Abandoned Cart Emails: How to Reduce Cart-Abandonment and Recover Lost Sales

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Would you believe us if we told you that by simply sending abandoned cart emails you can make your worst ecommerce nightmares disappear?

Cart abandonment emails help you retrieve customers who abandoned their carts and recover lost revenue.

In this post, you’ll learn about what abandoned cart emails are, why visitors abandon their online shopping carts, and 10 strategies to recover lost customers with abandoned cart email examples.

Let’s have a look.

1. What are abandoned cart emails?

Source: NinjaTeam.org

Source: NinjaTeam.org

A cart abandonment email is a follow-up email to re-engage prospects who leave your website without completing the checkout process.

Nearly 76% of online shoppers abandon their carts before checking out.

Reminding customers of abandoned items is often just the nudge they need to complete their order.

Cart abandonment happens for all sorts of reasons.

But there’s good news!

With automatic, personalized cart recovery emails, you can bring back lost customers and encourage them to complete their purchases.

We have compiled 10 common reasons for online shopping cart abandonment.

Let’s check them out.

2. 10 common reasons for online shopping cart abandonment

Source: Baymard.com

Source: Baymard.com

Every ecommerce store is different, but here are a few of the more common reasons why customers abandon their carts:

2.1. Unexpected extra costs

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Hidden costs are the main reason your customers leave without purchasing your product.

When extra costs are added to the total, the product's price increases and take away customers' motivation to buy.

A whopping 48% of consumers said that they abandoned their cart because of unexpected shipping costs and miscellaneous fees.

No need to fret, here are some solutions to this issue:

  • Explore ways to reduce shipping costs — Use cheaper packaging or change mail carriers
  • Remove high shipping costs — Add shipping cost to the product cost itself
  • Offer “free shipping” if customers meet a certain threshold

2.2. Forced to create a new user account

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

While collecting customers’ details is undoubtedly useful, some visitors just want to buy and leave.

More than a few cart abandoners don’t complete their purchase if they’re required to create a new user account.

This is because spending more time and effort than they expected is a significant source of friction.

Here are some ideas to make your customers’ shopping experience more convenient:

  • Don’t force first-time users to create an account before purchase completion
  • Offer a guest checkout system

2.3. Unsatisfactory delivery options

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Customers care a lot about shipping.

Most online shoppers are impulse buyers — if they realize that it may take weeks for a product to reach them, they’ll start shopping elsewhere.

If your business is unable to deliver its goods on time, customers are forced to abandon their shopping carts.

Customers expect more options than the usual “standard shipping”, such as:

  • Same-day delivery
  • Overnight shipping
  • Express shipping

In these cases, customers tend to be willing to pay more to speed up the process — if you need to charge more for different shipping options, do it!

2.4. Complex checkout

Source: Freepik.com

The checkout process should be simple, smooth, and as quick as possible.

With a difficult process, the customer generally becomes frustrated and impatient, which leads to shopping cart abandonment.

Some factors which make a checkout page frustrating is:

  • Poor site organization
  • Broken links
  • Slow loading times

These factors all contribute to a bad user experience, resulting in many customers abandoning their shopping carts.

Ways to simplify your checkout process include:

  • Only ask for necessary information
  • Streamline your page’s navigation — Reduce the number of steps from the initiation to the completion of the purchase

If you’re looking for a solution, systeme.io’s sales funnel builder offers built-in automation tools to create more efficient processes.

2.5. Lack of trust

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Let’s be honest, we are all afraid of phishing and other fraudulent activities.

Many online shoppers choose to end their shopping journey if they become unsure of the page’s security features.

Factors for suspicion include:

  • Design flaws
  • Missing images
  • Outdated layouts

These factors make shoppers too uncomfortable to provide their banking details online.

To avoid cart abandonment and gain your customers' trust, you can:

  • Include social proof and testimonials on your sales page
  • Provide product reviews and endorsements from influencers
  • Share details about yourself and your team

By implementing the above, your customers will know that they are dealing with real people who care about their experience and will take care of their personal details.

2.6. No total cost

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Frequently, shoppers create an order to see the total cost of their potential purchase.

If they can’t see the total cost, they’re more likely to abandon their shopping cart.

The solution is pretty simple — provide the total cost upfront!

