For the next installment of our cart abandonment email analysis series, we’re going to look at America’s largest pet pharmacy: 1-800-PetMeds. 1-800-PetMeds has been one of the best sources for pet medications, pet vitamins, pet supplements and pet supplies for years.

While 1-800-PetMeds offers great savings, I could see a lot of people rethinking their decision to purchase at checkout because of the convenience and security of purchasing straight from their veterinarian, even at a much higher price.

Once again, here are the criteria we’re looking at for our analysis:

Timing – When were the emails delivered? How many of them were there? What was the interval at which they were delivered?
Design – A general critique of design language. Was the email branded? Plain-text? What visuals did the merchant use to entice me to re-engage?
Offer – At what point did the merchant use a promotion? How was it positioned?
Copywriting – What was the style/tone of the email? Was the copywriting clear? What was the subject line?
Social Proof – Did the merchant provide social proof? Testimonials? How were they presented?
Personalized – Was the email personalized to me? How did they capture that data? Did it specifically mention items I had engaged with on the site?
Call To Action – Was the call to action clear? What was the merchant trying to persuade me to do?

The Campaign

Around 7:33 AM, I carted two 12-packs of Frontline Plus for large dogs at $149.96 each ($299.92 total). I completed the first step of checkout with a name and email address, then abandoned the transaction at the next step.

After 30 minutes and again after 24 hours, I received this reminder email from 1-800-PetMeds:

Subject Line: Did you leave something in your cart, Rahul?

After 48 hours from the abandoned cart, I received this email:

Subject Line: Enjoy 5% OFF your cart when you finish ordering today.

What I liked:

Timing: The first email arrived almost immediately after I abandoned. The second was sent approximately 24 hours later. I like this sequencing as it would have addressed two key issues. If I had simply gotten distracted during checkout, the first email would have caught me while still at my computer. The second email also does a great job of addressing any friction I might have experienced during checkout.

Design: The email itself is extremely well designed. I loved the high-quality photography of the products in the shopping cart. Below the cart is a 100% Happiness Guarantee with starred reasons why to buy from 1-800-PetMeds. The email has its own friendly mascots – a digital dog and cat – dressed as veterinarians.

Personalization: The emails used a first name in the subject of the email, the text of the email, and even for the shopping cart itself. Personalization has proven to be a very effective means to drive click-through when we run our campaigns. Additionally, an image at the top of the email next to the personalized text of a cute animal that corresponds to the products in my cart strikes a chord. A dog-oriented cart will have an image of a cute dog. A cat-oriented cart will have an image of a cute cat. These images provide context and create an emotional connection to their brand.

Copy: The copy gives a welcoming feel, playing along with the cute image of the pet, saying that I probably didn’t finish the order initially because my pet wanted a treat.

Offer: The first two emails highlighted free shipping on all orders over $39. The third email contained a compelling discount of 5% off my order. I also liked how they positioned the offer as being available only for a limited time, as the cart expires in six days. Creating a sense of urgency with a promotion like this is key.

Social Proof: Links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube can all engage shoppers with social media.

Call to Action: This email has a very prominent call to action to go to the shopping cart just below the cart items in the middle of the email.

What I would test:

Timing: The third email with a discount at the 48 hour mark might be a little too quick after the second and induce poor shopping behavior, encouraging abandonment to get discounts. I would wait until the 72 or 96 hour mark before sending the third email with the discount code.

Offer: It wasn’t exactly clear whether the 5% off applies to only the items in my cart, or if I go back and continue shopping to add more or different items to my cart.

Subject Line: While the copy is cute, a creative or eye catching subject line might prove more effective. The personalization to the subject line is nice, but the subject line itself seems bland and very sales-y.

Overall, this is a very effective campaign that I’m sure drives a substantial amount of business for 1-800-PetMeds. Have you experienced a great/terrible re-marketing campaign? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for next week’s analysis.

Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the Founder & CEO of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hydroflask, Footjoy, GUESS, and Big Chill to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He also once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.