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Email Tips for Abandoned Shopping Carts

Email Tips for Abandoned Shopping Carts

Abandoned shopping carts are a pain every online vendor knows well. The reasons it happens differ but the outcome is the same – unfinished purchases, shoppers lost and revenue drops.

In a nutshell, shopping cart abandonment is when an online store customer adds a product to the cart but leaves the website before completing the checkout process.

The frequency of the phenomenon varies for different industries and merchants. It has been estimated that there is an average of 69.80% abandonment rate for shopping carts around the world. Other sources state that 3 out of every 4 shopping carts get abandoned. And if this is not enough to paint a clear picture of how serious the problem is, here is another research. It shows that the economy loses an average of $18 Billion annual revenue because of abandoned carts.

But why does it happen so often?

Shopping Cart Abandonment Trends Across Industries

Online shopping is fun and easy. It doesn’t require any extra effort and, with a smartphone in their pocket, your customers can shop literally wherever they are.

The thing about such availability, however, is that when buying online people rarely devote their full attention to it. They start adding products to their carts, then get distracted by a pop-up message, or something else, and quickly forget about what they were doing before.

Maybe they are daydreaming of treating themselves while on a budget and just browsing your eCommerce store with no intention of buying at this moment. Or they have intention to make a purchase but at the final stage of the checkout process, the shipping costs drive them away, and carts get abandoned.

So, the first thing you need to do when trying to solve this issue is to diagnose the reasons why it’s happening and fix it. By optimizing your website, you can avoid shopping cart abandonment. Here is a detailed guide on how to do this:

14 Tips to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

However, even with a perfectly optimized website and a hassle-free sales funnel, shopping carts still can get abandoned. And one of the best ways to try and win your customers back is by sending automated email reminders.

Research by Moonseed shows that 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened, 21% of them are clicked on, and 50% of the users who clicked then made a purchase. This means that not sending a few emails might cost you sizable profits.

Cart Abandonment Emails Efficiency

If done properly, an email campaign can help you increase conversions, gain back some of the revenue lost due to abandoned carts, and build a better relationship with your customers.

So how to design irresistible abandoned shopping cart emails that bring the customers back to our website and convert?

1. Take the Customer Lifecycle into Consideration

Knowing the stages and span of your customer lifecycle is important for every aspect of your eCommerce business success. And it should be taken into account when sending shopping cart abandonment emails in order to achieve optimal results.

More expensive products with longer customer lifecycles require a longer waiting time when sending out emails than low-cost items with shorter ones.

The best strategy is to send a sequence of two or three emails at different times, taking into account your customer lifecycle:

  • Short Customer Lifecycle. Consider sending the first email 30 minutes after the cart was abandoned, the second one – 22 hours later, and the third one 3 days later.
  • Long Customer Lifecycle. Consider sending the first email 1 hour and 30 min later, the second one – in 46 hours, and the third one – after 4 days.

Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails Timing

For example, when someone is shoe-shopping, they might have gotten distracted and simply forgotten to click “buy”. A quick reminder 20-30 min later can easily bring them back to finish the purchase. But when they are buying airplane tickets or making hotel reservations, it’s more likely they are reconsidering their purchase and it’s doubtful they will change their minds in such a short time.

Less expensive purchases usually take less consideration and the time-frame for the decision is shorter. That’s why sending an email half an hour later to remind the customer of the items they’ve left in their shopping cart is a reasonable time. Even if they’ve decided against the purchase when they left your website, seeing the item again might help them change their minds. And an offer or some additional information can make them want it even more and convince them to make the purchase.

This is not the case with more expensive products, however. With these, people usually need a longer time to do research and compare prices. It is very probable that they added items to their cart just to check the calculation of the total price, and compare it with other websites. Or maybe they wanted to buy right away but the cost was out of their budget. That’s why, if the price range of your products is on the higher side, you should probably wait at least an hour and a half before sending the first email.

However, there is no universal equation. Different businesses require a different approach. The best timing for your campaign can be established only through experiments, A/B testing, and customer engagement analysis. But we’ll talk more about this later in the article.

2. Set Up an Automated Email Sequence

Sending a perfectly crafted email with the right message at the right moment can be priceless and increase your conversions by up to 14. 65%. But what’s even better is to go the extra mile and set up an email sequence consisting of several emails, with the right messages and right timing.

However, consider designing a unique email for each time-slot. If you stick with only one version and send it to the same person three times, this feels very much like spam and might drive the customer away. Also, it’s a missed opportunity to approach them from different angles. People are not the same and what works for one, might turn another off.

An email sequence allows you to explore different strategies and can help you change your customers minds. For the best results, make sure the emails have different layouts, try various button styles and CTAs and provide supplementary information in each of them.

There are many strategies you can use when setting your abandoned shopping cart email sequence. Here’s an idea of what they might look like:

Strategies You Can Use When Setting Your Abandoned Shopping Cart Email Sequence

  • The First Email. It can be a simple reminder that the customer forgot something in their cart. It should include a large enough image of the product and a clear CTA.
  • The Second Email. It can offer extra information about the product’s qualities and maybe customer reviews to show what one will be missing out on.
  • The Third Email. This one is the last resort strategy and you can use it to try to bring the customer back with a discount or a free shipping offer.

3. Explore the Anatomy of an Abandoned Shopping Cart Email

The abandoned shopping cart email, like every email you send to your customers or piece of content you create, should reflect your brand’s personality. If your brand focuses strictly on business, stick to that tone and style in your emails. But if your customers are used to a more casual attitude, by all means, be creative in your emails and show some sense of humor.

