13 Considerations Before Choosing a Shopping Cart Abandonment Solution

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Shopping Cart Abandonment

There are a wealth of offerings for sending Shopping Cart Abandonment emails. All promise the same things. So if you have not sent any abandonment emails before how do you decide what is right for you? Here is a short guide which highlights the important things to consider when selecting an abandonment solution, which we used when specifying our own Basket Abandonment solution for Maxemail.

1) Security

At Emailcenter we tested a number of the well known Basket Abandonment solutions and found that many were insecure. Hackers would be able to inject code into the tags that sat on the clients site to send other people email with their content in.

When picking a solution ensure that security exists such as the security Salt tokens that Maxemail uses to stop spammers and hackers being able to use your basket abandonment code to send malicious spam.

2) Timing of emails

It varies from client to client but many find that the email needs to be delivered within an hour or 2 of the abandonment taking place, particularly when the product is a simple, commodity item. Some solutions do not offer live feeds meaning that an email cannot be sent out until the following day! Waiting a day in many cases is bad practice.

3) Customisation of message by stage

Customers will abandon the shopping cart process for many reasons – from concerns over delivery, price or even credibility. Therefore to maximise the effectiveness of your messaging ensure your basket abandonment solution enables you to customise the messaging based upon the stage in the process they abandoned.

4) Include products within the email

Many basket abandonment solutions simply allow the sending of a generic message to a customer after they abandon. You cannot include any products they have left in the cart which dramatically reduces the effectiveness. Ensure that what you choose allows you to merge everything you need into the email about the products with your own particular styling, not simply a template the provider offers with minimal customisation.

5) Link to the ‘permanent’ basket

One of the challenges with basket abandonment emails is linking someone back to the basket. The email might be opened on a different device to which the shopping activity occurred, therefore simply linking back to the site will mean an empty basket. Alternatively giving the ability to add all the products into the basket can cause some shopping cart solutions to duplicate the contents of the basket if the old items have been remembered. More advanced baskets store the details of what is in the basket and this can be accessed via any computer through a special URL. Maxemail allows you to store this URL in your tags so you can confidently include a ‘Return to basket’ email within each message.

6) Multi-stage emails

One email might not be enough to convince someone to come back and buy, especially with long decision making processes such as expensive items or holidays. Therefore you need a solution which enables you to set-up additional abandonment emails to be sent which automatically stop if the customer does purchase.

7) Offline transactions

Many online retailers offer additional channels for purchasing. Just because someone has abandoned the basket does not mean they have not purchased. They may have contacted the call centre to complete their order. Multi-channel organisations need a solution which can import offline data sets to be included in the email trigger rule set.

8) Multi-variate Testing

Abandonment emails will provide some of the best responses out of all the emails you send. Therefore you will get more reward for your testing initiatives on this responsive audience. The performance of your emails can be doubled by testing such things as the subject line, call-to-action or key messages. This testing can be far easier and quicker if your abandonment solution supports Multi-variate testing.

9) Pricing

The cost of abandonment solutions varies widely from those that operate purely on a commission basis on the sales they win back, through to fixed monthly costs, perhaps as much as £500 for a limited single stage abandonment email with no listing of products included. Emailcenter offer a flexible range of options.

10) Deliverability

There is no point in creating a wonderful basket abandonment email if it junks in most inboxes. Working with a solution that delivers email through a professional ESP platform such as Maxemail will help maximise the inbox placement of the email.

11) Simplicity of implementation

Everyone says their Abandonment solution is easy to implement. The reality is very different however. In some instances, to get a fully featured, secure shopping cart abandonment solution onto your site, will require a web developer spending half a day setting it up. However, many solutions do offer extensions to popular e-commerce solutions such as the Maxemail Magento extension, which is ready to use after just a 5 minute install and requires no further coding.

12) Frequency Capping

There is a danger with some basket solutions that you can train your customers into abandoning in order to receive an incentive to complete their basket. At the very least it can look silly if every time someone does abandon they get the same email again. Maxemail allows you to cap how many abandonment emails someone receives in a set period of time to avoid both scenarios.

13) Impact on site performance

Getting IT to put 3rd party code on your site can be a battle in itself – so the last thing you want to do is get them to put something that will slow your site down, and drag conversion down with it. Look for a solution that is asynchronous (loads independently of the page) and offers ‘zero latency’ (A mis-leading term in the analytics industry which essentially means it loads in fractions of a second).

About Craig Loynes

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP. Connect with +Craig Loynes on Google+ or follow on for more email marketing insights.