How to Harness the Power of Abandoned Cart Emails: Strategies and Examples

How to Harness the Power of Abandoned Cart Emails: Strategies and Examples Running a profitable online business and maintaining profitability is easier said than done. A lot of factors including your inventory, marketing of your products, the amount of website traffic, etc. determine the success of your brand. Sometimes even if you get all the puzzle pieces sorted correctly, you may still not achieve desired results or sales. One underrated factor which is often overlooked but has the maximum impact on your revenue is online cart abandonment. There will always be people who while shopping online, will add products to their cart but will not complete the purchase. This phenomenon is called cart abandonment. Without any doubt, abandoned carts hurt your revenue and sales like nothing else. What if there is a strategy to target these cart abandoners and recover some of the lost revenue? Be assured that not every user will convert and complete the purchase as some of them never intended to buy anything from you. Despite this, it’s definitely worth a try to re-engage them and recover whatever lost ground possible. Throughout this article, I will make you go through the basics of cart abandonment and the most effective methodologies to retrieve abandoned carts and customers. Let’s get started. Organize Your Marketing With CoSchedule

Plan and Write Better Abandoned Cart Emails With These Three Templates

This kit includes three easy-to-use templates to help you implement the advice in this post:
  • Email Marketing Calendar Template: Plan and visualize every email newsletter send.
  • Email Copy Template: Write your abandoned cart copy and hand it to a developer for design.
  • Email Funnel Strategy Template: Plan the messaging for your email content throughout the funnel.
Download all three now, then read on.

What are abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are follow-up emails sent to users who added some product to their shopping cart but didn’t complete the purchase. They are reminder emails sent to people to jog their memory about the items they left behind in their shopping cart. To be honest, online shopping cart abandonment is inevitable. With abandoned cart emails, you stand a chance of recovering some revenue and boost sales. Even the most general abandoned cart email has the potential of pursuing a user to complete the sale. Here’s a very basic example of an abandoned cart email. Abandoned Cart Email Depending on the nature and size of your business, you may change the content and layout of your email. We will discuss this in detail in a later section.

How to Harness the Power of Abandoned Cart Emails: Strategies and Examples

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Why You Need an Abandoned Cart Email Strategy

According to SaleCycle’s latest data, the average cart abandonment rate is 79.17%. Cart Abandonment Rates by Sector (2018) Source 80% of shoppers abandoning the checkout process is a mind-boggling number. Approximately $260 billion of lost sales every year. That’s a lot of unclaimed revenue and sales number that could have been brought to justice. Here’s the catch. According to a 2014 report from Business Insider, approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise was abandoned in online shopping carts that year and about 63% of that could have been potentially recoverable by savvy online marketers. Here are some encouraging stats about abandoned cart recovery emails:
  • About 45% of emails sent to follow up on an abandoned cart are opened by consumers
  • 21% of the opened follow-up emails are clicked on
  • 10.7% of individuals that receive emails return to make a purchase
Three Key Abandoned Cart Recovery Email Statistics Source: If we put those numbers in perspective with our times, there lies a great opportunity for revenue to be retrieved. But how do we persuade users to complete their abandoned carts? Yeah, you guessed that right. Via abandoned cart emails. All in all, it is absolutely indispensable for an online business to send abandoned cart emails and boost the Return on Investment(ROI) of their marketing efforts. As a result, abandoned cart nurturing emails can also be used to serve customers better and boost customer retention.

Why Do People Abandon Shopping Carts?

No matter how hard you try and no matter how perfect your sales funnel and website is, there will always be people who will not complete purchases. There can be multiple different reasons for cart abandonment such as website crashes, complex checkout processes, high product costs, etc. Reasons for Abandonments During Checkout Source: On top of this, some people would just be comparison shopping on your store. You really can’t do much about that. With abandoned cart emails, you also stand a chance to gain invaluable user feedback.  This feedback will help you analyze your website workflow better and understand why users are abandoning shopping carts on your store. Next, we will go through some effective abandoned cart email strategies to improve your cart recovery rate.

5 Abandoned Cart Email Strategies To Put to Use Today

Online cart abandonment is not a new phenomenon and for the same reason, online store owners use a variety of email tactics and actions to convince people to get back to their carts. Because these tactics are pretty much the same and there is a lack of creativity which sometimes acts as a barrier preventing people to convert after cart abandonment, online businesses need to come up with new creative ideas and a sound strategy to send compelling abandoned cart emails. Here are some best practices linked to sending abandoned cart emails:

