May 28, 2013, 4:35 PM

A dog products e-retailer barks up the right tree with e-mail reminders persuades shoppers to revisit its e-commerce site.

Lead Photo

A look at one of the e-mail reminders.

Friends of four-legged furballs now get a second chance to nab discounted treats and toys sold by The dog products e-retailer added a cart abandonment e-mail program to its lineup of marketing tricks in March.

It says 14% of consumers who open the abandoned cart e-mail message click through and revisit the site, and 12% of those who click through complete their purchase. has dramatically revamped its business model since its launch two-and-a-half years ago. The e-retailer started as daily-deal site selling vouchers for local pet services like grooming, but soon morphed into a daily-deal site selling one deeply discounted dog product per day, typically drop-shipped by the supplier. At that point, the e-retailer didn’t have a shopping cart on its site because it only sold one SKU at a time. Early last year, began to take on its own inventory and now offers between 50 and 100 different dog products at a discounted price each week. The change in its sales model prompted it to add an online shopping cart last summer. Products are available for seven days.

That seven-day sales window means Doggyloot has to persuade consumers to convert before the sale expires, and the cart abandonment e-mails help it do that, says CEO Jeff Eckerling. Consumers who add products to their shopping carts but leave without completing a purchase get an e-mail one hour after they leave the site. The subject line reads: “There’s still time to fetch your deal from doggyloot.”

Eckerling says 41% of consumers who get the e-mail open it. Those consumers see the message: “Wait a second! Items you added to your cart are almost sold out” and a “restore my cart” button. The message also includes images and prices of the products left in the cart. Besides the 14% of those who click through from the message, another 4% of abandoned cart e-mail recipients revisit within days of getting the e-mail, even though they do not click through from the e-mail. All told, among the abandoned cart e-mail recipients that revisit the site, 12% complete their purchases.

“As soon as we turned this on, the results were just phenomenal,” Eckerling says. “The return we are getting is over 40 times the investment.”

Doggyloot is working with e-mail marketing services vendor Klaviyo for the abandoned cart messaging. Doggyloot built the e-mail template within Klaviyo’s system, and an application programming interface (API) connecting the e-retailer and vendor alerts Klaviyo when a consumer abandons his cart, triggering it to send a message. Although Eckerling declined to say what Doggyloot pays for the service, he characterizes it as “very low cost” relative to the revenue the messaging helps the merchant recapture. Klaviyo’s pricing is based on message volume.

Eckerling says Doggyloot opted to send only one abandoned cart message to consumers, rather than a series of messages as some merchants do, because of the short-term nature of its sales and because it already sends daily promotional e-mails (through a different e-mail services vendor) alerting consumers to newly listed products. “We don’t want to be spamming people with additional messages,” he says. doesn’t face one of the challenges other merchants who want to use cart abandonment messaging often face, which is getting consumers to submit their e-mail addresses. For a consumer to shop Doggyloot, he must register with the site, a process that includes submitting an e-mail address and answering questions, such as the size and age of the dog the shopper is buying for.

Using the Klaviyo platform, Doggyloot is starting to use that extra data to experiment with more personalized messaging. For example, it is testing sending messages featuring birthday-related products to consumers who have dogs with birthdays in May. Early results show this type of messaging gets more clicks than Doggyloot’s daily promotional messages, and has a longer shelf life.

“The open rate was still over 30% 24 hours after we sent it,” Eckerling says. “Having more targeted e-mails is very important to us.”

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