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7 Ways to Nail Your Abandoned Cart Emails in 2021

Abandoned cart emails article header image
Whitney Blankenship
Content Marketing Manager
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Cart abandonment is a rising challenge for all retail marketers, with an estimated 70% of all online shopping carts being abandoned. To help recover lost sales, marketers often turn to email automation to help recover these abandoned sales.

And for good reason: Last year, nearly 34% of all people who clicked on an abandoned cart email completed their order.

See how Black Halo generates 16% of their email marketing revenue with abandoned cart messages.

That’s why cart abandonment emails are so important for ecommerce marketers. With a great ecommerce marketing automation strategy (including the timing and message), they can set it up and have it recover sales on autopilot.

But if you’ve never set up a cart abandonment email (or, as we recommend below, a series of emails), or you’re not satisfied with your current results, you’re probably wondering what makes great cart abandonment emails.

That’s what we’ll be looking at today.

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What are Abandoned Cart Emails?

Cart abandonment emails are messages sent automatically whenever a shopper comes to your store and adds an item to their cart, but doesn’t complete their order.

These automated emails are triggered when the shopper abandons the checkout flow.

In order to send these emails, you’ll need to have the shopper’s email address. This can be done by requiring them to enter their email address before entering the checkout flow. It will be a good idea to use an email checker to verify email addresses in real-time and thus ensure only valid addresses reach your database.

Alternatively, they may already be a subscriber or have purchased from you in the past. You can send one cart recovery email, or a series of cart recovery emails, in order to win back the sale.

Abandoned Cart Emails: Some Important Statistics

The reasons behind abandoned shopping carts tend to remain the same year after year. Looking at Baymard Institute (2016), Statista (2017), and SaleCycle (2019) data, there isn’t much change.

The top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

  1. Extra costs (shipping, taxes, etc.) are too high
  2. Having to create a new user account (too complicated checkout process)
  3. Was conducting research to buy later
  4. Security concerns
  5. Couldn’t find a coupon code
  6. No express shipping available
  7. Returns policy

Knowing why a shopper abandons is a good thing, as it allows you to create an email strategy that overcomes those concerns. Do they simply need a reminder or do you need to offer a discount? Maybe it is the return policy that is the hurdle to overcome. Or maybe you need to provide product recommendations to increase their basket size so that they qualify for free shipping.

But just because they abandoned does not mean they’re not ready to purchase. That’s where cart abandonment emails come into play.

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices

So now that we understand what’s causing shoppers to abandon carts, and how to fix that problem (i.e., cart abandonment emails), now let’s look at some best practices to ensure success. After all, stores are seeing 30-50% open and click rates on their cart abandonment emails.

In order to be successful, there are some important things you need to include in your cart abandonment emails. Let’s go through each.

#1. Get the timing right

The timing of your cart abandonment email is essential. As a baseline, send your first email one hour after abandonment. Of course, this may vary based on your store’s products. You can easily A/B test your timing sequence.

Strike while the iron is hot. If you wait too long, you will lose that shopping urge that caused the shopper to add the item to their cart in the first place.

But here at Omnisend, we’ve noticed that the ecommerce marketers that use a series of three cart abandonment emails have the best order rates: they’re seeing 69% more orders on average than those marketers sending only one cart abandonment email. Add two (or more) messages to your abandoned cart series will only increase your recapture rate.

Omnisend's default cart abandonment series

#2. Use high-converting subject lines

A sleek subject line can grab the attention of the customer and increase open and click rates.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to get too fancy and complicated with your subject lines.

Offering discounts and offers such as ‘free shipping’ for customers to complete their purchase can really work in your favor.

With cart abandonment emails, it’s best to get straight to the point.

#3. Include the abandoned product

A reminder of the product along with the product image, size, color, pattern, etc. within the email is a great way to remind them of what they’re missing out.

After all, they may not really remember what product they abandoned if they had a particularly busy “window shopping” day, such as on the Black Friday weekend.

It’s not enough any more to just include the name of the product. The image is a must.

