Recently Listrak CEO Ross Kramer outlined ways to refresh and optimize your shopping cart abandonment campaigns in a blog post for iMedia Connection:

Now that the busy holiday season has passed and the new year has arrived, it’s a great time to consider refreshing triggered campaigns you may have put into “set and forget” mode in 2014. A great place to start is one of your highest-performing triggered campaigns - shopping cart recovery. We recently compiled some tips on how to make it work even harder:

1. Send Earlier

While you may never know why a particular cart is abandoned, it’s important to not to wait too long to reach back. Send the first message within three hours while the shopper is still contemplating the sale. Sometimes a gentle nudge is all that is needed. In 2014, 66.7% of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and 85.1% of Second 500 companies were sending the first message within 24 hours of the abandoned cart, with 24% of the Top 500 and 30.4% of the second 500 sending within one hour.

2. Send More Often

Shopping cart abandonment messages have some of the highest campaign conversion rates, with the average hovering between 20 and 25% for the first message. Adding more messages will simply bring in more sales while using very few resources. In 2014, of the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Second 500 companies that sent abandoned cart emails, 53.2% of the Top 500 and 60.9% of the Second 500 were sending more than one message. More impressively, 7% of the Top 500 and 7.5% of the Second 500 were sending four or more messages – increases of 169.2% and 59.6% over 2013, respectively. Check the conversion rate of each message, and as long as the last message in your series is generating a double digit rate, add another!

3. Get More Personal

Nothing shows stronger purchase intent than when a customer adds merchandise to an online cart. It tells you exactly what that customer is looking for at that exact moment. Your shopping cart remarketing messages should not only include images of the item(s) left in the cart to tempt the shopper into completing the purchase, but also ratings and reviews written by customers that purchased and love the item(s), as well as product recommendations based on products similar to the abandoned merchandise and on past purchases.

You can even take it a step further and create a Shopping Cart Nurturing campaign. This innovative and game-changing campaign combines a standard shopping cart remarketing campaign with an email nurturing campaign offering product recommendations. The nurturing emails include the cart merchandise as recommended products and are deployed on the days during the remarketing campaign when no emails are being sent. For example, if remarketing messages are sent two hours after the abandonment and again four and six days later, nurturing emails are sent on days two, three and five.

4. Stop Relying on Discounts

Relevant, timely messages don’t need a discount or special offer to work, and shopping cart recovery campaigns are some of the most relevant and timely messages – especially when personalized with customized product recommendations. There has been a steady decline in discounts offered in shopping cart abandonment campaigns. Only 18.1% of the Top 500 and 16.1% of the Second 500 companies offered a discount in the first remarketing message in 2014 – declining 39.3% and 50.1%, respectively, from 2013. Retailers are withholding offers in the second and third messages of their campaigns as well.

5. Offer More Buying Options

Remember, customers are using carts to hold merchandise they’re interested in as they contemplate the sale, so the message in your remarketing campaign should reflect this. If possible, ask customers if they want to purchase the item but pick it up in their local store or tell them that you’ll match other advertised prices. The more buying choices customers have, the more likely they’ll be to reconsider the purchase.

6. Do a Better Job of Acquiring Email Addresses

This isn’t a campaign update, but will transform your campaign performance. If you haven’t implemented a modal lightbox acquisition strategy, now is the time to do so. More retailers are using this tactic – 28.9% of the Top 500 (a 25.6% increase over 2013) and 29.5% of the Second 500 (a 77.7% increase over 2013) are currently collecting website visitors’ email addresses this way. The reason is simple – the more email addresses you have, the more customers you can reach back to when they abandon carts. In 2015, don’t just think about growing your list, think about increasing your reachability rate. You’ll be adding the right subscribers to your list and your email ROI will increase dramatically.

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