December 07, 2016
Case Study

Email Marketing: Boston Proper increased conversion 13% by implementing cart and browse abandonment campaigns


With inventory that stays on-trend, it’s important for Boston Proper customers to buy now, instead of later. To help people keep favorite items top of mind, the marketing team decided to revamp the cart abandonment email and add a browse abandonment email.

Read below how they were able to increase conversion by 13% and increase last-click revenue by 81%.

by Courtney Eckerle, Senior Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa


At Boston Proper, customers tend to be “fashionable women … they’re fearless, they’re independent, they’re strong and they love playing with fashion,” said Shauna Graham, Digital Marketing Manager, Boston Proper. 

Those women tend to be between the ages of 35 and 65, but “we don't really like putting an age limit,” she said, adding that they’re women who really can’t be put into a box.  

Boston Proper offers unique individual items for these women, that can’t be found anywhere else.

“We try to curate each collection so that women always have a reason to come back. There's something unique and different about our styles, and we're not afraid to be sexy,” she said.


Graham and her team wanted to infuse the email program with that same level of intrigue that would keep the women of Boston Proper coming back time and again.

Previously, the team had a cart abandonment campaign in place with a different vendor, and they weren’t happy with the results they were getting.

“It was the strategy behind the send. We were really limited with this particular vendor on what we could and couldn't do in terms of talking to the customer,” she said.

In realizing that they needed to explore additional options, the team also found that the abandoned cart campaign was flat year over year and not improving.

“It was just really chugging along at minimal effort. When we decided to speak to the vendor about it and see what opportunities lay ahead, we were basically maxed out at what we could do with them,” she said.

The team began exploring opportunities with other vendors and discovered one that offered all of the background technology needed to speak to “her” — the Boston Proper customer — in an intelligent, more efficient way. By elevating the conversation, they could leverage the cart abandonment campaign fully.


The team now had “the ability to pull the data, to understand what she did and the frequency [with which] we could talk to her,” Graham said.

With that ability, the team’s goals were to increase conversion rates and decrease abandon cart numbers by focusing on the cart abandonment emails.

Step #1. Review issues with the previous campaign

Previously, the cart abandonment email was a basic, one-time email deployed as a batch email 48-hours after abandonment occurred.

“It was very old school. When we started implementation with [the new vendor], they … gave us best practices, how it should look, how it should talk to customers, and how many items to include in the email,” Graham said.

The biggest change to the emails was the frequency. It was decided that the previous email wasn’t a fast enough touchpoint to the customer. So it went from one email sent two days after the abandonment, to two emails.

By making these changes, Boston Proper was hoping to see abandon cart rates drop and a boost in email conversion rates using this additional touch. Over the first two months, Graham estimated the abandonment rate dropped between 1-2%.

Step #2. Implement strategy for new campaign

“You see one of our black strapless dresses, and you absolutely love it, and you put it into your shopping cart, and then … [maybe you] get buyer's remorse,” Graham said.

Then, the customer might just leave it in the cart while they go off and do something else. But one hour after that abandonment, at the top of the hour — “if you [abandoned] at 1:10, at 2:00 you'd get an email from us with that dress,” she said — the customer gets an email.

Cart Abandonment email

The first cart abandonment email encourages the shopper to “look again” because Boston Proper keeps limited inventory and only purchases merchandise to stock for 30-day periods.

“We have new campaigns that come out every 30 days, every 20 days. We're more of a boutique. If you like something, buy it because … items sell fast,” she said.

If the customer doesn’t click through on that email, another one is sent 25 hours after the first email.

“We waited to add the two-part series on. So we made sure that the first part was working. That was really our test. When the numbers came in, and they were so overwhelmingly in favor of this campaign, we were double industry benchmarks with this campaign,” Graham said.

There is lower conversion on the second send, she said, because “we’re catching so many people in the first [drip], but it helps us to gather that second round.”

The second email has slightly different copy, she added, but essentially just reiterates the initial message encouraging the customer to buy the product before it’s too late.

Step #3. Implement browse abandon send

After the success of the cart abandonment series, the team decided to implement a browse abandonment campaign.

In order to qualify for the browse abandonment email, a customer had to either be logged into the site or not cleared her browser cookies and browsed the same item at least twice during the same session.

“Once we realized how well the cart was working, we decided to add an abandon browse,” Graham said. “It’s not as easy to get the email sent to you, but we want it like that because again, you don't want to be bombarding [the customer] with email after email after email.”

Browse Abandonment email

The email used the “look again” headline again, asked customers to complete their order, and showed one to three products they browsed previously.

“If you looked at that black strapless dress […] then you went off to look at a pair of jeans, and then you came back and looked at that black strapless dress, and then you left the site altogether, we would then send you an abandoned browse email,” she said.


“Having the ability to be more strategic with our thought process and how we talk to [customers] … has given us the ability to really improve conversion,” Graham said.

The team saw an increase in email marketing revenue to earn an average of $5.66 per email, with the additional results of:

  • Increased reach by 24%
  • Increased conversion by 13%
  • Increased last-click revenue by 81%

In the future, Graham said, the team will probably add a “Back in Stock” email to help customers who have signed up to be alerted about backordered items. Also, a mop up campaign for sales that will allow them to put out a one-time send to any customer who had browsed the site during a sale.

“We wanted to let it live out for at least a year, see what happens, making sure there [weren’t] any blips in the email and [that] it wasn't just beginner's luck … Now for the new year, we'll look at testing to see what works better,” she said.

Creative Samples

  1. Cart abandonment email
  2. Browse abandonment email


Boston Proper


Related Resources

Email Marketing: How a U.K. toy company used behavioral marketing to triple email revenue and increase returning shoppers by 60%

Email Marketing: Template test drives double-digit increases for Dell

Email Marketing: 5 actionable tips and tactics from your peers at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016

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