Most e-commerce sites let a lot of sales fly out the window. Although plenty of people browse and complete their purchases, there’s also a large number of abandoned carts each day. And unlike brick-and-mortar stores, it’s easy to abandon multiple purchases per day. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this consumer practice for your business. Sending an abandoned cart email is a highly effective option.
Cart Abandonment and Its Impact on Revenue
Cart abandonment is a major issue for e-commerce brands. As marketers, we define an abandoned cart as a situation where people put items into an e-commerce site’s shopping cart and then fail to complete the purchase. People are more likely to abandon their carts than check out: according to estimates, almost 70% of carts are abandoned.
That equals $18 billion in lost sales revenue each year because of abandoned carts.
When people walk away from a shopping cart, it also works against your shop’s profit margins. You have spent money to get traffic or leads, and it didn’t result in revenue. Although some people will eventually buy from your website without further action from you, winning the business usually takes extra effort. At the same time, each abandoned cart represents a lost opportunity for profit.
Addressing your abandoned cart problem requires understanding why people abandon them. For instance, some people will put things in their cart and then comparison shop. Or maybe they want to think about the purchase and make sure it’s something they want before pulling the trigger. Both of these reasons may respond well to incentives. The same goes with people who get distracted.
Other reasons for abandonment may take some work. If the consumer thinks your shipping costs and other fees are too high, they might balk at paying them or question your brand’s integrity. Consumers might also be unsure of which product(s) are best for them.
Here is some data that puts all of this into perspective:
All of these reasons, and others, however, also provide opportunities.
Benefits of Implementing an Abandoned Cart Email Strategy
While there are several responses to the abandoned cart problem, one of the most cost-effective is email marketing. Using the right approach to abandoned cart emails can help recover your lost revenue by driving people back to your site. Even if the customer doesn’t buy everything in the original cart, you’ll have more revenue than if you didn’t do anything.
In these emails, be sure to remind customers about items that they want to purchase – or at least are considering. If the customer abandoned their cart because of being distracted, the reminder might be enough by itself. And you’ll get the business with minimal added expense.
Another option is to provide incentives or discounts in exchange for the purchase. For instance, you might offer free shipping, reduce the minimum purchase amount to earn free shipping or provide a discount. Some companies even throw in a freebie, like samples or swag, with the first purchase.
Of course, abandoned cart emails can have benefits beyond securing the initial purchase. For instance, keeping track of which specials people respond to will help you learn why carts get abandoned. While there will always be people who get distracted, it’s useful to know what other reasons people have.
Furthermore, you can foster ongoing relationships with customers through email. If people aren’t sure what they need, for instance, providing some expertise can boost consumer confidence and keep them coming back.
Best Practices For Abandoned Cart Email Campaigns
Like most things in marketing, sending abandoned cart emails has some best practices. This helps ensure that you get the most out of your efforts and money.
Here’s how to get started:
- Start the campaign quickly – send the first email within 1-3 hours. At this point, the items in a customer’s cart are relatively fresh in their mind. Often, the email will be enough to complete the sale, especially if the customer was simply called away or distracted but still really wants the item.
- Keep emails personalized with the customer’s name and cart items. This demonstrates that you care about the customer rather than just spamming them. You’ll also remind the potential customer what they have in their cart, in case they forgot.
- Use subject lines that create urgency or convey value. For example, if something is low stock, mention that. Or if you think the customers object to your shipping costs for a small order, point out that the item arrives quickly. Your choice should depend on customer pain points.
- Include limited-time discount codes or coupons. Sometimes, a little savings will help seal the deal. This is especially true if someone is price shopping or concerned about shipping.
- Follow up multiple times – at least 3 emails in the next 48 hours. It often takes several touches to convert a lead, and abandoned cart emails are no exception.
- Test different email copy, offers, and timing to optimize results. Your email marketing software and other analytics tools should help you be successful here.
- Make the process automated based on the cart abandonment trigger. In other words, you shouldn’t need to start the campaign individually. Instead, program your software to send emails every time someone abandons their cart.
15 Abandoned Cart Email Template Examples
While writing abandoned cart emails may seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be this way. Using these templates, you can create effective emails that’ll help recover lost revenue in no time. These templates are meant to be conversation starters to spark your imagination and inspire you to be able to write your own emails.
1. The Gentle Reminder
Especially because it’s common for people to abandon their carts due to distractions (or indecision), gentle reminders often work well. Here’s how to use this approach.
First, the email should have a light tone, even friendly. You’re assuming that the customer has forgotten to check out. Therefore, the focus should be on customers completing the purchase. Many e-commerce sites even use light humor or branded encouragement.
Provide a clear call-to-action to recover the cart. For instance, suggest that they really want the item, so it’s time to make it theirs.
Subject: Just following up…
Hi [Name], we just wanted to check and see if you still intend to complete your purchase. Did something go wrong on our end? Let us know if you need any help!
Notice how this template offers further assistance. You can also mention the contents of the person’s cart, which can work especially well if your site has a significant product line.
2. The Time Limit
These abandoned cart emails create a sense of urgency with limited-time discount codes and other perks. This technique sweetens the deal and is excellent for bargain shoppers and people who hate high shipping fees.