Personalization is one of the most important assets of an abandoned shopping cart email. In fact, it’s so important that it can increase the CTR of emails by 14%.

Here’s what to focus on when designing your emails:

Add Clever Subject Line

The subject line is the first and most important thing that people notice when receiving an email, and it’s usually what helps us decide whether to open it or not. If it is witty and entertaining, chances are we open the еmail just to see if the contents match the intro.

Try to come up with a short line that is both engaging and expresses your brand’s attitude. If you can’t think of anything original, you can always stick with the classics:

  • Hey [name], did you forget something?
  • Oh, no! Your cart got left behind!
  • Something awesome’s waiting in your cart! Come get it!
  • We’ve got a sneaky 10% OFF to bring you back!

Focus on the Product

The product is what got your customer’s attention in the first palace and it should be the star of the email. Make sure to give it a central place in the email and introduce it with a big enough image.

The customer needs to be reminded of what they loved about the product and seeing it again in all its glory is the best way to do it.

Write Stellar Copy

A single photo of the product can be enough for some customers but others need a little more to push them towards making a purchase. The email is a chance to win customers back and you should work hard to make the best of it.

Adding engaging messages will supplement the images and help you to get on your customer’s good side. You can crack a joke about the product, or use some inside humor your fans will understand. This will make them feel part of something bigger and will let you establish a connection with them.

Even a short email can tell a story and if you can make it into a love story between your customer and the product, you are bound to win them back.

If your brand is a strictly business one, you can still afford to use a clever industry pun or an entertaining remark. Your copywriters can come up with something tasteful and entertaining that will attract the customer without reflecting on your serious reputation. Or you can simply focus on the quality and good properties of the product.

Pick a Suitable CTA

The Call-to-Action (CTA) is a very important part of your email. It should be short, on point, and located in close proximity to the product photo. It’s best if you can come up with CTAs that match your brand’s personality.

For example, if you are selling guitars and music equipment, your CTA could be “Let’s Rock” or “Let’s play some music”. However, too creative of CTAs can sometimes be considered unclear and confusing.

If you can’t think of anything both original and comprehensive, it’s best to stick with “Back to Cart” or “Return to My Cart”.

Include Awesome Graphics

The images in your email should be top quality and original. You can choose to include only an image of the product and your logo. But adding visuals that make your brand more relatable and highlight your style and the experience you offer can help seal the deal.

For example, if you are selling gaming accessories, a photo of an excited gamer midplay can make the customer identify and want to buy the super expensive joystick they left behind in the shopping cart even more.

Imply a Sense of Urgency

The fear of missing out is an important part of online shopping.

If a person adds an item to the cart, this means that at that moment they really wanted to have it. Even if they leave it behind, they most likely feel a connection to it.

Showing them what they might be missing out on and that somebody else might grab it first, for example, or that the promotion they saw ends soon, could help them quickly make up their mind.

Provide Sufficient Information

Abandoned shopping cart emails are an opportunity to provide additional details about the item. Consider adding some details on what it can be used for, how it can make the customer’s life better or more interesting.

You can also offer your assistance in case there were questions the customer couldn’t find the answers for. Provide a phone number for customer support and a list of the other ways they can contact you.

You can even go a step ahead of them and make a list of possible questions they might have and provide the answers in advance.

Feature Positive Customer Reviews

Showing-off with some good feedback from happy clients is a great way to reassure your cart-abandoners of the qualities of the products they might be missing out on.

You can also add some images from a photoshoot of the products in action. It will help the customers identify more and imagine themselves using the items and enjoying it.

If you have photos provided by customers (and their consent to use them for advertising purposes) this will also make a great addition to your email.

Reviews and positive feedback build trust and make your brand feel more reliable. And people are more likely to make a purchase if they see you as trustworthy.

Offer Special Discounts

Offering vouchers and discounts is one of the easiest ways to bring your customers back and convince them to make the purchase. And you really can’t go wrong with offering free shipping, as this is the most common reason for shopping cart abandonment.

Reasons for Abandonment During Checkout

However, offering discounts in the first email of the sequence should be avoided as a lot of customers might come back even without it.

Also, if people get used to receiving discounts every time they leave their cart behind, they might start to take advantage of it and you will lose revenue.

Discounts are a good strategy for the second email, and especially for the third one. After all, it’s better to make a sale for a lower profit than not to make a sale at all.

4. Don’t Skip A/B Testing

A/B testing is the most secure way to find the best abandoned shopping cart email strategy for your eCommerce store. It has been reported that A/B testing the subject line of emails can help a business to increase their CTR by a staggering 26.96%.

What will work for your strategy depends largely on your products and the specific lifecycle of your customers. That’s why it’s always best to try different options and compare results.

A/B testing can help you identify the most efficient times to send your emails based on your customer’s profiles and behavior. It can help you identify what subject lines work for your customers, what copy excites them enough to come back, and what kind of images grab their attention.

Use the strategies above, experiment, and find out how to adapt them to your business’s personality to accomplish optimal results.


Shopping cart abandonment can be the source of huge losses in revenue for eCommerce businesses but it most certainly is not a dead end.

Skipping out on a cart abandonment email campaign can be a missed opportunity to win customers back, increase conversions, and grow revenue.

There are many strategies you can explore and there is no single path to the perfect email. However, a compelling subject line, witty copy, a cool image, and a strong CTA really can make a difference and help customers change their minds. All you have to do is find the right configuration to match your business’s identity and get to know your customer better.

Is your abandoned shopping cart email strategy showing results? Share with us in the comments!