This is our second edition of #pushingemailfwd (you can ask any question about this post on Twitter).

Lonzo Ball, the number two pick in the June NBA draft, became the first Los Angeles Laker to enter his rookie season without a major shoe endorsement deal.

LaVar Ball (Lonzo’s father) was pushing for Nike, Under Armour and Adidas to license his Big Baller Brand by showing off a shoe prototype in early meetings.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

Pre-Selling $495 Basketball Shoes Direct to the Consumer

LaVar had different ideas for how his son, a future NBA superstar, should leverage his personal brand. His ideas were a little out there—Nike consultant George Raveling called LaVar “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”


But LaVar has a different way of thinking…

“Just imagine how rich Tiger [Woods], Kobe [Bryant], Serena [Williams], [Michael] Jordan and LeBron [James] would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said. “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do, and I have three sons, so it’s that much more valuable.”

Right now you can go to and pre-order the shoes online.

big baller brand zo2 shoes

This is a great strategy to generate pre-sales when there’s lots of PR activity online with numerous TV networks talking about a future star and his unique choice to ignore the usual sponsorship route.

We were impressed with the pre-order strategy, and being the cart abandonment enthusiasts we are, we decided to put a pair of shoes into our cart and abandon the order to see if they had implemented an abandoned cart email series.

How to Send Great Abandoned Cart Emails for Pre-Orders

After we abandoned our cart on their site, they proceeded to send an abandoned cart email within 1 hour.

We then received the second email 24 hours post-abandonment.

(They must have read our abandoned cart email best practices guide).

While we give the Big Baller Brand credit for running a cart abandonment campaign, we thought that the email creative didn’t do a great job in selling the quality of the shoe created by a future NBA superstar.

If you’re going to be asking someone to make a $495 purchase online, you’re going to need to really showcase how awesome these shoes will be to get someone to whip out their credit card and spend that amount of money.

Here are the two emails they sent:

Email 1

big baller brand original abandoned cart email 1

Email 2

big baller brand original abandoned cart email 2

What they do right

Here are a few things that the Big Baller Brand do right with their abandoned cart emails:

  • The timing of their abandoned cart email sends

We recommend sending the first abandoned cart email within 1 hour of a shopper abandoning their cart.

We received the first email within an hour (nice job!) and the second email 24 hours after we abandoned our cart.

  • Personalizing their abandoned cart emails

Personalizing emails beyond {{ }} can help increase the context and relevance your emails have with people that open them, which can lead to higher click-through and conversion rates.

Big Baller Brand injected the items that we left in our cart, into the abandoned cart emails they sent us.

This is a great idea as it helps remind shoppers what they were looking at when they were on your site and helps with getting them back into buying mode.

  • Having one big clear call to action (CTA)

We’ve found that giving people less options to click, helps increase conversion rates and revenue. We wrote an entire post about this.

In both emails, Big Ball Brand has a big blue CTA at the bottom of each email, giving the reader a clear next step on what they need to do next.

How we’d improve their abandoned cart email results

Below we outline exactly how we’d improve their campaigns and we showcase the new designs at the bottom of the post.

Here’s what we’d do:

  • Segment out cart abandoners that left a ZO2 shoe in their cart

Having a cart abandonment campaign just for people that left a ZO2 shoe in their cart will allow you to test different offers—free shipping, 15% off, a second pair at a discounted rate, etc.—for your high value carts.

For example, you could test: free shipping versus 10% off.

Free shipping would have a real cost of say about $10 to you.

10% off would cost $49.50 in forgone margin.

Which one would be better? I don’t have the answer, but by segmenting out this group of cart abandoners we would be able to find out.

Then we’d run a holdout test to find the true profitability of the campaign.

  • Make the shoes the centerpiece of the abandoned cart emails

Right now Big Baller Brand includes a very small image of the shoes left in the cart, right at the bottom of the email.

If you want to get people over the friction point of spending $495 on shoes, you need to show them off at every stage of the process, especially in the abandoned cart emails.

Rather than the Big Baller Brand logo taking center stage at the top of the email, we would focus on using high quality product imagery instead, so that when someone opens the email they think, “wow!” right away cannot wait to get their hands on a pair.

zo2 shoes centerpiece image

  • Inject a more cool / hip look and feel into the emails to match the ‘superstar nature’ of the brand

Lonzo Ball is an upcoming NBA star. A lot of people see that as really cool. Their emails don’t give off that ‘cool’ look and feel.

If someone is going to spend $495 on a new pair of ZO2 basketball shoes, you want every touch point they have (with your website and your emails) to give off that vibe that you’re going to be sending them quality NBA star material.

  • Send a third email to recover even more sales

Most of our customers send three abandoned cart emails. We’ve found the third email still does a great job at recovering sales.

Including an offer in that third email can help boost the conversion rate. We’ll talk more offers in the next point below.

  • In the third email, make them an offer they can’t refuse

If emails one and two don’t convert them into a customer, it’s time to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

make him offer he cant refuse

This step involves continuous A/B testing to find the offer that not only converts best, but drives the most profit.

You could offer massive discounts to increase your conversion rates, but at the same time you would significantly reduce your profits.

The goal is to find an offer that maximizes your profits and increases your conversion rate.

  • Add an element of scarcity to get people to act right away (increasing sales in the process)

In the jam study post we showed how adding in an element of scarcity helped provide a 63.46% lift in conversions.

In the experiment we let the reader know that:

  1. Time is running out.
  2. That the discount ended by the end of day.

That is exactly how we would first approach improving the results of Big Baller Brand’s abandoned cart emails.

Here’s how the new abandoned cart emails would look

Email 1

big baller brand updated abandoned cart email 1

Email 2

big baller brand updated abandoned cart email 2

Email 3

Thanks to the Rejoiner design team for doing their thing 🙂

What to do next