To write an effective email of this type, make the incentive available for only a short time. Your deal should last long enough for people to come home from work but not so long that they’ll talk themselves out of finishing the purchase. Using a countdown timer or expiration language creates a sense of urgency.
Subject: 24 Hours Left for 25% Off!
Don’t miss out [Name]! Use code SAVE25 to get 25% off your cart items until midnight tomorrow.
You DO have the ability to create coupon codes, right?
3. The Follow-Up
Wanting a good deal is a common reason why people might abandon their carts. However, you shouldn’t take this as the reason every time, especially with B2B products and high-ticket items. Instead, use your abandoned cart emails to check in on why they didn’t complete the purchase.
As you check in on customers, offer to help or answer any questions they might have. When you do this, you can help with product selection or get valuable feedback. Then, reiterate the value proposition of your products or services.
Subject: Can we assist with your order?
Oh no! We noticed you didn’t complete your purchase! Please let us know if we can offer any help or answer questions – we are on standby!
4. The Personal Touch
It used to be that the Internet and e-commerce were very impersonal. But times have changed, and people want to feel like they’re valued through a personal touch. Luckily, you can easily customize abandoned cart emails.
Use the customer’s first name to make it more personal. Tools like cookies and landing pages can make it easy to find that information. And for repeat customers, you already have it.
Remind your customers of specific items left in the cart. It indicates that you’re listening and also jogs their memory about what products they’re interested in. Especially if your potential customer is shopping around or needs something specific, it’s helpful to focus on getting them to complete their purchase.
Subject: [Name], your cart is still waiting!
Hey [Name]! We have your [item 1], [item 2], and [item 3] ready in your cart whenever you’re ready to complete your purchase. We just wanted to let you know because we can only hold them for [X] hours, so for your convenience, you can click here to resume shopping: [link to cart]
5. The Social Proof
Sometimes, people need a friendly reminder about how awesome your product is. Hearing from people who have used a product may be helpful when deciding if they want a product. That’s why you should share testimonials from other customers.
Especially if you choose testimonials from many different people, there’s a great chance the potential buyer will identify with an existing user. Plus, hearing from other people helps build trust and credibility for your business. It makes your messages come alive and not be “just what they’d say as the seller.”
These emails are surprisingly easy to write:
Subject: See what our customers are saying…
Check out these reviews from customers who love their purchases! [insert testimonials] Buy yours today.
6. The VIP Offer
It’s easy for your brand to get lost in the noise of many competitors. Make customers feel special with an exclusive discount. You can choose a percentage or a flat dollar discount. Sometimes, brands will make the discount good for only one item in the cart, though this is usually a large discount. Or, they might apply the percentage to everything.
If you use this technique, be sure to explain that the offer is only for valued customers. This creates a sense of exclusivity that people love – and often respond to.
Subject: For our valued customers: An exclusive 20% off!
We like to surprise our customers, so as a valued customer, here’s a special 20% discount code to complete your purchase! Hurry – this discount code expires in 72 hours!
7. The Free Gift
People love freebies, even if they come with strings attached (like a purchase). Surprise and delight with a free gift or bonus item that makes customers feel that they’ve gotten better value for their money. Your freebie can be a sample or a related product. Some brands even use company swag, especially if it’s a prestige company. Of course, swag is also great for its advertising value.
Subject: A free gift comes with your order!
For orders placed this week, we’ll include a free [gift] too! What are you waiting for? Jump back into your shopping cart here: [link to cart]
With this idea, be sure to tell people what sort of gift you’re offering, and why it’s awesome (if applicable).
8. The Technical Support
No matter how well-built your website may be, people sometimes have trouble navigating it. And if your products or services are tech-heavy, you’ll also encounter plenty of people who need to have the item explained.
In these situations, your abandoned cart emails can take a somewhat different approach. Offer help with any issues they encountered that may have kept your customer from completing their purchase. As part of the email, provide easy contact info for your support team. Ultimately, the purpose here is to show that you want to resolve problems rather than just selling products and services. People really appreciate this.
Subject: Still need help with checkout?
Our support team is here for any questions about the checkout process – call us at [number]!
Naturally, if you have a chatbot or your team is available by live chat, this can also be included.
9. The Price Match
Even the best quality products often face price competition from other brands. Not only do some niches have cutthroat competition, but people love to get a good deal. So, business owners need to monitor their competitor’s pricing. If you find that a similar product is less expensive, you can try and win customers back by matching it.
Here, the idea is to show that your prices are competitive. Supermarkets and appliance or electronics outfits have been doing this for decades, and there’s a good reason why it works. Often, just swooping in with a lower price will help edge out the competition for a particular sale. Hopefully, the new customer will love your products so much that next time will pay full price.
Subject: We’ll match any competitor’s price!
If you find a lower price somewhere else, we’ll match it! Just let us know. It’s that easy!
10. The Satisfaction Guarantee
Have you ever hesitated to buy something because you weren’t sure if you’d like it? If you’re like most people, you have. And while Amazon and other online marketplaces have easy return policies, people are often less sure of this with smaller e-commerce sites.