Some ideas to avoid this issue are:

  • Display updated cart totals at every step of the checkout process
  • Create a pop-up that displays cart totals every time a shopper adds an item to their virtual cart

It’s a win-win situation — the customer is happy and you close more sales.

2.7. Technical issues

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Technical issues go hand-in-hand with customers’ trust in your site.

Any errors or lack of performance may cast doubts in your customers’ minds, which leads to cart abandonment.

The first thing you can do to prevent technical difficulties is to make sure your website is mobile optimized. Mobile commerce sales are expected to reach $430 billion in 2022 and $710 billion in 2025 — if your mobile site isn't up to scratch, you won't see a cent of those billions.

Unfortunately, all technology is susceptible to technical disturbances and glitches, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that your site is bug-free.

These include:

  • Monitoring your analytics
  • Doing regular reviews of the checkout process
  • Optimizing your website to ensure quick loading times

The world is moving into a mobile-first economy and ensuring that your website is compatible with mobile devices is crucial.

2.8. Strict return policy

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

Up to 12% of customers abandon their carts if the return policy is unsatisfactory.

It’s common for online stores to have strict limits on their returns, such as:

  • Strict time limits — Customers can only return items in the first 14 days after receiving it
  • Charging for returns

To make your return policy more generous, you can:

  • Offer a 30-day return limit
  • Offer a free shipping return

Why not run a test for a month or two and see whether the approaches are profitable for your business?

2.9. Lack of payment options

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

There are several methods of payment that can be used to complete online purchases.

Many customers want to complete their purchase but are forced to abandon their carts as the online site did not provide their preferred payment method.

Ways to reduce this issue are:

  • Offer multiple payment methods
  • Ensure that you offer the most popular method

Popular methods of payment include:

  • PayPal
  • Amazon Pay
  • Google Pay

With systeme.io, this issue simply doesn’t exist because we are directly integrated with PayPal and Stripe.

2.10. Payment was declined

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

A banking card may be declined for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Incorrectly entered information
  • The credit limit was reached
  • The card has expired
  • And probably the most common reason — Your customer doesn’t have enough money in their account

One way to resolve this issue is to create a pop-up to remind your potential customer to double-check their payment information to avoid disappointment.

Now that we know why carts are abandoned, we need to ask ourselves how we can avoid them.

By sending cart recovery emails!

In the next section, we introduce 10 of the most effective strategies for writing the perfect email to recover abandoned carts.

Let’s get straight to it.

3. Rescue abandoned carts with these email strategies

Abandoned cart emails are one of the most effective methods to recover lost customers.

In this section, we’ll give you exactly what you need to write an exceptional abandoned cart email.

To make it a little easier, we’ve also added a few abandoned cart email examples.

3.1. Create an exquisite subject line

Your abandoned cart emails’ subject line should be enticing enough to get your customer to open the email.

You can use:

  • Discounts
  • Humor
  • Questions

The above could make your email just intriguing enough to get your potential customer to go back to their abandoned cart and complete the purchase.

In this case, less is more!

Examples of effective subject lines are:

  • “We’re bringing set-sy back” — Sephora
  • “They did WHAT with a pair of Crocs?” — Crocs
  • “TGIF” — Bisque Imports
  • “Shhh . . . don’t tell anyone” — ESQIDO
  • “Did you forget something?” — Body & Fit

Body & Fit might get away with this subject line, but it could use some improvement.

The information which should be included in your subject line:

  • Customer’s name — Makes the email more personal
  • Product name or details — Remind customers what product they were interested in and why
  • A sense of urgency — Let them know they might lose their desired products
Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Gerry’s did a good job by including almost all the information which is needed for an effective cart recovery email.

However, we recommend trying to implement a sense of urgency such as stating that the product is in high demand or almost sold out.

3.2. Make a strong call to action

The call to action you use can make or break the impact of your shopping cart abandonment emails.

Your call to action needs to tell your customers exactly what you want them to do.

Brownie points if your call to action is:

  • Friendly with inviting language
  • Decorated with colors that are pleasing to the eye
  • Large enough to stand out
  • Descriptive and specific
Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

In this example, United by Blue made sure that their call to action stood out. It’s big and bolded, and straight to the point.

Your abandoned cart email should entice customers to complete their purchases.

Avoid using words like “buy” or “pay” as it might look like you’re suggesting something the customer might not be ready to do.

