Do you know what one of the biggest problems all ecommerce businesses face is, no matter their industry? The answer is cart abandonment, making a good abandoned cart email strategy a must. If shopping in the real world was like it is online, you would see customers leaving their carts scattered around your store because they got distracted by a dog making a funny face. Or, maybe they didn’t like the looks of your checkout line. That might sound crazy. But, when you’re online, we can guarantee people have left their shopping carts unpurchased for way weirder reasons. It stings when someone is so close to buying your products or services, but then for whatever reason, they never click “Purchase.” Luckily, there are ways to reduce the number of abandoned carts on your site and also reach the visitors who still left their carts behind.
What’s in the guideWe’ll cover everything you need to know about proactive steps you can take and also abandoned cart emails. Plus, we’ll show you more than 20 amazing examples to help you get started. Here’s what we will be covering:
- How to figure out your abandonment rate
- Why cart abandonment matters
- What causes consumers to abandon carts
- Ways to lower abandonment rates
- How to add abandoned cart tracking
- When to send abandonment emails
- Abandoned cart email strategy best practices
- Great abandoned cart email examples
- Summary: Time to get started!
How to calculate abandonment rateHopefully, you have a program that tracks and calculates your cart abandonment rate for you. But even if you do, it’s still good to know how that number is calculated so you can better understand what it really means. Basically, the shopping cart abandonment rate is the percentage of shoppers who add items to their virtual cart but leave before completing the purchase. It’s the rate of potential shoppers who leave without buying anything, compared to the total number of shopping carts created.
- You divide the completed purchases by the total number of carts abandoned. Then, subtract the result from 1 and multiply it by 100 to get the abandonment rate.
- You have 100 successful purchases out of 200 carts created. In this case, your shopping cart abandonment rate would be 50%.
Why an abandoned cart email strategy mattersAnytime someone leaves their cart before making a purchase, you’re missing out on that sale. That might not seem like the end of the world if we were just talking about a sale here and there that’s lost. But, when you look at the bigger picture for cart abandonments, you’re going to want to do something about yours now. The average rate for cart abandonment for all industries worldwide is 88 percent, according to Statista. The automotive industry has the highest abandonment rate out of all of the measured categories with a nearly 97-percent abandonment rate. Let’s put that into dollar signs just for a second so you see why you definitely do not want your carts to be abandoned. Ecommerce brands lose about $18 billion in yearly sales revenue due to shopping cart abandonment. We’ll give you a moment to absorb that number.
Positive statsOK, enough doom and gloom. Let’s cover the encouraging stats that come with sending cart abandonment emails — which is one of the ways you can lower your abandonment rate. These emails have a:
- 45 percent average open rate
- 21 percent click-through rate
- 11 percent conversion rate
- Find out why the customer didn’t buy and use this qualitative information to proactively improve your buying process going forward.
- Create a great customer service moment, and leave a lasting impression on the customer.
- Form a positive emotional connection with your prospective customer, helping to build brand loyalty.
Why users abandon cartsTo stop users from abandoning their carts, you first have to understand why they do it in the first place. There are a variety of reasons why consumers leave their carts before they convert — and there might even be several contributing factors for them leaving. This breakdown shows the Top 10 reasons people abandon carts:
- Extras cost too much (shipping, taxes, fees, etc.): 50 percent
- Site wants them to create an account: 28 percent
- Too long or too complicated of a checkout process: 21 percent
- Couldn’t see or calculate the total order cost up-front: 18 percent
- Delivery was too slow: 18 percent
- Didn’t trust site with credit card information: 17 percent
- Site had errors or crashed: 13 percent
- Returns policy was unsatisfactory: 10 percent
- Weren’t enough payment methods: 6 percent
- Credit card was declined: 4 percent
Find your rateYou can learn more about your specific abandoned carts using these methods to see how often and why people leave your checkout process:
- Google analytics: Explore the customer journey on your website to find where they’re dropping out
- Research: Know your audience and their expectations of similar products and purchasing paths
- Surveys: Ask customers through an email survey about your checkout flow and their purchasing intent to discover pain points you can address
- Heat and click maps: Learn how users behave by seeing where they click on a page, how far they scroll, and the graphical results of eye-tracking tests
13 strategies to lower abandonment rates (before emailing)There are two main themes for the majority of the reasons on that list above: Your checkout process requires them to do too much and/or you weren’t upfront about the purchasing process. So, make the entire process as quick and painless as possible to improve your cart abandonment rates. Here are a few ways you can do that before ever sending them an abandoned cart email:
