete their purchases, or at least purchase something else. One solution is to use email marketing in ingenious ways.

The cart recovery email pulls them back
If a consumer is registered with the store site, their information can be used to bring them back  to complete the transaction. The way this is done is through a personalized cart recovery email. This message is especially made to indicate that the customer still has items in his or her shopping cart and gently suggests that they should come back to the site to complete the order. Another form of email marketing that could be used are special product recommendations based on the customer's purchasing and browsing history.

The use of a cart recovery email has been shown to particularly successful in addressing abandonment. According to the e-tailing survey, 86 percent of merchants achieved at least some level of success in bringing back customers by triggering the recovery messages shortly after the user has left the site. Another 83 percent also saw some return on investment by sending product recommendations by email, which sometimes has the added benefit of completing the transaction with even more goods sold. Of those surveyed, the majority used an email to inform custoemrs that there were still items in their carts, while 35 percent added an incentive to make a purchase in the reminder.

Remembering and changing what they bought
When establishing methods of bringing back customers, it's important to remember that there is a very good chance they will not buy something right away: According to SAP, an overwhelming 99 percent of online customers who visit a store for the first time don't purchase anything. However, 75 percent of those that abandon their carts do return. In fact, they'll keep visiting several times, possibly adding and removing items from their shopping carts, until they finally make a purchase. It is still useful to shoot out an email reminder, however. What matters is scheduling it right to avoid annoying the customer enough to stay away from their shopping cart, but to keep it fresh in their minds. Greg Wise of HubSpot suggests that retailers have had success with sending a single email within an hour of someone leaving the site.

At the same time, a quick message saying "Hey, you haven't finished your purchase at our winery yet!" isn't enough to bring people back to their shopping carts. You need to make sure the email provides enough of an incentive to inspire a return. It should, for example, display images of the items that are in the abandoned cart to remind and entice them of their planned purchases. Some recommendations for other items can help increase the value of the eventual transaction. Another thing you can do, especially if the user is a returning customer, is offer incentives with their purchase, such as including shipping into the cost of buying that case of merlot or a discount for a bottle of Riesling. You may also seek to promote a subscription-based wine club as well. Most importantly, though, you should probably gently persuade the consumer to come back, either through positive product reviews or through guarantees and other trust-building means, such as providing your support email or phone number. Eventually, they'll come back and complete the order.

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