3.3. Make your copy stand out

When designing your abandoned cart email, you want it to showcase your brand’s personality.

You need to make sure you stand out in your customers’ inboxes.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Pulp & Press made sure to make their abandoned cart email stand out by including:

  • A large call to action
  • Showcasing their product
  • Using bright, complementary colors
  • An appealing product description
  • Adding an eye-catching image

3.4. Showcase your goods

There’s no better way to showcase your goods than placing stunning images of them in your abandoned cart email.

You want your visitors to see what they’re missing and create a sense of desire for your products.

The goal here is to make the product that was left behind the main character, so customers have to pay attention to it.

Additionally, adding images of related products can help encourage your visitor to commit.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

In this abandoned cart email example, the company showcased the product that was left behind by placing it on its own.

Furthermore, they added other related products at the bottom of their email to make it more effective.

3.5. Create eye-catching visuals

Along with the catchy call to action and personalized subject lines, a good design can also distinguish your abandoned cart email from the other emails in a customer's inbox.

Visuals help your visitors connect to your message more effectively.

Some ways to make your design spectacular are:

  • Dynamic design — Liven your email up with a GIF
  • Consistency — Keep the theme similar to your website’s theme
  • Colors — Maintain your brand’s colors
  • Custom images — Avoid stock images
Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Whiskey Me kept it real by designing an abandoned cart email that is:

  • Visually pleasing
  • Including a great call to action
  • Showcasing their product
  • Ensuring the customer that they can come back anytime to complete their purchase

3.6. Instill a sense of urgency

We all know that we want things we can’t have.

So, what’s keeping you from using that to your advantage?

The scarcity approach is such a popular tactic in email marketing.

Alerting your visitor that they might not be able to purchase the abandoned items, can bring them back to purchase them before they’re gone.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Cotopaxi did an excellent job making sure their visitor knows what they are missing out on.

Here are some more ways you can create a sense of urgency:

  • Let your potential buyer know that their product is popular and might sell out quick
  • Reserve their cart for a limited time — You can even be creative and throw in a countdown timer
  • For limited edition products, clearly state that they won’t be restocked
  • Create a pop-up notification alerting visitors how many others have the same item in their carts
  • Provide the number of items available

3.7. Boast with reviews and social proof

Social validation is proven to affect online purchasing decisions. 14.6% of shoppers read more than 10 product reviews before purchasing a product.

You can convert the unconvinced by pulling your best reviews from loyal customers and including them in your abandonment cart email.

Imagine you are shopping for a new pair of jeans. You’ve found 3 that you love, based on the pictures:

  • The first pair has 300+ reviews and a 5-star rating
  • The second pair has 5 reviews and a 3-star rating
  • The third pair has no reviews or ratings at all

Which pair would you buy?

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Judy here made the smart choice by adding customer testimonials to their abandoned cart email.

Customers tend to trust online stores and products more if they can see what others have to say about them.

3.8. Offer a discount

Offering a discount code to cart abandoners can make the purchase seem more attractive.

However, we recommend not to offer a discount straight away — it kind of makes you seem desperate.

Offering coupons is also a risky business, and here’s why:

  • It teaches the customer that the product isn’t worth its price
  • Coupons cost you money
  • You might offer a coupon to someone who would’ve happily paid full price
  • Customers could start to take advantage of you by abandoning their cart on purpose until they see the coupon

How to effectively make use of coupons:

  • Offer coupons to your most loyal customers
  • Try addressing other possible issues — Do you provide free shipping? Did you include 5-star ratings and reviews?
  • Save your discounts for the final email
Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Before Danner offers a discount, they remind their customer that with their intended purchase they receive free shipping.

4. Our top 3 favorite abandoned cart email examples and why

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

4.1. Third place: Whiskey Loot

In third place we have Whiskey Loot:

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Whisky Loot does a great job utilizing a unique and engaging abandoned cart email to entice customers to complete the checkout process.

Their abandoned cart email includes only a few elements but still does the job.

They accomplish this by including:

  • A list of reasons to purchase their whiskey
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • A clean design to make the call to action stand out
  • An image of the product

And more!

4.2. Second place: Dyson

We awarded second place to Dyson’s abandoned cart email.

