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12 ​​Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices to Regain Customers

Rida Ali Khan

I always felt that winning back a customer who abandons their cart was like dancing on broken glass - impossible. 

Until one day, I realized that regaining customers becomes pretty easy once you understand what makes 7 out of 10 purchasers abandon their carts in the first place. 

And now, with countless hits and trials, I’ve mastered the art of sending successful abandoned cart email campaigns. *proud voice*

You’re curious to know them now, aren’t you? 

Cool! Because I like sharing my success too. So, I’ve listed down 12 profitable abandoned cart email best practices below to make your indecisive customers complete purchases in no time. 

But before we rush into that, let’s have a clear idea about what is an abandoned cart email and why people abandon their carts. 

What Is an Abandoned Cart Email? 

An abandoned cart email is sent to your customers when they abandon or leave their shopping carts without completing their purchase. 

They do not only function as a reminder but also offer great incentives to your customers for completing their purchases (depending on your campaign). 

Now let’s figure out the root cause behind abandoned shopping carts. 

Why Do People Abandon Carts? 

Reasons for cart abandonment

The number one reason is extra cost, such as shipping charges. This is followed by being forced to create an account that demotivates users to complete the purchase. 

Besides this, 57% of people abandon their carts if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load (how impatient have we become!).

Another reason why people abandon their carts is that they get distracted. Pretty understandable since our attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds now. 

In addition to these, a complex checkout process, waiting for a sale, and unclear return policies are a few more reasons why people abandoned their shopping carts. 

Now that you know what makes your customers change their minds, it’s time for you to use the following abandoned cart email best practices to win them back. 

12 Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices to Win Back Shoppers

If you’re like me and don’t like giving up on your precious customers that easy, these abandoned cart email best practices are for you. 

1. Give them an incentive

Your customers love discounts and promotions more than anything in the world. 

So, you can entice them to complete their purchase with a free shipping or discount offer. This way, your email will become a blend of an abandoned cart and a promotional email

However, there’s a downside to this. Giving discounts for abandoned products lessens their perceived value. Plus, people start expecting discounts in the future as well. 

Nonetheless, the conversion rate resulting from promotions outweighs these issues. 

Also, remember the following 2 things while offering them incentives. First, try to give discount offers in the 2nd or 3rd abandoned cart email rather than the first one to close the deal. 

Second, if you’re giving off discount coupons, then ensure that you give single-use codes or limited-time discount coupons so that they are not reused again. 

Have a look at this abandoned cart from MajHER Fashion Boutique that offers an incentive for purchasing the abandoned item. 

Example of an abandoned cart email with a promotional offer

2. Write catchy subject lines 

47% of people open their emails based on their subject lines, so you need to ensure that your subject line is super persuasive and evokes emotions. Just like a pick-up line. 

Grab your recipient’s attention without using spammy words or sounding too pushy. 

Try to keep it short and sweet. It’s recommended that you ask a question, mention a discount, use humor, or induce urgency. Here are some abandoned cart email subject lines from which you can take inspiration from. 

  • 🏃 You must hurry, or your cart will expire! 🏃
  • Guess what? 15% off on the bag you left in your cart 👜
  • Please don’t abandon me! 🙁💔
  • 50% off on your cart for the next 24 hours. 🛒
  • John! 🙋‍♂️ You won’t find this anywhere else. 😏

In addition to these, your subject line can also align with your brand. For example, if you’re the number 1 make-up brand, your subject line can be something like; 

We don’t want you to abandon the best eyeliner on the market 😮.

Remember that your subject line should win all your subscribers' attention and coax them into completing the purchase. 

3. Send them a series of emails 

If you want your prospects to take action in your favor, you must send them more than 1 abandoned cart email. 

The ideal practice is to send 3 emails for every abandoned cart. 

The first email should be sent 2 to 3 hours after the cart has been abandoned. At this point, the customer might have gotten distracted or forgotten about the product. 

So, your first abandoned cart email should serve as a reminder. 

You can send the second email within 24 hours after the shopping cart has been abandoned, and this email must create urgency among your recipients. 

