10 Cart Abandonment Email Dos and Don’ts

6 minute read

Did you know that for every cart abandonment email that is sent, on average, $8.21 is generated in revenue? That’s because cart abandonment emails, well they just…work. The various reasons as to why a user leaves a website without completing the checkout process really are endless – unexpected shipping costs, having to create an account to complete the order, delivery times weren’t suitable. Or maybe the user just ran out of time, or got distracted and left the site unexpectedly. 

Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that at some point in time, the user considered buying the products that they placed in their shopping cart. And the opportunity to re-engage those users is massive – all you need to do is follow these 10 do’s and don’ts for nailing your cart abandonment emails.

DO capture email addresses as early into the checkout process as possible.

Remember, without valid email addresses, cart abandonment campaigns are non-existent. Therefore, it’s vital to ask the user to input their email address as soon as they start the checkout process so that you’re capturing the information you need in case the user drops off the website.


DON’T wait too long to send the first email.

Trigger your emails to send within an hour of when the user leaves your site. What you’re aiming for here is to reinforce your offering before the user finds an alternative, ideally while they are still online. In fact, studies show that emails that are sent within 1-2 hours of when a user leaves a site drive 105% more revenue than if you were to wait 24 hours to send the same email!

DO send more than one reminder.

Customers who receive multiple cart-abandonment emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete a transaction than users who only receive one. Three is generally the magic number when it comes to how many emails you should send as part of your cart abandonment campaign sequence. We’ve already established that you should send the first email within an hour of the user leaving your site. Ideally, you should then follow up with another reminder at least 24 hours after the first email, and the third email should be sent within 3-5 days of the initial abandonment. However, it’s absolutely imperative that you set rules in your campaign sequence that removes users from the loop as soon as they revisit your website or convert off the back of one of your abandonment emails. Nothing will harm a customer’s experience quicker than having to second-guess whether or not their order actually went through.

DO create a sense of urgency.

One very effective way of influencing a user’s decision to purchase the items they’ve left behind is to create a sense of urgency around timing or stock availability, particularly in your second follow-up email. This is the time to remind users of your offering, as well as highlight how long they have to check out before their shopping cart expires. Just make sure that the timelines align with the send times of your emails (i.e. if items are automatically removed from a user’s cart within 12 hours of abandonment, it needs to be mentioned in your first email).


DON’T forget to include shipping options and returns info.

The top reason as to why shopping carts are abandoned is down to extra costs, typically meaning shipping, taxes, or fees. So let’s just think about this. There’s a high chance that a user left your website at the last hurdle of the checkout process because they’ve discovered that you don’t offer free shipping. So how is highlighting your shipping costs on your abandonment email going to suddenly make them change their minds? Well, initially it might not, but maybe you do have a free returns policy which hasn’t been highlighted on your product pages, and that, in itself could be enough to convince a user to convert. 

What you can also do is take the opportunity in your second or final email to offer the user free shipping as an incentive for users to complete their order. Not only does this drive conversions, but it also gives insight into the key reasons as to why customers aren’t buying – for example, if you notice that conversion rates jump after you offer free shipping in your cart abandonment emails, it’s potentially worth rolling free shipping out across your online store.

DO use different subject lines for each email reminder.

Make sure that you use engaging subject lines for each of your cart abandonment emails, ensuring that you’re using the right approach and tone for each stage of the process. 

The first email subject line should be short and sweet – simply drawing the user’s attention to the fact that they still have products in their cart. For example:

  • Did you forget something?
  • We couldn’t help but notice that you left this behind…
  • Still thinking it over?

The subject line for your second cart abandonment email should start to focus more on the ticking clock concept:

  • Only 24 hours left to make it yours
  • The clock is ticking – grab your items before it’s too late!
  • Your shopping cart will expire in 24 hours. Don’t miss out!

The third and final email subject line should typically include an incentive to give the user one last chance to checkout:

  • Check out NOW and receive 10% off your order!
  • We’re feeling generous – complete your order and we’ll throw in FREE shipping!
  • We miss you…come back and grab a bargain with 15% off!

DON’T overcomplicate your email content.

When it comes to crafting the perfect cart abandonment email, you should always follow the KISS method (keep it short and simple). The aim is to get the user to revisit your site in as little time as possible once they open the email. So keep your templates clean and focused on the job at hand. A nice header graphic, a couple of lines of copy, followed by images, pricing, and CTAs for each of the items in question will do nicely.

DO include suggested items.

Take the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell by plugging a couple of ‘suggested items’ into your cart abandonment emails. These should by no means be the main focus of the email, and should always feature below the ‘abandoned’ products in the body of the email. 

Remember, upselling can often account for up to 30% of eCommerce revenues, so make sure that you suggest a range of complementary items to users because, who knows? They may have gone elsewhere to purchase the dress they were originally browsing on your site, for example, but your email might trigger them to pick up the perfect shoes to go with it!


DO include customer care info.

Always give users the opportunity to contact your customer care team in your cart abandonment emails. There’s a chance that the only reason that they left your site in the first place was due to a technical glitch, or perhaps they aren’t 100% sold on the product because they want more information on its specifications. Either way, having contact information to hand could easily be the difference between making and losing a sale.

DON’T stop testing!

So you’ve followed all of our tips and tricks, and built a cart abandonment email campaign that dreams are made of. I guess all there is to do now is to call it a day and watch those sales start to flood in, right? WRONG! You should constantly be tweaking and testing your emails to not only make sure you’re using the best subject lines, and to optimise the amount of time you leave between sending each email, but also to gain insights into ways that you can improve your website to reduce the number of users that abandon their carts in the first place!

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