March 15, 2011, 10:22 AM

Online retailers send e-mails about abandoned carts earlier this year

An E-tailing Group study, though, finds only 23% of merchants send the reminders.

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Online retailers are becoming more aggressive about reminding shoppers of their abandoned shopping carts, suggests a report today from the The E-tailing Group Inc., a consulting firm.

A study of 100 e-commerce sites found that online retailers, on average, sent reminder e-mails to consumers about their abandoned carts 4.96 days after those consumers left the sites. That is down from 6.15 days in last year’s study. A second reminder e-mail arrived an average of 8.40 days later. The report says that 5% of the merchants sent a second e-mail, up from 1% from the last study.

To track the response of web merchants, The E-tailing Group signed into 100 e-commerce sites and stopped the checkout process just before purchase, leaving abandoned carts.  23% of the merchants sent reminder e-mails, up from 20% last year, the report says. 18% of merchants this year knew their cart abandonment rates, an improvement from last year’s figure of 23%.

The E-tailing Group found at least one surprise in its study: fewer discount offers than expected in the e-mails. “Given the state of the economy we anticipated that incentives would once again be important, but promotion reminders increased slightly to 17%, versus 15% last year,” the report says. “Tactics ranged from a percent off the entire purchase to free shipping with a pre-defined purchasing threshold.”

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