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The Secret to Improved Conversions: Personalized PLG Abandoned Cart Emails

Usha Vadapalli
February 2, 2023

If your business’s go-to-market strategy is product-led, you must have already simplified the purchase process (at least for the basic pricing tier). Users can start using your product’s premium features easily with a credit card or PayPal transaction as soon as they decide to. Despite the many, many advantages, this ease of buying also brings the persistent problem often faced by B2C and D2C businesses.

Cart abandonment.

Cart Abandonment in PLG

In product-led growth (PLG) companies, the sales cycle is intentionally short. It is a common scenario in PLG businesses the basic tiers of the product are purchased via a relatively simple online transaction. Same as on an online shopping site, prospective customers do leave before completing the transaction sometimes. Abandoning carts is a menace faced by PLG companies.

Though there are no exclusive studies done on this topic in the B2B SaaS industry or for PLG businesses, it is safe to say that product-led growth (PLG) businesses face similar issues to consumer businesses that come with huge user databases and massive volumes of product activity.

Why Abandon Carts?

The top 3 reasons why metaphorical carts are abandoned even in the B2B SaaS industry are:

  1. Distractions

What can I say? We live in a world of distractions. Even if the customer had the highest possible intent to purchase, sometimes work or life may get in the way. There could be a hundred different reasons why this happens.

  1. Indecisiveness

The software industry can be a cut-throat business. Even if you are a blue ocean product, competition will spring up eventually. Your customers always have the option to compare your product with competitors. It’s not surprising that a potential customer wants to compare the pricing and features one last time before entering their billing details.

  1. Technical issues

Probably, the most embarrassing reason for lost business. Technical glitches can happen on either end in spite of using the best available transaction processing service there is.

Broadly, every disengaged prospect at the time of purchase didn’t go through with it because of these reasons. And, most of the time this is a temporary churn. You still have a chance to re-engage and win back the user or prospect with a little persuasion.

Why Abandoned Cart Emails?

From optimizing pricing strategy to showing notifications in the product, there are definitely measures you can take to optimize the product experience and on your website to mitigate churn at the time of purchase. Bringing a distracted user or a customer back to the product or website to reconsider a purchase without losing the buying momentum is a huge challenge. And, cart abandonment emails do that successfully.

Universally, cart abandonment emails have one of the best open rates (more than 40%) and have a 10.7% conversion rate. Product-led abandoned cart emails can re-engage users and prospects w and help convert them to paid customers.

Converting Abandoned Carts

For distracted and indecisive prospects

Abandoned cart emails can be just a simple reminder that a distracted user needs to get back to the billing page. Remind them where they left off and direct them to the billing page.

Headspace is the perfect example. Distracted users are also their ICP, they acknowledge this and offer support with any questions the user might have.

If your users experienced value from your product and if your pricing tiers are not exorbitant, a simple nudge to pick up where they left off should do the job. Although distractions are a reason, it is also possible that the user is still pondering over the decision, waiting for the boss’s approval,  or not entirely convinced of the value for money.

There are more ways to persuade a user still on the fence with the right email.

  1. Answer their ‘why’ to ease the decision-making. List out your value propositions in the email that is relevant to the pricing tier and to the user.
  1. Your message can include steps to make a payment, upgrade, and downgrade or cancel the subscription if and when needed. The ease of modifying billing preferences can be encouraging.
  1. Compare features in different tiers (similar to a pricing page) highlighting the ones that give you a competitive advantage.
  1. Offer a free and limited trial of features in the premium tiers before their account is charged.
  1. In the case of team and enterprise accounts where there are multiple decision-makers, suggest a product demo Sales or Customer Success for existing customers.

Sauce Labs sends their first reminder email on the same day their users visit the pricing page. The PLG abandoned cart email lists down the value of their product as reasons to complete the purchase. They also show the starting price, a link to a detailed pricing page, and a big red button to complete the transaction. They send a reminder promptly 2 days after to follow up.

The campaign is a huge success and they get nearly 20 purchases per month from the campaign.

