Save Lost Holiday Profits with These Cart Abandonment Hacks

How to Regain High Loss Holiday Shopping Profits Through Effective Cart Abandonment Strategies

If you came across fake Christmas trees and shiny green and red decorations while picking out your Halloween costume this year, don’t worry you aren’t losing your grip on reality. It’s just that every year retailers are redefining the boundaries of the holiday shopping season. It starts earlier, and it’s bigger and louder than the ghosts of shopping seasons past. Not surprisingly, this has only intensified with the spectacular rise of online shopping.

Each year online holiday sales consistently surpass the previous year. Retailers make 20%–40% of their annual sales in November and December and with almost half of consumers planning to do their holiday shopping online this year, e Commerce companies are set to do big business.

However, high volume shopping also means high volume cart abandonment rates. With consumers filling up shopping carts on any number of sites, effective email re-marketing is essential during the holiday shopping rush. On some marketing channels, spend can go up quickly to anywhere from 25-50%, making each abandoned cart that much more of a sunken cost.


In this post we’ll talk about how crucial effective cart abandonment strategies are during the insane rush of online holiday shopping.

How do most retailers handle the holidays?

For retailers, during the holiday season, it’s not quite as easy as it may seem to rake in those seasonal profits. If you haven’t noticed, discounts are everywhere during the holidays. Retailers must offer at least a 10% discount on merchandise just so they can to keep up with the competition, and many offer discounts that are far greater. Unfortunately, during this time, advertising suppliers such as Google Shopping and affiliate marketing channels are also hiking their prices up because the demand is so massive. Those that bill on a per-click basis increase the cost of clicks, causing the cost of sale to increase. So retailers are feeling the crunch on both ends of the sale; they must drop prices, but at the same time the cost to get a customer to click on or look at their page goes up.

How can retailers possibly drive profit while dealing with increased marketing costs AND pressure to offer discounts to consumers? The key is to stand out from the competition in any way you can. Yes this means discounts, but also targeted marketing and unique cart abandonment emails and offers.

Abandon cart emails can lower the overall acquisition cost of the customer. They don’t cost anything extra in terms of marketing dollars per send and are proven to increase conversion. This alleviates some of the pressure on retailers, allowing them to offer those competitive discounts.Let’s face it, there’s more of a chance that a given customer will abandon cart than complete a purchase. Open rates are much higher (around 40%) for cart abandonment emails and that is a massive opportunity to re-engage your customer.

Why cart abandonment emails?

Cart abandonment email offers are especially valuable during the holidays because they can allow you to recoup some of these losses incurred by the increased cost of sale. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to send an email and is something that can guarantee conversion. Most consumers are discount or incentive motivated. A discount or special offer in a cart abandonment email can cause a customer to continue with their purchase, a purchase otherwise lost if not for your abandonment strategy.

Stretch your holiday sales

Many retailers are extending their Black Friday offers to a weekend and some to a full week even – so don’t be afraid to offer discounts starting from Black Friday till the end of the year.

Make sure your cart abandonment emails make clear this increased promotional period. Customers may not know your having a Black Friday long weekend or an entire Cyber Monday week. Don’t forget to ask your current abandons (and subscribers) to (perhaps) join a pre-black friday/pre-cyber monday sale. Not only would this make them feel exclusive, but may also bring them back on the actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale.

What do businesses usually offer?

Discounts are the name of the game during holiday shopping season. Customers want the lowest price possible and that means intense competition. Try to offer discounts on items with a high margin.

Remind customers who abandon their cart that they don’t have to risk life and limb in America’s version of the Running of the Bulls (aka Black Friday). They can click from the comfort of their couches and emerge with all extremities intact; with a shiny new purchase from your store to boot.

Offer additional discounts in your cart abandonment emails. This is sure to shake the stockings off your customers and convert at a higher rate. However, you must be careful to extreme discounting – after all, you really want to make the most possible profit.

Remarket to abandon carts with MAP discount prices. MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Pricing. Many brands dictate the minimum price that their products can be sold at and retailers can’t advertise a given product below this threshold. But as luck would have it, many manufacturers allow retailers to discount these items around the holidays (Make sure to check with your manufacturer first). As a retailer you want to jump on this opportunity and make sure your customers know about it. Utilize special MAP offers in your cart abandonment emails.


What if I can’t offer these crazy discounts?

As we said before, retailers are pinched from both the marketing cost increase and consumer sides. If your margins are stretched to the max and you can’t offer significant discounts, you will need to get creative. Capitalize on the fact that you’re offering something different from your competitor. While important, discounts aren’t the only incentives out there that can pique a customer’s purchasing interest.

  • Free/ Rush Shipping

Offer free or rush shipping. Promote the urgency of the holiday season. Shipping is a cost that must be factored in to any online purchase. This is why shipping can be seen as one of the most important factors that affect shopping decisions – aside of price, of course.

If you can get your product to the customer faster and for cheaper, you will be one step ahead of the game. Make sure that your messaging aligns with your strategy and current shipping statuses. Don’t overpromise and under deliver.

