Cart abandonment is a constant source of frustration, disappointment, and lost revenue for every ecommerce retailer. Seeing your customer show interest in your products, add them to their shopping cart, and yet leave your online store empty-handed can be disheartening. I’ve even had retailers tell me high cart abandonment rates weakened their confidence in their own product!
Abandoned carts are a problem for every single ecommerce store that has existed. Ever.
According to Baymard Institute, ecommerce retailers are dealing with an average cart abandonment rate of nearly 70%. This means that for every 100 potential customers who visit your store, 70 of them will leave without making a purchase!
But don’t worry. In this article, we’ll discuss why abandoned cart emails are important and share eight tips to help you optimize your abandoned cart emails to recover more revenue.
Table of Contents
- What are abandoned cart emails?
- Why are abandoned cart recovery emails important?
- 8 Best practices for abandoned cart emails
- Final Thoughts
What are abandoned cart emails?
Abandoned cart recovery emails are automated emails sent to potential customers who have abandoned their shopping carts. It’s a follow-up email to someone who adds items to their cart but leaves the site before completing the purchase. Abandoned cart emails remind shoppers about the items they put in their cart, encouraging them to return and complete the purchase.
They may include an offer, like a discount code or free shipping, incentivizing the customer to complete the purchase. These abandoned cart recovery emails help keep your brand at the forefront of the customer’s mind and help convert them into a sale.
While recovery emails are often sent to customers who abandon their shopping cart, you can also tailor them to work for anyone who has visited your site and left.
Why are abandoned cart recovery emails important?
Abandoned cart recovery emails are fantastic way to recover lost sales, increase conversion rates, and keep in contact with potential customers.
According to data from email marketing provider Moosend, abandoned cart recovery emails have a 45% open rate. Out of the opened emails, 21% of them received click throughs. Half of the recipients who engaged with the abandoned cart email completed their purchase, an 11% conversion rate.
Let’s consider those numbers again. Out of 100 customers who get an abandoned cart email from you, 45 of them open it, 21 click through, and 11 of them make a purchase! Once you set up and automate your abandoned cart campaign, recovering these lost sales won’t require a lot of additional work.
However, it’s crucial to act quickly: the earlier you send an abandoned cart email, the better. Its critical to set up a campaign trigger to send an email within an hour after a shopper abandons their shopping cart. There isn’t much time to win customers back, regardless of why they leave their carts.
8 Best practices for abandoned cart emails
There’s no single right way to craft a killer abandoned cart email, but there are some essential best practices you should follow. Here are eight ways you can optimize your abandoned cart campaign:
1. Craft an effective subject line
The subject line may be the most important piece of your email campaign. Research shows 35% of people decide if they will open an email based on the subject line alone. After all, no one knows what’s inside your email unless they open it, right?
There are a few tactics you can use to craft an effective subject line:
- Be catchy: Pique the customer’s interest by letting them know they left something in their cart without saying so explicitly.
- Get personal: Personalization isn’t limited to including the customer’s name. You can ask a question or reference the specific item abandoned in the cart.
- Create urgency: Let the customer know if they might lose the items in their cart or miss a promotion.
- Keep it simple: Limit your subject lines to 60 characters or less, because the decision to open your email is made in seconds.
These are examples of great subject lines from abandoned cart emails I’ve received:
- Lemme magically transport you back to your cart. Free of charge.
- Did you forget about me, Mo?
- Mo, aren’t you missing something?
- Can you really zoom without your FlyKnits?
- We’re ready if you’re ready.
- Mo, your cart is wondering where you went ❤️
2. Make your copy shine
Your job isn’t done after the customer opens the email! Your copy needs to be just as effective as your subject line. It’s critical that your copy addresses three main points:
- The customer liked an item enough to add it to their cart
- The customer left the item in their cart
- The customer should return and complete their purchase
Everything you include in your copy should reinforce these three main points. Use a casual, friendly tone and allow your brand’s personality to shine through. Personalize your copy by including your customer’s name and displaying information about the products they left in their cart.
