June 04, 2013
Case Study

Funnel Abandonment: Shirtmagic brings 14% of customers back to their website with simple reminder email

SUMMARY: Consumers live in a multi-device world. From desktop to mobile to tablet to laptop, marketers must be able to reach their customers across all devices throughout the buying process.

In this case study, learn how online custom apparel company Shirtmagic stays in the mind of consumers while encouraging them to return to the site to purchase their project.

by Courtney Eckerle, Reporter


Shirtmagic provides people with the ability to design and order their own shirts. Everything is produced in South Carolina and then shipped nationally.

The company's marketing challenge is something many e-commerce and lead generation marketers with a multi-step form or complex sales process that requires several interactions face: losing customers in the funnel before conversion. This challenge was magnified for Shirtmagic since customers rarely proceed swiftly to the checkout with their items. After all, customized apparel is a creative outlet.

"We're not something where somebody comes, simply picks out one item, adds it to their cart and checks out," said Todd Kriney, President, Shirtmagic.

"A lot of times people will come back, they'll save their design, and want to come back and tweak it again. They'll do that in multiple iterations before they finally come back to purchase," he added.

When the team realized they were leaving a lot of money on the table with customers who began projects but then never returned to the site to complete their purchase, Shirtmagic's objective immediately became reaching out to these prospects.

Whether the customer simply forgot about a project, or they had begun it earlier on a different device, Shirtmagic wanted to make completing their project and purchase as simple as possible.

Sometimes the solution to funnel abandonment is as simple as reminding potential customers that they are in a funnel to begin with. In this MarketingSherpa case study, we'll show you how Shirtmagic overcame these abandonment challenges with a simple triggered emails to give you ideas to help keep your customers moving through your funnel.


This campaign was not shopping cart abandonment, Kriney emphasized. Since most, if not all, of their customers will make multiple visits to the site before ever even making it to a cart, it is important to keep them motivated to move along the purchase path.

"I call it design abandonment — it's saved design, before the shopping cart," he said.

Shirtmagic's goal in this campaign was to keep customers interested in their product, and remind them that "they have that saved design, and they can always come back and edit it, change it or re-order it," Kriney said.

To accomplish this, their team set up an email to be sent out to customers who had saved designs on the website, but had yet to purchase.

The emails made customers a discount offer if they clicked through and completed the purchase, and also served as a place where people could access their accounts from any device.

"A lot of our customers invest a lot of time before purchase, so to try to keep them coming back was the goal," Kriney said.

Step #1. Decide when website interactions should require a log-in

Previous to this campaign, customers' email addresses would only be captured during checkout, so Shirtmagic had to make some "tweaks" to make sure they could reach consumers who had saved designs on the website.

"We were getting [customer emails] when they went to the cart, but we weren't getting it necessarily when they were saving designs … so it's a balance of barrier to entry," Kriney said.

They didn't want to move up to asking for the data too early, he added, "because we don't want to scare them away from designing … but I think we had to move it up a little earlier."

So, the balance that was struck was consumers could enter the site and begin designing their product without giving over an email address, but if they want to save their design, they must enter their email address into a profile.

Step #2. Know when to shut off trigger-based email sends

"The biggest hurdle that we had to come over, is obviously if you came in, designed it, saved it and bought it before we sent out the first email, we want to take you off that list," Kriney said. "Because obviously, you don't want to get an email reminding you about a saved design that you've already bought."

So it was important to remove those people from the list that had purchased in between saving their design and the email being sent out.

"Obviously, if somebody's already bought it, the last thing you want to do is four hours later have them get an email that says, 'if you buy it now, save,'" he said. "I think my customer service reps are happy we didn't send those."

Their goal with timing from the outset was to not barrage customers with emails, because Kriney believed sending the updates too often, or for an extended period of time would upset subscribers who weren't going to convert on that project anyways.

They decided on a frequency of one email going out 24 hours after the design was saved, to give Shirtmagic enough time to remove the name if the customer had already purchased.

Step #3. Offer incentive and information to re-engage customers

The email is sent out with the subject line, “Save 20% On Your Saved Shirt Design,” meant to catch the attention of users while also encouraging them to come back and complete their project.

The email greets consumers with "Your design is saved with Shirtmagic.com!" and goes on to assure them that they can continue creating their shirt at any time, and ordering within the next three days will save them 20%.

Below that is a customer service prompt listing email, live chat or phone as options if the person needs help finishing their project. Lastly listed is "If you forgot your login info, here are the details to access your saved design," with the design name and password for reference.

"It goes out and reminds those people — it sends them not only a picture of the design that they saved, but their URL to sign in, and their username," Kriney said.

Not only does this remind customers that their design is waiting for them to complete, but Kriney said this eases the path to purchase for the many customers will switch devices during the design process.

"So if they start the design at work, and they want to finish it at home, at least they can go to their email and find it," he said. "We basically say that it will be here, and we save it for up to a year."


"The fact that we have a multi-visit buying cycle [means] we're rarely getting somebody who comes and buys that day. Most people will come, play with the design … they might want to send it to somebody else … by offering that feature, it just makes it easier for the customer to buy."

The results for Shirtmagic's email were:
  • A 23% open rate

  • A 14% clickthrough rate

"My big picture takeaway is making it easy for your customers. I never really thought of email in that regard," Kriney said. "Trying to utilize email to make it as easy as possible for a customer to stay in the buying cycle."

Creative Sample

  1. Shirtmagic design save email



Emailvision — Shirtmagic's vendor

Related Resources

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

Email Marketing: Reclaim abandoned shopping carts with triggered 'remarketing' emails

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

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