Masroor Ahmed
August 30, 2017

4 Steps To Writing Effective Abandoned Cart Emails

Effective Abandoned Cart Emails

As the eCommerce industry is growing exponentially and evolving rapidly through latest technology advancements, there remains a constant pain point – Shopping cart abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment is a term used where shoppers fill their cart but fail to checkout.

Econsultancy studies reveal that online retailers are globally losing US$3 trillion in sales each year from abandoned carts.

Now, that’s a lot of money!

The Abandoned Cart Email

The above data can be disheartening. The good news is that abandoned cart emails can help online retailers to bring back customers to complete their checkout. Because, a strong email strategy for abandoned carts can help you retrieve more than 50% of lost potantial revenue.

Writing abandoned cart emails can be tricky. But with the help of tools like Mailchimp, HubSpot, Abandoned Cart and Targetbay, you can send out emails that address the pain points of specific customers.

You may also want to read: The Definitive Abandoned Cart Guide with Stats, Case Studies and 29 Cart Abandonment Email Templates to Increase Conversion

Here are five steps that you can follow in order to craft an effective abandoned cart email.

1. Personalization Begins With Your Subject Line

While your customers receive thousands of emails on a daily basis, getting them open your email is your challenge. For this, you need a strong subject line that’s strikes the right cord.

Pro tips:

  • Keep it short and simple with not more than 30 characters.
  • Ensure you remind them about their cart items
  • Avoid spam triggers like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Last Chance’ or ‘Click here’.
  • Make it personal by addressing by their first name

2. Optimize Your HTML And Plain Text

While HTML can be more visually appealing, you can’t ignore Plain text email templates either because,

  • Certain email browsers and devices don’t support HTML versions
  • It’s less likely to go to your user’s spam folder

Hence, it’s important that you optimize both these versions so that you don’t deliver an awesome email that eventually ends up with broken images and links.

Pro tips:

  • Avoid using heavy images
  • Ensure Alt text to images so that users understand you images, if broken
  • Choose your background color wisely
  • Include a compelling email copy that’s precise and to the point
  • Avoid too many links – especially in your Plain text version
  • Place a valid, clear CTA button
  • Include a web-based link in your HTML template
  • Ensure they’re responsive
  • Check your email previews and test them before sending

The above images can be an ideal pick for both optimized HTML and Plain text versions of a cart recovery email. The template is neat, with email copy that’s precise and to the point. Both of the images have options to view web-based versions and a clear CTA so that users know what to do next.

3. Adding Psychological Elements That Can Help

Remember that customers’ buying decisions can be highly influenced by their emotions. And when recipients may have thousands of emails waiting to be opened, you don’t have much time to grab the user’s attention.

As emotions play a major role in every moment of our lives, it really matters to marketers to use it as a powerful weapon to bring back your customers to checkout. Here’s how you can use them.

Scarcity Or A Sense Of Urgency

Scarcity is one of the proven psychological tactics in the eCommerce industry. It makes some potential customers want to waste no time and quickly buy their cart items. A sense of urgency can make some people act.

Cart recovery emails that put emphasis on scarcity are one of the proven psychological factors to increase sales by encouraging customers to promptly complete their checkout. Check out the below example which uses urgency to bring back customers.

Surprise Them

Customers love surprises – especially when they find extra discounts, special offers, additional loyalty benefits and free shipping in your email. One of the main reasons for cart abandonment (61%) is the increase in the final payment value that includes unexpected hidden shipping costs.

Discounts and other offers can encourage your customers to return to their carts. But, it’s better you send a couple of other retrieval emails first. This is because customers may make a habit of awaiting your discounts by simply abandoning their carts.

Hence, it’s important to form a thorough strategy on how you work on discounts with minimal loss. Below is a perfect example of how Levi’s nailed the cart recovery email with relevant discounts combined with urgency tactics.

Make Them Trust You

Far more so than brick and mortar stores, it’s difficult to get your customers trust you. If customers don’t trust you, they leave you. A cart recovery email gives you a second chance in building the trust factor. Best practices include adding your social proof, exchange policies and services, product ratings/reviews, a relevant maiing address and other ways to communicate with you.

The below example of Dollar Shave Club includes customer testimonials along, with their images, to increase trust and go back to your cart.

4. Timing Is Important

Triggering your cart abandonment emails at the right time is essential to increase conversions. Make sure you send your emails within 24 hours so that your products are fresh in customers’ minds. According to a study conducted by SeeWhy, nearly 54% of abandoned carts can be recovered if emails are sent within the first few hours. Check out the below stats to learn better.

  • Emails sent within 20 minutes increased conversion rates up to 5.2%.
  • Emails sent within an hour made an average of 4.5% conversion rate
  • If  sent over 24 hours after a cart was abandoned, emails achieved an average of 2.6% conversion rate


Shopping cart abandonment emails are the most powerful and effective cart recovery techniques. By targeting the right audience at the right time, creative personalized copy with visually appealing templates, and a perfect balance for striking the right emotional cord, you emails are sure shot ways to fetch you dramatically improved conversion rates.


Related reading: The Importance of Visual Search In Your eCommerce Website

10 Most Common Email Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Masroor Ahmed is conversion optimization analyst at, where he helps online businesses to improve conversion rate of their websites and Figpii, an easy to use tool that includes everything you need to improve the conversion rate of your website. You can tweet Masroor @invesp


Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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