SalesTech Star

How Customer Experience Automation Reclaimed $10.4 Million In Abandoned Black Friday Carts

By Adam Johnson, SVP of Sales, ActiveCampaign

Consumers have long been conditioned to anticipate Black Friday deals and yet still plan their shopping season around the holiday every year. This year, online retailers rang up $8.9 billion in sales on Black Friday, but that figure is actually down during the same period in 2020, according to data from Adobe Analytics. So, what’s going on? One reason spend is down is because more customers who were lured by retail offers didn’t complete their purchases. Perhaps they were swayed by competing offers, faced other distractions, or meant to buy later and forgot.

To get to the bottom of this, we crunched the data from the more than 150,000 businesses that use ActiveCampaign during Black Friday week. According to our own abandoned cart tool, customers left $76.4 million in revenue in their carts in 2021. This is up from the $51.6 million lost revenue we saw in 2020 from abandoned carts. Fortunately, customers were able to recover $10.4 million from those abandoned carts using automated abandoned cart strategies, but many businesses still neglect this important tactic, leading to lost revenue.

While it’s not always possible to rescue 100% of the revenue from abandoned carts, based on what we saw in 2021, businesses could recover as much as 14% by just applying some simple strategies. So, let’s dive into what those are.

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Reduce friction to purchase

The cart and checkout page is the most obvious place to start improving the customer experience but is often overlooked. Reducing the friction in the purchase process is important when brands are looking to increase conversions. Amazon’s one-click ordering system is arguably one of the reasons why it shipped 415 million packages in July 2020 alone. Having a simple payment method, giving consumers the option for a guest checkout or using their Facebook ID to sign in, are all great ways of alleviating the friction often experienced along the path to purchase.

It’s also a good idea to increase the prominence of checkout buttons by experimenting with the color and making sure it is visibly distinct from the rest of a page. Beyond color, shopping bag sidebars that follow the user as they browse a site can help them easily navigate back to the checkout page.

Triggering automations for abandoned carts

It’s also worth looking into ecommerce platforms and seeing what features are available either through the platform itself or other compatible services. Take Shopify for example. It’s fast becoming one of the biggest and most well-known ecommerce solutions with more than one million merchants worldwide on the platform. But many businesses neglect to take advantage of other tools that plugin to Shopify such as customer experience automation (CXA) platforms. These can trigger pre-configured abandoned cart sequences to help gain back that lost revenue.

This kind of functionality isn’t just limited to Shopify however, it’s also possible to integrate abandoned cart automations with WooCommerce, BigCommerce and more.

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What should be included in an abandoned cart email?

Carts are abandoned for multiple reasons, but if it’s a purchase that relates to a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need,’ the next few emails a customer sees should remind, persuade, and last but not least, add an incentive. Just remember when it comes to cart abandonment emails, three is the magic number. Past that and it’s unlikely the customer will buy, but they might unsubscribe, reducing the possibility of future sales.

Reminding customers that they left an item behind is a natural first step. Be conversational in tone and let them know who you are and why you’re contacting them. Personalize the email to include their name but also what item they left in their basket – ideally with a picture. The call to action (CTA) should be clear but avoid using words like ‘buy’ or ‘pay’ which can be too aggressive and instead try ‘return to your cart’ or ‘take another look’, which might be more appealing to click.

The second email in the sequence aims to persuade. Loss aversion is just one tactic that leverages fear of missing out. Create a sense of urgency by letting customers know their product might sell out. Other ways to persuade include using social proof such as reviews or press coverage. Having customer care contact details or FAQs easily accessible in this email can also counter any objections to purchase. Another persuasion method could include showing alternative colors of the product in their cart, or accessories that help a customer reach free shipping thresholds.

Finally, if the first two emails in the sequence fail to persuade, the last tactic to try is an incentive. This could be a discount, a free gift or maybe free shipping. It’s worth noting that offers should be used sparingly to avoid ‘training’ your customer to abandon their cart. Loyalty schemes or bonus points being awarded on future purchases could by another way to offer an incentive that is more cost-effective.

Same time next year?

Although many brands might have already started reflecting on how they can perform better during next year’s Black Friday period, it’s worth remembering that cart abandonment isn’t just a problem during Black Friday. In fact, Forrester estimates that brands can lose up to $18 billion a year in revenue through abandoned carts. That’s why abandoned cart strategies need to be applied year round for maximum impact on revenue.


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