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Email marketing · 

7 minutes

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Abandoned Cart Emails: Strategies, Processes, and Examples

As an eCommerce business owner, there's nothing more frustrating than seeing potential customers abandon their carts without completing their purchase. Fortunately, abandoned cart emails are an effective tool to recover these lost sales.

What are Abandoned Cart Emails?

Abandoned cart emails are a series of emails sent to potential customers who leave items in their online shopping cart without completing the purchase. These emails are designed to remind customers of the items in their cart and encourage them to complete their purchase.

Abandoned cart emails are an essential part of any eCommerce marketing strategy. They can help recover lost sales and increase conversion rates.

Setting up an Abandoned Cart Email Campaign

Creating an effective abandoned cart email campaign is a vital tool in the e-commerce world, helping to recapture lost sales and increase conversions. This process involves a series of steps which include identifying abandonment, creating engaging email content, determining the right timing, and analyzing your results.

Step 1: Identify Cart Abandonment

Firstly, you need to set up a mechanism to identify cart abandonment. This involves tracking a customer's journey on your site. If a customer adds items to their shopping cart but doesn't complete the purchase within a certain timeframe, this can be flagged as cart abandonment. You'll want to capture the customer's email address during their shopping experience, typically this is accomplished during account creation or checkout initiation.

Step 2: Create Engaging Email Content

The next step is to craft your abandoned cart email. The email should remind the customer of the items left in their cart and encourage them to complete their purchase. Remember to maintain your brand voice and create a message that resonates with your audience.

Here are a few elements to include:

  • Product Images: Visual reminders of what they're missing out on can be very effective. Include images of the abandoned products in the email.

  • Personalized Message: Use the customer's name and personalize the email content based on their shopping behavior and preferences.

  • Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Include a clear, compelling CTA that leads directly back to the abandoned cart.

  • Customer Support Information: Provide contact information for customer support in case the customer had issues that prevented them from completing the purchase.

  • Offer or Incentive: Depending on your strategy, you might want to include a special offer or incentive to encourage completion of the purchase.

Step 3: Determine the Right Timing

The timing of your abandoned cart email is critical. You want to strike a balance between being timely and not appearing desperate or spammy. A common strategy is to send the first email within a few hours after the cart has been abandoned, a second email 24 hours later, and a final email a few days after that if the cart is still abandoned. However, the ideal timing can vary based on your audience and business model, so it's important to experiment and find what works best for your business.

Step 4: Analyze and Optimize

The final step is to analyze your results and optimize your campaign. Monitor key metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate to understand the effectiveness of your emails. Use A/B testing to try out different email content, subject lines, and send times, and see what leads to the best results.

Remember, setting up an abandoned cart email campaign isn't a one-time process. It's something that needs to be continually refined and optimized based on your results and changes in customer behavior.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to setting up an effective abandoned cart email campaign that reduces cart abandonment and boosts your ecommerce sales.

Creating an Effective Abandoned Cart Email Template

Your abandoned cart email template should be well-designed and optimized for maximum effectiveness. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Personalization: Address the customer by name and offer help in completing their purchase.

  • Product Images: Show images of the items in their cart to remind them of what they left behind.

  • Sense of Urgency: Create a limited-time offer or use urgency to encourage customers to act quickly.

  • Social Proof: Include reviews or testimonials to show that other customers trust your brand.

  • Product Recommendations: Offer similar or complementary products to the items in their cart to increase the chances of a sale.

  • Clear CTA Button: Make sure your CTA button stands out and is easy to find.

How Many Abandoned Cart Emails Should You Send?

The number of abandoned cart emails you should send depends on your business needs and target audience. Research shows that sending multiple abandoned cart emails can significantly increase your chances of recovering lost sales. According to a study by SaleCycle, three abandoned cart emails sent at the right intervals can recover up to 69% of abandoned carts.

When to Send Cart Abandonment Emails

Timing is crucial when it comes to sending abandoned cart emails. You want to send them at a time when the customer is most likely to complete their purchase.

According to research, the best time to send the first abandoned cart email is within 24 hours. Subsequent emails should be sent at intervals that are long enough not to annoy the customer but short enough to remind them of their abandoned items. Generally, two to three days between each email is a good rule of thumb.

Are Abandoned Cart Emails GDPR Compliant?

Yes, abandoned cart emails can be GDPR compliant as long as you follow specific guidelines. Under GDPR regulations, you need to obtain explicit consent from customers to receive marketing emails. However, there is a legitimate interest in sending abandoned cart emails to customers who have already shown an interest in your products by adding them to their cart. To ensure compliance, include an opt-out link in your emails and clearly state your privacy policy.

