The Complete Guide To Abandoned Cart Emails (Examples Inside)

In eCommerce, conversions are the name of the game. Anything that increases conversions - without bending the truth of course - is worth looking into.

In this post, we want to talk about one of the biggest drains on your conversion rate: abandoned carts.

Abandoned carts happen when a shopper sees something they like, starts the checkout process, and then stops and clicks away. According to Ometria, the average abandoned cart rate stands at 70%. This means that out of every ten users that start your checkout process, seven won’t complete it.

The bad news is that's a lot of lost sales. The good news is that abandoned cart emails are a golden opportunity to win these sales back.

Here’s how.

Why do people abandon cart?

There are many reasons why online shoppers abandon cart. The most common one is that shoppers are often browsing when they click to add items. The Baymard Institute found that 59% of US online shoppers are window shopping, price comparing, saving items for later and exploring gift options when adding to cart. These are largely unavoidable cart abandonments.

But that leaves 41% of shoppers that abandoned cart for reasons that are under your direct control.

The same report from the Baymard Institute reported that top 5 controllable reasons for abandoned carts are:

  1. Shipping or other add-on costs were too high

  2. Shopper was asked to create an account to checkout

  3. Checkout process was too long or complicated

  4. Shopper couldn't see or calculate total order costs upfront

  5. Website crashed

These are all things that great design and website optimization can fix:

  • State all shipping costs and taxes upfront

  • Simplify your checkout process as much as possible

  • Test each page on both desktop and mobile for errors

These tweaks should provide a noticeable increase in your conversions. But don’t stop there. In order to reduce abandoned carts to a minimum, you should implement an abandoned cart email sequence.

An abandoned cart email sequence reminds customers which item(s) they were going to buy, and invites them to complete checkout, often offering them a juicy incentive.

Traits of good abandon cart emails

Creating great abandoned cart emails is all about going back to and implementing marketing fundamentals. The items in the list below will be familiar to those in the online marketing world.

Great Copy

An abandoned cart email should always include great copy with a clear call to action. To illustrate, check out how Victoria Secret uses on-brand and clever wording to delight readers and promote positive feelings about completing checkout:

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A million conversations are going on in a shopper’s head when they’re browsing and deciding to buy from a particular brand. A great way to cut through the noise is using the shopper's first name.

Notice how Europcar puts the shopper’s name in a large, attention-grabbing font.

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Include What They Forgot To Buy

If the product was your customer's the main draw to your store, then you’re losing the sale by not including an image of your product in your abandoned cart emails.

Take a look at how clothing brand Mango does it. Notice how little space is spent on the rest of the email. The product is where all the action is:

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Good Design

Your abandoned cart email will be containing quite a few pieces of information. To prevent overwhelming the customer, good design is key.

Check out the amazing design of the abandoned cart email coming from Dollar Shave Club. Notice that their great design enables them to include a picture of the product, list its main benefits and provide social proof as well.

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Great Subject Lines

Your abandoned cart email is competing with a whole inbox of emails beckoning your customer to "open me now".

How do you get them to open yours? A great subject line. 33% of of emails are opened based on the subject line alone.

Getelastic analyzed the average open rates of 200 global brands and found that:

  • Emails that contained the company name were opened 53% of the time.

  • Emails that contained the product details were opened 52% of the time.

  • Emails that contained the person's name were opened 38% of the time.

  • Emails that were written in an urgent tone were opened 44% of the time.

  • Emails that were written in a customer service tone were opened 46% of the time.

Of course, all brands are different. What works for a luxury car brand, won’t work for a baby pillow store. Luckily, subject lines are easily tested.

Test and tweak by combining different elements from the list above. Here’s a few different subject line examples of abandoned cart emails from 3 different brands:

Why Wait (Levi’s)

Did you forget something? (MCM)

Why did you take off without us? (Virgin Atlantic)

To swipe 29 different email templates and subject lines, check out these abandoned cart email templates from our friends at ROI Foundry.

Urgency: A Reason To Take Action

There needs to be a clear reason for your customers to take action, and to do it now. Consider offering a time-boxed discount for first-time buyers in your abandoned cart emails. Or perhaps a special gift if they complete their purchase today. There are many options to choose from - test to see what works best for you.

Stuart Weitzman does this with scarcity, reminding the reader that the product line won’t be around forever.

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Cross-selling is a classic marketing technique and can help boost sales when included in your abandoned cart email. Consider adding a small section in the email offering highly relevant and complimentary products.

The folks at ReallyGoodEmails offer this example from Pacsun, which cross sells via an "other items you may like" section:

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Quick send time

Research shows that the sooner you send your abandoned cart email, the better the conversion rate.

An almost 50% conversion rate drop occurs when sending an abandoned cart email within 20 minutes versus after 24 hours.

So send that email ASAP.

Creating an Abandoned Cart Email Sequence

Great salesmanship and marketing happen in the follow up. It’s rare for anyone to make a purchasing decision as a result to their first interaction with your brand. Research shows that a 2nd and 3rd email sent 24 and 48 hours respectively after the first can reclaim 50% of abandoned carts.

You should make slight modifications to your 2nd and 3rd abandoned cart emails. Don’t send the same exact email copy and subject line.

If you have the funds, consider offering a better, limited-time discount in your 2nd or 3rd email. For example, if you offered your first-time buyer 10% discount in the first abandoned cart email, consider increasing it to 20% if they buy in the next 24 hours.

Where To Begin?

Here are 7 steps you can prioritize in setting up your abandoned cart email.

  1. Make it personal

  2. Include an image of the abandoned item

  3. Give shoppers a strong reason to take action immediately, like a discount

  4. Have a compelling subject line

  5. Send your abandoned cart emails as soon as possible

  6. Send follow-up emails.

  7. Test test test.

As you incorporate these into your abandoned cart emails, you’ll see an increase in conversions, customer loyalty and, most importantly, sales.