Unlocking Hidden Revenue: Why Abandoned Cart Strategies Should Include Upselling


Allene Yue

Let’s pick a random customer of yours who’s already made it to the acquisition stage of the customer journey. At this point, the products are already secured in her cart. It seems like there’s nothing to worry about on your side. Just lay back, relax, and — wait what? Why didn’t she check out? Weeks pass by, only for her cart to remain untouched.

Now, pick 10 random customers who have also made it to this same stage. What’s shocking is that according to a recent study, chances are high that only 3 out of these 10 individuals will end up pulling the trigger to make the final purchase. That’s 70% of customers who end up abandoning their carts — a very worrying statistic.

But don’t let this discourage you — there are solutions you can implement to nudge customers further toward that final trigger. And why go the extra mile to do so? Imagine being able to turn that 70% into 0%. That gives you and your company the ability to more than double your existing revenue — something that would be significantly more difficult and expensive to accomplish through a customer acquisition or brand awareness campaign.

First, let’s try to understand why cart abandonment happens in the first place. Sometimes, the shipping cost may just end up being too high for comfort, the checkout process is too annoying, or maybe the customer simply changed their mind about splurging that day. Rather than viewing abandoned carts as lost causes, businesses can employ tactics to entice these potential customers back to their sites. And the key to doing so? Upselling.

If executed properly, including an upsell component in your abandoned cart emails and reminders may just be that final push your customer needs. Don’t believe me? Let’s put it into perspective.

Meet Caitlin

Caitlin is a first time shopper at Peloton. She’s thinking heavily about jumpstarting a new exercise routine by buying the Peloton Bike and has already thrown it in her cart, but is unsure she wants to commit to such a big purchase. 2 days go by, and the bike is still sitting there in her cart, untouched. What can we do in this situation? Look at these two options — which of these do you think look more appealing?

Option 1

Option 2:

Let’s say Caitlin receives an email from Peloton with Option 1 as the leading graphic. Sure, she might be reminded that there’s a bike sitting in her abandoned cart, but quite frankly, there’s nothing motivating her to change her mind and make the commitment.

Now, let’s say Caitlin receives an email from Peloton with Option 2 as the leading graphic. Not only is she reminded that she has a decision to make, but she’s also given another reason to make the purchase. What she was struggling with before was deciding whether or not this investment would be worth it (a common thought cart-abandoners have) — and not only that, but she finds Peloton’s products a bit intimidating in general.

But now, she’s presented with a fantastic deal — one that’s hard to give up. And not only is it a monetary steal, but it lessens how intimidating the purchase feels. She’s not only being offered extra equipment to support her exercise goals, but is also being offered better access to classes that would allow her to make the most of her purchase. Don’t shove these emails in your customer’s faces though! 3-5 reminders spread over a longer time period is enough — but overdoing it can lead to avoidable dissatisfaction on the customer’s side.

Pricing theory also suggests that given a purchase as pricey as the Peloton bike (about $1,500 for context), additional products appear much cheaper in comparison. It feels strange to be upselling extra products to someone who is struggling to decide whether or not to make one purchase in the first place, but often, this can be that final push that makes their purchase feel more holistically justified. Take a look at these two examples.


If you knew for sure you already wanted to purchase a $1,500 bike, buying $55 dumbbells doesn’t seem that extravagant a purchase in comparison. But let’s say all you wanted to purchase was a $75 yoga mat. An extra purchase of $55 dumbbells would certainly feel quite hefty, given no discount was offered.

So What?

The point is, using abandoned cart reminders to both encourage a customer to finish a purchase and upsell another product at the same time enhances your marketing strategy in a productive way. But the important thing to keep in mind is that your upsell component needs to make sense for each individual customer.

Luckily, this isn’t very hard at all with a proper segmentation and recommendation engine. And guess what? Cotera can help you with this. We take your existing data and help you understand what motivates the behavior of customers in varying segments. And even better? We help you automate the process of sending out unique email or marketing campaigns (like these abandoned cart emails) based on the insights we uncover.

Not only are you recapturing lost sales and optimizing AOV, but you’re also enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty at the same time. In other words, upselling here kills two birds with one stone. And honestly, that’s the best part.

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