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The Psychology behind Cart Abandonment and 5 Rules to follow for Abandoned Cart Email Strategy


Are you tired of trying to figure out why customers abandoned their carts and not sure how to fix it? Don’t worry! Almost every eCommerce business is facing this challenge. But we are giving you the cheat sheet to fix this problem. At the end of this article, you will understand the psychological factors that enable cart abandonment. And there is also a surprise pro-tips section that will save you time while coming up with abandoned cart email strategies

Already excited? Then keep reading!

Let’s brush up on what Cart Abandonment is first. 

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Imagine yourself walking into a store (Don’t forget to wear a MASK even in your imagination!). In every section, you see a shopping cart with few products left in the middle of the aisle. Not just one or two but in every nook and corner. Shopping Cart Abandonment while online shopping is a similar situation. Shoppers add products to their carts but do not complete the purchase process for numerous reasons. E-Commerce business owners and their analytics teams need to dig deep to identify behavior patterns related to cart abandonment and how to reduce it. Every shopping cart that gets abandoned could be a potential purchase. So, the onus is on you to give your customers that nudge. 

Now, to understand this better let’s consider this as a psychological concept. 

Fix the missing elements

For a customer to complete a purchase, three elements are required to be satisfied. What are these elements? Motivation, Ability, and Trigger. We heard you smirking saying, ‘Stop bluffing!’. You don’t have to trust us. Trust B.J. Fogg. The above elements are derived from his theory of the Fogg Behavior Model. In this theory, he focuses on how computers and the internet can influence consumer thoughts and behavior. According to him, for a consumer to follow any specific behavior all these three elements need to be completely satisfied. This can be applied to the cart abandonment issue. 

Fogg Behavior Model by B.J. Fogg

We will explain this to you with an example to help you get a vivid picture. Imagine yourself being an online shopper and your intention is to shop a sanitizer from this eCommerce store. 

Instance 1: At the end of the process, you find an additional shipping cost that pops-up. Of course, you will be annoyed. There goes your motivation to complete the purchase and what next? You abandon your cart with sanitizer waiting there. It is important to motivate your customers to complete the purchase. On top of that, it is more important not to demotivate them from the process. 

Instance 2: At the end of the process, you find it redirecting to the 404 page. What kind of emotions does this message provoke in you? It is natural to get frustrated and abandon your cart. So, here the ability of the customer to complete the purchase gets disrupted. 

Instance 3: You’re almost at the checkout but you see a suggestion to buy a cloth mask. What does your instinct say? ‘Get it! You need cloth masks sooner or later.’ That’s it. You have leveraged an opportunity to up-sell a product. But what if you had failed to show these in recommendations? You just missed an additional opportunity for selling a product

Very simple but quite surprising right? Let’s dig deeper. 

Understand and identify the various reasons which lead to cart abandonment.  This is not as easy as it sounds. But get this step right and you will know where exactly to focus while setting up abandoned cart email campaigns.

Discovering the easter eggs

Get into the mind of a consumer. After all, every one of us has abandoned our carts from time to time. Use your personal experience to identify the places where you are compelled to abandon your cart. You need to 

  • Dig through your data
  • Analyze your product pages
  • Evaluate your checkout process
  • Identify products high cart abandonment rate
  • Evaluate pages with the highest bounce rates
  • Checkout the mediums that serve as a hindrance to complete the process, etc.

There is no easy way to find out these reasons. It is a continuous process that requires constant analysis. 

Have you tried subliminal messaging? 

Subliminal messaging influences one’s subconscious mind in addition to the conscious mind. Subliminal messaging in marketing can do wonders. You can appeal to a customer’s Motivation, Ability, and Trigger through their subconscious mind. 


  • Well crafted and detailed description for the product
  • No surprises with the price. Show the price explicitly in the front.
  • Free shipping to boost sales
  • Easy to read and understand shipping guidelines
  • Appealing but honest pictures of the product. (No gimmicks here, please! It will come back and bite you as user reviews). You can leverage the advantage of using Ecommerce photo reviews. Visual User-Generated Photos help in strengthening textual reviews. 
  • Displaying genuine reviews and not fabricated messages


  • Affordable prices with real-time comparison data with competitors. Don’t make them feel cost-prohibitive.
  • Accurate data on inventory control. Don’t let your customer get disappointed unnecessarily.
  • Offering multiple delivery options trying to make it more convenient to suit their needs.
  • No sudden shocks or glitches during the purchase process. Make it as smooth as possible.


  • Displaying enticing sale offers, coupon codes, and promotional incentives for a limited time.
  • Always let them know how safe and secure their transactions are. Take time and space for it.
  • Try to follow an “endless aisle” layout. The more customers scroll, the more likely that they will pick up something that interests them.
  • Showcase social proof. This makes the customer feel secured about the purchase decision. 
  • Get your data analytics team to find out the sweet spot of your customers and plan a ‘Free of charge’ option based on that.

We can see that you are already in this article. Now, let us try to find out how cart abandonment is not only about that but something beyond placing order.

What lies beyond placing an order?

