Abandoned Cart

How to win back customers with killer cart abandonment emails

Cart abandonment is an age-old frustration for any ecommerce store.

The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. That equates to a $4.6 trillion loss in eCommerce sales every single year.

Clearly, if you can win back those abandoners, your businesses will reap the rewards. But how do you go about getting these lost customers back?

By utilising a little thing called the cart abandonment email.

More than 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened. 50% of these people click through, with 50% of those who have clicked making a purchase.

A whopping 28.3% of ecommerce revenue is generated from successful abandoned cart emails.

Clearly, crafting a killer cart abandonment email will help any business win back those all-important customers and rack up the sales. But, like with all things in the digital sphere, you’ve got to put in the time and effort to creating an awesome email that will drive conversions.

In this article, we’ve put together our 5 top tips for nailing your cart abandonment email. Ready to turn those potential customers into buying customers?

What are abandoned cart emails?


Let’s start with the basics. An abandoned cart email is triggered and sent out whenever a shopper adds an item to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase.

To send out this email you’ll need the customer’s email address, which you can acquire by asking the user to enter their email before continuing to checkout.

It’s as simple as that.

What causes cart abandonment?


Before we start looking at the nitty gritty of what makes a killer cart abandonment email, let’s first look at why consumers leave their baskets behind in the first place:

  • Extra costs at checkout: this is the number one reason that shoppers abandon. Want to increase your chances of a customer completing their purchase? Don’t surprise them with hidden costs at the last minute.
  • Being forced to create an account: not being given the option to checkout as a guest is the second most popular reason that users click escape, with 34% of people saying they abandon their cart for this reason.
  • Slow load speeds: a whopping 57% will leave if they have to wait just 3 seconds for the checkout to load. What’s more, 80% of these shoppers will never return. For help improving your site’s speed, check out our handy tips here.
  • Dodgy discounts: 46% will abandon if a discount code doesn’t work.
  • Difficulty navigating on mobile: almost 40% of mobile users will leave if they have trouble putting in their information at the checkout stage, highlighting the importance of a fully mobile optimised site.

The good news is that an optimised checkout can increase conversions by 35.62%. But, there will always be cart abandonment, so how can you use a killer email strategy to win back the ones that get away?

It’s all in the timing


The timing of your cart abandonment emails is crucial to success.

So when should you send out those all-important emails?

  • Email one: sending out your first email within 1-2 hours of the customer abandoning their cart helps to recover 30% more shopping carts. This has also been proven to generate 105% more revenue than sending out the same email 24 hours later.
  • Email two: for those that haven’t recovered their baskets, aim to send out email two within 24 hours. These emails typically have a conversion rate of 7%.
  • Email three: there’s been a lot of debate about whether marketers should send this third email, with most research finding that it showed little return. However, companies such as Omnisend saw 69% more orders when sending out 3 emails. Results will depend on your products, prices and audience. This email could be a great opportunity to incentivise the shopper to complete their purchase by offering a discount or free shipping. Every business will be different and should try a/b testing these emails to see if they’re effective. If you do decide to send the third email do it no later than a week.

Grab their attention with high-converting subject lines

Every marketer that’s dabbled in email marketing will know that an email’s subject line is critical to its success, being the most prominent element of an email when it arrives in an inbox.

In fact, 69% of email recipients will report emails as spam based on subject line alone.

A killer subject line will grab the user’s attention and increase the chance they’ll open the email.

You don’t need any fancy tricks or magic to get it right. With cart abandonment emails, it’s best to get straight to the point.

Our top tips to acing your cart abandonment email subject line include:

  • Keep it short and concise: it’s important to keep your subject lines short, sweet, snappy, concise and to the point. It’s been suggested that the optimal length is 30 characters. Don’t beat around the bush, tell the customer why you’re emailing straight away. If you’re including a special offer to win the customer back, make this known.
  • Get personal: personalised emails deliver a 6x higher transaction rate. What’s more, by merely personalising the subject line leads to 26% higher open rates.
  • Include a call-to-action: if you want the buyer to go back and complete their purchase, tell them. Craft a subject line that makes the reader want to act.
  • Ask a question: this captures the reader’s attention and draws them in, spiking their curiosity about what you’ve got to offer, whether you question them on ‘missing out?’ or simply ask them whether they’re ‘looking for this?’

