Shopping Cart Reminder Emails: Helpful or Annoying?

October 9, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Retail & E-Commerce

Bronto-Online-Shoppers-Attitudes-to-Cart-Reminder-Emails-Oct2013.xlsMore top retailers are sending shopping cart recovery emails, according to recent research, but how do shoppers feel about these emails? New survey data [download page] released by Bronto and Magento suggests that online shoppers are more likely to find these emails helpful than annoying or intrusive. But, the picture changes when sorting by frequency of online shopping, with infrequent shoppers less positive towards the reminders. That may have something to do with their expectations.

Respondents were asked if they expect to receive reminder emails after they abandon a shopping cart before making a purchase. Fully two-thirds of infrequent shoppers (those who shop online less than once a month) did not expect to get any type of reminder email, a figure which dropped to 51% of occasional shoppers (every couple of weeks/at least monthly) and just 35% of frequent shoppers (daily or weekly).

Frequent shoppers – most of whom expect a cart reminder email – are more likely to agree that notifications reminding them about items in their shopping cart are helpful (59%) rather than annoying (31%) or intrusive (26%). Those feelings hold true with occasional shoppers, among whom 51% agreed that the emails are helpful, compared to 29% seeing them as annoying and 23% as intrusive.

But among infrequent shoppers – of whom just a minority expect to receive such an email – 37% find them annoying and 29% intrusive, compared to 35% viewing them as helpful.

It stands to reason that the shoppers most apt to view these emails as annoying are also the least likely to act on them. The study results indicate that 45% of infrequent shoppers are likely to do nothing after receiving such a notification. By comparison, 70% of occasional shoppers believe they’re likely to return to the site on the basis of a reminder email, as are 76% of frequent shoppers. In fact, almost 4 in 10 frequent shoppers said they would be likely to complete their order after receiving a cart reminder email.

The researchers make the point that “abandoned cart reminders are not a one-size-fits-all email,” pointing to results showing that the most persuasive content elements of these emails vary by shopping frequency of respondents. Among frequent shoppers, a leading 34% said they would be more likely to return to the site to purchase if the notification included their order total. For occasional shoppers, emails that call out savings and coupon amounts are the most influential (with 47% believing they’d be more likely to complete an order), while for infrequent shoppers, a leading 29% would be more likely to buy if they received an email providing them with an alternative way to complete their order.

About the Data: Bronto Software and Magento partnered with Ipsos to survey online shoppers about their interactions with online shopping carts, cart abandonment and post-abandonment reminder emails. The study was conducted in August 2013 and consisted of 1,003 consumers in the United States who shopped online within the past 12 months. Respondents who had not made a purchase online were excluded from the study and are not included in the sample size or resulting analysis.

Frequent shoppers comprised 25% of the sample; occasional shoppers 40%; and infrequent shoppers 34%.

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