An Easy Win for 2014 Holiday Marketing

by Sam Mallikarjunan on Nov 11, 2014 3:00:00 AM Digital Marketing

Bundle_Gifts_Danilio_Rizzuti_resizedThe 2014 holiday season is just beginning for most people, but for e-commerce marketers it’s already in full swing. By now, most e-commerce businesses already have their holiday plans in motion. They’ve ramped up their SEO efforts, drafted email campaigns, and planned their ad spends targeting consumers. But there’s a easy win that many e-commerce businesses still haven’t implemented—and it’s not too late.

ABANDONED CART NURTURING
You’ve heard about this before. It’s a widely discussed e-commerce tactic that many companies have implemented successfully. However, HubSpot’s 2014 State of eCommerce Marketing survey showed that 60 percent of e-commerce marketers in the U.S. aren’t even measuring their abandoned cart rates. Of those companies that are measuring the rate, only 42 percent are trying to recover them with nurturing. Implementing abandoned cart nurturing can grow sales by a significant percentage—with 33 percent of marketers who do nurture their carts recovering more than 20 percent of the otherwise lost sales. Forty-six percent of the customers that were nurtured even ended up spending more than was originally in their shopping carts.

Here's an easy sequence to get you going:

Email #1: Is Everything OK?
After one hour, send an email to customers asking if they encountered any functional issues checking out, and offer to help them via phone. Although the reflex of many e-commerce marketers is to send a coupon right away, this isn’t always a good idea. First, consumers are wising up to this. Even sites like Time magazine are recommending that consumers intentionally abandon their carts as a way of “passive aggressive online haggling.” However, the primary reasons that consumers abandon carts remain indecision and procrastination.

Especially during the holiday season, when many consumers are shopping for others, they may simply need a helping hand or to wait on feedback from others. Offer that before you assume that what’s slowing them down is a price incentive.

Hi [First Name],

We noticed there are items in your cart, but that you didn't finish shopping.

Did you encounter any issues preventing you from checking out? If so, you can call [phone number] and/or live chat here [live chat link] at any time.

We can only store your cart for X hours to ensure that the following products in your cart are still available:

[Pull data from their shopping cart. If you have pre-transactional form information, such as what they wanted to use your product for, include it here.]

You can access your shopping cart here [URL to unique shopping cart] to continue with your purchase!

All the best,

[Your Name]

[Your Role, Company Name]

Email #2: We Miss You [First Name], Get [Discount] Off on a [Product Name]
After 12 hours, send an email offering a coupon. Although your first reaction shouldn't be to offer a discount, your second reaction can be to provide a time-sensitive message.

Hi [First Name],

Uh oh, looks like your cart at [Your Company Website] is full, but you didn't finish shopping.

We can only store your cart for X hours to ensure that the following products in your cart are still available. As an appreciation of you browsing our site, if you complete your purchase within the next X hours, we'll give you [discount].

You can access your shopping cart here [URL to unique shopping cart] to continue with your purchase.

All the best,

[Your Name]

[Your Role, Company Name]

Email #3: [First Name], Our Friend Bob Can Help You Choose a [Product Name].
"We don't make money when we sell things. We make money when we help people make purchasing decisions."—Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com

Educational content is 32 percent more likely to recover an abandoned cart than coupon codes. It's not always about the price, it's often about the decision. Once you've covered support and price, your next step is to offer educational content to help them make a decision.

This is a good place to send blog content that has a high correlation to a customer converting, as well as any "How To Choose" or "Buyer's Guide" content you may have. It's also a good time to send links to your community or reviews from real people to help people make—and feel comfortable with—a purchasing decision.

Hi [First Name],

Looks like you've got a few items in your cart, but haven't finished shopping!

Need help deciding what to buy? See what others are saying about these products:

[Pull data from their shopping cart, including links to customer reviews of each product.]

Unfortunately, we can only store your cart for X hours to ensure that the following products in your cart are still available. We hope these reviews help you decide!

You can access your shopping cart here [URL to unique shopping cart] to continue with your purchase.

All the best,

[Your Name]

[Your Role, Company Name]

There you have it. A simple three-email sequence that you can send to your cart abandoners to increase your sales this holiday season.

Want to learn more—or just want to copy these into a template you can deploy tomorrow? You can access these free cheat sheets for abandonment cart nurturing and other easy wins in marketing automation for free by just clicking here.

 Photo by Danilo Rizzuti, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sam Mallikarjunan is head of Marketing at HubSpot Labs.

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