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10 Finest Abandoned Cart Email Strategies to Recover Your Almost-lost Sales in 2020

10 Finest Abandoned Cart Email Strategies to Recover Your Almost-lost Sales in 2020

03.Feb.2020 Georgie Vineeth - Abandoned cart email, BayMail

Facing the dilemma of cart abandonment? If I tell you that you can vanquish your worst eCommerce nightmare, would you believe it? As of 2018, the average cart abandonment rate worldwide was 75.52%, which implies, 3 out of 4 shoppers who add items to their cart failed to complete their purchase. 

But, don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. 

Referring to my previous argument, you have a massive opportunity to transform these abandoned carts into recovered revenue. 

But how?

Extensive studies on the performance of abandoned cart emails found that the average conversion rate for shopping cart abandonment emails is 18.64%.

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • What are abandoned cart emails?
  • What causes shopping cart abandonment?
  • How to calculate the shopping cart abandonment rate?
  • Capturing your abandoned shoppers’ email addresses
  • 10 best abandoned cart email strategies

What is an Abandoned Cart Email?

An abandoned cart email is a follow-up email sent to a customer who has added items to his/her cart but exits without completing the purchase. 

This is an extremely powerful sales recovery strategy. As claimed by Shopify, nearly half of all cart abandonment emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site. 

Here’s a quick example, 

abandoned cart email


However, retailers must understand that not all shoppers desert their cart intentionally. Sometimes the reason could be something different- like flawed website navigation or complicated checkout process. 

Let’s get into the details of what triggers shoppers to abandon their carts. 

What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?

reasons why shoppers abandon their carts

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How to Calculate the Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate?

The shopping cart abandonment rate is the percentage of shoppers who add items to their virtual cart but depart without completing the purchase. Put simply, it’s the rate of potential shoppers who leave without buying anything compared to the total number of shopping carts created.

calculate cart abandonment rate

The cart abandonment rate is measured by dividing the completed purchases by the total number of carts abandoned. Subtract the result from 1 and then multiply it with 100. 

Let me put it to you this way:

Imagine if you have 50 successful purchases out of 150 carts created. In this case, your shopping cart abandonment rate would be 70%.

1 – (50 / 150) x 100 = 70%

This is how you might view the cart abandonment rate on your eCommerce store dashboard:

eCommerce cart abandonment rate display

The shopping cart abandonment rate helps retailers understand how shoppers behave on their website, and what turns them off. This metric displays your checkout flow’s degree of intuitiveness and how convenient it is while a customer approaches the purchase completion. 

While it is useful in this particular context, the cart abandonment rate can sometimes be misleading too. For instance, if you have a very few website visitors or online sales, the Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate can’t be of much help- because the data set is too small to reach a confident assumption. 

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Capturing Your Abandoned Shoppers’ Email Addresses

Although forced account creation can cause 34% of shoppers to abandon their checkout, a careful list-building approach can be greatly rewarding to online retailers. 

So how do you get your visitors to offer their email address even if they don’t complete the checkout procedure? 

Exit-intent pop-ups are one of the most convenient and effective ways to optimize your eCommerce store for garnering visitors’ email addresses.

Here’s an example: 

capture email address

Most importantly, a web form shouldn’t be an obstacle between you and important customer actions. 

An example of a simple and convenient checkout form could be like this: 

checkout form

Some of the web form design best practices include: 

  • Mark optional form fields instead of required fields
  • Use in-line form validation
  • Implement smart defaults using visitors geolocation data
  • Use dynamic pop-ups with instructions that appear when a specific field is selected
  • Display progress bar to avoid confusion

pro tip

The Anatomy of a Winning Abandoned Cart Email

Abandoned cart email is an exceptionally effective yet shockingly underused strategy by even some of the largest online retailers. 

Macy’s, Apple, Nordstrom, and the Gap have no existing cart recovery strategy as of now. 

Forget their costly oversight, you have plenty of successful examples to be inspired from. 