Pay Attention to Your Email Subject Line

I cannot stress this enough but if your email subject line is not up to the mark, you will never stand out amongst a sea of emails in someone’s inbox. Imagine this. You have crafted the most ideal and complete abandoned cart email with all the essential elements but due to some average and boring subject line, the user never opens it. The result? A big loss both in terms of engagement and possible revenue. Did you know that 64% of people decide if they will open an email based on the subject line? Here are some subject line guidelines to consider:
  • Be direct and concise. Use simple language and be clear about your message.
  • Personalization is key. You may include the product name, customer name or company name in your subject to sound better.
  • Sometimes creating urgency and product scarcity in your subject lines can boost your email open rates.
  • Many brands reported that using emojis in their subject lines improved their open rates. Thus, emojis are definitely worth a try.
  • According to Marketo, 41 characters–or 7 words–seems to be the ideal email subject line length in 2019. Make sure that your subject line character count is around that number. Neither too long nor too short.
You need to figure out the best mix of these practices which suits your business and implement it. Positive influence of subject line personalization on email unique open rate in North America Positive Influence of Subject Line Personalization on Email Unique Open Rate in North America Source: Some example abandoned cart email subject lines which I received personally are as follows:
  • Himanshu, did you forget something in your cart?
  • Your selected product is selling out fast, complete your purchase!
  • Himanshu, still interested in your electric charger?
  • Max Fashion: Himanshu, finish your order at Max
  • ?You forgot something in your cart
Five Fill in the Blank Templates for Abandoned Cart Emails Once you decide and finalize a good email subject line, you can be assured that whatever content you will send in your emails will have a greater chance of being opened and checked by the recipients.

Include Social Proof to Increase Conversions

Gaining the confidence of your customers and audience is a top business priority. It lays the foundation of a strong business-customer relationship and builds a good rapport. Once you gain their trust, users are more likely to be convinced and ultimately convert. Including product reviews and ratings in your abandoned cart emails is highly recommended. This social proof assures the users that they are in good company and are going to buy a verified product trusted by many others. Some statistics signifying the impact of displaying reviews and ratings on consumer buying decisions are as follows:
  1. 68% of Americans report positive reviews making them more likely to use a business - BrightLocal
  2. Reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales - Econsultancy
  3. 88% of buyers are influenced in their buying decision by reviews - Zendesk
Though all of the above stats are related to displaying product reviews on websites, it doesn’t diminish the effect of social proof on purchasing decisions. When we consider first-time store visitors abandoning their carts, it becomes even more crucial to include product reviews and convince them to convert. In every aspect, there lies a big opportunity for online businesses to cover up lost sales by gaining the trust of the user.

Leverage Your Rewards Program and Offer Discounts

Offering discounts on products that a particular user has abandoned has been a very effective technique to enhance abandoned cart recovery rates. To be honest, this technique is a very successful one too. The user is more tempted to purchase some product after seeing the discounted price. But what you need to keep in check is the uniqueness of your offer. Almost every eCommerce business offers some kind of discount perk on abandoned products and our consumers know this. Amidst the objective to convert your abandoned carts, ensure that you don’t sacrifice profitability by offering too many discounts and reducing the product value. Offering lucrative discounts to first-time abandoners is the best practice. Shipping the products for free is another method to boost your conversion rate. As far as your loyal customers are concerned, don’t be pushy in terms of discounts because they have a greater chance of conversion even without the price reduction. One underrated technique is to take advantage of your loyalty and rewards program. All it takes is some segmentation work to separate customers who are on the threshold of achieving a new rank/tier/level in your rewards system. With the new rank come new and better discounts. Based on their level, you can segment the users and send them abandoned cart emails. Let them know that they have reward points which they can spend to buy the abandoned product and achieve the new rank. An interesting survey from MediaPost found out the major reasons why users open abandoned cart emails:
  1. Discounts — 63%                                                              
  2. Loyalty program rewards — 51%
  3. Free samples/gifts — 48%
  4. Free delivery — 46%
  5. Competitions — 33%
  6. Advance notice of new products — 31%
  7. Product reviews — 22%
  8. VIP access — 14%
  9. Privacy policy — 11%
  10. Access to other brand/shop/site benefits — 11%
  11. User guides — 10%
  12. None of these — 10%
Why Do Consumers Open Abandoned Cart Emails? Source: Providing discounts and loyalty program rewards rank as the top reasons for opening abandoned cart emails. It’s high time that online businesses use this to good effect and improve abandoned cart conversion numbers.

Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

With the rise and rise of smartphones, the email open rates on mobile have exceeded the email open rates on desktop. This makes it compulsory for brands to optimize their emails for mobile. When it comes to abandoned cart emails, it becomes even more important to provide a good user experience on mobile. Email Opens By Environment Source: Another mind-boggling statistic tells us that a mobile email which is not mobile-friendly may be deleted within three seconds. There are very high chances that when you send someone an email, they first use their mobiles to check it. And if it is not mobile-friendly, you will lose a potential customer then and there. Here is a list of things you can do to make your emails appear better on mobile:
  • Put your main content and call-to-action(CTA) in front and make it easy to navigate.
  • Use mobile-optimized images and graphics that don’t take too long to load.
  • Aim for a responsive design with a single column.
  • Use email-safe fonts with a good fallback font to cover up unsupported fonts and maintain design uniformity.
  • For people who block images, include a descriptive alt text for the images. Especially when you are using images to convey your message.
  • To ensure a good recovery rate, include a CTA button which follows the scroll.
More and more people are using smartphones to access their emails. Mobile email best practices give you a competitive edge and make your emails more presentable.

