Abandoned shopping carts have plagued digital marketers since the beginning of time—or at least since the beginning of ecommerce.
Not to mention, it appears consumers are adding items to their carts, and abandoning them, more than ever. And while abandoned cart automations can have helped brands recover millions of dollars in lost sales, there are plenty of ways to improve the conversion rate of each email.
That’s where email segmentation comes into play. Why send a single, uniform abandoned cart email to all of your shoppers when you could hyper-target your messaging based on who they are and what you know about them?
Keep reading to discover five ways to consider segmenting your abandoned cart emails and start reaching your shoppers with more personalized, targeted messaging.
1 | Repeat vs. first-time purchasers
If a shopper has previously made a purchase from your website, they’re probably familiar with your products and know what to expect from your brand. Even better, they’re coming back for more.
On the other hand, new shoppers who haven’t yet made a purchase from your brand are different. They might not be as familiar with your company, your mission, and the different products you sell. This also means they may take more convincing to convert.
One popular way to convert first-time customers is by offering them a discount, a coupon code, or another promotion to welcome them into your community. This often provides the push many shoppers need to buy.
But many marketers don’t want to offer the same welcome discount to returning customers, especially if they’ve already used it before. If this sounds like you, segmenting your abandoned cart email by repeat vs. first-time purchasers will allow you to only extend this offer to qualifying shoppers.
Additionally, consider altering the content you include in your abandoned cart emails based on whether a customer is a repeat or first-time customer.
Include product recommendations in your abandoned carts for your repeat customers since you already have data on what products they like and consider using language that shows them you’re grateful for their return like “Welcome back!” or “Thanks for shopping with us again.”
Since you won’t have any information on your first-time customers’ past purchases, feature your trending or best-selling products instead. Additionally, consider what else builds trust with new shoppers such as ratings, reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) from your customers.
This is exactly how Blair Peterson, vice president of strategy at Dana Rebecca Designs, thinks about her abandoned cart emails.
“With the people who haven’t yet purchased, we’re trying to get them interested in the brand and trust us, so we’re sharing reviews and the backstory of the founder and the company. In an abandoned cart for somebody who’s previously purchased from us, we want to talk to them about building and expanding their Dana Rebecca jewelry collection,” said Blair.
“It’s really two different conversations that we’re having based on who is brand familiar and who would you need to educate more and give them social proof with reviews,” she added.
2 | Cart size
Segmenting by cart size, or the number of items in someone’s shopping cart, is another way to make your abandoned cart messaging more targeted.
If a shopper has three or more items in their cart, cross-sell or upsell these items by displaying additional products in your email.
Cross-selling refers to suggesting items that are similar to the original item the customer was looking for. Up-selling refers to increasing your average order value (AOV) by encouraging shoppers to consider products that are additive to the original product they intended to purchase.
For example, if a shopper had three different types of plants in their cart, you could up-sell them with a watering can. You could also cross-sell other varieties of plants, similar to how The Sill did in their email. This could help shoppers discover a better fit to what they were looking for, which they may not have found while browsing your website.
How do you decide whether to cross-sell or up-sell your customers in your abandoned cart emails? It largely depends on your business.
If your store has many different SKUs and product categories, such as with many apparel brands, cross-selling can help your customers discover items they might not have realized you sell. If you sell one main product with different variations, such as specialty items, and a few smaller products that complement the primary product, up-selling may be the better strategy for your brand.
3 | Cart value
Cart value refers to the total monetary value of the item or items in a customer’s cart. While this may be similar to cart size, it’s not necessarily the same since a customer could have many low-value items in their cart or one high-value item.
What you classify as a “high-value” cart will, again, depend on your business. If you know your AOV, this can give you an idea of what a “high value” cart would look like for your brand.
For example, say you consider a high-value cart to be greater than $200 because your AOV is $150. If a shopper abandons a cart that’s over $200, it may be because they find the cost to be a deterrent. To remedy this, consider including a discount or incentive, like free shipping, to those with carts worth more than $200 to encourage shoppers to make their purchase.
You can also alter the timing of these emails. High-value purchases may require more consideration, so instead of having the first abandoned cart email go out two hours after someone has abandoned their cart, consider sending it the next day.
Bridgette Salley, ecommerce specialist at Trade Street Jam Co., uses the cart value technique when creating abandoned cart automations.
“There are some people who want to buy one jam. But there are also people who will buy the $70 to $100 packs of jam. It’s a bigger order so we don’t think you should be treated exactly the same,” she said on a recent episode of Live From Your Laptop.
Bridgette’s abandoned cart series consists of multiple emails sent over a few days, and they include a discount to incentivize shoppers to return to the site and proceed with the check out process. But by segmenting emails, she can offer a higher discount to shoppers with a higher cart value.
4 | Product
Many ecommerce marketers have found that segmenting their abandoned cart emails by product can also be effective.
If you sell a specialized, handmade, or unconventional set of products, your customers may have questions about them prior to purchase.
To address any potential questions, alter the layout of your emails to make your customer support or sales email address, links, or phone number easily accessible.
If you sell artwork, for example, your customers may have questions about the dimensions of the piece or how it looks in person. Making your contact info explicit will reduce friction in the sales process.
Additionally, if you have a large product offering, consider choosing a few of your best-selling product collections or product categories, and build out an abandoned cart series with unique copy and imagery for each.
For example, if your brand sells men’s and women’s clothing, you might want to create two versions of your abandoned cart series for both, and then another version in case shoppers add items from neither collection or both collections.
You could also take a similar approach to Taylor Stitch and create an abandoned cart email series around different product categories by tailoring (get it?) the content to the items in that category.
This is a great way to highlight some of the unique features of your products and point out why your brand is different from similar brands. If your customers are shopping around different websites to find the best option for a specific item, this technique can help you stand out from the competition and earn the trust of your customers.
5 | Location
The location of your business, and your customers, can make all the difference when it comes to what you can offer shoppers and what you can’t.
For example, maybe you can offer free shipping to domestic customers but not to international customers. Segmenting your abandoned cart emails by location allows you to highlight available offers to the right customers without making false promises to your customers who don’t qualify for the same perks.
You can use location-based segmentation for timely events or updates, as well. In fact, in light of Brexit and how it’s impacting brands in the United Kingdom (UK), many UK-based marketers are segmenting their emails, including abandoned cart automations, by location. This way, they can clarify any business-critical changes such as new shipping policies or delays with the affected customers without notifying the customers who the changes don’t affect.
Additionally, you can use location to make the content of your email more personalized to recipients who are in different parts of the world.
For example, if your brand is based in Australia, but you ship internationally, your customers will be experiencing different seasons based on where they live.
When your fellow Australian locals are getting ready for fall, your American customers are preparing for spring. Consider segmenting your customers by location so you can cross-promote your new fall/winter collection in your abandoned cart email for Australian shoppers, while promoting your spring/summer end-of-the-season sale collection to American shoppers.
Level up your abandoned cart automations with email segmentation
Creating an abandoned cart email is the first step. But if you truly want to take your automations to the next level, the secret is in your segmentation strategy.
Segmentation allows you to communicate with your customers in a highly targeted way. Pair that with your abandoned cart automations, which already receive higher than average open rates compared to other marketing emails, and you have the perfect recipe for recovering lost sales and improving your conversion rate.