Advanced Email Marketing Techniques, Part 3: E-Commerce Abandoned Cart Email Automation

October 17, 2020

Author: Angela Noble

Author: Angela Noble

Email marketing is the most important digital marketing channel, with an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent according to a 2019 report from Data & Marketing Association

Are you ready to start using more advanced features and strategies in your email marketing efforts? Let us show you our top tips on how you can start increasing engagement and getting more conversions.

In this series of Advanced Email Marketing Techniques, we’ll cover the following:

Please let us know if you’d like to see any other topics covered in future series.

E-Commerce Abandoned Cart Email Automation

In part 2 of this series about subscriber list segmentation, we touched on subscriber list segmentation based on abandoned shopping carts. 

If you run an e-commerce website, you may already know that around 70% of shoppers abandon their carts before completing their purchase.

There’s a simple way to attempt to win back these shoppers with a highly targeted email. Segment these shoppers into a special category and target them with a personalized email, what we call an abandoned cart email automation.

You can set up an automated email to trigger in a specified amount of hours or days after a shopper abandons their cart. The email would be automatically sent based on the time parameters you set up. It would typically include a list of the items they left in their cart with a link to complete the purchase.

Performance to Expect

In statistics from 2020, Marketing Insider Group states their data shows 46.6% of abandoned cart emails are opened and 28.7% are clicked. Amazingly, 5% of abandoned cart emails result in a completed purchase.

These numbers are astoundingly high compared to open, click, and conversion rates for typical email campaigns. According to MailChimp’s email marketing benchmarks across all industries, average open rates are 21.8%  and average click through rates are 2.78%. 

The difference in these metrics speaks to the value of list segmentation and sending highly targeted emails to your customers and leads at just the right time.

Now that we know setting up an abandoned cart email automation is a no brainer, let’s dive in to how to set one up. This one-time set up process will yield results for a long time if done correctly.

Key Components For an Abandoned Cart Email Automation

First, strategize, design, and build your email considering your target customers and the products you offer.

Here’s an example of the default abandoned cart email that is pre-configured within Shopify for anyone running their e-commerce store on the Shopify platform.

Shopify default abandoned cart email template

You can see the subject line is generic, there’s no branded components (logo, brand colors, etc.), there isn’t branded copy included, and the call to action isn’t clear or compelling. A few small changes can go a long way to providing a better customer experience and increasing conversions.

Eye-Catching Subject Line

Let’s start with the subject line, the first thing people will see. This will be the biggest factor in determining your open rate and success. The default within Shopify is simply “Complete your Purchase”. Mis-matched capitalization and lack of punctuation aside, this subject line is really not compelling. 

Try something compelling such as a question and make sure it is in-line with your brand voice.

For this particular example for our client Bench Home, we used “Forget something? We saved your cart for you.” Another subject line we used for a different client was simply, “Still shopping?”. Questions in subject lines tend to perform well and fit well in this context.

Targeted Copy

Another problem with the default text is that it feels very generic. Shopify’s default copy is, “Hi, you added items to your shopping cart and haven’t completed your purchase. You can complete it now while they’re still available.” 

There is no personalization here and it feels very stale.

An improvement could be, “First Name, we noticed you left items in your cart. Get them now before they’re gone!”. This includes personalization if you have that data available to you, as well as feeling a little less stale, but still including a sense of urgency.

List of Items Left in Cart

Of course the main key is including the items left in the cart. This is automated through a connection between your e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify or WooCommerce) and your email service provider (e.g. MailChimp). 

Offer or Discount

One great way to increase conversions is to include an offer or discount. Offering 10-20% off the order could be a great way to entice customers to complete their purchase. 

Call to Action

Having a clear and compelling call to action is also one of the most important parts of the email. In the default Shopify example, they include a large button with the text “Items in your cart” and it’s before the items are even listed.

We recommend making the items themselves clickable and putting the main call to action below the list. Use text like “checkout now”, “buy now”, or “complete your purchase” to be more direct.

Reviews, Related Products, or Brand Value Closing

You can also take this opportunity to display related items or the latest items in your store, or other brand value messaging. Including reviews from other customers or your value proposition could be great ways to close the email.

Now, let’s put it all together. Here’s an example of the makeover we gave the Shopify default abandoned cart email for our client Bench Home:

abandoned cart email updated with branding

How To Set Up an Abandoned Cart Email Automation

Now that we have our strategy and design, let’s get into how to set up an abandoned cart email automation.

Consider Timing

The first thing you’ll want to consider is timing. Anywhere from 3-24 hours after a cart is abandoned will work. We usually choose around 8 hours as statistics show this is an optimal waiting period.

Set Up an Abandoned Cart Automation For Shopify or WordPress’ WooCommerce Using MailChimp 

As we talked about above Shopify has a built-in abandoned cart automation by default. But, that one comes with its limitations as demonstrated. Of course, Shopify does have a way to customize the code. This requires custom HTML email development. 

WordPress’ WooCommerce on the other hand doesn’t have a native default abandoned cart automation. They do, however, have a premium extension that enables this automation set up. There are also other paid plugins such as AutomateWoo that provide similar functionality.

Fortunately, there is a much easier alternative to these options within Shopify and WooCommerce. There’s actually an easy way to connect your Shopify or WooCommerce store to MailChimp (or the ESP of your choice). We’ll be demonstrating here how to use MailChimp to handle your Shopify and WooCommerce abandoned cart automation.

Connect MailChimp to Shopify or WordPress

To connect Shopify to MailChimp, you can download the free app ShopSync for Shopify. To connect WooCommerce to Mailchimp, use the free plugin MailChimp for WooCommerce. Both of these will prompt you to log in to your MailChimp account from within your Shopify or WordPress dashboard and follow a simple setup process to link your email subscriber list.

Once that is complete, you can handle the abandoned cart automation set up from within MailChimp.

Set Up The Customer Journey and Automation Flow

MailChimp has a great new Customer Journeys Automation section within the platform. This is where you’ll find options to set up your Abandoned Cart Email. Simply create a new journey, select the subscriber list your Shopify customers are being synced to, select your store, and select Abandoned Cart Email option to begin setting up the automation.

As the next step in the journey, add a rule of Delay and set to 8 hours or the time you prefer for your particular strategy.

screenshot of MailChimp Customer Journey flow chart

Next, we’ll want to trigger the Action of Send Email. From here, you can enter the appropriate From Name and From Email, your Subject and Preview Text, and then start designing your email.

We recommend using MailChimp’s “Abandoned Cart with Product Recommendations” email template, as this will have the key components already configured.

Here’s that default template:

MailChimp default abandoned cart template

Of course, you’ll want to style this with your branding and adjust the copy.

Once you’re set up, if you’re using Shopify, be sure to turn off the Shopify default automation from within Shopify’s Marketing Automations dashboard. If you don’t, your customers will get both emails.

Now that you’ve set up your abandoned cart email automation, sit back and let this email convert your leads into customers that would have otherwise been lost.

If you need help creating an email marketing strategy, schedule a complimentary consultation with us today.

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