Cart Recovery Emails and Conversion Rates

Sending abandoned cart emails can significantly improve your cart recovery rate and increase conversion rates. A study by SaleCycle found that businesses that sent abandoned cart emails had an average cart recovery rate of 31.6%. Furthermore, according to Klaviyo, abandoned cart emails have an average conversion rate of 16.69%, compared to the average conversion rate of 2.42% for regular eCommerce email campaigns. These statistics show the importance of abandoned cart emails in recovering lost sales and increasing revenue.

Best Practices for Writing Abandoned Cart Emails

When writing your abandoned cart emails, there are some best practices you should keep in mind to ensure maximum effectiveness:

  • Write a Clear and Compelling Subject Line: Your subject line should grab the reader's attention and encourage them to open the email.

  • Keep Your Message Concise: People have short attention spans, so keep your message short and to the point.

  • Use a Conversational Tone: Write as if you're speaking to the customer one-on-one to create a personal connection.

  • Emphasize the Benefits: Highlight the benefits of completing their purchase, such as free shipping or a discount.

  • Make Your CTA Stand Out: Use a clear, prominent CTA button that stands out and is easy to click.

  • Test and Optimize: Test different subject lines, messaging, and CTAs to see what works best for your target audience.

Tips for Maximizing Effectiveness

Here are some additional tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your abandoned cart emails:

Segment your email list

Consider customer behavior, such as the value of items in their cart or the number of times they've abandoned their cart. This will help you create more tailored email messages. This allows you to send more targeted and personalized emails.

Offer a Limited-Time Discount

Create a sense of urgency by offering a limited-time discount code that expires soon.

Use Dynamic Product Recommendations

Use personalized product recommendations based on the items in the customer's cart or their purchase history to increase the chances of a sale.

Optimize for Mobile Devices

Ensure your emails are optimized for mobile devices, as more than half of all email opens occur on mobile devices.

Common Abandoned Cart Email Mistakes

While abandoned cart emails are an effective tool for recovering lost sales, there are some common mistakes that businesses make when implementing them. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

  • Sending Too Many Emails: Sending too many abandoned cart emails can annoy customers and decrease the effectiveness of your campaign.

  • Using Generic Email Templates: Using generic email templates that don't speak to your brand or products can decrease the effectiveness of your campaign.

  • Ignoring Email Analytics: Failing to track and analyze your email campaign's performance can make it difficult to make improvements and optimize for maximum effectiveness.

  • Neglecting Mobile Optimization: Neglecting to optimize your emails for mobile devices can lead to decreased open rates and conversions.

  • Lack of Personalization: Failing to personalize your emails can decrease the effectiveness of your campaign, as customers are more likely to respond to personalized messages.

Case Studies: Successful Abandoned Cart Email Campaigns

1. Amazon

Amazon has a simple yet effective strategy for abandoned cart emails. They send an email reminder showing the exact product the customer left in their cart. They also provide personalized recommendations based on the customer's browsing history. While exact metrics aren't publicly available, Amazon's emphasis on personalization and recommendation systems have been critical to their business, and their cart recovery emails are a part of this broader strategy.


ASOS, a British online fashion and cosmetic retailer, has a unique approach to its abandoned cart emails. The email has a personalized greeting and includes images of the products left in the cart. The email's tone is friendly and casual, fitting their target audience.

They also create urgency by stating, "Looks like you've left something behind... Don't forget it!" According to SaleCycle, ASOS recovers 7.5% of its abandoned carts, indicating a successful strategy.

3. Adidas

Adidas, the multinational sportswear manufacturer, uses a multi-step abandoned cart email sequence. The first email serves as a simple reminder, while the second email, sent a day later, offers a discount on abandoned items. Although the exact results of this campaign are not publicly disclosed, Adidas's use of a tiered approach and incentives aligns with best practices in the industry.

These companies provide valuable examples of successful abandoned cart email strategies, showing the importance of personalization, creating a sense of urgency, and offering incentives. However, keep in mind that what works for one company might not work for another. It's crucial to experiment with different strategies and measure their effectiveness to find what works best for your business.


Abandoned cart emails are a valuable tool for any eCommerce business looking to recover lost sales and increase conversion rates. By following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can create an effective abandoned cart email campaign that encourages customers to complete their purchase.

Remember to personalize your emails, use product images, create a sense of urgency, offer social proof and product recommendations, and include a clear CTA button. Send multiple emails at the right intervals and time them appropriately to increase the chances of your emails being opened and acted upon. With a little effort and planning, you can recover lost sales and convert more website visitors into loyal customers.

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