To counteract the Amazon effect, think about offering a money back or satisfaction guarantee. This way, people can feel like their buying your products without a lot of risk. And if they love your stuff and can’t do without it, you win. In the meantime, you’ve eased buyer concerns and build their trust.
Best of all, a generous refund policy demonstrates that you have confidence in your product. After all, most people will understand that if you offer these guarantees on a shoddy product, you will soon go out of business.
Here’s how to incorporate your guarantees into abandoned cart emails:
Subject: Did you know? Shop worry-free with our guarantee!
We hate buying things that don’t work out ourselves. That’s why all purchases are backed by our 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
11. The FOMO Alert
Sometimes, the early bird really does get the worm. And the latecomers? Well, they typically miss out. If your product is popular, then the FOMO factor can set in quickly. To take advantage of this phenomenon with abandoned cart emails, mention that you have limited inventory or availability of that product. The Scarcity principle creates a fear of missing out and encourages urgent action from your customers.
This approach is very effective if the customer adds an especially desirable product variation or special edition item to their carts, but you can use it for almost anything that’s running out.
Subject: Only 10 left in stock!
Hurry, only 10 quantities left of this popular item that you left in your shopping cart. Secure yours now! Purchase yours here [link to cart]
12. The Benefit Reminder
Everybody wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” This is true for everything from picking the right job to selecting the perfect outfit for your night on the town. Sometimes, people abandon their carts because they aren’t sure why an item is beneficial.
To counteract this reason for cart abandonment, you can emphasize your core value proposition, such as high-quality materials, environmentally friendly design, or special expertise. At the same time, you should remind people about your product’s key benefits or important features. The idea is to refocus people on why they originally wanted to buy the item.
Using this technique may be a little more complicated, but here’s a basic template to get you started.
Subject: Don’t forget these perks…
Here’s a quick reminder of all the great benefits you’ll get with your purchase: [list benefits]
13. The Bundle Deal
Consumers sometimes struggle to decide which product to purchase, especially if the items are similar or were meant to go together. One way to boost sales is with a bundle or package deal. In this case, you’ll offer a discount for purchasing multiple items. Not only will the bundle help solve the debate between potential products, but it will increase the overall sale value.
Using this technique, people may feel more confident in purchasing a set, especially since it will be more expensive to buy both items separately later.
Subject: Did you know? Save 20% when you buy together!
Make the most of your order by bundling these items [product 1] and [product 2] – use code BUNDLE for 20% off!
14. The Concierge Service
People are busy, especially if they have high-level professional jobs or have other responsibilities. Being busy is a major reason why people may get distracted and abandon their carts before finishing an order, so addressing the issue can really help boost sales.
For a concierge service email, there are a few options. One of them is to offer personal shopping assistance. If your brand is exclusive or has a more high-end reputation, this approach can work very well. Offering a high-touch customer experience introduces the idea that you genuinely care about customer needs. To offer a less expensive but still effective option, you can provide individualized product recommendations using AI or a traditional algorithm.
Here’s how to put the concept into an email:
Subject: You qualify for our personal shopping assistant!
We know how hard it can be to make the right purchasing choices. That’s why we want to connect you with our personal shopping assistant. Reply to this email for dedicated concierge support to complete your order!
15. The Past Purchase
Sometimes, even previous customers need a reminder to complete their purchase. Fortunately, in this case, the customers know your brand and probably have fewer reasons to hesitate. So, capitalize on your past history to seal the deal. It’s easy to do this effectively using personalization based on previous purchases and recent activity.
Subject: Did you know that customers that bought [often bought product] also bought THIS?
Recommended just for you: [items] – to add to your previous purchases of [items].
Further Reading: Email Copy for eCommerce Sites: 19 Examples to Inspire You
Optimizing Your Abandoned Cart Emails for More Conversions
Like many other things in marketing, abandoned cart email campaigns require practice and Optimization. I’ve written a lot on the topic of email marketing generally, but here are some points that you should always consider, even with templates.
- A/B test various email elements like subject lines, imagery, and offers. You want to ensure that what you’re offering is compelling enough to earn people’s business. Better yet, you should achieve the best possible ROI.
- Pay attention to metrics like open rate, CTR, and conversion rate. Doing this lets you see clearly what works well and what does not. Then, you can double down on your most effective email elements.
- Adjust timing, number of follow-ups, or contact intervals. What works well for some companies may produce lackluster results for others. Fortunately, a quality analytics suite will give you the numbers needed to be successful.
- Offer free shipping or bundling options. People love getting a good value for their money.
- Provide better product visuals or reviews. You ARE getting customer feedback, right?? Show it off!
- Improve your checkout process based on feedback. If customers have enough trouble checking out, they may give up. And that’s money out of your pocket.
Further Reading: 8 Best Email Marketing Best Practices for 2024
Abandoned carts are a major drain on e-commerce brand finances because they reduce sales. Fortunately, it’s easy to recover some revenue with the right abandoned cart emails. Whether your best bet is a simple reminder, coupon codes, or customer support, a little bit of work can go a long way. Best of all, email is inexpensive to compose, customize, and send.
Hero Photo by James Watson on Unsplash