Abandoned cart emails are emails sent to customers who add items to their shopping cart but leave the site before the checkout process.
Abandoned cart emails are also called “cart recovery emails” or “cart abandonment emails.”
And some email service providers (ESPs) call them abandoned checkout emails even though they’re really abandoned carts.
Just check with your email marketing software to find out when they trigger an abandonment email.
And here’s why your shopping abandonment research efforts are worth it…
Average shopping cart abandonment rate… high. Revenue recovery opportunity… SUPER high
Online shopping carts are abandoned 67.89 percent of the time, according to Baymard Institute research.
To put this into perspective, Copyhackers founder Joanna Wiebe described online shopping cart abandonment this way,
“That’s like walking into a grocery store and seeing seven filled carts just sitting there, abandoned, near the checkout … while only three people walk out with groceries…“Joanna Wiebe, Copyhackers Founder
Yep. 7 filled carts. Sitting there. Abandoned.
But all is not lost.
Because (and this is why brands should make optimizing their abandoned cart email sequence a priority),
According to Moosend, an email marketing solution, cart abandonment emails have an open rate of 45%.
Of the opened abandoned cart emails, 21% receive click-throughs. So,
When abandoned cart email open rates are high…
And click-through rates are also high…
…We have a huge opportunity to recover the revenue initially lost from those 7 out of 10 abandoned shopping carts.
But before I dive into abandoned cart email examples and tips, we need to answer an important question:
Why are online shopping carts abandoned?
According to research, abandonment issues almost always come back to price – or something related to price (shipping costs, discount code discrepancies, unclear fees).
Other reasons prospective customers abandon shopping carts:
- A long or complex checkout process (e.g., too many upsells or confusion about what happens next)
- A potential customer is forced to create an account or register
- Security-related objections (e.g., your site doesn’t seem secure or there are too many security checks)
- A lack of payment options
- Technical issues in the checkout flow
Before creating (or optimizing) your abandoned cart strategy and emails, make sure the customer checkout experience is friction-free.
Because no abandoned cart email strategy can solve an obstacle-filled checkout process.
Now, onto the abandoned cart email examples (and tips).
Best abandoned cart emails (and why we love them)
In my last abandoned cart email post, I shared that it’s hard to find perfect cart recovery emails (do those exist?) 🤔
So, instead, I’ve gathered a collection of emails to highlight each abandoned cart email strategy.
1. Awe Inspired proves abandoned cart follow up emails don’t need to be creepy
Email conversion strategist, Samar Owais, says this about abandoned cart emails,
“There’s one thing we ignore about abandoned cart emails. Abandoned cart emails are creepyyyyy. The email that says… forgot something? #stalkervibes“Samar Owais, Email Conversion Strategist
You don’t have to send an email to customers that may give them the icks.
Awe Inspired, a female-founded jewelry brand, doesn’t use the typical (and sometimes a bit creepy) email subject line: Forget something?
Instead, they use the attention-grabbing word “Warning” and share the benefit of wearing the jewelry piece you left in the shopping cart.
Want your subject line to stand out in a sea of emails? Avoid making prospective customers feel creeped out?
Don’t use the “forget something” language with cart abandoners.
2. Vuori reduces risk with a guarantee
Brands often lead with a discount in their abandoned cart email sequence.
Email strategist and copywriter, Robin Crump, explains why leading with a discount isn’t the way to reduce the risk for a potential customer,
“Abandoned cart emails can recover carts without discounts. Instead, remind shoppers of what’s in their cart and include risk reversals like free shipping, free returns, or guarantees.”Robin Crump, Email strategist and copywriter
Vuori, an activewear brand, reduces the perceived buying risk with an email design that includes a large box highlighting their “Investment in Happiness” guarantee.
Here’s Robin’s analysis of this email,
“Vuori includes the image of what’s in the cart, risk reversals, and how to get help. Plus, they use a little FOMO.
I suggest adding social proof to this email and linking to FAQs in the footer.”Robin Crump, Email strategist and copywriter
3. Nectar nails risk reducers for first-time buyers
Nectar mattress knows that their potential buyer is hesitant about ordering a mattress online instead of in-store.
So they take risk-reducing very seriously.
And it shows in their email.
Nectar not only highlights their free shipping and returns, but they also include imagery and copy for their 365-night home trial and forever warranty.
This is a powerful stack of risk-reducing features.
4. Fender makes buying decisions easier with payment options
Fender knows that buying one of their guitars is an investment for many potential customers.
And one way to overcome price objections is to offer a variety of payment options.
So Fender addresses the price objection by offering potential buyers a financing option.
And if the buyer needs a small nudge to go back to the Fender in their virtual cart, the brand also highlights that the purchase includes a 2-year warranty, locking hardshell case, and 6-point inspection.
5. Homes Alive Pets encourages contacting
Sometimes customers just need some questions answered. And they’d like to speak with a person to get those answers.
Pet owners want to make sure they’re purchasing the right product for their furry friend.
That’s why Homes Alive Pets draws attention to their customer service contact information with an adorable pup in their abandoned cart email design.
The brand also clarifies that they’re a Canadian company, have a 60-day return policy, and ship everywhere in Canada.
6. Taco Bell incentivizes potential buyers with a rewards program
Taco Bell uses their abandon cart emails to highlight the benefits of ordering on their app.
They use rewards and exclusivity to nudge the potential buyer to complete their order.
Also, notice how Taco Bell makes their email buttons stand out in the email design.
7. Huckberry’s cart reminder emails use FOMO
Fear of missing out is a real thing.
But it should only be used when a potential customer really could miss out on something they were interested in.
When stock is limited, it’s important for brands to share that information.
Like Huckberry’s does below.
Here’s Robin’s analysis of Huckberry’s email,
“Huckberry uses FOMO to get shoppers to complete checkout. And they offer access to customer support via email or phone if the customer has a problem finishing their purchase.
I suggest adding social proof and risk reversals like their return policy and linking to their FAQs in the footer.”Robin Crump, Email strategist and copywriter
8. Cocokind takes a personal approach with a
eCommerce brands often rely on short copy and heavily designed emails.
But don’t overlook the power of text-based emails.
Like this email from Cocokind, a conscious skin care brand.
Here’s Robin’s analysis of Cocokind’s text-based email,
“Cocokind takes a personal approach with this text-based email. And Margot links back to the cart in two places. She also acknowledges how shopping for skincare products can be overwhelming and offers assistance.
She uses a P.S. to remind him of what’s in the cart. And reassure him that he’s on the right track with his selections.
The sender field would have a more personal touch if it were:
From: Margot at Cocokind instead of From: Cocokind”Robin Crump, Email strategist and copywriter
Create an abandoned cart email strategy
Some brands send a single email to cart abandoners.
But it’s important to remember that the buying process can be complex.
And one email may not convert a potential buyer.
That’s why it’s important to do voice of customer (and potential customer) research, so you can create abandoned cart automation that addresses the needs of your customers and potential customers.
Robin Crump shares a commonly overlooked opportunity in abandoned cart email flows,
“Don’t miss the opportunity to discover why shoppers didn’t buy. Then, use the insights to create a better buying experience.”Robin Crump, Email strategist and copywriter
Another great way to get a sense of strategy and copy is by studying action-triggered emails.
Since an abandoned cart email is triggered when someone adds to cart but doesn’t purchase, this Tutorial Tuesday will help take that understanding a little deeper.
Use abandoned cart email templates if you need them
If you need research-backed abandoned cart email templates, strategy, and teaching, check out the eCommerce Boot Camp in Copy School.