Shopping cart abandonment is like an arch nemesis for many marketers. Yet, while cart abandonment can be detrimental to revenue, there are several other merchandizing triggers marketers are ignoring that cripple sales. To learn more I interviewed Fayez Mohamood, Co-founder & CEO at Bluecore (bio follows interview) to discuss the four additional merchandising triggers, beyond cart abandonment, marketers are ignoring. Although we all know generating urgency is crucial to increasing sales, I like how Fayez shows how this can be done well electronically and moreover talks about the positive results of doing so. I hope you find the interview useful.
Shopping cart abandonment rates are still high, why do you think that is?
The power of cart abandonment emails is the clear buyer intent. When you couple this with new capabilities to entice buyers to convert that purchase through a free shipping offer or a warning that a product is low on inventory, you add that small incentive that brings them back into the purchase funnel.
Every retailer, big or small has some sort of triggered messaging as part of their email marketing mix, and most begin with a welcome series trigger (thanks for signing up!) and a cart abandonment (why did you not buy!?). These are triggered emails purely based on customer activity. They are effective because they are automated, timely and personal – everyone wins. While there is plenty of data showing how effective abandoned cart emails are, it’s a mistake to think that these triggers encompass the world of all possible triggered messaging. The reality is that triggers based on customer activity, while effective, represent only a tiny portion of a retailer’s potential email marketing mix.
How and why should marketers automate communications based on product catalog changes?
Unlike Customer Triggers which act on data that is a few days old at most, merchandizing triggers requires the ability to process fine-grained customer and product catalog activity at scale that spans a timeframe of months or years.
Marketers have not traditionally implemented merchandising-based triggers because the technology that was necessary to ingest, transform and take action on this type of data has only become affordable in the last year or two. In addition, legacy email systems are horizontal systems that serve many different industries and not just eCommerce. General purpose platforms do not understand the semantics of eCommerce right out of the box. This is the primary reason why Bluecore only works with eCommerce/Brands/Retailers, all of our technology is built specifically to understand the semantics of eCommerce, so that we can launch these advanced triggers in days or weeks, not months.
Across our customers who have implemented merchandising triggers (New Product Arrivals, Price Drops, Low Inventory) these triggers end up representing up to 50% of all email channel revenue. And better yet, these emails are based on product and customer activity that makes everything down to the subject line, extremely relevant to the user. Bluecore partners average an open rate of 41% and an average click-through-rate of 8% – those numbers trounce the industry averages.
How does the term omnichannel figure into abandonment if at all?
Savvy retailers have realized that the value of their email marketing programs cannot solely be measured by conversions. Many customers first open an email on their mobile device while on the go, only to revisit an offer from a laptop later in the day. Or, in the cases of more premium retailers, customers use email marketing content like cart abandonment or new product arrival triggers and a digital shopping list, taking their mobile devices to brick-and-mortar locations to make purchases.
How is commoditization of products influencing cart abandonment?
For commodity products, it becomes much more important to be real-time with cart abandonment. Reaching the customer even 24 hours might be too late, as they might have made that purchase elsewhere.
What about shipping costs?
Free shipping is a great incentive retailers can offer customers to drive return engagement with their online storefronts.
What are your thoughts about services like ShopRunner – effectively Amazon Prime for a group of retailers?
Services like ShopRunner are great for consumers, especially if services like that can aggregate customer behavior across groups of retailers to better personalize marketing to their customers.
How can retailers turn the high abandonment rate trend around?
Two key components here are personalization and timing. First, deliver a message that not only takes into account the exact products that were browsed for, searched for or placed in a cart, but also includes related products based on past purchases or top sellers in that same category. Second, time is of the essence. If you have a compelling message, or better yet offer (FREE SHIPPING), trigger that email just hours after abandonment. Waiting days just provides customers more opportunity to either lose interest or purchase elsewhere.
Can you give us some real-world examples?
Diamond Candles averages a 40% unique open rate across all triggered emails. All six triggers currently deployed are personalized based on customer browse, search and purchase behaviors and optimized for time based on retailer preference to drive high open and conversion rates. Diamond Candles’ Abandoned Cart trigger shows a conversion rate of more than 22% and, when taking into account all six triggers across the program they average a 13% conversion rate. Typical conversion rates for non-personalized, high-volume promotional email sends is 2-5%.
Fayez Mohamood (LinkedIn, Twitter) is cofounder and CEO of Bluecore, enabling eCommerce marketers to create and distribute personalized triggered emails with the speed and precision not previously possible, dynamically reacting to customer behaviors and cataloging changes in seconds. With more than 70 partners representing more than 100 consumer brands. Bluecore is one of New York City’s fastest growing startups, recently closing a Series A round led by FirstMark Capital.