How Virgin America uses email to recover abandoned bookings [Growth Hack]

Good marketing boils down to two primary areas: perfecting standard processes (like AARRR metrics) and uncovering new innovations (popularly termed “growth hacks“). Hopefully this series on clever growth hacks will inspire new ideas that push the envelope.

For every ten customers who make it to checkout, the average ecommerce site loses just under seven1. That’s massive!

So if that many customers drop out in the final step, just imagine how much can be gained from (1) making checkout easier and (2) bringing back people who almost made it.

I was recently browsing flights on the Virgin America airline website, and let the site after not finding what I wanted. Within a couple hours, Virgin emailed me a gentle nudge reminding me that my booking wasn’t finished.


This is a fantastic strategy and probably has a significant impact on the bottomline. I was logged into my rewards account, so sending an email like this isn’t too technologically complex (incidentally, this is also why you should always collect email first in a multi-step funnel).

What they did well:

What I’d test or change:

Overall, just doing something to help recover abandoned bookings likely drives massive success for Virgin America, but they can probably get a lot more with a little optimization.