  • Extended warranty

So you can’t discount that high ticket item any more without putting yourself in the hole? What about an extended warranty? Increase the value of your product by offering extended warranties or protection plans. Often, the profit margin on these extended warranties can be up to 20% and research shows that many customers elect to purchase these when given the option.

  • Free gift-wrapping

Even something simple like free gift wrapping can make or break a sale. The time saving benefits and professional touch of a proper gift wrapping could mean the difference between a new customer and an abandoned cart.

Empathize with your customer

With consumers spending a hefty chunk of their paychecks on gifts, it’s no surprise that everyone is looking for a discount. Consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing noise, and this increases exponentially during the holiday season.

Customers will be hardcore price shopping and spending less time on individual sites than they normally would. With customers having 20 + browser tabs open to find the best price, retailers must scream at the top of their lungs to be heard over the holiday pandemonium.

If your potential customer didn’t hear you the first time around and abandons cart, you’ll want to make sure you grab them with your remarketing efforts.

Cart Abandonment Emails for the Holiday Season

High volume holiday shopping amplifies losses from cart abandonment. Price shopping means less time spent on one page and more bouncing around from site to site.

You must make sure your cart abandonment emails are effective to avoid missing out on any potential sales. Many cart abandonment standards are tweaked during the holidays to keep up with the mad shopping rush.

Lower the (buffer) time you wait before you call someone an “abandoner.” Time is of the essence here. You know customers are being bombarded with deals and discounts, hopping from one site to the next hunting for discounts. On a normal day, this time buffer would be anywhere from 30 mins to one hour. In that time a holiday shopper quite possibly could find a deal on a competitor site and already have their package, gift wrapped and glossy, en route to their house. So you may want to decrease the waiting time for Holiday cart abandonment and knock the timing down to 15 to 30 minutes.

Buffer settings from Rejoiner’s marketing automation software

You’ll really want to convey this sense of urgency in your emails. Make sure your emails are dripping in holiday spirit. Let the customer know that this isn’t any ordinary time. This is the beast known as the holidays and the heat is on. Use countdowns and personalization.

Don’t forget to have a contingency plan.

Make sure you have a backup plan in case any items start to sell out. Remove any language about free shipping or discounts if at any point in the sale you stop offering it.

Always, capitalize on what’s selling.

Customer data will tell you what products are being bought/viewed the most. Capitalize on this information and recommend products based on:

  • What is trending

Perhaps, it’s the toy of the season and you want to remind customers that the toy is on sale and quantities are limited.

  • Products with the best reviews

This may help people know that they are making the right decision by purchasing from your store. Trust is something that can’t be discounted.

  • Similar products

This can be used as a safety net in case a customer’s wished item is sold out. By allowing your customers see that there is more than meets the eye, you will be able to hook them on your site and perhaps purchase a new favorite.

Prioritize mobile development.

With nearly 50 million people traveling away from home during the holidays, you can bet that smartphones and tablets will be a driving force in holiday shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, a record number of people are planning to browse and purchase from mobile devices this holiday season. You’ll want to make sure your mobile platforms are updated and working flawlessly. Nothing like losing a sale because a customer could not successfully complete a mobile purchase.

Don’t forget about those “self gifters”

Believe it or not, about 30% of Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers are buying products for themselves. Many items like clothes and household appliances are items that people are usually buying for themselves. So take advantage of this point and offer additional discounts in your cart abandonment emails along with copy that empathizes with the psychology of their purchase, such as: “Here’s a discount...you’ve earned it..:”

Don’t depend solely on one time holiday discounts.

Turn impulsive holiday shoppers into loyal customers. Ask them to download your mobile app or like your Facebook page. These simple things may not seem very impactful but cart abandonment emails and mobile optimization go a long way in turning one time shoppers into repeat customers.


You must really make your business stand out

Sometimes big discounts are not enough. Competitors are most likely offering that same discount. So what can you do? Email is experiential. Use it to your advantage and create something unique to your brand and product to stand out from the competition.

Be specific and to the point

Tell customers what the offer is right away so that you increase CTR and Conversion. Consumer’s attention spans are painfully short during the holiday season, so you’ll want to grab their attention right away.

Stay alert on your email efforts!

November is the single busiest month for email marketing, so you want to make sure your emails are as pure as the driven snow. Have your email marketing team on high patrol to see if anything is affecting your campaigns. Bad links, images not loading, responsive code not working are things that can adversely affect your campaigns and cost you valuable holiday sales. Let the data guide your path to more conversions so leave room for last-minute/quick changes in your strategy.

The holiday season is just as crazy for retailers as it is for shoppers. Retailers must offer large discounts to stay competitive while also dealing with an increased cost of sale. It’s a small wonder that retailers are able to generate any profits during this stressful time. Bargain hunting consumers’ attention spans are at an all time low and retailers must be concise and creative in their cart abandonment strategies to lure these customers back in. With so many options, cart abandonment emails are the perfect opportunity to re engage your customer and remind them why your brand is so great. The pandemonium of online holiday shopping is intense. To be successful, retailers must stand out from the noise, and effective cart abandonment strategies are one of the best ways to do just that.


Jenilynn is a freelance writer and editor for Rejoiner.com. She is originally from Boston, MA and is curious about the world of email marketing and everything inbox related.

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