Second place Dyson

Dyson’s abandoned cart email includes more effective elements to recover lost customers, compared to Whisky Loot.

This abandoned cart email includes:

  • Easy-to-read text
  • An image of the product that was left behind
  • A sense of urgency
  • 2 call-to-action buttons

In general, this email includes most of the right elements, while also boasting a sleek, clean design that will potentially recover lost revenue.

4.3. First place: Google

Google takes first place in our top 3 favorite cart abandonment emails.

Want to know why?

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

This is the ultimate example of an effective abandoned cart email!

It includes every element:

  • Exceptional copywriting
  • Descriptive and specific call to action
  • Showcasing the product in their customer’s cart
  • Creating a sense of urgency — “Going, going (almost) gone” and “Just a heads up: our more popular items sell out fast”
  • Engaging with customers — “Have questions?”
  • Focuses on customers’ experience — Creating FOMO with “Going, going (almost) gone”
  • Concludes the email with another call to action which offers support or the option to subscribe

This abandoned cart email even makes us want to go shop on Google’s online store.

In the following section, we have compiled and answered a few frequently asked questions, just in case you are still uncertain of a few things.

5. Abandoned cart email FAQs

Source: Freepik.com

Source: Freepik.com

5.1. Does an abandoned cart email work?

The simple answer — Yes. In fact, according to experts, you can get up to 10% of lost customers back with abandoned cart emails.

5.2. How many abandoned cart emails should I send?

While every online store is different, most ecommerce stores tend to send 2-4 cart recovery emails.

5.3. What should I write in a cart abandonment email?

The sole purpose of abandoned cart emails is to encourage customers to go back to their abandoned cart and complete the checkout process.

All abandoned cart emails should include a reminder of the items the customer left behind, an enticing subject line, and a call to action that’ll motivate customers to buy.

5.4. When should I send an abandoned cart email?

Timing matters when it comes to abandoned cart emails. When to send your cart abandonment email depends on multiple factors.

Ideally, you don’t want to wait longer than a few hours from the time your visitor abandons their cart to send your email.

5.5. Can I send an abandoned cart email?

With an email marketing platform, anyone can send abandoned cart emails.

You can also send a text message about abandoned carts. Here is a list of abandoned cart SMS examples you can check out

Platforms like systeme.io even offer tools to create an automated abandoned cart email sequence that triggers multiple emails to send over time so that you don’t have to do it manually.

5.6. Are cart abandonment emails GDPR compliant?

Abandoned cart emails are GDPR compliant.

According to the European Commission’s definition of legal grounds for data processing, you’re compliant as long as you have explicit consent from the people who’ll be receiving your emails.

A good way to avoid infringing on laws is to keep to the given rules and partner with a reliable and trustworthy marketing platform.

6. Systeme.io: Your reliable email marketing partner

systeme.io logo

systeme.io logo

Creating the perfect cart abandonment email is easy if you have a tool like systeme.io on your side.

Some abandoned cart email features you’ll have access to include:

  • Unlimited emails to send to your contacts
  • Pre-designed templates
  • Tag customers who abandon their carts
  • Create an abandoned cart email campaign
  • Create an automated abandoned cart email sequence
  • Track your metrics and collect data with in-depth email statistics

Additionally, systeme.io also offers the following:

  • Blogging features
  • Affiliate marketing
  • A marketplace where you sell your products
  • Website creator
  • Webinars

With functionality like this, you would think we’d expect you to pay an arm and a leg — luckily, with systeme.io you can keep both those limbs.

Our platform offers 4 different pricing plans to pick from, including an option that is completely free.

systeme.io’s pricing plans

systeme.io’s pricing plans

With systeme.io, you and your business will be protected by our platform's extensive privacy policy, which you can check out here.

Want some friendly advice?

Choose a platform that makes it convenient and easy to stay compliant with any future emails you send.

7. Conclusion

Without a doubt, there are a variety of strategies to create the perfect abandoned cart email.

We suggest A/B testing all the different approaches to see what works the best for your target audience.

An amazing abandoned cart email can create brand enthusiasts and happy customers.

With exceptional copywriting and branding, you can easily earn your customers’ trust and loyalty.

Along with systeme.io’s email marketing software, you will easily be able to create effective and outstanding abandoned cart emails.

So, what are you waiting for?

Sign up with systeme.io now for a free trial!

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