Tinte Cosmetics skyrocketed their email marketing revenue to about $60k in just 3 months by taking advantage of a targeted abandoned cart email campaign. 

They send an immediate reminder email 6 hours after the cart abandonment. 

abandoned cart email reminder

The second email was sent 2 days after the shopper abandoned the cart. 

Read the complete case study here

Now, let’s see how you can create and send an abandoned cart email series that brings back over 40% of your shoppers to your website. 

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Subject Lines Come First

Did you know, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line?

Speaking more specifically, 45% of emails sent to follow up on an abandoned cart are opened by consumers.

No matter how striking your abandoned cart email is, if the subject line fails to entice the shoppers to open it, you are still circling the drain. 

Email open rate is a crucial metric for evaluating the success of abandoned-cart email subject lines.

This is why a high email open-rate is considered a sign of a healthy cart abandonment email campaign. 

Now, let’s examine different subject line archetypes that retailers use to boost their conversions. 

Promotional Subject Lines with Discounts

Incentives work. 

Terms such as deal, promotion, “% off” are all strong trigger words that grab the attention of price-conscious shoppers. 

You have to make clear that such customers are getting hooked up with a great deal if they return back and complete the purchase. 

Here is an example: 

promotional subject line

However, one best practice when using a promotional strategy is email suppression. This helps you to track whenever a customer redeems an offer and hence preventing them from exploiting the opportunity again. 

Promotional Subject Line Template Examples

  • Empty your cart with XX% off
  • Get me now with an exclusive XX% off
  • Catch me before I go! XX% off only for 24 hours
Curiosity-inducing Subject Lines

“Curiosity is the lust of the mind.” 

Yes, you heard me right. 

Rather than pitching a direct and upfront offer, you can pique the shoppers’ interest by tweaking your subject line strategy a little bit. 

Take a look at this example from Drojet: 

curiosity-induced email subject line

Curiosity-inducing Subject Line Template Examples

  • You deserve it
  • We have something special for you
Product Shout-out Subject Lines

Sometimes the best you can do is to get straight to the point. 

Product shout-out headlines are direct and clear, at the same time, it addresses the want or needs the customer originally had when they placed the product in their cart.

For example:

product-shoutout email subject line

Product Shout-out Subject Line Template Examples

  • Your [Company Name][Product Name] is tired of waiting for you
  • Still can’t let go? Your [Company Name][Product Name] is waiting 
Cart Reminder Subject Lines

I don’t think anyone needs an introduction to this type of email subject lines. A reminder subject line is the most common yet very effective approach to remind your fellow shoppers that they have items waiting in their carts. 

cart reminder email subject line

Reminder email subject lines work based on ‘Assumption Principal’ – where the retailer assumes that the shopper abandons his/her cart because they forgot about it. 

Cart Reminder Subject Line Template Examples

  • Forgot Something?
  • Did You Forget Me?
FOMO Subject Lines

Urgency and scarcity are the two most powerful psychological ploys that drive customer actions. 

You can try the FOMO approach in three different ways: 

  1. You can set your cart to expire and create the impression that the shopper needs to complete the purchase now. 
  2. You can create a FOMO strategy around a particular product. (Using words such as limited stock, selling fast, etc)
  3. You can offer a discount with a countdown. 

This is how a FOMO subject line looks like:

FOMO email subject line

FOMO Subject Line [Image]Template Examples

  • Hurry! Your cart is about to expire
  • You’ll never get a second chance. Shop now to get 20% off
Customer Service Subject Lines

Customer service subject lines aim to address the reasons why the shoppers abandoned their cart. 

customer service subject line

Customer Service Subject Line Template Examples

  • Need help?

Write an Email Copy that Sells

Your emails are alive. They communicate with your customers. So make sure that they aren’t boring.

A great email copy interacts with the shopper, convinces them to bounce back to his/her cart and complete the purchase. 