Structure a Compelling Email Copy

A compelling abandoned email copy is something which almost forces the users to return to your store and complete their purchase. Though it is relatively hard to assume customer behaviour and email usability, you can surely study it and derive solid user insights. Some prerequisites of a great abandoned cart email include:
  • A catchy headline
  • Nice graphics and images
  • Compelling copy
When it comes to a compelling email copy, you need to make sure you don’t stray from your main objective, i.e. to let users complete their purchase. Some points to keep in mind while framing your email copy are as follows:
  • The recipients did like and have an interest in the products they left behind
  • The purchase was incomplete
  • Oblige them to return and complete their purchase
To stand out from other emails in the recipient’s inbox, be distinctive in your approach and use a casual tone. Your copy determines whether your audience will stick or run. Keeping this in mind, the email copy must align with your company's goals and values. Nothing gets better than strengthening your brand name via your email copy. Your call-to-action(CTA) button is an important part of your copy. The best practice with CTA’s is to keep it simple. Like very very simple. A low-friction and distinct call-to-action serves the purpose greatly. Don’t be pushy with your CTA message and don’t sound too authoritative. Moreover, you shouldn’t just fill up your whole email with multiple CTA’s. CTA phrases like “Return to Cart”, “Check Your Favourites Again”, “Complete Your Order”, etc. are the most commonly used. Including the abandoned products in your copy along with their images and discounted prices(if applicable) is recommended. A compelling email copy consists of all basic ingredients and is still uncomplicated and easy on the viewer’s eye. Such abandoned cart emails have greater chances of pursuing the customer to complete the purchase.

Abandoned Cart Email Examples Created Close to Perfection

All theory is good but a bit of practical peek is not bad either. Once we jot every best practice down, it’s ideal to see those practices in action. I have garnered the following examples of some perfect abandoned cart emails which work more often than not and will provide some great insights. Let’s check them out:

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club, a leader in personal grooming products, shows a great example of how to engage users with an abandoned cart email. Dollar Shave Club Abandoned Cart Email A high-resolution image with all the focus on a single product is the key highlight of this email. A clear and simple call-to-action is another eye-catching feature here. On top of this, the perks of buying the product are clearly mentioned which makes it hard for the reader to ignore. Consequently, more conversions from this email.


Adidas needs no introduction and when it comes to marketing, the brand is making a name for itself. Adidas Abandoned Cart Email First things first, the user is greeted with his name which reinforces personalization and serves as a nice greeting. Then, there is some emphasis on urgency and scarcity of the product. Next in line, Adidas includes support numbers to let the user know that they are in good company. A sporty image with a catchy tagline, images of the abandoned product, and a simple CTA makes up for this wonderful email.


Chubbies is an American brand which specializes in shorts and trunks. Not a very huge brand but certainly a very big learning for all email marketers in its abandoned cart email. Chubbies Abandoned Cart Email Example They use humor to good effect to keep their email copy engaging. A very distinct call-to-action which is tough to ignore. A bright, vivid image to literally “teleport” you to the beaches. You may notice that a good image of the abandoned product would have really sealed the deal here. Still, a great email.


The eCommerce giant uses a rather plain and effortless approach towards framing their abandoned cart emails which works for them big time. I personally won’t rate their email to be the most perfect one but being the world’s largest online retailer, their example needs to be considered. Amazon Abandoned Cart Email Example The design and copy are simple with the abandoned product image and checkout link being the merits of this email. There are a lot of unnecessary links and product categories at the bottom which fill up the spaces in an awkward way. There is scope of improvement but the fact that Amazon has a good abandoned cart conversion rate renders it useless.

Whiskey Loot

Whiskey Loot Abandoned Cart Email Example This is a standout email from Whiskey Loot which lists out a plethora of reasons to buy their product and includes FAQs to address potential objections. An effective way to draw out money from your customer’s wallet is to answer all their product queries and give them enough reason to complete the purchase. This is exactly what this email does. Additionally, the email has been designed in such a fashion that users cannot miss the call-to-action.

Over to You

If you are still with me reading this, I am really glad that you made it this far. Secondly, I am sure that you would have a clear idea about abandoned cart emails till now. Following up on lost and abandoned sales is critical to a brand’s success. You will leave a lot of money on the table by ignoring this potential technique. Creating a sound strategy for shooting abandoned cart emails will let you have an edge over your competitors. Following ways to recover shopping cart abandonment is a must for online businesses. Testing your email copy and subject lines is fundamental to your strategy’s success and must be emphasized. Do you send abandoned cart emails? If not, when do you plan to implement it? Which of the above mentioned strategies do you use currently? Which example do you consider to be the perfect amongst the lot? Did I miss out on any major strategy? Please have your say. I am listening. Schedule Demo
About the Author

Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur, Co-Founder at MakeWebBetter, BotMyWork and the Director of CEDCOSS Technologies. He has worn many hats in his career - programmer, researcher, writer, and strategist. As a result, he has a unique ability to manage multi-disciplinary projects and to navigate complex challenges. He is passionate about building and scaling eCommerce development.