- Identify which checkout step is causing the most abandonment
- Add trust signals (ex. security logos) in a prominent position on your transaction form
- Include thumbnail images of the product(s) throughout the checkout
- Show a progress indicator so they know how much longer the process will take
- Make it easy to navigate between the cart and store
- Offer multiple payment options — or even better, offer an express checkout option
- Include a strong call to action (CTA) on checkout pages
- Make it easy for them to save their cart
- If shipping isn’t free, show what they can do to earn free shipping
- Offer money-back guarantees, free returns, or other policies to reassure them
- Allow them to checkout as a guest, so they only have to login if they choose to
- Optimize page load times
- Use email-based retargeting (EBR) to track users
How to track abandoned cartsTo start targeting shoppers who have abandoned their cart on your site, you’ll first need to place a tracking code (your snippet script) on your cart page — or you can use a plugin in some instances. This is what’s going to let you know they were there, their email address, what they have in their cart, and other data on this user. You’ll need all of that for the abandoned cart email you’ll be sending them shortly. How you set up the tracking will depend on the platform you’re using to collect your cart data. Most platforms will provide you with how-to posts and videos to walk you through the process. No matter your specific platform, there is certain data you’ll want to collect so you can target them with the right cart abandonment email. These are some of the top things to collect:
- Product name
- Link to the cart
- Product quantity
- Product size
- Link to product page
- Product price
- Product image
Best time to send abandoned cart emailsYour potential customer has added items to their cart, but for whatever reason, they didn’t click “Purchase.” Time to bring in the reinforcements — also known as your abandoned cart email strategy. Of course, what works for each brand varies due to different industries, audiences, etc., but here are examples for when to send an email after they abandon their cart:
- 1: 30 minutes to 1 hour
- 2: 1 day
- 3: 3 to 4 days
- 4: One to two weeks after Email 3
- 1: 30 minutes to 1 hour
- 2: 3 to 4 days
- 3: 20 days to 2 weeks
- 4: 1 to 2 weeks after Email 3
Abandoned cart email best practicesNot all emails are created equal. That’s why different companies have such a range of open and click-through rates. Abandoned cart emails are no different. To ensure yours is going to bring you the best results and get that contact back to their cart, incorporate these best practices into your abandoned cart email strategy.
Subject linesThis is the first thing users will see when you send them an abandoned cart email, besides maybe who the email is from. And nearly half of all email recipients say they open an email based on the subject line. So, what should you say to get the open? The best approach is to keep your subject line simple and to the point. Let them know exactly why they are receiving this message. Consumers receive hundreds of emails a day, so cut to the chase. Not sure what to include in your subject line? Try some of these components:
- Company name: Let them know who is contacting them.
- Customer name: Email personalization may help you get more opens.
- Friendly tone: If you can’t imagine saying it to a friend in normal conversation, rephrase your subject line.
- Product details: What exactly did they leave in their cart? Remind them.
- Urgency: If they might lose the items in their cart, let them know.
- Simplicity: Because the decision to open your email is made within seconds
- Cart reserved: Open to see
- Don’t miss out! Your cart is expiring soon
- Empty your cart with 25% off
- Take 10 percent off before your cart is gone
- Still deciding? Your [PRODUCT] is waiting!
- Did you forget about me?
- [CUSTOMER NAME], did you forget something?
- Oops, you forgot something
- Where’d you go?!
- A gentle reminder…
- Your cart is expiring. You may qualify for free shipping
- There’s something in your cart
- Thinking about [PRODUCT]?
- Did you forget about me, [NAME]? 😱
- Your cart MADE us send this reminder 🙂
- Is your wi-fi ok?
Create a sense of urgencyAlerting potential customers they might lose the items they’ve placed in their carts is a great way to tap into the scarcity effect as a marketing tactic, as long as you’re being honest. You can do that by incorporating one of these tactics into your email:
- Reserve their cart for a limited amount of time (with a countdown)
- If their item is limited edition, let the know it won’t be restocked
- Set an alert showing how many other people have the item in their cart (similar to how travel sites tell you how many people have viewed that property in the past 24 hours)
- Let people know if their item is likely to sell out due to popularity
ContentIf your subject line does the trick, your potential customer will have made their way into the email body. Yay! Now that they are there, you’ll want to make sure your content makes these three points:
- They liked something enough to put it in their basket
- It was left in their online shopping cart
- They should return and complete their purchase
- Shopper’s name (if you know it)
- Sentence reminding them they haven’t completed their purchase yet
- Details about what they left in their cart
Showcase productThe reason for your abandoned cart email is to get that shopper back to their cart to complete the purchase. One major part of doing that is showing them exactly what they’ve left behind.
