If you’re like most online marketers you wrote your abandoned cart reminder email sometime in the mid-90s and likely haven’t even thought of it since. You might be surprised in learning that an improper, outdated, or just plain boring reminder email can be a vital factor in plummeting your percentage of abandoned cart reactivations so now it’s time to dust off your prehistoric email and rethink your entire strategy.

New reasons have surfaced for cart abandonment

There are some elements of cart abandonment which are essentially the same as when we were doing e-commerce on Mosaic browsers: Customers will change their minds; they will see something in the security aspects that spooks them; they’ll be scared off by a high shipping cost; or the site will respond slowly or inaccurately to their inputs. However, as online shopping has become second nature to this generation of online shoppers, there are various other reasons which have surfaced as being critical to cart abandonment percentages, and these need to be addressed by your reminder emails.

Over a third of abandoners wait for the reminder email to checkout

It may be difficult to believe this, but the customer is actually waiting for the reminder email! Remarkably, a recent Magento study has shown that fully 47 percent of all online shoppers expect to receive a reminder email when they abandon their carts, and over a third of all shoppers state that they are likely to go back into the cart and continue to checkout when they do get the email.

Inform them of the alternative ways to complete the order

In order to have your reminder email obtain the greatest impact which translates into bottom line results, your copy shouldn’t just remind the shopper that the cart contents will empty out at a capriciously pre-determined and quickly approaching date and time, a preferred approach can be to use that message opportunity to assure them that you’re keeping their selections in their cart for them so that when they choose to revisit they can pick up right where they left off. Some customers may also be more comfortable in completing the transaction in a manner other than returning to the online cart, so when your reminder email informs them of the alternative ways that they can complete the order, such as calling a toll free number or visiting their nearest brick and mortar store, this approach can often result in an increase in total sales.

Make your reminder email relevant directly to them

Segmentation and personalization is just as important in reminder emails as it is in your overall email marketing campaign strategy. When you incorporate information about the customer’s previous behavior you will make your reminder email more relevant to them and will therefore encourage them to return to the cart to a greater degree than the average stultified and fully generic boiler plate version. Can you offer them a first-time buyer’s discount, voucher, ticket to a VIP event, or entry into a special sweepstakes? What about providing them a free accessory upon returning to the cart, or how about providing them with a loyalty points card as soon as they’ve exceeded the minimum limit for qualification? On the other side of the coin, don’t fall into the trap of over-incentivizing habitual repeat cart abandoners as you’ll swiftly reach the point of diminishing returns.

Don’t overdo the extra goodies as carts will be abandoned just to get them

You also have to be careful to not overdo the extra goodies for returning to the cart as the word will spread about your policy on the “sales deals” forums and you’ll get customers abandoning carts on purpose in order to obtain the freebie. Some major web hosting companies are infamous for overusing this ploy. Start the signup process for a shared hosting account and then click away in the middle of it and you’re going to be guaranteed to have a “Special Half-Price Offer” popup box appear on your screen.

An intelligently thought-out, up to date, and properly crafted reminder email can work wonders to minimize your cart abandonment rates so get writing!