According to a recent study in the United Kingdom, barely 7% of all retailers bother to send abandoned shopping cart emails. If you are among the 93% of brands ignoring this most basic form of behavioral email marketing, you are missing out on one of the most powerful means to increase Return On Investment (ROI) and generate additional revenue streams.

Cart Abandoners Could Be Your Hottest Prospects

It is conventional wisdom that every email marketer is consistently seeking ways to increase ROI. Therefore, it makes little sense that barely more than one out of twenty maintain surveillance over their abandoned shopping carts in order to target the “almost-buyers” who constitute what could arguably be called their hottest prospects group. After all, they are already on site, browsing through products and committed enough to start checking out. Don’t assume that they left the checkout because they changed their mind, as they might just have received an urgent call, have a pot boiling over on the stove or have been distracted by some other personal factor and then didn’t get a chance to come back and finish the process. As Gustav Mahler famously said, “I don’t let myself get carried away by my own ideas: I abandon 19 out of 20 of them every day.” In order to start using abandoned cart email effectively you must integrate it into your overall email newsletter campaign strategy so that the process would appear to your recipients as fully relevant.

Tag Your Site Extensively

The first step towards the comprehensive collection of behavioral data is to tag your website properly by collaborating with your email service provider. The data that is collected in this manner can then be blended with the rest of the behavioral information you have on file for that particular customer to drive an efficient behavioral email process. This collected data should not be focused exclusively on the actual abandonment of the cart, which can be accomplished by tagging your checkout pages, but should be an integral part of your larger tagging procedures that incorporate browsing information. If you can identify customers that are browsing your higher priced or higher margin items, it is wise to concentrate on contacting them as opposed to the customers who browse low-profit SKUs.

Send Behavioral Emails Intelligently

Few email sends will annoy your customers more than receiving your regularly scheduled email newsletter and then getting hit by one of your abandoned cart or other behavioral emails a short while later. If you are going to send a behavioral email, you might want to skip that week’s newsletter to that client to ensure that you maintain credibility and adhere to the frequency promise you made when they first subscribed. Also limit your sends to one per month: If a customer abandons a dozen carts, don’t send a dozen emails!

Short, Sweet & Sociable

Your customers will not appreciate a lengthy scolding lecture when they leave your shopping cart behind, so getting the tone just right will take ample helpings of respectful geniality and decorous consideration. A cart abandonment email is not an opportunity to do some hard-core selling but only to briefly thank the customer for visiting your site and perhaps asking if there is some additional information or incentive they would require in order to return to the cart. Beware of providing instant discounts to all your cart abandoners, as the word will quickly spread and the majority of your checkouts will be abandoned just to receive the discount email.

Cart abandonment emails can result in your highest open and click-through rates and thus generate the highest revenue of any of your marketing campaign emails. Don’t be among the 93% of email marketers who don’t bother to mine this treasure trove; be in the scant but profitable minority that does!