Include the abandoned product


This might sound obvious, but if you want the recipient to go back and buy the product, remind them of what they’re missing out on.

After all, they might have had a busy day online window shopping and need a gentle nudge to remind them what you’ve got to offer.

In your email show off the product image, name and an easy to follow link that takes the user straight back to their basket, making it super easy to jump back in and complete the purchase.

You may consider going one step further, highlighting some of the primary benefits that the product has to offer, showing off its unique selling point rather than merely delivering some generic marketing spiel.

Including real customer reviews and testimonials of how great the product is is another great way to incentivise the customer to go back and complete the purchase.

Optimise for mobile


We all know the importance of mobile and it’s no exception when it comes to email.

Last year alone a whopping 61% of all emails were opened and read on mobile.


If your cart abandonment email isn’t optimised for mobile, chances are it won’t be a success. In fact, 70% of users will delete an email straight away is it isn’t optimised for mobile, with 52% of customers stating they are less likely to engage with a company because of a bad mobile experience.

Want your cart abandonment emails to be a hit? They’ve got to be mobile optimised.

After all, the majority of emails are received on mobile. What’s more, mobile users are trickier to convert into customers, with higher cart abandonment rates than desktop users – 85.65% versus 69.57%. That means you’ve got to put in the effort to winning these mobile abandoners back.

Some top tips for optimising your email for mobile include:

  • Use a mobile responsive design: using a responsive email design will ensure that your email is optimised for any user, regardless of what device they’re using and what sized screen. This isn’t hard, with most email service providers offering this as standard.
  • Optimise your subject line: we’ve touched on the importance of the subject line, and when it comes to mobile it’s important that you optimise it for these devices. That means creating a short, snappy and concise subject line which is around the 30 character mark, ensuring it’s seen in its entirety on mobile devices.
  • Include an obvious call-to-action: if you want the reader to go back and complete their purchase, make it obvious. Ensure that your call to action is big enough and situated in a clear, obvious place to be seen on any mobile device.

For more help, check out these top tips for optimising emails for mobile by Moveable Ink.

Ace your call-to-action


We’ve talked about the importance of including a call-to-action in your cart abandonment email. In fact, emails that include a single CTA increase clicks by 371% and sales by 1671%. That means including a fully optimised CTA is a no brainer.

So, what are the elements of a CTA that should be optimised?

  • Copy: text needs to be clear, compelling and to the point. Keep it short and sweet, something along the lines of ‘return to my basket’ ‘complete purchase’ or ‘jump back in.’
  • Placement: your CTA button needs to be placed somewhere that’s immediately obvious. It can be super useful to play around with this, whether your button is at the top, bottom or middle. See what works best for you.
  • Design: ensure your CTA button looks clickable. Every detail counts. It needs to stand out, look attractive and be distinctive. Make it very obvious that it is a button to be pressed. That might sound silly, but if it merely blends in to the rest of your email it won’t be effective.


Play around with your CTA. Test, test and test again to monitor what’s most effective for attracting clicks.


Although a call-to-action is different for every business, here are what some of the industry’s leading experts found:

  • ContentVerve found a 90% increase in click-through-rate by using the first-person in their CTA.
  • QuickSprout found that orange CTAs increased their conversion rate by over 5%.
  • Copyblogger found that making your CTA look like a button boosted clicks by 45%.
  • HubSpot found that using personalised CTAs led to a 42% higher conversion rate.
  • Neil Patel found that users preferred to learn about the offer before clicking a CTA, meaning that when he positioned his CTA above the fold conversions decreased by 17%.

What works for some may not work for others. The key is to keep on testing in order to find a successful CTA that works best for your business.

Next Steps – ready to ace your cart abandonment emails and boost sales in 2020?


With an average of almost 70% of carts being abandoned online, businesses have got to put in the work to win back those customers.

Don’t chase and you’ll face a lot of wasted business. Send out any old email and you won’t face much success. The key is to create cart abandonment emails that are super optimised and therefore super effective at winning customers back. With 99% of consumers checking their emails every single day, it will pay off.

For more help with all things inbound marketing the Report Central team are here to help. We do more of the things that work, finding out what drives success so we can keep doing more of it. Ready to see what we can do for you today?

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