Bad news first, or good news first?

(Actually, in this case, it kinda has to be the bad news. Sorry!)

Over 75% of people abandon their shopping carts online. In your ecommerce store, 3 out of every 4 people who add something to their cart leave without paying you.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, you can…

  • Get a bunch of them (10% or more) to come back and buy
  • You can set up that system once – and get results from it with no extra work

What makes a cart recovery email strategy so special?

The average ecommerce email open rate is around 15%. Abandoned cart emails laugh in the face of that number — they boast nearly a 45% open rate.

I just went and abandoned 50 carts. Because I wanted to see exactly what types of abandoned cart emails people are sending.

And I wanted to show you the best examples of abandoned cart emails.

Once you learn how much abandoned carts cost you with our free abandoned cart calculator, you can start using these same cart abandonment solutions to recover up to 63% of your lost sales.

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • What are abandoned cart emails?
  • Why do people abandon online shopping carts?
  • What 12 strategies should you use in an abandoned cart email?
  • When should you send your abandoned cart emails?
  • Why should you send an automated series of abandoned cart emails?

What are abandoned cart emails?

An abandoned cart email is a follow-up message sent to people who left their online shopping carts without purchasing. They are typically sent to people who leave part-way through checkout, and can recover around 10% of lost revenue.

An abandoned cart email is meant for the 3 (out of every 4) shoppers who leave a website without finishing the checkout process.

The huge benefit of abandoned cart emails? They’re automated. You can set up a series that goes out all on its own – and wins back revenue that would otherwise have disappeared.

If you’re not convinced — the numbers don’t lie (Source: Moosend):

abandoned cart statistics

Consider these abandoned cart statistics:

  • 45% of all cart abandonment emails are opened
  • 21% of all cart abandonment emails are clicked
  • 50% of those clicks lead to a recovered purchase back on site

There are oodles of different types of emails you can send your customers. But with numbers like that, cart reminder emails give some of the highest return on your investment.

Ok, you’re sold. Next step — why do people abandon carts in the first place?
Why do people abandon their carts?

Common reasons people abandon online carts include:

  • Distractions
  • They forgot
  • Price or shipping costs
  • Website issues
  • Complex checkout process
  • Return or exchange policies
  • Comparison shopping
  • Just browsing

Justin timberlakeJustin Timberlake was definitely singing about your abandoned shopping cart’s feelings.

Some abandoned shopping carts you can’t do anything about. Some people just browsing or comparison shopping – they were never going to buy.

Don’t worry about those people. There are people you can coax back – the ones who just got distracted or confused by your checkout process.

Reasons for cart abandonment

Here are the top reasons for cart abandonment that you can do something about:

  • Extra costs are too high. Explore ways to reduce shipping costs by using cheaper packaging or by changing mail carriers
  • Forced to create account. Many sites that offer the option to create an account still allow people to check out as a guest
  • Long checkout process. Is your checkout process too complex? Find steps you can combine or even cut completely.
  • Can’t see total costs. Display updated cart totals at every step of the checkout process
  • Didn’t trust the website. Show your ecommerce security credentials with a badge. According to the University of Reading, 23% of shoppers have abandoned a purchase because they didn’t trust website security.
  • Website errors or crashes. Sometimes crashes are beyond your control, but there’s no excuse to not test your website across multiple browsers and devices
  • Delivery estimate too slow. In the era of next- or same-day delivery, customers expect quick turn-around
  • Strict return policy. A generous return policy will make up for the inconvenience of extra returns through increased sales you’ll make over time
  • Lack of payment options. Some people refuse to use paypal while others use nothing but. It’s easy to accommodate both.
  • Card declined. Most ecommerce platforms allow you to make a pretend purchase with fake credit card numbers to test your checkout process

What about your abandoned carts? Learn more about why people leave your checkout process through:

  • Google analytics: Explore the customer journey on your website to find where they’re dropping out
  • Research: Know your audience and their expectations of similar products and purchasing paths
  • Surveys: Ask customers through an email survey about your checkout flow and their purchasing intent to discover pain points you can address
  • Heat maps and click maps: Learn how users really behave by seeing where they click on a page, how far they scroll, and the graphical results of eye-tracking tests

Rehab your online store to remove many of the reasons people abandon their carts. Now you have pinpointed the remaining reasons — and can convert those lost sales using the answer to one important question:

What made your product so awesome they put it in their online cart in the first place?

