I recently read an interesting “Times Wire” column about a start-up company that focuses specifically on shopping cart abandonment. The company, SeeWhy, is releasing a new service that will alert subscribers when a visitor on their Web site abandons a shopping cart, and then immediately follow up with an email designed to encourage the person to go back and complete the transaction.
The writer, Randall Stross, questions whether this tactic could alienate site visitors by making them feel like they can’t even visit a Web site without being hounded to make a purchase. And indeed, to avoid seeming like they’re watching site visitors too closely, many permission marketers wait a day or more before sending an email or otherwise nudging visitors about items left in their carts. But SeeWhy says waiting is a mistake. The company says there is a way to ask nicely, and contends that immediate remarketing produces a follow-up sale three times as often as sending a reminder a day later.
But you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. To find the best timing for your list, my recommendation as always is to test. In this case, you could maintain a control group, or random sample of your list that is excluded from the change you are testing. This enables you to compare the behavior of the test group vs. the control group to determine the precise effect of your change. The control group would get your usual cart abandonment follow-up, against which you would test your new follow-up tactic. To find out whether remarketing immediately would be profitable over the long-term, or whether it ultimately damages your customer relationships, you can compare the response of your test group vs. the control group over a period of months to get your answer.