By Daniel Hunter

UK and US online retailers are failing to capitalise on a potential $516 billion in revenue by not using email to help recover customers who have abandoned cart items, the dotMailer 'Email Marketing Through The Purchase Journey' report has found.

In the benchmark report of 40 UK and US retailers, only 20% sent a triggered email when a purchase was abandoned at checkout. With checkout abandonment estimated to average at 67.45% and the UK ecommerce market in 2012 worth £78 billion ($125 billion) this means that the UK market is failing to target a potential £130 billion.

The US market, worth $186.2 billion, is missing out on a potential $309 billion. Although it cannot be assumed that an abandoned item is always a lost sale, Forrester research has shown that the top two causes of abandonment are price and timing, both issues that could be addressed with an email offer.

In addition, SeeWhy has shown 67% of eventual conversions of abandoned items come from email, indicating that retailers are missing a huge opportunity by not using the channel to retarget these customers.

Of the 40 retailers benchmarked, none sent triggered emails based on product browsing behaviour, with UK clothing retailer alexandalexa assessed separately as a good example of abandoned browse session recovery via email.

In addition to email retargeting, the retailers were all assessed on use of email right through the purchase process. Unsurprisingly, every retailer sent a purchase confirmation, however they were also marked across criteria such as speed, attempt to cross sell, use of product imagery, mobile optimisation and other customer service metrics.

The strongest performers in the category of purchase process included UK retailers, Crocs and Mothercare. On the other hand Games Workshop and The Children’s Place in the US were weak in their purchase process communications, lacking on criteria including design, delivery and customer service information and attempts to cross sell.

Sports brand New Balance’s UK online store outperformed all others with the most powerful email marketing throughout the purchase journey, with Office and Paul Smith in second and third place.

1. New Balance (UK)
2. Office Shoes (UK)
3. Paul Smith (UK)
4. Neiman Marcus (USA)
5. (UK)
6. L.K. Bennet (UK)
7. Fossil (USA)
8. Mothercare (UK)
9. Very (UK)
10. Nine West (UK)

“In our Hitting the Mark reports, we’ve assessed online retailers email marketing, putting their proactive messaging under the spotlight,” said Tink Taylor, dotMailer co-founder.

“With this report, we wanted to look at more reactive activity. The checkout is still the biggest point of exit from the online sales funnel; it’s a challenge that automated marketing technology like dotMailer’s gives retailers the opportunity to address. This research shows that, retailers have yet to take advantage of that opportunity.”

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