12 examples of abandoned cart emails: what makes them good (and what can make them even better)

Here are the 12 best strategies to use in your abandoned cart emails:

  1. Build a well-crafted subject line (Evil Queen)
  2. Give a clear call-to-action (Bearsville Soap Company)
  3. Make your copy shine (ThinkGeek)
  4. Show your product (ThredUP)
  5. Create catchy graphics (SugarBearHair)
  6. Create a sense of urgency (Google Store)
  7. Offer alternatives. Well, maybe… (Vans)
  8. Address potential objections (Whisky Loot)
  9. Use reviews and social proof (Brooklinen)
  10. Offer a coupon, but only at the right moment (Lime Crime)
  11. Optimize for mobile (LUSH)
  12. Keep it simple, with one call to action (Quip)

After seeing how these strategies are used in the following examples, you’ll be ready to make abandoned cart email templates — and can start to recover sales from people who abandon carts at checkout.

1. Build a well-crafted subject line

“He fretted over the words, attempting to make the content meaningful. I can remember his saying over and over again, as he worked at the fourth or fifth draft of whatever he happened to be writing, “Simple is better.” — Joanne Rogers, in her foreword to The World According to Mister Rogers.

What can Mr. Rogers teach you about how to write a great abandoned cart subject line?

As he said, “Simple is better.”

64% of people decide if they will open an email based on the subject line. If you want to be noticed over the cascade of emails in someone’s inbox, you need to make your message instantly understandable. And pull out your best cozy sweater, because a big part of that depends on your tone.

Think friendly. Think conversational. Think…Mr. Rogers.

Mr. RogersMr. Rogers likes you just the way you are, and he thoughtfully brought the stuff you left behind in your cart, too.

What information should you include in your abandoned cart reminder subject line?

  • Company name: Let them know who is contacting them
  • Customer name: Email personalization may help you get opens
  • Friendly tone: If you can’t imagine Mr. Rogers saying it, rephrase your subject line
  • Product name or details: What exactly did they leave in their cart? Remind them.
  • Urgency: If they might lose the items in their cart, let them know
  • Simplicity: Because the decision to open your email is made within seconds

Evil Queen subject line

These are examples of real abandoned cart email subject lines I received:

  • Finch, we’ve saved your cart 🤙
  • Did you forget about me, Finch? 😱
  • We’re ready if you’re ready.
  • Lemme Teleport You Back To Your Cart. Free of Charge.
  • Your electric toothbrush is waiting (with a free refill).
  • Finch, your cart is wondering where you went ❤️
  • Your cart MADE us send this reminder 🙂
  • Is your wi-fi ok?

What do all these subject lines have in common? They’re not demanding anything of you. They’re just simply checking in.

2. Give a clear call-to-action

An email call-to-action (CTA) is a link or button designed to get a prompt response from the person seeing it. But remember this childhood lesson: ask for what you want nicely.

That means lowering the stakes of what your CTA is asking of your potential customer.

Which of these buttons is best?

  • Buy now
  • Pay some of your hard-earned cash
  • Return to your cart

In general, avoid words like “buy” or “pay” in your CTAs. These are “high-friction” words, because they suggest doing something that the person might not be ready to do.

A CTA like “return to your cart” gets people to take the next step (clicking) before the sell.

Bearsville CTA

What this abandoned cart email does right:

  • The low-friction call-to-action emphasizes how easily the customer can finish the checkout process they started…if they’d like to.
  • The bear emoji in the subject line is charming, reinforces their branding, and will stand out in your inbox
  • The tagline for Bearsville is “Soap for Men,” and is made from natural ingredients in the Catskills. Using imagery of fashionably bearded manly men is aspirational, selling an idea of the kind of person that uses their product.

What this abandoned cart email could do even better:

  • Product shot could be more prominent. With a great photograph to grab attention, the cart recovery product shot is overshadowed. It could benefit from a larger thumbnail and some descriptive copy.
  • Customer reviews. Soap is a product that lends itself well to reviews (since you can’t smell soap through your inbox)

3. Make your copy shine