October 30, 2012
Case Study

Online Cart Abandonment: 12% lift in captured revenue through customer service-focused email remarketing campaign

SUMMARY: Revenue lost at the eleventh hour is a consistent frustration. So close to a conversion, what went wrong? Not only can the sales still be reclaimed, but those customers can give insight into potential issues with the online checkout process.

Southwestern outfitters Boot Barn created a three-fold email campaign to remarket to customers who quit along the purchase path. Learn the steps that resulted in a 12% lift in captured revenue.
by Courtney Eckerle, Reporter


Southwestern outfitters Boot Barn faced an issue of lost revenue due to cart abandonment. These customers expressed a high interest in the product, but for some reason were diverted before conversion. Many factors -- from every day distractions to a competitor’s product to site difficulties -- can cause a potential buyer to abandon mid-purchase.

Boot Barn began setting up a system that would "invite people to come back and complete their order on items that they might have forgotten or left behind in their cart," said Lisa Mann, E-commerce Marketing Manager, Boot Barn. The company's goal for the effort was to "have a program that was really easy to manage for inviting people to come back, and hopefully complete the checkout process."

Boot Barn needed a system to easily send emails that would entice consumers who had failed to complete their order without relying on discounts or incentives.


The effort had three different emails sent out over the space of one week. The focus of the remarketing effort encouraged transaction completion by focusing on customer service, with the three emails relying on brand reassurance rather than incentives.

With the emails focused on customer service, it opened up a dialogue between Boot Barn and its customers by requesting feedback if the customer had encountered an issue, technical or otherwise. It also highlighted information to quickly get customers in touch with a service representative either by phone or email.

Step 1. Capture email addresses

One of the top challenges Boot Barn faced when it began, according to Mann, was that it only had a small fraction of captured email addresses compared to abandoned carts.

"There are a large number of abandoned carts, and were only so many people we had email addresses for," said Mann.

One way Boot Barn tracked customers who abandon carts is through its registered users. Those who sign into their accounts receive tracking cookies on their computers. Those cookies associate these visitors with their email addresses, and they will receive a triggered email from the campaign if they abandon a shopping cart.

The other aspect was getting the email address in the checkout process before they abandoned the cart.

"Unfortunately, the email capture was farther down in the checkout process," Mann said, an aspect the team recognized as an impediment to its goals, and is currently resolving. "What we did to quickly fix this issue was to add a pixel to our promotional marketing emails. This allowed us to capture more email addresses at site entry that we can remarket to."

If a nonregistered customer left the checkout process prior to submitting an email address, Boot Barn was able to match up the consumer’s data captured via a pixel placed in a link inside a promotional email. This allowed Boot Barn to remarket to people even if they abandoned the process before the email submission step.

Step 2. Create an email template

Templates were created using dynamic content that included an image of the product abandoned, product name, customer name and more. When designing its emails, Boot Barn used tactics such as:
  • Showing an item left in the cart

  • Having less imagery, more text

  • A different and specific strategy for each email

"The dynamic pieces we used were an item from their cart and then the product name," Mann said. In the future, dynamic pieces the team will be testing include a section notifying the customer they qualify for free shipping if their cart is over a certain dollar amount.

Step 3. Create remarketing email series

"The program allows us to set up up to three emails with different messages in each. We chose to make sure these emails were structured differently from the look and feel of our promotional emails, and focused on a specific message in each one to help convert the abandoned cart into a sale. It is a simple process to set up, and because there are dynamic component pieces in the email, it doesn’t need to be constantly managed," said Mann.

She added that they do continue to go back and evaluate the creative aspects, as well as the message and incentives to increase conversion and seek the right formula for Boot Barn’s customers.

Email #1

The first email strategy, according to Mann, was specifically geared toward customer service and to find out if any technical issues had occurred during the transaction.

This strategy opened up a dialogue that would allow the company to "get some insights on customers interacting with the site, encourage them to call customer service, and let [Boot Barn] know why they didn’t complete their order. This helps us evaluate how we can make a better customer experience online," said Mann.

Here is the first email's opening line: "Howdy [customer’s name] Oops! Was there a problem?"

It then lists the ways to get in contact with customer service, via either email or phone, and displays the name and picture of an item left in the customer’s cart with a "view cart" button. It also assures the customer that the items will be saved in the cart for another week.

The first email was triggered 20 minutes after the cart was abandoned, and received an open rate of 46.04%, the highest of the three.

Email #2

The second email strategy focused on highlighting why the customer should buy from Boot Barn, "emphasizing trust factors that set us apart," Mann said.

The opening greeting thanked the customer for visiting BootBarn.com and, like the first email, apologized if there were any technical problems that held up the order.

Next to a graphic of the item that was abandoned, the largest section of the email focused on the reasons to complete the purchase with Boot Barn. The company’s 60-day return policy, free shipping options, as well as secure shopping were highlighted and detailed.

This email had a trigger time of 23 hours after the cart was abandoned, and received a 40.04% email open rate.

Email #3

The final email was a call-to-action warning that it was the customer’s final chance to retrieve saved items and complete their purchase.

It opened with the phrase, "You still have time!" It reiterated that the item was still in the cart, and the main graphic shown was a clickthrough to view the cart on the website.

The final email reiterated the free shipping options and the avenues to contact customer service. It also informed the customer that this was the last email reminder that would be sent.

The final email had a trigger time of one week after the cart was abandoned, and received a 27.54% email open rate.


"Honestly, it’s an untapped resource if you’re just letting people leave your site," Mann said. "I think it’s great to be able to engage our customers not only through our traditional marketing emails, [but] to reach out to them with a customized message [as well] … encouraging them to come back and check out what we saved for them in their cart. This program is a great way to remind them that they liked something enough to add it to their cart, and nudge them to complete that transaction."

She also cites the ease with which the company has been able to implement this automated effort, and adjust it going forward by "not having to constantly manage it." One thing they are adjusting for future results is to increase their clickthrough rates -- the current rates are listed below.

Mann said this campaign has also emphasized the importance of inviting and re-engaging customers who are already familiar with the brand.

"We did implement retargeting ads on top of our abandon cart campaign for visitors who have left our site. We will constantly evaluate new ways of re-engaging our customers that come to our site and … already know who we are and invite them to come back," said Mann.

Here are the average metrics for each of the emails:

Email #1 (sent 20 minute after cart abandonment)
  • Open rate of 46.04%

  • Clickthrough rate of 6.30%

Email #2 (sent 23 hours after cart abandonment)
  • Open rate of 40.35%

  • Clickthrough rate of 9.79%

Email #3 (sent one week after cart abandonment)
  • Open rate of 27.54%

  • Clickthrough rate of 10.32%

The campaign generated a 12% lift in captured revenue.

Creative Samples

  1. Email #1

  2. Email #2

  3. Email #3


Boot Barn

SeeWhy – Boot Barn’s website conversion vendor

BlueHornet – Boot Barn’s email marketing vendor

Related Resources

Email Marketing: Reclaim abandoned shopping carts with triggered ‘remarketing’ emails

E-commerce: How long should a shopping cart be? (via MarketingExperiments)

Shopping Cart Recovery: Triggered emails recapture 29% of abandoned carts

E-commerce Testing: Redesigned order page, shortened shopping cart drive 13.9% lift in conversion (via MarketingExperiments)

E-commerce Email Relevance: 10% more revenue from 3 personalization tactics

E-commerce: When should you reveal the price in your shopping carts? (via MarketingExperiments)

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