Shopping Cart Recovery Drives Website Conversions at


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Rockler is generating spectacular results, measured in recovered revenues, from their shopping cart abandonment remarketing program.

A few months ago, Rockler Woodworking and Hardware rolled out a new email campaign to recover abandoned shopping carts and drive website conversion.

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is the nation’s premier supplier of specialty hardware, tools, lumber, and exceptional quality woodworking products. Founded in 1954 and on the web since 1996, Rockler has become one of the top destination sites on the web and an Internet Retailer 500 site. Products are sold through catalogs, the company’s direct-to-consumer website at and 30 stores.

We recently caught up with Jason Bernloehr, e-commerce manager at Rockler, to find out about their new shopping cart abandonment campaign.

Website Conversion: Why did Rockler choose to focus on shopping cart abandonment?

JB: We already knew from testing that following up on abandoned shopping carts is very effective. In fact, it had been a home run every time we tested it. We wanted a way to put it into the hands of the marketers, make it quicker, and a more automated process.

Website Conversion: How well has the program worked?

JB: Open rates are more than double the rates we get from our house list. We’ve found that the shopping cart reminder emails spur customers on to go back to a previous promotion that they’ve seen and then complete the purchase. So it’s helping drive conversions of those email sales additionally.

Website Conversion: Have you been able to measure sales impact?

JB: Yes, it’s worked really well – right out of the gate we’re generating 2% of sales from this one email. We believe that it will probably increase over time as we get more tactical with the program by tying in promotions and with the addition of second and third follow-up messages. I can’t disclose an exact dollar figure for sales generated, but it is a significant number.

Website Conversion: Many marketers think that trigger marketing, including shopping cart recovery, is hard. Did you find it as difficult as you expected?

JB: When you open it up, it’s really pretty simple. Put yourself in the eyes of the consumer, and it gets a whole lot easier to design the campaign. Just think of what you would want to see from a reminder type email, as a first time user that has put something in the cart, and it is easy. What would they want? We try to accomplish a sense of warmth and professionalism which reassures and reinforces the brand.

Website Conversion: If you were giving advice to other emarketers, what would you say about shopping cart recovery programs?

JB: Shopping cart recovery programs are very important: this is a key segment of your audience that you are going to want to focus on. These customers represent your best prospects. Of course, they’re going to be interested in the email and are two or three times more likely to open it. You’ve already gotten them interested; why not do a better job of helping them with the sale? It’s your best chance to put your best foot forward to get website conversions.

Website Conversion: If you were starting over, what would you do differently?

JB: If we were to do it again, we’d build an entire creative tactical plan in advance – so planning out the first, second and third email details before getting into the technical details. It’s easier to make tweaks if you have a good plan from the outset. But overall, it’s gone pretty well.

Website Conversion: How long did it take to get up and running?

JB: Total time to get up and running was about three weeks, including the email creative, though it probably took us a bit longer than it would for others because we were the first to do this with Blue Hornet. Overall, this was about what I expected.

Website Conversion: Why did you choose to work with SeeWhy?

JB: We were aware of the company some months prior because there’s been a good deal of chatter on blogs about what they are doing. Rockler is a member of the Blue Hornet advisory board, and when Blue Hornet told us that they had a development partnership with SeeWhy, it seemed like a very good fit for us.

Website Conversion: What has been your experience of working with the SeeWhy team?

JB: Great – they are upfront and tell it like it is. They always had the right people available and put our developer at ease. It’s nice to have the tech folk communicate effectively, and this worked very well.

Charles Nicholls
Charles Nicholls is a social commerce expert and board advisor to several e-commerce startups. He founded SeeWhy, a real-time personalization and machine learning platform, which was sold to SAP. Serving as SVP of product, he built SAP Upscale Commerce, an e-commerce platform for direct-to-consumer brands and the mid-market. Today, Charles serves as chief strategy officer for SimplicityDX, a commerce experience company. He has worked on strategy and projects for leading ecommerce companies worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, Google and many others.


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