- Don’t hide that information: Reveal that product like it’s on the Price is Right.
Similar offeringsMaybe they didn’t complete the purchase because the product wasn’t the best one for them. To combat that issue, you can (sometimes) include an alternative product to the one in their cart. We say “sometimes” here because you might not want to do that with every abandonment email, since that could take away from the main one they really do want. They did add it to their cart, after all. You could send them an email with the product in their cart as the main image. Then, include two or three similar product photos (with links) below that, in case one of those better catches their eye. This approach is similar to what you see on Amazon’s “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” section: Or, you can try showing them related items to include in their cart that won’t distract from the primary product, such as:
- Accessories for the main item
- Different patterns or colors for the same item
Address issuesThere are several reasons why people might leave their cart, as we covered above. So, why not address a few of those possible problems or questions in your email? That will help you cover several bases and get them back to their cart. Using your customer research and website usability testing (or some of the top reasons we mentioned above), create an email that shows you understand their concerns and will address those issues directly with this abandoned cart email. That’s exactly what Whisky Loot did in this fun email: The brand stays true to its voice by sharing a lighthearted checklist of things customers can do with their product. The email also answers questions that might be holding up people from making the purchase. This is a great tactic you can easily incorporate into your message. You can use some of the top questions you hear from people on your:
- Social media pages
Call to actionLet them know exactly what you want them to do once they open your email (i.e. purchase the items in their cart). Do that by making the CTA prominent in your design. The components of a good CTA for an abandonment email are:
- Be direct (but nice). Your button could say “Return to your cart,” instead of using words like “buy” or “pay”
- Only include one CTA to make sure it’s clear what you want them to do (though there are a few exceptions to that rule, which we will cover later)
- Color/design of the CTA stands out from the rest of the email body
FrequencyYou can set up a series that goes out all on its own – and wins back revenue that would otherwise have disappeared. Like we mentioned above, you’ll want to send the first email fairly soon after they leave their cart. You should also continue to follow up with them using a series of emails if they don’t complete their purchase after the initial email. This example sequence is one that many brands, including Target, use following a cart abandonment. It starts on Day 3:
- 3: Send first email with a subject line like “Come back and see what’s new,” with some sort of personalization at the front — “Kids’ Clothing: Come back & see what’s new”
- 4: Send a significant discount across the entire category the user was browsing. The offer should be front and center, placed directly in the subject line and as the first call out in the body of the email — “Need kid’s clothing? Take up to 25% off today”
- 4: A few hours after the first email is sent that day, send out another like “The price dropped for something in your cart”
- 5: Resend the notification regarding the price drop with an updated subject line — “Price drop alert”
- 6: If the previous attempts have failed, you can switch back to more category-specific offers. So, if they had originally added children’s clothing to their cart, you could try something like, “All of the outfits they’ll need for school.”
- 7: Pick out personalized products based on what’s in their cart. For example, if they added a boy’s sweater with a dinosaur on it, send them other clothing options that have dinosaurs on them with a subject line like, “Outfits he’ll roar about!”
- CURTAINS you’ll love!!
- The curtain for you!
- CURTAINS & DRAPES: Living Room **SALE**
- ▓▓▓▓ CURTAINS & DRAPES ▓▓▓▓
- CURTAINS you’ll love!! [This one was sent at the beginning and end of their email series]
Show proofWhat do you do before making a purchase? We’d venture to say the vast majority of you look at reviews to see what others have to say about a product first. We all want to see that social proof, so use that to your brand’s advantage by including reviews in your abandoned cart emails. Go through your reviews, and pull out the best ones for the product or service they’ve looked at. If you don’t have any, reach out to your top customers for one. The subject line could be:
- See what others are saying about [PRODUCT]
- Why this [PRODUCT] earned a 5-star review
- Our most talked about products
UnsubscribeLike with any of your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to include an Unsubscribe button or link somewhere in the body of your email. Make unsubscribing as easy as possible, so don’t try to hide it or make it super small. It doesn’t help you or the shopper if they aren’t interested in receiving your emails, and they can always resubscribe later if they choose. If you try to force people into receiving your emails and buying your stuff, you’re destined for complaints, failures, and a struggle to maintain profitability. Let people opt-out before they start to distrust or dislike your brand. An effective unsubscribe button usually is at the bottom of an email. That’s where readers will look. Try to use a different color, font, or even use italics to make an unsubscribe CTA stand out. You don’t need to go overboard with font size. You can keep a smaller size font if you want, but make sure it’s readable.