Below given is an example of a catchy abandoned cart email copy: 

abandoned cart email copy

Here are some things to remember when you create an email copy for shoppers who abandoned a purchase. 

  • Be creative with the email preview text (Often, this shows part of the first line of the email)
  • Get personal: Use customer’s name in the subject line
  • Get to know your audience and deliver the copy that resonates with their personality
  • Have the goal in your mind while creating the copy
  • Use sensory words in your abandoned cart email copy
  • Use psychology while writing a marketing email copy (for instance, FOMO, user-generated content, etc)
  • Use simple or detailed product images along with your email copy
  • A/B test your cart recovery email copy

Optimize Your Call-to-action for Conversion

Your call to action, or CTA, is arguably the most important part of your copy. Your CTA leads the shoppers through the sales funnel, gives them clear instructions about what to perform next. 

In brief, CTAs are the key to transforming shoppers into valuable customers. 

However, when it comes to cart recovery emails, using low-commitment CTAs is considered to be a best practice- because asking your shoppers to purchase something is the highest commitment you can ask for. 

Therefore, rather than using the term ‘buy’ in your email CTAs, you can rephrase it and thus reduce the scope of commitment. 

For instance, you could ask readers to “Return to Cart” as shown in the example below. 

abandoned cart email CTA

You can also use different versions of low-commitment CTAs such as “Resume Your Order,” “See Your Favorites Again,” or “Finish Checking Out.”

Get the Timing and Frequency Right

While creating an abandoned cart email is one thing, sending it is a totally different ball game. 

According to the studies published by Experian, eCommerce customers who receive multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow up email.  

Also, the customers who received more than a single abandoned cart email have a multiple transaction rate 44 percent higher than those who didn’t.

Here is how your abandoned cart email sequence should look like:

  • Email 1: 40-60 minutes after the cart is abandoned
  • Email 2: 24 hours after the cart is abandoned
  • Email 3: 3 or 4 days after the cart is abandoned
  • Email 4 (Optional): 2 weeks after the cart abandonment- This email should focus more on offering alternate product suggestions rather than recovering the cart

For purchases with more value, you should consider a slightly different approach:

  • Email 1: 20-30 minutes after the cart abandonment
  • Email 2: 3 or 4 days after the cart abandonment
  • Email 3: 2 weeks after the cart abandonment
  • Email 4 (Optional): 1-2 weeks after sending the 3rd email- Should focus on reengaging the shoppers rather than cart recovery

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Build a Powerful Abandoned Cart Email Series

The reason why sending an abandoned cart series is more preferable is that it gives retailers the opportunity to explore different psychological aspects of the shoppers- through creating an urgency, suggesting related products or showcasing how other customers feel about the product or the brand. 

Here are some very effective abandoned cart emails based on their position in the email sequence:

Email 1: 40-60 minutes after the cart has abandoned

The notion of sending a cart abandonment email to the shopper soon after he/she leaves the website is widely accepted among the retailers because such emails act as a strong reminder. 

Here is an example of a cart reminder email: 

abandoned cart email timing and frequency

Email 2: 24 hours after the cart is abandoned

If the first email didn’t do any wonders, you must create some urgency by sending out the second abandoned cart email. But your email doesn’t need to alarm bells at this point.

abandoned cart email timing

Email 3: 3 or 4 days after the cart is abandoned

Your 3rd email in the abandoned cart series is going to test the shopper’s interest in the product he/she left behind. You can achieve this by saying something like ‘ I’m almost gone’ or ‘your cart is expiring soon.’

cart recovery email recovery timing and frequency

Email 4: 2 weeks after the cart abandonment 

At this point, you are more interested in bringing back your shopper to the website- assuming that they are still interested in the products you deal in. 

An example email will look similar to this: 

cart abandonment email timing

Watch the video below to learn how to set up abandoned cart email triggers using Targetbay:


Best Abandoned Cart Email Strategies

Having worked with thousands of eCommerce stores, we’ve found some interesting ideas that can help the new-day merchants improve their recovery rate. 

