How to optimise cart recovery sequences for your returning customers

How to recover repeat customer carts

Your returning customers abandon their carts too. Second thoughts (maybe having only purchased from you recently) or common distractions get in the way. Yes, the trust is greater, but issues still arrive. So let’s discuss what you can do to help you repeat customers complete their next purchase.

The case for running segmented cart recovery flows

I keep referencing this word. Acknowledgement. It’s vital to the personalisation of your ecommerce marketing. Personalisation builds trust and trust builds business.

Even as we automate the majority of our email marketing, the opportunity to personalise our communications, knowing what we do about our customers, is crucial.

You know that over half of your carts are abandoned. People get distracted. People get put off by a lack of clarity in shipping. People just have second thoughts.

When you activate your cart recovery flows lead with acknowledgement.

The easiest form of acknowledgement is knowing whether a customer is new to your store or a returning customer.

Split new vs repeat customer flows

It’s a straightforward process setting up your flows to target new vs repeat customers.

As long as your email platform is synced to your customer data within your ecommerce platform, you should find this a very reliable source for recognising new vs returning customers.

Your job now is to tailor the messaging for your existing customers. You’re welcoming an old friend back to your store.

Personalise the subject line

Start with the subject line. Use your existing data, eg;

Maria, great to see you again, can we help at all?

Personalise, without making it look creepy. Stay clear of terms such as ‘we noticed you were…’ You wouldn’t use that in real life. So be as friendly as possible.

Again. There’s a reason your customer bailed during the checkout. So, your job is to help. To answer any questions they may have. They must just need a gentle nudge to get them over the line. A gentle reminder of that purchase they were looking to make.

Bring back memories of their last purchase

Remind your customers of their prior purchasing experience. You can assume that if they’re returning, then they had a good shopping experience the last time round, eg;

Don’t forget how quick our deliveries are and the fact you have continued access to our easy returns process if your order isn’t quite right (for whatever reason).

Folks are buying on line all day long. Remind your customer of your service and your commitment to great service.

Using codes? make the discount code stand out

If your business model utilises discount codes as a purchase motivator, then make those codes standout, eg;


something that differentiates from the standard code and demonstrates, yet again, that your customer is receiving a tailored response.

Remind them of the rewards they’ve already earned

You’re probably using a rewards platform such as Smile (if you’re not, you should be doing). You should have your reward points integrated into your email platform (Smile works perfectly with Klaviyo) so you can remind your repeat customer of the rewards they’ve already earned and what reward they’re on their way to earning.

Send from a real email address

This is a simple tactic that always works. As we’re bringing your email marketing to a 1-2-1 level make sure to sign off each recovery email as well as include your name in the from field, eg; John at Acme Supplys Co.

Be ready and willing to receive emails to this email account.

Dependent on the size of your store you can always look at the option of signing off with ‘John – Head of VIP Customer Success’ or something that better suits your brand tone.

Whatever your choice, make sure this an email that feels like it’s been sent from a friend.

Remember this is a sequence not a one-time pitch

You don’t have to bombard your returning customer with a multitude of reasons why they should ‘buy now’. You have available to you 2-3 opportunities to earn their business once more creating a cart recovery flow.

There’s a high chance you won’t have enough data in the pot (this is a niche flow) to begin a/b testing your way to an optimised flow.

Instead, map the flow out and consider 2-3 points you wish to cover in each email. And always make sure that your customers are removed from the flow once that purchase is made.

Over to you

Simple automations such as the repeat customer cart recovery flow allow you to bring true personalisation to your work. Once setup, your role is to review data on a weekly basis to check the overall effectiveness of your flow. Also, this gives you a key insight to help better understand and compare against data from new customers. If you’re seeing a high level of repeat customers bailing it may indicate other issues you have to address. Specifically, the use and value of discount codes for new vs returning customers.

It’ll take you less than a hour (far less if you already know what you want to tell repeat customers) to setup the sequence. You can clone your standard cart recovery campaign and make the suggested amendments above with ease. Don’t forget to rename your existing flow as ‘first time customer recovery’ so you can easily differentiate between the two.

Now you have 2 (or more – we’ll get onto that over the coming weeks) unique flows segmented and readied, next week I’ll provide you more insight in terms of simple optimisation techniques for your new customer recovery flow.

Happy optimising ?

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Founder of Ecommerce Growth Co. Helping you grow sales making more effective use of data, technology & the human touch. Get my HOW TO OPTIMISE lessons to your inbox below...

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