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How to Regain Sales with Abandoned Cart Emails

Learn how to take sales over the finish line with an email series built on abandoned cart email best practices.

Online shoppers have a tendency to abandon their carts for a wide variety of reasons. Learn how to take those sales over the finish line with an abandoned cart email series.

Virtual shopping carts are a cornerstone of the online shopping experience, but just because somebody adds something to their cart doesn't mean they're going to purchase it.

In many cases, people leave items sitting in their cart for days, weeks, or even months before deciding whether to make a purchase or not. If you want to remind a customer that they were in the middle of shopping, you can send them an abandoned cart email. Abandoned cart emails should be part of every email marketing strategy for e-commerce businesses because it can help you recover lost sales and keep customers coming back for more.

Abandoned cart emails are simple, they are emails you send to shoppers to let them know they have items sitting in their cart. You can send abandoned cart emails to help remind shoppers that they were considering making a purchase on your website. Here's a complete breakdown of abandoned cart emails, including abandoned cart email examples to help you find the right format. Keep reading to learn more about how to improve your abandoned cart email strategy.

An abandoned cart email is an email you send to a customer to let them know they have items sitting in their shopping cart. You don't want to pressure people into making a purchase; abandoned cart emails are simply a way to gently remind customers that they didn't finish their shopping trip.

These emails typically include details of the items left in the cart, sometimes with images, and a call-to-action prompting the recipient to complete their purchase. An abandoned cart email may also offer incentives like a discount code, free shipping, or limited-time offers to entice customers to finalize their transactions.

Abandoned cart emails help you recover lost sales. The goal of an abandoned cart email is to remind shoppers about items they left in their cart; that way, they can come back and check out if they still want to make a purchase. These emails actually produce great results in most cases, especially when customers are still interested in making a purchase.

One important thing to remember when it comes to your abandoned cart email strategy is that everyone is different. Try A/B testing a few different cart abandonment journeys by new customer, traffic frequency, and purchase history to see what works best for your market.

Why would someone abandon a cart?

You might be wondering why a customer would abandon a cart full of items in the first place. Sometimes it's simply an accident, while other shoppers may have lost interest in making a purchase. The “why” is important when it comes to abandoned cart emails because it can help you prevent them in the future and create tailored emails designed to bring those who have abandoned carts back to your website. Here are a few reasons why customers abandon a shopping cart:

  • Unexpected costs: Additional costs, such as unexpected shipping costs, taxes, or hidden charges may surprise customers at checkout, causing them to rethink their purchase.
  • Complicated checkout process: A complicated or long checkout process can frustrate customers, leading them to abandon their carts in search of a more streamlined experience elsewhere.
  • Payment security concerns: Customers may hesitate to enter their payment information if they have concerns about the security of your website or payment process.
  • Comparison shopping: Some customers use shopping carts to compare prices or products across different websites. They may abandon their cart if they find a better deal elsewhere or need more time to make a decision.
  • Technical issues: Technical glitches, slow loading times, or website errors can disrupt the checkout process and prompt customers to abandon their carts out of frustration.
  • Distractions or interruptions: Shopping cart abandonment can happen because customers simply get distracted or interrupted during the checkout process, leading them to leave the website or checkout page unintentionally.
  • Lack of urgency: Customers may add items to their cart intending to return later or waiting for a sale or promotion like holiday deals or a free shipping offer before completing their purchase.

Understanding the common reasons behind cart abandonment can help you identify areas for improvement within your business and implement strategies to reduce abandonment rates and improve overall conversion rates on your website.

Write effective abandoned cart emails

To recover lost sales and nurture customer relationships, you need a cart abandonment email strategy. Luckily, you don't need to manually craft a new email for every single customer who leaves their items in their cart. With the magic of abandoned cart email templates and automation, you can ensure that your customers receive timely reminders without lifting a finger. Here are a few tips for writing an abandoned cart email:

Personalization techniques for abandoned cart emails

Personalization makes your abandoned cart emails stand out. Always address the customer by their name to add a personal touch and increase engagement. You should also reference the abandoned items in the email. This can prompt them to revisit their decision and complete the purchase.