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3. Give a clear call-to-action
It doesn’t matter how great your email is if the customer doesn’t know what action to take. An email call-to-action (CTA) is a link or button designed to get a prompt response from the person viewing it. You need to clearly lay out what the customer needs to do to complete their purchase.
However, avoid using words like “buy” or “pay” in your CTAs, because these words suggest doing something the customer may not be ready to do. Instead, opt for a CTA like “return to your cart.” This gets customers to take the next step (clicking) before the sell.
4.Create a sense of urgency
FOMO is real. Customers pay more attention to what they might miss out on than what they are able to purchase.
Letting potential customers know they might lose the items in their cart is a great way to use the scarcity effect as a marketing strategy. Be honest about it though. Don’t make up low stock issues or promotional deadlines if they aren’t real. Your customers will notice the quantity in stock and promotions on your website if they click through your email CTA (and if you’re not highlighting stock and promotions on your site, you should!).
Here are some popular ways you can (responsibly) use urgency in your abandoned cart emails:
- Let customers know if their item is likely to sell out due to popularity.
- Reserve their cart or discount for a limited time, with a countdown.
- If the item is a limited edition, make it clear to customers that it won’t be restocked.
- Use social proof by showing how many other customers have the item in their cart.
5. Offer discounts, but at the right moment
Offering a discount code in your abandoned cart email can help drive sales, but use them carefully. If you send customers discount codes every time they abandon their cart, you subtly tell them your product is not worth the original price. You may also end up losing money on the sale by offering a coupon to someone who would have paid full price.
So, how should you use discount codes in your abandoned cart emails? Simple, save the discount code for the final email in your sequence. Your initial abandoned cart messages should add value in other ways, like offering free shipping, showcasing your product’s amazing reviews, or highlighting your loyalty program incentives. The final email in your sequence is your last chance at converting the sale, so offering a discount may help convert the sale without devaluing your product.
6. Send a series of emails
Even though the first abandoned cart email is the most effective, a single email doesn’t recover all the lost revenue from cart abandoners. You should follow up with a second and third email to maintain contact with the customer until they complete their order. Sending fewer than three emails means you’re likely leaving a significant amount of revenue on the table. Sending more than three may drive the customer away, especially if the timing is incorrect.
We recommend sending abandoned cart emails using this schedule:
- Email #1: Within one hour of cart abandonment
- Email #2: One day after cart abandonment
- Email #3: Three days after cart abandonment
Remember to suppress additional abandoned cart emails from going out to a customer once they’ve returned and completed their purchase.
7. A/B test your emails
Abandoned cart emails are not one-size-fits-all; in fact, they can vary greatly depending on your product and customer. How do you know what works and what doesn’t? Run A/B tests on different subject lines, calls to action, incentives, and any other pieces of your campaigns you want to optimize. Remember to only test one thing at a time so you receive valid results. Over time, you’ll create an optimized abandoned cart campaign that converts.
8. Optimize for mobile
Studies show 49% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. If you’re email isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s probably going to be deleted. Worse yet, some recipients will unsubscribe from your mailing list completely.
Optimize and test your emails on mobile, because that’s where almost half of your recipients will first see your message.
Best practices for mobile email design include:
- Space-saving design: Less is more when it comes to mobile devices, so keep it concise and clutter free.
- Mobile-friendly content: Images that are oversized and don’t scale well will frustrate customers.
- Responsive design: Use fluid tables and images to make content flow across different screen sizes.
Abandoned cart recovery emails are more art than science. Don’t just send one email to cart abandoners and expect to see massive results. Continuously experiment with subject lines, copy, email design, recommendation strategy, and incentives to find the right email sequence that works for your customers. Cart abandonment is inevitable for ecommerce businesses, but optimizing your cart abandonment email strategy is an invaluable tactic to help you overcome it.
Mo Sheikh is an entrepreneur, developer, and marketer. As the Founder of Adaptyve Digital, he helps teach ecommerce business owners ways to manage, grow, and scale their business.