Abandoned Cart Email Deliverability: Best & Worst Practices

January 21, 2020

It’s great having a polished cart abandonment strategy that gathers email addresses from across your website and uses them to send conversion-boosting recovery campaigns. But if your abandoned cart email deliverability means that not all of these emails are hitting the inbox of your prospective customers, then that time, effort, and expense are for nothing.

A whopping 78% of companies have email deliverability issues, meaning that, chances are, you’re part of this statistic, whether you know about it or not. If you’re lucky, your email might land in the spam folder, where the most diligent of your customers could venture, see, and rescue. If you’re not so lucky, then your email simply disappears into the web, never to be seen or heard from again. 

But, abandoned cart email deliverability isn’t a cause for upset or fear. When armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can benefit from clearer inboxes, more chances of your email being seen and opened, and even more scope to improve your ecommerce conversion rates. 

If you’re new to abandoned cart email campaigns, check out our three-part customer recovery series first. These three guides will arm you with all the essential knowledge for creating an abandoned cart email to be delivered in the first place, including:

  1. On-site campaigns for capturing leads and boosting conversions;
  2. Recovery campaigns for converting abandoned website visits; and
  3. Tools and tricks for boosting your results

If you’re already experienced in creating the perfect customer recovery campaign, then let’s see about getting those emails delivered. 

Why Email Deliverability Matters

In regards to abandoned cart emails, your aim for deliverability is to get your recovery emails past the spam filter, bulk mail folder, and ISP blocker, and successfully into a customer’s inbox.

While this might sound easy (because you’re not spam), it’s harder than it looks. Email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo are continually tightening their belts when it comes to unsolicited emails. They want their customers to have clean, clear, and informative inboxes and, accordingly, are erring on the side of caution. 

As we’ve briefly mentioned, this is a good thing. Clearer inboxes mean that potential customers are more likely to spot your email, classify it as something they need to read, and accordingly open it. Not only this, but Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo’s deemed inbox-worthiness of your email can also translate into the perceived trust of your brand and email content. 

To benefit from this, you need to ensure that you adopt the best practices and avoid the worst practices for getting your email delivered. 

Abandoned Cart Email Deliverability Best Practices

There are six main abandoned cart email deliverability best practices that we recommend to CartStack users. These are:

1. Knowing your current performance

First, it’s necessary to know how many of your emails are making it into the inbox. The three main factors affecting email deliverability are:

  1. Complaints – people marking your emails as spam
  2. Bounces – emails being returned by the server because the address is inactive or you’re email address has been blocked
  3. Engagement – a low number of opens and clicks. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor your spam, bounce, and open rates regularly. Ideally, you want to aim for a bounce and spam rate not exceeding 3% or 0.08%, respectively, and a deliverability rate of 95% or higher. 

email deliverability cartstack open clickthrough rates

2. Ensuring that your domain names match up

One of the biggest impacts we see on deliverability is domain name consistency. This means ensuring that the same domain is used for the ‘from’ email, the delivery server, and any links in the email itself. For example:

From: info@cartstack.com

Delivered by: cartstack.com

Linking to: cartstack.com/tour/

This is one of the first and most important things that ESPs (email service providers) will look for in deciding whether your email is received by the server to begin with – making it incredibly important. Plus, not only does domain name consistency increase your chances of email deliverability, but it also looks professional, reinforces your brand, and makes sense. 

3. Doing a custom domain setup

“But what about CartStack emails!?” we hear you cry. You’re right – when using CartStack, your abandoned cart emails are sent from our cartstack.com domain by default. However, they don’t have to be. We recommend that you do a custom domain set up, to ensure that cart and browse abandonment emails come from your own domain to overcome any potential deliverability issues that may result. 

4. Using an honest and relevant subject line

You know the importance of a great subject line for getting an email opened, but do you know the importance of ensuring that your subject line is honest and relevant? While a subject line promising deals and discounts might sound like a great way to increase your click rate, it’s vitally important that the follow-up content relates to what you’ve promised and delivers what you’ve promised. If not, your email will likely be reported. 