And, if possible, make the image large and attractive (psst … this is pretty easy to do with Omnisend’s drag-and-drop newsletter builder). You can also try a specific HTML email template builder and import templates into your email marketing software.

#4. Add a big, easy-to-see CTA button

Bold and attractive CTAs can really grab the attention of the shopper and push them towards an action you want them to take. With cart abandonment emails, the action is pretty clear: finish buying the product.

Therefore, make it easy on them. Let them know what they abandoned, show it (with a big image), then put the bold, easy-to-see, contrasting CTA right below that product image.

The button text should be something like “Continue shopping” or “Buy it now.”

Snatcher's customized CTA buttons for ecommerce cart recovery automation
Omnisend customer Snatcher Online uses ‘Snatch It!’ as his CTA

#5. Use persuasive text

Besides attractive images and contrasting CTA buttons, it’s important that you have a convincing and customer-centric copy that’s ultimately pushing towards conversions.

“Short and sweet” is the mantra for cart abandonment emails, so you should get straight to the point.

#6. Provide customer support

Make sure to provide customer assistance or guidance with each cart abandonment email.

After all, it’s possible that the shopper couldn’t complete checkout because there was some technical issue.

Or, it’s even likely that they have some questions about the product (shipping times, refunds, etc.) that are better answered by a person.
Give them that opportunity.

#7. Add multiple channels

The customer shopping journey is no longer relegated to a single channel. Add cart abandonment SMS marketing and web push notifications into the automated cart abandonment workflow. Because these are opt-in channels, you know you’ll be communicating with the shoppers via the method of their choosing. That likely explains why one company sees a $48 earning-per-message with their abandoned cart push notifications.

Email SMS and Push notification abandoned cart metrics
Drive more sales with pre-built abandoned cart email templates. Start using Omnisend for free today!

How Many Abandoned Cart Emails Should I Send?

The rule of thumb for how many abandoned cart emails to send is three.

We’ve previously discussed this, along with other tips about email marketing automation. These three emails should follow roughly the same pattern. This pattern first reminds the customer of their cart, then suggests that they should finish their purchase, and finally ends with an incentive to do so.

The pattern also helps to clarify when is the best time to send an abandoned cart email.

There are many reasons a customer might abandon their carts. Visitors might not feel any urgency to purchase, or they might be waiting for a good reason to convert.

The best abandoned cart emails usually work like this:

First email: Did you forget something?

A casual, quick reminder that there’s still a shopping cart with the customer’s name on it. Don’t be pushy, simply show them the cart and the products within it.

This gives the customer a gentle nudge to go back and finish the purchase. It’s non-intrusive and can convert customers who honestly left your website.

Send this email one hour after the customer has abandoned their cart.

Second email: You liked this product, let’s get it in your home!

Another reminder of the abandoned cart, but this time there’s a little more urgency in the message.

Whether it’s something that has a limited stock or you remind them one of the reasons they’d want this product, you’ll need to convince the customer to complete their purchase.

Send this email 12 hours after the customer has abandoned their cart.

Third and final email: It’s almost gone, here’s something to sweeten the deal!

While the urgency in this message is at it’s highest, you’ll likely find that customers convert the most with this email.

Specify that the cart is about to expire, that their products will go back into the aether. This suggests that either they’ll be taken by another customer, and lost due to a limited quantity. That, or it insinuates the hassle of having to add the products to the cart all over again.

Better yet, add a discount code to reduce the price. This can take the cost of a product, a cart, or even the delivery down to incentivize a purchase. These discounts are the most likely element to draw customers back in.

Send this email 24 hours after the customer abandons their cart.

Omnisend’s marketing automation makes handling the abandoned cart email flow simple, but what should these abandoned cart emails look like? How do you create effective emails that bring customers back to your website?

Luckily, we found some great templates to work with.

3 Abandoned Cart Email Examples

Let’s look at some abandoned cart email examples of abandoned cart emails to help inspire you. We’ll break them down by the good and bad aspects of each email.