For doing so, you can add countdown timers or write phrases in your emails that encourage impulsive shopping among them.

We hope that the first 2 emails get your job done, but if they don’t, it’s time to send the third email. 

The third email can be the deal closer and offer incentives such as free shipping or discounts. Try to send this email within the first week after their cart has been abandoned.

And this way, you’ll be able to convince your customers by sending them a series of emails.

Send more than one abandoned cart email to your customers

4. Feature the abandoned item 

Your recipients understand the language of visuals better than words. So remember to add images of the abandoned item in these emails.

Plus, chances are that your customers must have got distracted by now or window-shopped other items online. So adding an image of this abandoned item will remind them about it. 

But yes, there are certain things to keep in mind while embedding images to emails

First, make sure that you only add high-quality images of the abandoned item. After all, you’re trying to make an impression here. 

Speaking of which, if you use our abandoned cart email templates you’ll be halfway there in creating a lasting impression. 

Second, keep the size of the images small because larger images will result in loading issues. And last, once you add the image of the abandoned product, try to endorse it in the best way possible. 

Let your readers know how this specific abandoned item can add value to their lives and why they should immediately avail it. 

5. Provide customer support

Technical issues are one of the most underestimated causes of cart abandonment. 

But you should not avoid it since 17% of people abandon their shopping carts because of a long or complex checkout process. 

To cater to this issue, you must provide your customers with efficient customer service

Make sure you provide them with an option to reach you through email, phone number, or live chat. You can do this by adding a call widget to your checkout page. This will enable them to ask questions or queries related to the checkout process. 

If the abandoned item is of high value, such as a luxury dress or jewelry, you can ask your customers to meet at your outlet and link its address. 

On the other hand, if the item is of low value, you can ask your customers to reach your customer support through live chat, email, messaging, etc. You can also offer a client self service portal where your customers can access FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and other resources to address common inquiries or issues on their own.

This boosts your sales and allows you to track down technical issues in your website and identify what hinders your user’s experience. 

6. Add recommended products

Never miss a chance to flaunt or market your products. 

You can use this opportunity to upsell or cross-sell your products in addition to the abandoned item. And when you do so, try to personalize it as well. 

For instance, if your customer left a pair of athletic shoes in their abandoned cart, you can recommend similar options with the caption “You may also like.” 

7. Add a prominent CTA button

Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons in emails are the gateways to conversion. Now, this alone should be enough to emphasize their importance. 

Try to make your CTAs as prominent as possible. You can design them with attractive colors or add colors that are in contrast with the background color of your email

Plus, try to place them high up in your email to instantly catch your reader's attention. And include more than 1 CTA per email as it increases the chances of conversion. 

Emails with a single CTA button increase clicks by 371%, so decorate and place them wisely. Also, label them carefully, as they should clearly describe the action they’re going to perform. 

As a whole, you should make your CTA the heart of your email. 

Wondering how you’d do that? Then watch this quick tutorial to know how simple it is to add and customize your CTA buttons in email with Unlayer.  

8. Send targeted abandoned cart emails 

Create a subscriber-specific abandoned cart email. In other words, create a highly personalized email campaign. 

You can send your subscribers emails with their names mentioned in the subject line or email headers. This way, your email will instantly grab their attention and create a connection. 

Something that goes like, “Hey Cassie! You left your mascara in the cart.”

In addition to that, you can merge your abandoned cart email campaign with a trigger email campaign to witness greater results. 

Here’s an example; imagine a user just signed up to your email list, and later you notice the same user abandoning an item from your store. 

In such cases, you can send him/her an email saying, “Hey XYZ, we noticed you left this shirt in the cart. Since you’re new to our list, we’d like to offer you 20% off on your first purchase.”

Such a tailored email will leave your subscribers awe-struck and increase their chances of taking action in your favor. 

9. Write a compelling copy

Words have a surreal power. They can make or break your deal according to how they are written, so write them wisely.

Write your email copy while keeping in mind that you know the person that you’re sending this email. In other words, keep it conversational. 

