Optimize email offers for abandoned carts

1. Run A/B tests on abandoned cart emails to figure out whether your customers respond better to an initial discount offer.

Many customers will return and complete their purchase without the incentive of an offer. So simply sending an abandoned cart email – without an offer – may increase your revenue.

2. Test discount offers at various stages in the cart abandonment email sequence.

Find out the stage at which customers are most open to making use of an offer.

3. If in doubt, send an offer in the second or third email of the cart abandonment sequence.

Typically, a company’s second and third abandoned cart emails generate most of its abandoned cart revenue.

4. Test escalating offers, where you improve the offer with each email in a sequence.

It’s worth testing, as every business and industry is different. However, based on our data, escalating offers seem to bring a marginal ROI and cart abandoners seem to convert better when hit with the best offer quickly.

5. Include your offer in more than one email in a sequence.

Sending only one offer email likely misses some conversion opportunities. Even if you don’t improve your offer, sending it more than once means that more cart abandoners will see it. Subsequent emails also allow you to layer in other motivators. For example, you can structure your offer emails this way: First email with no offer. Initial offer email. Second offer email + scarcity (for example, limited stock). Final offer email + scarcity + urgency (for example, offer expires).

6. Include a reference to the offer in the subject line of the email.

For example, A special saving just for you, {first name}! If there’s an offer in your email, getting that offer is the primary benefit of opening the email, and that’s what will motivate people to look at it. You don’t have to say exactly what the offer is in the subject line – instead you can evoke some curiosity (one of the strongest human motivators).

7. Use a call to action that reinforces your offer.

For example, Buy [offer] now. Streamline your checkout process to make it easier to craft a simple CTA that’s specific and makes the most of your offer.

8. If you have a choice between a flat rate and a percentage discount, pick the option that looks bigger, like $10 off rather than a 5% discount.

Most of the time, bigger numbers get more conversions. A 10% discount looks better than $5 off, even if 10% works out to be $5 (or less). On the other hand, $5 is perceived as a better discount than 3%, even if 3% would be worth more. The perceived value of the discount is higher if the number is higher, regardless of whether it’s a percentage or a raw dollar amount.

9. Use dynamic discount codes and add the discount directly to the user's cart.

Dynamic codes are typically more difficult to implement than static codes, but they’re customizable and can only be used once. Static codes, on the other hand, offer no personalization and can be leaked to the rest of your customers. Dynamic codes also allow you to test different code formats to discover which convert best. Sometimes randomly generated codes convert better than clever vanity codes because the customer feels that the random code is more exclusive. Adding the discount directly to the cart—something only 1 in 6 companies do—is the most convenient for the customer. But it’s the most difficult for businesses to implement, which is why it’s so rare.

10. If you’re in an industry that typically doesn’t employ offers, consider using that to differentiate yourself.