March 03, 2015

Email Marketing: What do customers think of cart abandonment remarketing?

SUMMARY: Leading up to Email Summit 2015, we asked the attendees and speakers what questions they would most like to ask customers.

One of the responses was — "Do customers like getting abandoned shopping cart emails? Do they act on them?"

So in January 2015, we fielded a survey of 2,057 American adults to get an answer to that question. Read this Chart of the Week article to see what we discovered.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

Of the 2,057 American adults surveyed, 1,762 had left an item in an online shopping cart. We asked that group:

Q. What are your views of reminder emails that tell you when you have an item in your online shopping cart that has not yet been purchased?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

Half of people who abandoned a shopping cart said reminder emails are helpful …

Marketing, ultimately, should be of service to a potential customer. In a capitalist economy, customers have choice, and sustainable marketing success is found in helping customers make the best decisions.

When it comes to shopping cart abandonment emails, half of people (51%) do find them helpful. Online shopping cart reminder emails were most popular with women aged 55 to 64, with 62% of that group considering these emails to be helpful.

… but more than a third find them annoying

That said, there is still a sizable group that does not like remarketing emails. More than a third (38%) considered the emails annoying. They were most disliked by students — 54% of this group found them annoying (keep in mind, the population surveyed were all over 18 years old, so these are college students).

For a small (but not insignificant) group (16%), they never act on these emails, find them annoying and wish brands would stop sending them. You also risk alienating 35 to 44 year-old women with cart abandonment emails — 23% said they are annoying and wish brands would stop sending them.

Do discounts in shopping cart abandonment emails improve conversion?

Now, for the second part of that question — conversion. It’s one thing if people like or dislike the emails, but do they encourage purchases? And do discounts have an effect?

Most people who found cart abandonment emails helpful did buy because of them, at least occasionally. Only 17% said they were helpful but do not influence purchasing decisions.

Discounts, it turns out, were a mixed bag. Sometimes they increased the likelihood of purchases and sometimes they decreased it:
  • 6% always purchase after receiving cart abandonment emails, while 7% always complete the purchase if the email includes a discount.

  • However, 12% occasionally complete the purchase after receiving reminder emails, but only 10% if the email included a discount.

  • Of those who found reminder emails annoying, only 4% occasionally purchase. However, that number doubles to 8% occasionally purchasing with a discount.

  • Discounts affected young men (18 to 34) the most; 16% of this group found the emails helpful and always purchased if the reminder emails included a discount.

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