If you think your work is done once the customer places an order, we are going to stop you right there! NO! Don’t be satisfied yet. There are more factors linked to the psychological experience of a customer. It is not just about making the purchase process easier. It involves little things starting from the online experience until the package delivery. Ensuring an excellent customer experience will motivate and trigger them to purchase from your store next time. YES! You have earned yourself a loyal customer!

Use the best of automation

Automation with email marketing can help you in keeping your customers posted on every single step. Let them know about the order confirmation, shipping details, estimated delivery date, suggestions to enhance their experience through automated emails. Get as creative as possible in designing these templates. Customers always appreciate constant communication without them having to follow up with you. Automation in email marketing has been proven to be one of the abandoned cart email strategies.

Keep it real

Make sure every detail displayed during tracking is very accurate and the most latest update. Do not try to stall them with false information. If a customer reaches out to you, be prepared to offer them support immediately. Allow customers to reach out to you through multiple mediums such as email, social media, phone, contact forms, etc. The more you let your customers wait for the response, the more likely they are going to abandon their purchase next time.

Leave your mark with packaging 

Have you seen videos on the internet where people scream with excitement while unboxing their packages? You want the same for your eCommerce store. It is always not about the product. Enhance the customer’s experience and excitement 10x with incredible packaging and neat labeling. Ask them for product review and site review. Respond to their exchange/return queries and make the process simple. Accept legitimate suggestions and try to implement them the next time. 

All these can help you with retaining your customers. Now, let’s circle back to Cart Abandonment and Cart Recovery. There are multiple strategies used to combat this issue. But Abandoned Cart Email Templates have proven to produce better results.

Abandoned Cart Emails are an excellent way to recover your sales. We are going to offer you some pro tips on things not to do while planning to send abandoned cart emails. This is basically your cheat sheet for not annoying your customer with wrong abandoned cart emails.

Don’t go with random content

Shopping Cart Abandonment Email template with good content

Always rely on data and statistics while framing content for abandoned cart email. When your data reveals the exact reasons and places where carts are abandoned, you will know what exactly they are looking for. Once you get an insight into this and grab all the clues, you can tailor emails to offer a more personalized message that can resonate well with your customers.

Don’t send interruptive reminders

Interruptive Abandonment Cart Reminder Emails

Sending reminders is crucial but know your timing. Try to avoid the following while sending reminders.

  • Don’t send random reminders
  • Don’t send reminders at random hours
  • Don’t send reminders constantly without proper intervals
  • Don’t go overboard with reminders

And also, don’t just focus on telling them about the abandoned items in the cart. Offer them help. If you have already identified the roadblocks for completing the checkout process, you can offer them help or connect them with the support team. Best time to send abandoned cart email with perfect intervals will motivate your reader to open it. 

Don’t corner them into reading your emails

Provide options to opt-out of Abandoned Cart Email sequence

When you send an abandonment cart email, it is natural to send it in a way to make sure the customer reads it. But, you cannot corner them into following it. Give them an easy way to opt out of your email just like how it is provided for regular newsletters. Denying them this option will only annoy them more. Do you know what customers are liable to do with emails when they are annoyed? They mark it as spam which clearly is not going to work in favor of you. So, it is okay to send abandonment cart emails but it is better to be cautious about how the customer will view it as well. 

Don’t be too serious with the messaging

Abandoned Cart Email Templates with funny images

Yes, all of us know our objective here. It is to make your customer complete the purchase to reduce shopping cart abandonment. And shopping cart abandonment is a serious problem. We get it! But that does not stop you from crafting a light-hearted, breezy message with a pop of humor. You will appeal to the emotional quotient here instead of the intelligence quotient. It helps you take away the built-in annoyance attached along with emails. Not just that, it also creates a personality for your emails and customers start recognizing your brand with these messages easily. All I can hear are positives when it comes to humor. Get your creative team to unleash that locked away humor in them!

Don’t just use content

Show products in Abandonment Cart Email Template

You have to think about the content. But content is not the only aspect where you can score. Thoughtfully, insert visuals in the abandoned cart email templates to make them more appealing and enticing. Add the exact picture of the product left in the cart to motivate the customer to finish the purchase. If you cannot remind them what they left in the cart, they are only going to ignore your email. Add more graphic elements to it and make your email’s first impression the best one with your customer. Work on the theme, dynamic designs, gifs, color, carousel. Make it as interesting and appealing never as before. 

Surprising right? Sometimes, the strategies that you adopt might be doing more harm than good. Now that you know the psychology behind this, get into the mind of the customer, and explore a customer’s journey from their point of view. End of the day, all you need to aim for is customers’ satisfaction. So, evaluate your abandonment cart email strategies from time to time and upgrade them as required.

Best of all, try our Abandoned cart software to send more targeted emails and improve your existing abandoned cart email strategy.

Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment
Picture of Keerthana Selvakumar

Keerthana Selvakumar

Keerthana Selvakumar is a Content Writer at TargetBay, an Ecommerce Marketing Cloud used by thousands of online stores across the globe. When she is not working, Keerthana spends most of her time reading, cooking, catching her favorite Netflix shows, and fantasizing about becoming a good storyteller. An admitted Anime fanatic, she feeds her addiction to Japanese Manga and Anime by binge-watching episodes on Sunday afternoons until her eyes pop out.

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