Customize the content of your abandoned cart email based on the customer's browsing history, purchase behavior, or demographic information. This could include tailored recommendations, personalized offers like discount codes or free shipping, or targeted messaging.

Timing and frequency considerations

Timing and frequency are also crucial factors that can impact your abandoned cart email strategy. Aim to send the abandoned cart email shortly after the customer has left the website without completing their purchase. This ensures that your email is still relevant and timely.

If you plan to use an abandoned cart email sequence, you'll still send the first abandoned cart email within about two hours after they've left items in their shopping carts.

Experiment with different timing intervals to find the right sending time for your audience. Some may respond better to immediate reminders, while others may prefer a follow-up email after a longer period.

Additionally, be mindful of how often you send cart abandonment emails. Sending too many reminders can annoy customers and lead to unsubscribes.

Compelling content strategies

The content of your abandoned cart email can help you capture customer attention and motivate them to take action. Use persuasive language and limited-time offers to encourage immediate action.

You should also clearly communicate the benefits of completing the purchase, such as free shipping, discounts, or exclusive offers. Showcasing the value proposition can incentivize customers to return and complete their order.

Additionally, ensure that your abandoned cart emails are optimized for viewing on smartphones. Many customers shop on mobile devices, so it's crucial to provide a seamless experience across devices.

You should also consider using social proof like testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content (UGC) to build trust and credibility. Reading positive feedback from other customers can reassure a hesitant potential buyer and validate their decision to purchase from your online store.

One of the best ways to create these communications is by looking at an abandoned cart email example and studying it. Look at how your competitors and other businesses use their abandoned cart email strategy to help you guide your own.

Getting emails right can be tough, especially if you're trying to convince shoppers to come back and finish making a purchase. Understanding a few best practices and looking at abandoned cart email examples can help you write more effective emails without being too pushy.

Write a catchy subject line

When it comes to effective email marketing, subject lines are one of the most important things to focus on. Before readers even open your email, they're going to look at the subject line. For many people, the subject line is a determining factor in whether an email is important enough to read or not. If your subject line grabs readers' attention, they're a lot more likely to read your email.

While the actual abandoned cart copy is important, the subject line is what sets the reader up for that copy. In addition to grabbing attention and getting readers to open your emails, your subject line should also set the reader up for the rest of the email. Make sure you tell people why you're emailing them and how they can take action (by completing their purchase).

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is crucial no matter what type of email you're writing, but it's especially important if you want to write the best abandoned cart emails. You don't want to be too pushy, so you need to know what kind of customers you're dealing with. Are you emailing customers who have made purchases with you in the past, or are these first-time customers? Is it unusual for your customers to abandon their carts, or does it happen from time to time? Answering these simple questions can help you write a better abandoned cart email.

The better you know your audience, the better you can write for them. That being said, it's still important to look at abandoned cart email examples and follow all the best practices if you want your emails to be as effective as possible.

A/B test multiple abandoned cart journeys

By experimenting with different subject lines, messaging tones, and content, you can gain valuable insights into what resonates most effectively with your target audience to help you recover otherwise lost sales through abandoned cart messages.

A/B testing subject lines and messaging can help optimize open rates, click-through rates, and, ultimately, conversion rates.

Additionally, A/B testing helps you understand which aspects of your abandoned cart email strategy contribute the most to customer engagement and conversion. Beyond subject lines, you can test messaging approaches, call-to-action buttons, visual elements, and incentive offers to determine the most impactful combination for driving cart abandoners back to your website.

Say what's in the cart

If you're trying to let shoppers know they've forgotten items in their cart, make sure you let them know what's actually in their cart. Online shopping has become a popular activity for many, so your customers may not even remember what they were thinking about buying from you. Gently reminding shoppers that they have items in their carts and telling them what those items are can help guide them back to your website.