16 examples of abandoned cart emailsNow that you have a better grasp on why, how, when, and what to send, it’s time to dive into some more examples of what other brands are doing as part of their abandoned cart email strategies. Check out these 16 examples to get ideas for your next campaign.
1. PinkBlushWithin about an hour, PinkBlush will notify shoppers if they left items in their cart. There’s no better time like the present, right? The first abandoned cart email in their series came with the subject line, “Good News! We’ve Saved Your Faves! ❤️” Once you open the email, the headline is “We ❤️ what you picked out!” with a “View your shopping bag” CTA right below the text and main image. They also include:
- An image of the product in the shopper’s bag with another, more direct CTA, “Check out now.”
- They close out the email with photos and descriptions of some of their new arrivals with the CTA, “Shop now.”
2. CasperAnytime you can personalize your emails, you’re going to make a bigger impression. A great example of how one brand stayed true to its tone, products, and audience is with this email from Casper. Right off of the bat, it’s extremely clear this is a bedding company. From the text, “Come back to bed,” to the image of the moon in the shopping cart (I mean, how perfect is that?), you know who they are. The email is simple, showing exactly what was left in the cart, and it provides a clear CTA. Casper even included a review and the option to read more reviews below the product info.
3. DoteDon’t you love it when an email makes you laugh? We sure do, and this one from Dote hits the mark with a touch of humor:
- “Your shopping bag has abandonment issues: Save these items hours of therapy, and give them a good home.”
4. Food52Along those same lines, Food52 brings a little cart humor into their email with this text: “Your cart called. It’s hoping you’ll come back and see it.” This is the type of content that can work for any brand. They follow that up with some urgency:
- “The goodies you love are there waiting for you, but they won’t be forever.”
5. Rudy’sWe suppose putting off a software update isn’t that different than putting off a purchase, which is why we like this abandoned cart email example from Rudy’s. It’s not your typical headline for this type of email, which is great for helping it stand out from all of the rest. They also add in urgency by saying the cart is about to expire — and so is the shopper’s chance at free shipping. That’s a great thing to point out because everyone wants that free shipping.
6. Jack WillsBritish retailer Jack Wills takes an understanding approach with its abandoned cart email: “Hey [NAME], we know life can be hectic — there’s a lot going on, and it’s easy to forget about your shopping bag even when it’s full of great items.” Pretty smooth, right? They show they care about the customer’s time, while also taking the chance to remind them that they left some pretty great things behind in their cart. The email’s CTA, “Return to my items,” is right there at the top and uses the same color palette as the rest of the images and design. So, it manages to fit in, while still standing out — and that’s what you want your CTA to do.
7. MoschinoThis example may seem a bit intense at first glance (or after a dozen), but if you look at Moschino’s website, you’ll see that most of their models and images look pretty serious. So, I guess you could say they successfully carried over that style to their email. You don’t even really need the text to tell you that you left something behind once you see that stare. One thing we like about this message is that it includes “Free standard shipping” right there at the top. Since that’s a common holdup for many shoppers, it’s a great thing to let them know right away if your brand offers it. The email also shows:
- Descriptions (including the price)
- CTA, “Complete my order”
8. Saatchi ArtThis email from Saatchi Art gets straight to the point creating a sense of urgency: “High sell-out risk.” If whatever is in their cart is important to them, that’s going to push them to go back now before it might be gone. They also use the tactic of offering the shopper a discount to complete their purchase today. By adding in it has to be done “today,” they’re added another level of urgency to the message. At the bottom of the email, the company lists some of their selling points (pun intended). They state:
- 70 percent of their proceeds go back to artists
- Shipping is included
- And they provide a free advisory service
9. MCMThis example from MCM shows you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your email design, no matter what type of campaign it is. The design mimics the one found on their website, helping shoppers to easily recognize the brand, considering they were recently shopping on their site. They use the text, “You left something behind. Return to shopping cart,” as their main text. That’s followed by:
- Shipping costs: If there are none, put “Free” into the subtotal equation
10. ColumbiaHas the price changed on the item in their cart? Then that’s a great point to lead off with in the email like Columbia did in this example: “Great news! That gear you like? Its price just went down.” They use the fitting CTA, “Reveal new price,” to take them back to their cart. But, doesn’t that sound a whole lot more interesting than “See cart” or whatever when there’s a new price to discover? Below the main product, they include a “You may also like” section, in case what they originally added to their cart wasn’t exactly what they wanted (hence the abandoned cart). Or even better, maybe they decide they need more than the item in their cart! If you have other big deals going on, you can include that at the bottom. This abandoned cart email was sent around Black Friday, so of course, they wanted to mention that big doorbuster. They also include that they offer free shipping on all orders — which is something you should definitely include if you do, as well.