#1. The perfect piece is still in your cart by Perigold


The good:

  • Great subject line. It is positively defining the abandoned product as “perfect” for the shopper.
  • Good casual text in the body. This helps the would-be customer visualize what the product might look like in their own home.
  • While there is no discount, that’s OK. The verbiage used to help the customer imagine the product at their home can be powerful enough to create a conversion.
  • A distinct CTA. It is clear and obvious where to click.
  • Product recommendations are included in the email. Maybe the product wasn’t exactly what they were looking for (which is maybe why they abandoned it), or maybe they can be tempted into an accompanying item, increasing their AOV.

The bad:

  • No customer service info. A link to a help page, live chat, or general phone number could be useful.
  • No mention of free shipping. The cost of shipping is a top reason for abandoned carts. Seeing as the brand offers free shipping, it would be great to see this prominently displayed in the email.
  • No return policy listed. Consumers want to feel confident in their order, especially first-time customers. The company offers a 30-day return policy. Reinforcing a return policy (along with a free shipping highlight) can make completing their purchase seem like a no-brainer.

#2 You left items in your cart by FiftyThree

Abandoned cart email example 2

The good:

  • Big, bold, catchy headline. The copy of the headline may not be very compelling, but it’s styled impressively and is definitely catchy.
  • The body is short and sweet. A quick question plus a thank you is great.
  • I see the item that I abandoned. This is great, so I know exactly what I abandoned, and it will give me a second chance to think about it (and think about buying it).
  • The CTA is bright and bold. This is important, and easy for me to click and complete my order.

The bad:

  • The product image is a bit small. I’d like to see a bit more emphasis on the item being left behind. The image could easily be twice as large.
  • No customer support. What we’re missing, again, is the email address or phone number for customers that may have additional questions. (Yes, even for small, low-priced items like this.)
  • As a small bad: the title is a bit too straightforward. This isn’t a big criticism, but it’d be great to add a bit more personality to your emails. After all, every interaction with your subscribers or customers should help with brand-building.

#3. Where’d you go? by Black Milk Clothing

Abandoned cart email example 1

The good:

  • The image is captivating. Anytime you can use a sad puppy or kitten, do it. It will definitely grab their attention and give your emails a good sense of humor.
  • The copy is good and continuous the humor set in the puppy image.
  • The subject line is nice and short and, again, sets the tone for the humor that can be found in the email.

The bad:

  • No image of what is being left behind. Chances are that your shoppers don’t really remember the names of the items they abandoned, so it’s best to show them rather than just name it.
  • Plain email. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Here, it doesn’t work that well, and although I like the email image and body, I’m not really inclined to recover my cart.
  • No bold CTA. The CTA is just a plain ol’ link, rather than a great contrasting button.
  • No customer support info. There are many reasons why shoppers abandon carts. They may have extra questions and it’s a good idea to include your support contact info.

5 Best Abandoned Cart Email Subject Lines

When it comes to abandoned cart email subject lines, after looking at nearly 100,000 of them, we noticed one important thing: keep it short and sweet.

We saw this same trend with the actual text in the email copy itself. Don’t keep your subscribers reading—or guessing. Tell them what they want to know, and tell them quickly.

Based on open rate, here are the top 5 cart abandon keywords used in subject lines:

#1. Abandoned cart email subject line: “15% Off purchase

  • Open rate: 48%

#2. Abandoned cart email subject line: “Cart left

  • Open rate: 45%

#3. Abandoned cart email subject line: “$20 Off cart

  • Open rate: 44.5%

#4. Abandoned cart email subject line: “Items left

  • Open rate: 40%

#5. Abandoned cart email subject line: “Still shopping?

  • Open rate: 39%

As I mentioned: short and sweet (and straight to the point).
These are some important things to know when it comes to abandoned cart emails.

That’s why we went ahead and placed it in one beautiful infographic to allow you to save it and take it with you when you create your abandoned cart strategy.

What is an abandoned cart email infographic
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Whitney Blankenship

Sr. Content Marketing Manager for Omnisend. When not writing awesome content, Whitney is reading up on the latest in digital marketing, ecommerce, and social media trends. Obsessed with pop culture, art, and metal. Powered by coffee. Fastest Googler in the West.