Sauce Labs uses Inflection to execute their product-led abandoned cart email campaign. Inflection is the growth automation platform that unifies product, person, and marketing activity data to show you a wholesome view of the customer. We help PLG teams drive revenue, product engagement, and speed up onboarding at scale without the dependency on data or engineering. Get started here to watch Inflection in action.

For Transaction Failures

Transaction failures happen all the time. It could be because of a temporary glitch, an expired card, issues with foreign currency transactions, and so on. The transaction failure intimation email can also have links to alternative payment methods so the customer can finish making the purchase.

Payment failures can be a real menace if the customer is on a recurring plan. It’s always best to identify potential payment failures than deal with the aftermath.

Slack sends a reminder to their users about the upcoming auto-renewal. Squarespace’s email informs and encourages the user to check if ‘auto-renewal’ is enabled and make sure the billing details are right for uninterrupted use. Help Scout takes a slightly different route. They warn about the risk of failed payment and give enough time to make the purchase.

These emails work because they highlight what the customer might lose if the payment doesn’t go through. And, the polite reminder with a gracious time limit makes sure the customer relationship with the business is not strained.  

For Abandoned Demo Requests

If you are a PLG business with an enterprise tier that needs Sales to step in or if you are running a sales-led motion in parallel, you have one more scenario unique to B2B that is the equivalent of cart abandonment.

Abandoning a demo request.

It could be because of a technical glitch with your scheduling software, unavailability of slots in the customer’s time zone, or plain old distraction.

Reach out with an email. Send an abandoned demo request email to your customer to find out the issue, and remind them of the advantages of a personalized demo. Or, do one better and suggest booking a slot with a team member who is available in the customer’s time zone.  

In PLG companies, sending an async demo video, or inviting them to test the premium product in a sandbox environment works too; a human 1-1 interaction might not be feasible every time. option.

Tips to Craft The Best PLG Abandoned Cart Email

Some of the tried and tested abandoned cart email best practices we can borrow from our B2C counterparts to support PLG motion are:

Tick-Tock

Time is of the essence to win back the customer who already thought about purchasing your PLG product. You’ll have a better chance of succeeding with the sale if you can strike a balance with your email timing.

Automate triggered emails that go after a reasonable time delay after a product qualified lead (PQL) or product qualified account (PQA) is flagged. You do not want to alarm your users while they are finishing up entering the credit card details and at the same time, you don’t want to miss leveraging the purchase momentum.

Follow-Up

One email reminder might not be enough especially to convince a user to try out other products. Follow-up with value reminders, value and price comparisons, and relevant offers to persuade the user on the fence. Show how close they are to start using the premium features in just a few steps.

Personalize

Your PLG cart abandonment emails are the most impactful when they address the exact reason behind it. Craft your message with details that are hyper-personal to the user.

Use the clues your users left in their product activity such as trying to use a gated feature, their firmographic data such as team size, and interactions with your website such as visiting the terms of service page to personalize the purchase or demo request abandonment email. For example,  trigger an email to the admin and buyer of a PQA who just visited the pricing page suggesting a 1-1 conversation with their CSM.

Personalize the incentives while following up to get back a distracted buyer to complete the payment process quickly.

In Conclusion

You might have the best product with the most intuitive user experience that is priced just right after a lot of market research and expert advice. If your free-to-paid conversion rate is still not up to par with the industry standards or if you are aiming for a better-than-average conversion rate, then it’s time to take a harder look at your ‘check out’ process.

Product-led B2B SaaS businesses often employ simplified sales processes at least for their product’s basic tiers to make trying and buying their product easy for the end-user. With the transactional ease comes the abandoned cart problem commonly faced by consumer businesses.

Abandoned cart emails are popular in B2C because of their success rate and the same best practices can be applied for better conversion rates in PLG businesses too.

A great PLG cart abandonment email is personal and contextual. It is delivered at the right time to the PQLs and PQAs with the right information and motivation to complete the purchase.

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