Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices

4 min. read
All information of this content was reviewed by our team to ensure it was accurate and up-to-date at the time it was last updated. Learn more about our verification

Did you know that over three-quarters of online shoppers that place items in a shopping cart go on to abandon that cart before making a purchase? An estimated $4 trillion of merchandise was expected to languish unpurchased in abandoned carts last year alone — that’s a lot of money to leave on the table. People abandon carts for a variety of reasons. 64% were scared off by expensive shipping, while close to half had no intention of making a purchase in the first place — they were just browsing or doing research.

Whatever the reason for cart abandonment, it has been shown that retargeting potential customers via triggered email is one of the most effective forms of email marketing. Studies reveal that 48% of abandoned cart emails are opened and one in three openers go on to make a purchase. That’s a compelling success rate, yet many retailers fail to retarget potential customers who abandon their carts. There’s no reason to make the same mistake.

Abandoned cart-triggered email applications are available on all the major e-commerce platforms including Magento and Shopify. They make it easy to retarget potential customers. No matter what platform you use, if you’re an e-commerce store owner, you should be putting abandoned cart emails to work for you.

Here are six abandoned cart email best practices to ensure that you are making the very most of this powerful marketing tool:

Personalization of email

In this era of overstuffed email inboxes, personalization is one way of standing out from the crowd. Even one of the simplest forms of personalization—including the recipient’s name in the subject line—has a dramatic effect.

Emails with a personalized subject line are up to 26% more likely to be opened than those without. They are also more than 6 times more likely to result in a transaction according to a study by Experian.

This alone provides a compelling case for personalization, but look at taking it one step further.

Given the high open rates associated with abandoned cart emails look at this as a golden opportunity to market additional products based on items that have been browsed or already added to an abandoned cart.

Use bespoke content to create cross-selling opportunities. Look at it as an excellent opportunity to deliver further branded content to customers who have already engaged with your site.

Segmentation of your email list

Segmentation goes hand-in-hand with personalization. Segmenting your email database and aiming to deliver relevant content based on various criteria is an email marketing best practice that delivers measurable results.

MailChimp found that segmented email campaigns had a 14.31% higher open rate and 100.97% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

One powerful way to put segmentation to work in an abandoned cart email campaign is by segmenting your email list based on order frequency.

A customer that orders from you on a regular basis may get annoyed if you inundate them with abandoned cart emails. Also, if you are offering an incentive—such as a discount or free shipping—does it make sense to offer that to someone who is ordering regularly from you already?

Conversely, first-time “shoppers” can be targeted more aggressively. They are less likely to be turned off by repeated emails reminding them they have abandoned a cart—particularly if there is some additional incentive for them to complete the sale.

Content within your email

It should go without saying that the copy of your abandoned cart email is key. Obviously, your primary goal is to get your lead to complete the transaction.

But treat this interaction as another opportunity to deliver a branded experience. Your copy should be consistent with your brand persona. Be creative, but keep it short and to the point—just like this paragraph!

Images of the product

Including an image or images of the product(s) that were in the abandoned cart is a no-brainer, but consider whether additional images may make for a better enticement.

Here’s an example of a clever, concise and very on-brand abandoned cart email from pet food site Doggyloot:

Related: 15 Best Pet Products To Sell Online 

Timing - When is right?

Studies show that abandoned cart emails sent within the first few hours of a cart being abandoned fare far better than the same email sent just twenty-four hours later.

In fact, abandoned cart emails sent in real-time, immediately upon abandonment, generated 105% more revenue. In addition, 30% more shopping carts were recovered by real-time email, and those campaigns also had a 66% higher average order value.

While roughly 42% of sales take place within one hour of a visit to a website, there appears to be another sweet spot at around 24 hours after the initial visit. This suggests that some consumers “shop” at the same time every day and that perhaps they need to “sleep on it” before committing to a purchase.

While there is no argument that your first abandoned cart email should be sent within a few hours (at most) of abandonment, a second follow-up 24 hours to customers who have still not completed an order is advisable.

Discounts and free shipping

As mentioned previously, 64% of users reported that they abandoned an order when confronted with shipping costs at check-out. Couple that with 44% of respondents stating “no free shipping” and 35% stating that they were unaware of shipping costs as reasons for abandonment.

One would think these statistics make a compelling reason to offer discounts or free shipping as an incentive in your remarketing efforts. Discounts are a powerful weapon in any retailer’s arsenal, but they should be used sparingly. After all, they cost you money, and savvy consumers may wait for discounts to be triggered before placing an order. Consider only offering a discount after sending one or two informational branded emails. Giving a discount should be your last resort.

In conclusion, if you’re not utilizing triggered emails to retarget customers who abandon their shopping carts before making a purchase, you’re missing out on one of the most effective online marketing tactics there is. Look into adding it to your marketing mix today. Follow the abandoned cart email best practices summarized below and watch your revenue grow:

  • Personalization
  • Segmentation
  • Creative But Concise Copy
  • Images
  • Timing
  • Discounts and free shipping


About the author
Karl Kangur

Karl Kangur is the founder and CEO of MRR Media, offering growth solutions for SaaS businesses. Aside from his main business, he has sold many other of his own ventures as well as advising successful companies around the world.

View profile
Already a member? Login to comment