Effective abandoned cart emails can make all the difference to your eCommerce company’s revenue.
While you should always make every effort to reduce abandoned carts, they’re still going to happen.
That’s why these powerful emails are so important.
As you’re about to find out, the right shopping cart abandonment email can bring a large percentage of shoppers back to your site to complete their purchases.
Without significantly adding to your overhead, you can increase your company’s overall conversion rate, skyrocket your revenue, and realize greater lifetime customer values than ever before.
What Is an Abandoned Cart Email?
Before we get into the nuts and bolts and explain WHY you should include abandoned cart emails in your marketing efforts, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what an abandoned cart email actually is.
An abandoned cart email is one that’s designed solely for customers who added products to their shopping carts but didn't actually complete your checkout process.
Instead of purchasing, they left you with one of the most frustrating problems in all of eCommerce: an abandoned cart.
Your conversion rate now takes a hit.
And your revenue loses that potential sale.
As the average cart abandonment rate is about 70%, that’s a lot of lost revenue!
Fortunately, there’s still hope.
The first option is retargeting ads. These are paid ads that only target people who have already been to your site and showed interest in your products. Arguably, this should make them much more likely to convert.
And yet, these ads still cost money.
Enter shopping cart abandonment emails.
These emails serve as a reminder to customers who put something in their carts before abandoning them.
Essentially, they tell the customer, “Hey, you left our site before purchasing. Did you still want this product?”
And again, as opposed to your typical sales emails, this is a personalized version directed at just one shopper. They’re not meant to highlight any products OTHER than the ones the customer placed in their cart.
The good news is that you can still automate these all-important emails, meaning more conversions don’t have to mean spending more time or money. This low overhead is one advantage these emails have over the aforementioned retargeting ads. It costs (next to) nothing to set up an automated abandoned cart email process to increase conversions.
How Effective Are Cart Abandonment Emails?
In short, they’re VERY effective when you consider that – again – it costs you nothing to send one of these emails and even if only 1% of them are successful, those are still sales you’d otherwise never have.
But according to this report on abandoned cart emails by Constant Contact, success rates are actually MUCH higher on average.
An incredible 45% of abandoned cart emails get opened. That is WAY better than your average email open rate, which is just 21.33%.
On top of that, about 50% of recipients will engage with the email. 21% will actually click through, as well. Again, that’s much higher than the clickthrough rate you get for an average eCommerce email, which is just 10%.
And about half of that 50% of recipients who click through on abandoned cart emails typically make a purchase.
So, let’s do some quick math here.
If shoppers add products to carts on your site 10,000 times a month and you have an average cart abandonment rate, you’re missing out on roughly 7,000 sales!
Sending all of those would-be customers an abandonment email would result in 3150 openings and, ultimately, about another 331 sales!
That’s 3,969 more sales a year!
For most eCommerce companies, nearly 4,000 more sales a year would be an absolute gamechanger – especially when you factor in the lifetime customer value of all the new shoppers you sell to for the first time.
While every eCommerce store is different, email marketing platform Klaviyo puts the value of each email at $5.81 per recipient – earning back anywhere between 3-14% of purchases you would have otherwise lost.
And again, that’s not counting future revenue from customers who otherwise would have never made that initial purchase with you. Now, that they have, you can expect them to return to purchase more in the future.
With effective eCommerce email marketing campaigns, you can also increase that lifetime value further by alerting them to sales, special offers, new products, and more.
But the truth about abandoned cart emails gets even better…
The Best Part: Customers WANT to Be Reminded of Products They Looked At
Obviously, a number of factors will affect the success rate of your shopping cart abandonment emails.
And in a moment, we’ll look at some examples of these emails from a wide range of companies to give you a sense of just how diverse they can be.
But here’s one very important element that they all have in common: customers want to be reminded when they leave without making a purchase.
Now, technically, this stat refers to retargeting ads, but research shows that 30.25% of shoppers report they appreciate being reminded of products they recently looked at.
