Oversights you’re making with your cart abandonment emails

Our Senior Strategist Fawn Young is back again to drop some knowledge on you about abandoned cart campaigns and why it’s always important to check in on your marketing automation.

Abandoned cart emails are big revenue drivers. They are typically automated campaigns that once setup can run well on their own via automation. However, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to never check in on them.  Case in point, this abandoned cart email from Lands’ End.

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It looks ok at a glance, right? Well, this message is actually a great example of the importance of checking in on automated campaigns periodically to make sure that all images are rendering, all triggers are working and basic best practices are being employed.

This message arrived in my inbox about 24 hours after I abandoned my cart. From a best practice standpoint ideally the first abandoned cart message would be triggered within an hour of abandonment. Typically the second message in an abandoned cart series would be triggered at the 24 hour point after abandonment.

In addition to timing, some basic best practices are being missed with this email. For starters, the subject line and preheader text are very disconnected.  The subject line is “Your cart is ready for checkout” and the preheader text reads: “We thought so. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.”

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Preheader text should be treated as an extension of the subject line and really compliment whatever is being mentioned within the subject line. The disconnect between the two in this message leads me to believe that they may have changed the subject line from what it originally was, but failed to ensure that the preheader text worked with the new subject line.  

Additionally, preheader text should always be clickable. This can help boost click thru rates. Unfortunately the preheader text in this message is not clickable. Ideally for an abandonment email, it would link directly back to the cart.

Within the body of this message it’s reminding me that I left something behind and letting me know if I have questions, let them know how they can help. However, they aren’t providing customer service contact info anywhere within the message. What is the preferred method to contact them? They are leaving it up to the customer to figure it out and that would take some digging since no customer service phone number or email address is featured anywhere within this email. To remedy this, Lands’ End could highlight their customer service contact info in the header area of this message. This could help eliminate frustration that a customer may run into when trying to locate that contact information if needed.

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Now, as far as the product they feature in this email, the actual dress left in the cart looks different than the one that is pictured in the abandonment email. Here is the cart:


That’s a little hard to see, so here’s a close-up:


While the dress that is featured in the abandonment email is the same style as the one I carted, it’s not the same print. I personally don’t like the print they featured in the abandonment email, so it doesn’t speak to me near as much as it would if they had featured the actual print I abandoned.  There’s no telling how many products they have abandonment emails going out for that are displaying the default product SKU, but not the variant originally added to the cart. This is a missed opportunity that should be addressed so that these emails can be as personalized as possible in order to drive the most revenue.

Another user experience issue happens when I view the web version of this email. To my surprise, the abandoned item completely disappears, however the “Here’s what you left in your shopping bag: (Click any item below to view and check out.)” verbiage is still visible.  This makes for a strange customer experience for anyone who clicks to view the online version.  

Here’s what the email looks like when I click to view the web version:


Simple oversights like the ones I’ve pointed out in this Lands’ End email could easily be avoided by simply auditing automated campaigns from time to time. It is imperative that retailers take a look at any automated campaigns at least once per quarter to ensure that simple best practices are not being overlooked.

I personally love Lands’ End products and their emails, so I was surprised to see so many missed opportunities with their abandoned cart message. I’m sure that these emails perform well for Lands’ End, but imagine how much better they could perform if some simple tweaks were made.


Also check out The Only Email Marketing Checklist You’ll Ever Need and Integrating Email Marketing With Google Analytics.

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