11. HeadspaceAbandoned cart emails aren’t only for products, as Headspaces proves in this example. They reach out to visitors who didn’t finish signing up for their subscription service, showing they get what it’s like to get distracted. “If you got distracted, that’s OK. We all get distracted sometimes — squirrel!” While that’s not amazingly creative, it makes their email sound more like a conversation than written text. That’s exactly what you should be trying to create with all of your marketing emails. Headspace also includes:
- Their contact information if people have questions or issues
- The CTA to “Continue to checkout”
- If people aren’t ready to make the purchase just yet, there’s also a link to “Learn more about Headspace Plus.”
12. Cole HaanWe’re always suckers for a clever image, like this one in Cole Haan’s email. They use a telescope image with stars above the text, “Like what you see?” It’s simple and effective. They follow that with, “Bag this one before it’s gone,” and a “Shop now” CTA. While this email doesn’t specifically mention the item in their cart, it would be good to send to shoppers after the initial one or two abandoned cart emails. It includes things similar to what they want, helping to bring them back in if the original item wasn’t quite right. The CTAs are also less specific, instead of telling them to return to their cart. We thought this one would be good to include because it shows an email example further down the series.
13. QuipWith the motto, “Simple. Accessible. Enjoyable.” on their site, Quip carries that idea over to their abandoned cart email design. This example is not overcrowded with tactics that don’t support Quip’s message. In this case, simplicity translates as confidence in their products. Here are a few more things that work in this example:
- The design choices are soothing, warm, and welcoming. Also, the hand-drawn cloud elements add a human touch to the design.
- The use of punny copy to reinforce there’s no pressure to buy is charming and clever.
- Quip points out the majority of their users rate them five stars (social proof).
- The CTA pops with a clear message that invites you back instead of coming across as being demanding.
- Value is added not with a coupon, but by reminding the customer that their first order includes a free refill.
14. Society6Here’s another example that focuses on creating a sense of urgency with their message, while also providing the shopper with a deal if they complete their purchase. Society6 even uses the deal in the CTA, “Get my 30% off.” And if there’s any doubt still in the shopper’s mind why they received this email, the brand answers that right away: “Order incomplete.” Here are more things we liked about this one:
- To remind the user what else their brand sells, they included three images with text/links to view those other departments.
- They also state information that’s important to them and their customers at the bottom. “Every purchase pays an artist,” and, “Just in case returns.” That’s a clever way to describe returns.
- Society6 gives the shopper reassurance that their brand is legit by mentioning where they’ve been featured in the “As seen in” section
15. thredUPPeople might not remember what products had them clicking the “add to cart” button back on your website. If they open your email and are still confused, they’re probably going to delete the email — and you’ve lost a potential sale. That’s why thredUP makes the abandoned product the main attraction in their email. These are a few reasons why this email works:
- The product is front and center: There’s no question what item was left behind.
- The word-bubble above the abandoned cart item joking about feeling abandoned is a clever design element. It’s especially fitting if they are viewing the email on their phone.
- While the CTA is playful and flirty, which is on brand for thredUP, it might not be completely clear as to what you want the user to do or what will happen if they click it.
16. Cater2.meThis email design looks like a screenshot of Cater2.me’s website, which is a great way to build brand awareness. It does something else the site is known for: make us hungry! Who doesn’t love tacos? Their email is one of the simplest on our example list, but it works. It has three main components:
- Headline: “You’re so close!”
- Body text: “Request your order today.”
- CTA: “Less talk, more guac”
In summaryWe know that’s a lot of information to take in, so here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what all we covered on abandoned cart emails:
- How to calculate your abandonment rate
- Why you need to add abandoned cart emails to your marketing strategy
- Why people leave carts and how to get them back
- How to start tracking carts
- When and what to send
- Examples of abandoned cart emails
- You’ll know your customers agree with the price you sell your products for.
- They’ll be willing to purchase for the full price.