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What Is The Best Time To Send Abandoned Cart Emails

What Is The Best Time To Send Abandoned Cart Emails


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Abandoned cart email campaigns are one of the most valuable and effective forms of email marketing today. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to recover online sales and re-engage customers who abandon their baskets online but the main success hinges on the abandoned cart email timing. 

According to SaleCycle data, 81.01% of shopping carts were abandoned in 2020, presenting a huge opportunity for ecommerce retailers to save a mass amount of revenue. 

How to write abandoned cart emails is one thing, but there’s also the dilemma of the best time to send abandoned cart emails.

Your customers should receive your cart abandonment email while their purchase intent is still high. Should they still be considering their options a polite email reminder or SMS abandoned cart message could help convert.

Online buying habits can give you a better guidepost when it comes to choosing an abandoned cart email timing. Providing a nudge at the right moment can help influence the customer to return to the purchase. Traditionally, low average order value items generally take less time for the customer to consider and can be quickly forgotten. 

Whereas higher value purchases tend to take more consideration. Take consumer fashion and luxury fashion for example. According to SaleCycle online conversion rate from email marketing in luxury was 26.61% whereas conversion rate in the consumer category was 31.81% – SaleCycle 2021 Fashion Stats & Trends Report. 

Abandoned Cart Email Multi-Cycles 

There’s plenty of competition in customer’s email inboxes, there’s also a limited amount of time you have to gain the customer’s attention. Using a multi-cycle email strategy you are able to boost your conversion rates. For example, sending messages 1 hour, 24 hours and 72 hours after an abandonment can increase your campaign performance by up to 30%. This way you get three chances at hitting the best time to send a cart abandonment email. 

Why? Because your messaging will arrive to the customer within a timely fashion, when they still have high intent and your emails have a better chance of being opened at different times. Customer’s abandon for many reasons we don’t know such as the delivery man ringing the doorbell so revisiting their purchase intent is a great way to recover online sales.

Abandoned Cart Emails During High Traffic Periods  

The busiest retail days of the week means there will be higher amounts of online shoppers browsing your website. Browse abandonment and other types of abandonment will happen but understanding when the busiest times of the week, month and year happens will enable marketers to develop well-timed, multi-cycle abandonment email strategies. For example, Black Friday ecommerce sales is the highest online sales period of the year. 

Online Traffic Trends by Month in 2020

Abandoned Cart Email Timing

It’s important to find out the best time to send abandoned cart emails. Employing a multi-cycle strategy can help you time your emails better and get the most out of your campaigns.

Let’s say the multi-cycle emails are in groups of three. The first email you send should be within an hour of abandonment. For example, PrettyLittleThing sends a first cycle email just 30 minutes after abandonment.

 Capturing the customer’s attention between the abandonment and the first email can provide a healthy reminder about their possible purchase. This is powerful because their buying intent is still high. Any longer than an hour and you could miss that vital opportunity to a competitor.

Pretty Little Thing cart recovery email

The travel industry has the highest abandonment rates and usually has high average order values.

Take a look at some of the reasons people abandon their travel bookings:

Reasons For Cart Abandonment In Travel

The majority of abandonment reasons lead the customer to look at competitors. But mainly, the reasons for abandonment are actually unknown. 

Sending your email 10 minutes later could be striking while the iron is cold – they have other things on their mind and aren’t ready to reconsider just yet.

However, it’s important to strike when the intent is still high but also while the customer isn’t as engaged with other competitors, which is why we recommend the first email to be sent after an hour.

Also, make sure to benchmark correctly because the travel sector has a much higher average order value (AOV) than other sectors like fashion and retail. 

  • Travel AOV: £731.92 
  • Fashion AOV: £266.17
  • Retail AOV: £231.37

Higher AOV means there will be a much longer consideration process, such as looking at competitors, comparing products, discussing with friends and family and more. As this is a longer process, sending abandonment emails in cycles will ensure you connect with the customer all the way though. The key is to stay connected right the way along the process. 

Test Different Cart Abandonment Email Timings

Pro Direct Soccer US decided to do a split test on their first cycle emails. Originally they were emailing an hour after abandonment, but tested this against three other variables:

  • 45 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • >1 hour 30 minutes

The group who received their emails after 30 minutes saw an uplift in conversions of 19%, so the change was implemented in their campaign. This small test had a huge impact, which shows the power of multi-cycle abandonment campaigns.

Pro Direct Cart Abandonment Email Example

If the customer has not purchased, they will receive the second email in the cycle. This puts your brand back to the top of the customer’s mind and back to the top of their inbox. The second email could also include a graphic, some dynamic content, or a selection of product reviews to help push the customer towards the purchase.  

A common time to send second cycle emails is 24 hours after they first abandoned. But shoppers can be creatures of habit, and most days we all follow similar routines.

An example of how to use this to your advantage is to think about lunch breaks. If you’re shopping online on your lunch break one day, you don’t want to be reminded of it at the end of your lunch break the next day.

Why not have it waiting for your customer for when they start their lunch break and they have free time? The same applies for browsing on a morning, on a night or break times – any time where people have the opportunity to engage and become more responsive.

We ran a split test with Tommy Hilfiger on their 2nd cycle time. Originally they were sending the email 24 hours after visitors first abandoned, and the test was to try 22 hours after abandonment. This test led to a 52% uplift in open rates. 

Tommy Hilfiger Abandoned Cart Email Example

In Summary, When Is The Best Time To Send Cart Abandonment Emails? 

The answer is twofold. Firstly, retailers must understand their customers’ behaviour and track their abandonments, and understand when their online traffic and sales peak. 

Then you can introduce a multi-cycle abandonment campaign to reach your customers at different points in their day. 

And finally, use 1 hour, 24 hours and 72 hours in your cycles. After this you can test on top of the campaign. Test different times, different types of email content like subject lines, images and dynamic content and you can even test the amount of cycles. 

Record your results and after your testing double down on your top results. SaleCycle tests all elements in basket abandonment emails, including images, subject lines and send times to find the best performing version. We have a range of case studies including the likes of New Era, Pretty Little Thing, Puma and many more to show our results. 

Reviewed by Brad Ward
Written by Brad Ward
— Updated on 28/10/2021

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Brad Ward

Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.