For help in creating a subject line that is interesting, relevant, and click-worthy, check out our top abandoned cart subject lines that get 40-70% open rates

5. Making it easy to say goodbye

Of course, you don’t want potential customers to unsubscribe from your emails, but making it impossible to unsubscribe only ends in bad news and labeling as spam. While emails sent via CartStack have an unsubscribed link included at the bottom automatically, it’s good practice to go one step further. You can do this by adding an email address and phone number to your email, making it easy for customers to contact you if they’re experiencing difficulties. 

6. Delivering value

And the best of the best practices is delivering value. The more clicks, opens, and conversions your emails generate, the more likely that email service providers will mark you as one of the good guys. You can achieve this by:

  • Including relevant content by segmenting your audience into the correct abandonment campaigns;
  • Using clear and enticing calls to action; and
  • Including links to products or information of interest to the recipient. 

Abandoned Cart Email Deliverability Worst Practices

And now over to the naughty list. In addition to these top six best practices, there are also six  worst practices for decreasing the deliverability of your abandoned cart emails. These include:

1. Using a free email provider domain

The best things in life are free, except for when it comes to your business email address. ESPs such as Gmail and Yahoo automatically mark as spam, any commercial or bulk emails sent to an email at their domain, from an email at their domain. Why? Because it’s a common technique used for phishing scams and other cyber attacks. Instead, take the time to set up an official company email address clearly linked to your company website. 

2. Avoiding ‘spammy’ words

If it looks like spam, then it probably is spam. That’s why certain words, phrases, and symbols will automatically trigger the spam filter when included in an email’s subject line or content. Avoid writing in ALL CAPITALS, ToGgLeD CaPiTaLs, excessive punctuation (!!!), symbols ($$$), red font, or using common spam words (hot!)

This list from HubSpot is a great place to start with researching trigger words and phrases, with surprising entries such as  “discount”, “free”, and “incredible deal” all featuring. 

3. Going image-heavy

Back in the day, a common way to avoid keyword spam filters was sending emails with a high image-to-text ratio or with one single image. Luckily, spam filters have since advanced and will now send emails using an excessive amount of images, or particularly large ones, straight to the junk folder. Instead, balance the copy and images in your emails and use alt text to overcome any images not rendering correctly.  

4. Going content-heavy

In the same vein, while sending someone a list of the 20 items they were looking at may appear a great way to re-ignite interest, it can actually make it difficult for ESPs to render your email, not to mention inducing your shopper with decision paralysis

At best, this results in a clipped email that the customer may or may not click on to read the rest of. But more than likely, this email will head straight for the junk folder. Instead, deliver quality content, not quantity, by using on-site behavioral tracking to determine exactly which items your customer seems the most interested in.

5. Using URL shorteners

But, when reducing your content, don’t fall for a URL shortener. URL shorteners are commonly used by spammers to disguise dodgy URLs as something more credible. Accordingly, spam filters don’t like them, even if the shortened link is legitimate. Avoid this by using hyperlinks instead and ensuring that you only link to credible domains, or even better, the domain you’re using to send the email from. 

6. Spamming

And finally, the most obvious bad practice of them all: spamming. If someone visits your website and you use CartStack as recommended, to send three useful reminder emails over the space of a week, and then send them over to your CRM system for inclusion in ad hoc marketing campaigns – that’s great. If, on the other hand, someone visits your website and you send them an excessive amount of reminder emails over a sustained period – that’s spam. Don’t risk it. 

And, the Best Practice of Them All…

The very best way to enhance email deliverability is by getting your contacts to add you to their contact list. And the best way to do this is by using on-site campaigns that make customers want to hear from you – either because they’ve bought a product, signed up to your newsletter, used the Send My Cart function, or requested a discount code. 

If you’d like to know more about how CartStack can help you be a welcomed sight in the inbox, sign up for a free trial now (and don’t forget to add us to your contact list!)