Is One Cart Reminder Enough?

Jim Davidson

Uncovering a shocking data point is one of the most thrilling parts of my job, and this one is a jaw dropper! It was only a couple of years ago that I conducted a study of the cart strategies for top retailers and found that only 13% sent a cart reminder. My how things have changed! Our latest study, Revenue Rescue: Saving Sales When Shoppers Stray, shows that percentage has more than tripled. Today, 41% of retailers send cart reminders.

If you are part of that 41%, I congratulate you on making shopping easier for your customers and, of course, recouping potentially lost sales. However, having successfully launched a cart reminder doesn’t mean your work is done.

You can greatly improve the odds of bringing shoppers back to the cart by sending a series of cart reminder messages. Our study found that 20% of retailers are sending multiple cart reminder emails. Are you one of them? If not, you could be missing some big opportunities.
Cart Reminder Data

Start Your Series at the Right Time

Some retailers (12%) send their first reminder an hour after items were left in the cart; 23% send within 12 hours, 37% in 24 to 48 hours, and 28% of retailers wait three or more days before sending the first reminder. Some even wait as many as eight days. Test to find the right tempo for your customers and product category. Too soon and you could be pressing too hard. Too late and you open the door for the shopper to buy somewhere else.

Pick a Personality

In the subject line, 67% of retailers used a customer service tone (“Do you need help with your order?”); 19% were generic (“We’ve heard A LOT about you.”); 9% evoked a sense of urgency (“We’re running low on the items you want.”). Try testing to see what works best for different scenarios. Saving urgency and discounts for the final message in a series can avoid sacrificing average order values.

Build a Story

A series of messages can give you a way to build rapport and expand on themes over time. For instance, you could start with a generic reminder, then a customer service tone, and then add urgency.

Be There to Help

More than half of retailers (53%) also feature customer service details in their cart reminders – toll-free numbers, email and links to FAQs, forums and other resources. If you want to shine online, help your shoppers with questions they need answered before submitting an order.

When shoppers abandon their carts, don’t abandon them. With 40% of shoppers viewing carts later on a different device or in a store, there’s a lot to be said for a helpful repeat reminder to reconnect them to the cart. A well-constructed cart reminder series is a powerful and proven tool. But as with any marketing tactic, you must implement these reminders in a way that is relevant and engaging, not annoying. By continually testing the key aspects of reminder strategy – number, frequency, tone and content – you’ll find the sweet spot that reels in potentially lost revenue.

For more ideas on how to improve the structure of shopping carts, the flow of the checkout process, and how to reach shoppers who leave a cart behind, download Revenue Rescue Part 2: Shopping Cart Marketing.


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