So, give them what they want when they abandon their carts: a simple email letting them know they didn’t complete their order for something they were about to purchase.
How to Write Abandoned Cart Emails: 8 Examples from Top Companies
Okay, so at this point, you’re hopefully sold on the benefits of using cart abandonment emails to effortlessly increase your eCommerce site’s conversion rate and bring in more revenue without boosting overhead.
In that case, the next question becomes: how do you write these emails?
While the exact version that will work best for your customers will depend on unique factors like your industry and customers, here are eightexamples of how other business owners bring shoppers back to their sites and recover abandoned carts.
1. Use the Subject Line to Remind Shoppers What They Forgot
This first example is about as simple as it gets.
When a shopper sees your email in their inbox, they should immediately know that it’s because they left something in their cart.
Far too often, email marketers try to get cute and clever with their subject lines. While this can often work for a wide array of campaigns, cart abandonment emails don’t need the help.
As we pointed out earlier, these unique emails get more than twice the open rate of their conventional counterparts. Don’t risk losing that massive advantage by choosing a subject line that confuses its purpose.
Cart Abandonment Emails Work Great for Wish Lists, Too
Audible does a really good job of doing this.
Most users have one credit a month to spend on any audiobook in Audible’s massive catalog.
But while perusing their options, it’s common for these users to add other titles to their Wish Lists, so they can pick them up when another credit is available.
Audible also runs regular sales, which gives them a great opportunity to remind their customers that they have titles waiting to be purchased:
So, while not EXACTLY the same as an abandoned cart email, it functions in much the same way.
And as you can see, Audible doesn’t use some super-witty subject line, either. They just let customers know:
- “We have something you said you wanted.”
- “It’s currently on sale, so buy it now to save!”
So, whether it’s for an abandoned cart or a wish list, just keep your emails nice and simple.
Speaking of which…
2. Keep Your Emails Simple – A Product Photo Will (Almost Always) Do
This second tip/example combo is another super simple one: your abandon cart email needs an image of the actual product(s) the shopper looked at.
Public Rec does a great job of this. Their abandoned cart email isn’t busy or overly text-heavy.
It’s just a straightforward reminder of what the customer looked at with a simple call-to-action that encourages the customer to complete the order they started to purchase the thing they wanted.
3. Sweeten the Pot with Other Offers
The one exception to that last email tip is if you have any offers that would sweeten the pot enough to lock in the conversion.
“Free shipping” is a prime example of this.
And as we’ll look at below, high shipping costs is one of the biggest reasons customers abandon their carts, so reminding shoppers of this could be all it takes to boost your conversion rate.
Other examples might be your return policy or how fast you ship.
Whatever the case, you still need to keep your copy lean. The product is the star here.
And if you don’t normally offer something like free shipping, consider doing so solely to convert abandoners OR, as in the case of this Rue La La email, offer it on your customer’s next order.
Can’t do free shippingat all?
Think about other options for enticing your customers.
Check out how ASOS does this in their email:
But, again, the copy for their additional offers is kept short and sweet. These emails do a good job of using images to remind recipients what exactly they left behind.
And if those options aren’t possible, here’s yet a THIRD way you can incentivize shoppers to return to their carts and complete their purchases.
Thrive Market gets clicks by comparing their prices to what these products normally cost elsewhere.
So, before you jump to the conclusion that you can’t increase conversions because your business model doesn’t support free shipping, two-day shipping, reduced prices, or something else, stop and consider ALL of your options.
If there’s ANYTHING you can do to give your customers one more reason to clickthrough on your abandoned cart email, it’s worth it.
Warning: Don’t Rush to Implement This Tip
Countless companies see much higher conversion rates for their abandoned cart emails by offering discounts, but I still wouldn’t start off by using this same approach.
The argument for offering discounts/free shipping, etc. is that it’s worth losing a bit of your profits because you’re still making more money than you would from someone who completely abandons their cart.
