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‘Abandon basket’ programme increases online conversion rate for auto accessories retailer

Halfords has upgraded its email strategy to include the integration of email and web analytics software to better understand the habits of its customers

As a result the car and outdoors accessories retailer has seen impressive results from its ‘abandon basket’ programme since its launch in 2010, converting high-volume, low-cost products such as paint and spanners, through to £1,000-plus premium bikes.

Email marketing partner expertise

Halfords has worked with email marketing provider eCircle since 2008, deploying its email broadcasting system eC-messenger. Working with eCircle, and IBM web analytics provider Coremetrics, the retailer was able to see that, despite increasing volumes of traffic to the website, a significant number of people were abandoning their basket at certain stages of the purchase process.

Consequently, Halfords was keen to see if these lost customers could be re-engaged by email and persuaded to follow through with their planned purchase or enticed with other relevant offers that would ultimately result in a sale.

The retailer was able to move from a blanket email marketing strategy, sending generic emails to every contact in their database, to broadcasting highly targeted, personalised and relevant messages to segments of customers and prospects.

Optimisation programme delivers

“Following a programme of optimisation, open rates had increased to an average of 60% and click through rates reached highs of 25%. This yielded actual weekly sales that at times were in excess of 120% of the cost of the initial deployment,” said Saj Bhojani, Halfords digital marketing manager.

Thanks to the success of the campaign in its early stages, Halfords have now extended the scope of the campaign to include products ‘browsed’ as well. Planning is now underway to further enhance the relevance and personalisation of the emails being broadcast. Areas of focus under consideration include the addition of further product review data (as 16% of all sales generated came via product review links on the email), product bundle up-sell, and the inclusion of enhanced product information.

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