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CAN-SPAM: Update Privacy Policy Before Launching a Remarketing Campaign

Online retailers can significantly improve revenue by targeting sales from abandoned shopping carts in an automated fashion, according to a white paper from Listrak. Before they launch on such a campaign though, marketers need to make sure their privacy policies are up to date so they don't violate CAN-SPAM.

Listrak's findings from its paper, "Recovering Lost Sales Through an Automated Shopping Cart Abandonment Strategy" show that some sort of recovery strategy does need to be implemented: shopping cart abandonment is a significant problem with 45% of US online shoppers reporting abandoned shopping carts multiple times. The best way to stop leaving these revenues on the table, it said, is to automate email retargeting of customers who abandon shopping carts. Specifically, Listrak advises that an email sent within 24 hours of the abandoned cart reaches customers when they are still considering the purchase, and can prompt them to take immediate action to complete the sale.

Listrak studied the sending habits of the Internet Retailer 500 companies to look at their shopping cart abandonment email messages. It found that about 24% of the messages received linked directly to the abandoned cart, roughly 45% included an incentive with over half of them offering free shipping, and 60% were personalized with the shopper’s first name.


Marketers must be careful to avoid violating CAN-SPAM with these tactics, writes Charles Nicholls, chief strategy officer at SeeWhy.  It is not difficult to avoid this. Essentially, he says, "the only thing that you need to do to send remarketing emails in the U.S. and comply with CAN-SPAM is to check your website privacy policy. Most website privacy policies already contain the required language which covers using the data that has been captured for remarketing. But you should check your privacy policy to ensure that yours does as well."

A marketing and promotional purposes clause within the privacy policy may cover remarketing, but it is best practice to add a clause specific to remarketing, he said. One example: "we send out email and direct mail to our online and store customers about products or events that we think may be of interest to them. We also may send you offers for discounts or free services (e.g., free gift wrap or shipping) on our site or in our stores."


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