Still, if you simply test the rest of these tips first, you might find that those discounts aren’t necessary. Maybe they’re only worth doing after you send 2-3 reminder emails first (we’ll answer “How Many Abandoned Cart Emails Should I Send?” below in the FAQ). Many companies hold off until their final attempt to offer their recipients a reduced price.
Start by using the rest of these tips for your initial abandonment emails. Refine them based on your results.
Only after you’ve tried a couple different email options (A/B testing them is always smart), should you introduce discounts. It could be an absolute game-changer for these powerful emails, but it’s worth trying some cheaper conversion tactics first.
4. Don’t Bury the Call-to-Action
If you’re writing a sales email, it’s usually recommended that you wait until the end to spring your call-to-action on the recipient.
You need to actually do some selling before your prospects will be ready to click.
This isn’t the case with emails for abandoned shopping carts, though.
In THIS case, you know the shopper is already “sold” on the product. They just didn’t finish the transaction.
Now, maybe they need a little extra push. We just covered one very effective way to do that (special offers) and we’ll cover some more in the sections that follow.
But you don’t want to wait too long to present them with a button to click on to complete their purchase. In fact, it should be right at the very top of the email – the first thing they see!
If they need a little extra encouragement, you have the rest of the email to work with. And again, you can include multiple CTAs throughout the email.
Check out how Huckberry does it:
Straight to the point.
They leverage a sense of urgency (more on that in section 7) in some very lean copy and then there’s a big, can’t-miss call-to-action to finish your checkout.
CTAs at the Top Are Important for Mobile Users
Putting your call-to-actions right at the top of your emails is good for mobile users, too.
This is a particularly big deal because, currently, 40% of all email recipients open their messages on mobile devices.
They usually aren’t as likely as their desktop counterparts to scroll down your email until they finally find your call-to-action.
It’s okay to have a “Buy” or “Return to Cart” button at the bottom of your email. Heck, you can put them all over the email if you want.
Just make sure there’s a big, bright, shiny one right at the top, too. You want to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to click that button and finish purchasing what’s in their carts.
5. Remind Shoppers Why They Wanted Something in the First Place
Here’s another simple way to incentivize shoppers to make that purchase.
AND it’s yet another way you can do it without offering anything more in the way of reduced pricing or extra offers.
Brooklinen reminds shoppers why they put products in their carts to begin with.
Better still, they do this without creating a huge block of text. They don’t risk losing the shopper by putting a paragraph at the very top of their email.
Along with a straightforward subject line, they remind shoppers why they visited their website in the first place: because their current pillow and bedding leave them “tossing and turning.”
Now, does the 10% off and free shipping help?
That’s why it’s in their email.
But it never hurts to prompt shoppers with the reason they originally looked for your products and put them in carts. If it increases your conversion rate by just 1%, it will be completely worth it.
6. Include a Review for Social Proof Right in Your Email
Not enough can be said for the power of social proof.
If you show shoppers how much other people like your products, this proof will help convert them.
This is why it’s invaluable to utilize social proof throughout your eCommerce site and marketing assets. Abandoned cart emails are no exception.
Here’s a good example of how to do this from Casper.
While we would probably recommend that they make the picture of their product a bit bigger, that review at the bottom is fantastic. If the customer left their cart because they were unsure about the item, that VERY flattering review will help reassure them that they’re about to make the right choice.
7. Leverage Urgency or Use Limited Time Offers
Social proof is good for showing how popular a product is, but another great strategy for doing this is urgency.
After all, if a product is extremely popular, it could sell out soon.
And if it’s going to sell out soon, your customers better act quickly to retrieve their carts and check out.
Here’s how DoggyLoot does it with their abandoned cart emails:
Urgency doesn’t just have to be about your products, though.
You could use an urgent, limited-time offer to convert customers with your abandoned cart email, too.
Society6 does this:
This is also another fantastic example of keeping these emails short, sweet, and to the point. There’s no room for confusion when a customer opens this email.
8. Create a Strategy for Collecting Those Email Addresses
While all of the above tips will definitely set you up for success with your cart abandonment emails, you won’t get very far with a shopper unless you actually have their email address.