Another thing to remember while writing your abandoned cart email is to make it attention-grabbing or funny. After all, you want to hook your customers into completing a purchase. 

Remember to keep the language simple and the length of the email short as I mentioned earlier that our attention spans have reduced dramatically. 

The last thing to consider is to write in an actionable tone. Since our goal here is to encourage the reader to complete their purchase, it’s better to instill this idea in their mind through actionable phrases. 

10. Use social proof 

Social proof is a very beneficial tactic widely used in marketing and email psychology

It gives your customers an external validation about the product they were almost going to purchase. Also, social proof can turn their doubts into a yes. 

Social proofing can include positive customer reviews or recommendations from well-known bloggers or influencers to purchase your product.

You can attach these reviews to your abandoned cart email in a presentable way. 

This way, even if your customer abandoned your cart because of high cost or shipping charges, s/he will purchase your product thinking that it’s worth buying if everyone’s praising it. 

11. Instill FOMO

As we mentioned earlier, you must instill FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) among your subscribers to encourage impulsive shopping in them. 

A recommended way to do so is by adding elements in your email, such as countdown timers. Needless to say, countdown timers also make your email look attractive. 

Here’s an email from GILT that instills FOMO in readers by telling them that this abandoned cart item will expire soon. 

Abandoned cart email from GILT that instills FOMO in readers

12. Keep testing

The key to successful email campaigns is running extensive tests time and again. So keep testing your emails with new ideas, subject lines, timings, and schedules. 

A/B tests extensively allow you to analyze what works best for your abandoned cart email campaign. Once you know which practice brings out the best results, incorporate them into your future campaigns. 

They will shock you with their performance. 

Bonus Tip: Add a cute pup/kitten’s photo

Well, this is something I try when I have a creative burnout and trust me, this always works. 

Imagine your abandoned cart email having this photo alongside a caption that says, “Why did you abandon me?”

It’s impossible to neglect or turn down, isn’t it? Try it out. It’s worth a shot!

These were all the abandoned cart email best practices that you need to incorporate in your future email campaigns. 

The secret ingredients that I use in my campaigns are pre-designed and responsive abandoned cart email templates from Unlayer. They have never failed to amaze me with their performance. 

Abandoned Cart Email Templates That Stand Out

Responsive, Attractive, and Customizable.
Email Templates

Abandoned Cart Emails That Stole Our Heart

Now that I’ve told you how I nail my abandoned cart email campaigns, I’d like you to see the best 3 abandoned cart emails that grabbed my attention. Have a look!

Taco Bell

Best abandoned cart email example from Taco Bell

This email design is just too pleasant-looking to ignore. It shows a sad little taco that feels abandoned. 

Above this taco, the email header says “missing something?” which hints at the taco. 

This email has a single-column layout that directs the reader to complete action through the CTA button. Notice how the CTA button stands out against the background. 

These reasons make it a perfect abandoned cart email to take inspiration from. 


Best abandoned cart email example from Society6

The reason why Society6 aced their abandoned cart email design was that designing is their thing. 

Apart from that, they were wise enough to mention that they reserved the cart for the next 48 hours in the email header, accompanied by a prominent CTA button. This CTA encourages the viewer to take immediate action. 

It’s praiseworthy how they wrote all the important details above the fold. 

Also, the CTA is descriptive enough as it mentions the discount that the subscriber can avail by clicking on the CTA button. 

Columbia Sportswear 

Best abandoned cart email example from Columbia Sportswear

No nonsense and simply stunning - this is what I felt when I saw this email. 

It's a simple email that entices the reader with discounted price. They wrote that their prices went down in bold and centralized words to hook their recipients quickly. 

Beneath that, they displayed the abandoned product and showed some recommendations as well. They said everything they had to say without trying too hard. 

Something that I’ll suggest you to do as well. 

Our Thoughts

And with that, it’s a wrap. 

These abandoned cart email best practices are all you need to regain those valuable customers. 

I’ve been trying these out for quite some time now, and luckily, they’ve always worked in my favor. Do your abandoned cart email campaigns involve any other techniques? 

Then let me know about them in the comments below!


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