Are Basket Abandonment Emails Legal?

It’s one of the most successful growing trends in online marketing, and yet it’s still a question we get asked more than any other at SaleCycle – Are basket abandonment emails legal?

We caught up with esteemed solicitor, Stephen Groom, Deputy Chair of Privacy and Data Law Group at Osborne Clarke, to blow away some of the myths and get to the bottom of the legalities of the process.

Let’s start with a little about yourself Stephen – Thomson Reuters described you as a ‘Super Lawyer’… Apart from wearing a cape, how did you come to be held in such glowing terms?

I’m really not sure, but it wasn’t through wearing my underwear outside.

That’s reassuring. Let’s cut to the chase on re-marketing law. Many brands want to work to the ‘soft opt-in’ principal for retargeting emails – what’s your take on it?

Soft opt-in (strangely so-called as it’s actually an opt-out solution) is perfectly legal in the UK if the rules are followed i.e. (1) email address captured by online seller during the (subsequently abandoned) purchase process (2) (almost) customer told of future use by seller to promote seller’s “similar” products unless (almost) customer opts out (3) (almost) customer doesn’t opt out (4) all subsequent emails also include an opt out.

This will also comply with the Advertising Standards Authority-enforced CAP Code, which is a good thing as all UK marketers must comply with this as well as the law.

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Basket Abandonment in Fashion: The Numbers

I thought it was about time we had a look some fashion numbers – admittedly not the most glamorous element of fashion, but I wanted to demonstrate what a fine job fashion brands do at recovering lost sales.

I decided to look at ten of my favourite fashion brands and how they performed in May to give us a good rounded view of how the fashion vertical adds up right now. Of course these numbers are changing all the time, but this gives us a good view on how the fashion sector works.

Basket Abandonment Rate: 78.5%

Back in September last year the average abandonment rate in fashion was at around 70%, whilst a glance at May 2013 sees this number is now getting on for nearly 80%.  It illustrates how important it is for fashion brands to ensure they have a basket recovery solution in place as this really is a hell of a lot of sales to miss out on with 4/5ths of customers putting something in their basket and then walking away.

Brand Insight: Mango's clean design generates plenty of clicks.

Brand Insights: Mango’s clean and simple design generates plenty of clicks.

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