No email address.
No abandoned cart emails.
No recovered carts.
There are all kinds of ways you can capture emails on your website, but if the goal is to recover and convert abandoned carts, it’s vital that you use a checkout page that can collect those all-important emails, as well.
This way, if they don’t complete their purchase, you still have the means to get that conversion.
The Most Important Tip for Writing Cart Abandonment Emails That Convert
Before we move on to a quick FAQ, here’s the most important thing you need to know about creating effective cart abandonment emails: you need to understand why customers leave their carts in the first place.
Sure, telling someone, “Hey, you left items in your cart” will be good enough to boost conversions all on its own.
But you don’t have to stop there.
If you know why customers are leaving your carts, you can drop abandons just by adjusting your site or overall business model.
Check out this graphic to see the most common reason customers ditch their carts:
For example, maybe it’s time for your company to look into free shipping to secure more purchases.
If that’s not an option on every single purchase, would it be possible to ONLY offer it to customers who have left their carts? That might be enough to skyrocket conversions without eating too much on free shipping costs.
Simply offering them a faster delivery method could be enough, too, or reminding them of your VERY legitimate security measures.
Whatever the case, it’s always a good idea to investigate the reasons behind your website’s cart abandonment rate. It will help you convert more customers on your website and make for a much more effective shopping cart abandonment email, too.
As we covered above, just be careful not to make your emails too text-heavy if you decide to go this route. Simply mentioning “free shipping” or something to that effect in the Subject Line could even be enough.
Abandoned Cart Email FAQ
So, that’s what shopping cart abandonment emails look like.
As you just saw, they’re not terribly complicated and, thanks to automation, the increase in conversions won’t cost your company much.
That said, you may still have some questions about these powerful emails, so here are answers to the most common ones.
If you have any others, feel free to leave them in the comments.
When Should You Send Abandoned Cart Emails?
Conventional wisdom is that you should schedule reminder emails to go out right away – between 30-60 minutes after a customer abandons their cart.
The reason is that just because shoppers leave their carts doesn’t mean they’re done looking for the items they want.
When Statista studied abandoned carts, they discovered that after shoppers leave their carts, 26% of them go on to buy the exact same products from a competitor.
This is why there’s really no time to waste when sending these emails out. You don’t want to give your competition a chance to convert those customers who left your carts.
So, when it comes to timing your abandoned cart emails, don’t wait longer than an hour, and don’t be shy about following up at least a couple times to up that conversion rate.
How Many Abandoned Cart Emails Should I Send?
After that initial email, you should have another sent out within 24 hours if that first one didn’t convert.
Again, these shoppers are most likely still out there looking for the items they left in your cart. So, at the very least, you should still be sending out at least two emails.
Most companies will send another email on the third day, as well, just to be certain.
Obviously, you’ll want to pay close attention to your unsubscribe rate here. More than 2-3 emails and customers may start to tell you to get lost.
That being said, plenty of business owners send up to five abandoned cart emails (some send even more) believing that it’s worth potentially losing a subscriber if that person is never going to become a customer anyway.
What Platforms Are Good for Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails?
Finally, abandoned cart emails are only possible if you use an email platform that will automate the process for you. If you try sending 2-3 emails every time someone abandons their cart, you’re not going to get a lot more done every week.
Instead, you’ll want an email platform that handles this process for you.
If you’re looking for a breakdown of the two to see which one will best suit your needs, Zapier has a great comparison of Klaviyo and MailChimp that should help you with your decision.
The Final Word on Abandoned Cart Emails
Until you have a sound strategy for consistently dropping your cart abandonment rate and increasing your conversions, your eCommerce company will always leave money on the table.
Fortunately, something as simple as an automated email can be enough to add dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of sales to your site every single month.
Using the examples above, get busy writing your first emails, set them up in MailChimp and Klaviyo, and refine your messages based on the results. This one change, alone, could be enough to make 2023 your best eCommerce year yet.