Contacting the Customer to Convert

Abandoned shopping cart

Anyone running an online store knows the story- a potential customer visits your site, browses your products, places one in their cart, and then leaves without buying. The next thing you know, your admin area is littered with more abandoned carts than a super market parking lot, prompting you to ask “What do I do now?”

Don’t Let Them Go!

Recently one of our forum users shared his company’s method for dealing with abandoned carts: “We currently send out emails to all abandoned carts that have an email attached asking if they had a problem and offering options to fix that problem (such as flat rate shipping we do not offer normally). We find at least half the time it’s just a small error and they are eager to place the order. We convert probably 80% of the people we contact.”

Obviously this tactic isn’t going to work if the customer left before entering any personal information, but contacting customers that have abandoned their carts is a great idea if you have the information to be able to do so.

Make the Sale

When you contact the customer offer them an incentive to return and complete their order. Our forum user offered flat rate shipping to customers that had abandoned their carts to get them to come back. Here’s a list of some other offerings you might consider (depending on your business-type):

  • A coupon code for a dollar value or percentage off their purchase
  • Bundled products (such as a free accessory when they purchase the item in the abandoned cart)
  • A free gift card when they make their purchase
  • Free shipping on their purchase
  • Buy one get one free on the product they placed in the shopping cart (provided that the item is a low-value item)
  • Elongated or improved terms of service
  • A phone consultation or call from a sales representative
  • Free returns if the product does not suit their needs

If you find that you are getting abandoned carts with the same product over and over obviously you will want to start by making sure there is nothing wrong with that individual product; but beyond that the most appropriate way to deal with abandoned shopping carts is to contact the customer to try to make the sale.

What is your company doing to follow-up on abandoned carts? Tell us in the space below.

Learn more about the causes of shopping cart abandonment!

-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist

4 Responses to “Contacting the Customer to Convert”

  1. Charles Nicholls @SeeWhyInc

    One other thought, I’ve recently written a blog on the causes of shopping cart abandonment which might also be useful.


  2. Charles Nicholls @SeeWhyInc

    Hi Kate

    We’ve found that a little care is needed with promotions: how and when you make promotional offers to visitors that abandon their shopping carts can be really important.

    Remarketing to shopping cart abandoners is a very effective way of boosting sales, and it’s not complex to do. There are however a few secrets to getting this right. I note that forum entry referred to ‘offering to fix the problem, and this is at the heart of one of the secrets to success. The two keys are ‘Tone’ and ‘Timing’

    The tone of the remarketing email can be very important, and we generally advise our customers to stick to a service tone, where you are genuinely trying to help the customer and offer great service. An overly strong sales tone can backfire.

    The other key is Timing. When you follow up is critically important. An MIT study shows that a real-time follow up is essential because 90% of ecommerce leads go cold within one hour. Timing is also important when you think about multi stage follow ups, which are essential to maximize your return.

    There are many resources on which look at shopping cart recovery best practices, including several ‘how to’ web cast recordings.

  3. Richard

    Great ideas, we don’t do anything right now. We’ll give it a try.



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