Here are some excellent strategies to nail your next abandoned cart email campaign.

Invest in Loyal Customers

You might already know this: Offering discount coupons are one of the most prevalent strategies to recover abandoned carts. 

Yes, that’s true. Everyone loves a good deal. 

But, the problem here is, this is such a popular tactic now and most of the shoppers expect it. 

Besides, discounts, in the long run, diminishes your profit margin. In fact, regular discounting devalues your product value. 

One way to prevent this is by investing in your most loyal customers. 

Here are some ways to implement this effectively: 

  • Calculate your ‘Average Order Value.’ To find your AOV, divide the total revenue from the total number of orders. Let’s assume it’s $200. 
  • Based on your AOV, decide how many loyalty points a shopper requires to get at least a 10% off. For instance, 250 points = 10% off.
  • Create a separate customer segment for customers who have loyalty points more than 250. 
  • Set up a different email campaign for such shoppers- saying that they have loyalty points which they could apply to this purchase to get 10% off.

The email campaign for your loyal customers should look like this: 

cart abandonment email with product recommendations

Prioritize the Best Selling Product in Your Shoppers’ Cart

Let’s assume that a customer added 5 similar products to the cart and exits before completing the checkout. In this case, it is safe to assume that the shopper doesn’t have the same purchase intent for all those 5 products. 

Here, rather than trying to create an email copy that showcases all the abandoned items in the cart, you can focus on one product, probably the highest rated one. 

Let’s see how you can implement this:

  • Use data and your marketing intuition to find the right product to focus on. Showcase the best selling product in the cart and craft your cart recovery email around it. 
  • Highlight some of the primary features of the product. Include the unique value proposition of the product in the email. 
  • Add some objectivity to your cart recovery email by incorporating the popular customer reviews of the product. 

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Build Trust and Credibility

Believe me when I say trust and credibility convert. Millennial shoppers are informed yet confused by the abundance of choices they have on their fingertips. 

So,  how do you showcase trust and credibility through emails? 

Well, user-generated content is the best way to earn your customers’ trust. 

Reviews and ratings influence 88% of customers’ purchase decisions. 

Customer testimonial has huge potential, it can even convert the most skeptical customers into potential buyers. 

abandoned cart email with social proof

Maintain a Long-term Relationship

When today’s retailers are more fixated at instant conversions, they overlook the power of long-term customer relationships. 

As email marketers, we’ve always considered a smaller but engaging list more valuable and effective than a bigger, disengaged list. 

Sending out email templates to the customers who have consented to be on your mailing list is the best way to ensure a high conversion rate.

Vince Lombardi quote

Yes, sometimes your abandoned cart emails can annoy your customers. 

Maybe he/she is not ready to purchase now, or they might need some more time to think about it. As a retailer, you should respect that. 

However, it doesn’t mean that you should cut ties with them. 

Yes, you can email them about that cart, however, after a couple of emails about this, you can’t send emails to that customer again without their consent.

But don’t worry, there is always a way. 

You can include a final email to your abandoned cart email sequence- asking them to subscribe to your mail list. 

This way you can set up another email campaign for such shoppers and send newsletters or industry insights on regular intervals. 

5 Finest Abandoned Cart Email Templates to Crush Your Cart Recovery Goals

Having trouble building abandoned cart email templates? Here are some amazing free email templates to help you step up your email marketing game. 

free abandoned cart email template

Before You Go

It’s human nature to explore or probe, before making a commitment. You can’t deny the millennial shoppers from doing that. There exists no technology, Shopify plug-in, or perfectly optimized online shopping cart in the world that can eliminate it. Retailers must accept the fact that cart abandonment is an inevitable part of the eCommerce buying cycle, and start perceiving it as a potential possibility for conversion rate optimization. 

If you enjoyed this article, let us know through the comments. 


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