You can also use abandoned cart emails to recommend other products they might be interested in based on what's in their cart, further personalizing the shopping experience and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Keep in mind that there are several ways to show people what they left in their cart. While a list of items will work, most retailers use a sort of preview of the cart, which includes images of products, links to products, and more. A well-crafted section that shows what's in users' carts can give your abandoned shopping cart emails a big boost.

Send an abandoned cart email sequence

Instead of sending a single cart abandonment email after a few hours, consider sending an entire sequence to remind the potential buyer of what's waiting in their cart and optimize your chances of recovering lost sales. Most experts recommend sending three to five emails to recover lost customers. 

While the schedule you use can vary based on your customer's preferences, it's generally recommended to send cart abandonment reminders on a schedule similar to this: 

  • Email 1: This is a gentle reminder sent on the same day a customer has abandoned their carts. It can remind any who may have been distracted to come back to finish the checkout process. 
  • Email 2: This email should contain an attractive incentive to entice the customer to check out. This may mean offering free shipping or a discount code they can use. Send this email after 24 hours to keep your business on top of mind. 
  • Email 3: After around 48 hours, you can assume the customer has received your other emails and doesn't feel the need to check out for any number of reasons. Here's when you can evoke urgency and give them a limited-time offer. You can also use this email to provide social proof to help encourage them to take the final step. 
  • Email 4: If your customer hasn't completed checkout at the 10-14 day mark, they may not be in a hurry to purchase the item. At this point, you can send them a final email reminding them about items left in their online shopping cart, along with any incentives and value propositions for purchasing.

Continue to experiment with your cart abandonment strategy to determine the best sequence and frequency for your target audience. 

End with a call to action

Once you've figured out your subject line and all the body content, it's time to wrap up your email. Every good marketing email should end with a call to action that lets the reader know what they can do if they want to take action. With abandoned cart emails, you can use your call to action to let people know where they can go to complete their purchases. If you want to give people an incentive to finish their purchase, you can offer a small discount or a bonus item upon checkout.

While a call to action is used to let readers know what to do after reading an email, you need to be careful about using pushy or sales-y language. Simply letting readers know they can visit your website and log in to complete their purchase is an effective way to end abandoned cart emails.

As is often the case with email marketing, your abandoned cart emails might not get customers' attention right away. Some customers don't check their email often, while others may ignore emails from businesses as a general rule. Because of this, it's important to set up a series of abandoned cart emails to maximize your conversion rate.

Creating an abandoned cart series is actually easier than it sounds. Typically, you'll want to send your first abandoned cart email an hour or two after the cart has been abandoned. If you don't get a response, you can send an email 24 hours after the cart has been abandoned, and another one 72 hours after a cart has been abandoned.

With Mailchimp, you can set up an abandoned cart email sequence using automation. When a customer doesn't complete the checkout process, it counts as a trigger, and an email is automatically sent out with the content and on a schedule of your choosing.

Mailchimp lets you create dynamic email content, meaning you can create an abandoned cart email template that you use for all shopping cart reminders. The content will update based on the items left behind, with each customer getting their own personalized message and offer.

It's important to avoid being overly pushy when it comes to abandoned cart emails. You don't want customers to feel like you're forcing them to come back and finish a purchase; you're just giving them a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Remind your customers what they're missing

Abandoned cart emails are a great way to remind shoppers that they didn't finish making a purchase, but following best practices is important. You don't want to send too many abandoned cart emails, and you don't want to be aggressive or pushy when you're trying to convince people to come back and shop with you.

If you need a little help figuring out how to write abandoned cart emails that lead to increased sales, Mailchimp can help. With tons of templates and helpful automation tools, like the ability to create mobile cart abandonment emails, Mailchimp makes email marketing simple for businesses of all sizes. If your abandoned cart emails could use some work, give Mailchimp a try today.

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