Abandoned cart emails: examples and tips to bring shoppers back
Successful online stores are no stranger to retargeting their site visitors. By collecting shoppers' details and directing ads towards them after they leave your site, you can retrieve 25% of your visitors—and hopefully get them to buy a product. It’s no surprise why those campaigns can lead to ROIs of over 1,300%.
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Want to successfully bring those lost customers back to your website so that they purchase the items they showed an interest in? In this guide, we’ll share how you can use automated abandoned cart emails to drive customers back to your online store.
What is an abandoned cart email?
One of the most common types of retargeting is abandoned cart emails, which remind shoppers about products they left in their shopping cart.
(It’s also known as a cart recovery email for this reason: you want to recover the people who’ve exited your site with an already-expressed interest in a product.)
Just 4% of website visitors to your eCommerce website are ready to buy there and then. This means that while shoppers might see items they’re interested in and add those products to their online shopping cart, they’ll still often exit without purchasing.
Research puts the average cart abandonment rate at 69.57%. The most common reasons for abandoning shopping carts are:
Extra costs—like shipping, taxes, and fees—were too expensive (50%)
The site wanted them to create an account (28%)
The checkout process was too complex (21%)
They couldn’t calculate the total order cost easily (18%)
They didn’t offer the optimal shipping options (18%)
Find out why your own customers abandon their cart with an exit intent survey. Just before they hit the “close tab” button on their browser, trigger a popup box that asks why they’re leaving without purchasing the items in their cart. If you created your site with Wix, add apps like Privy and Popup to include this feature in your store.
These surveys might flag things you can easily fix on your website that’ll prevent many of your customers from abandoning their cart. For example: the majority of people might be exiting because your checkout process required them to make an account or took too long. By removing these hurdles, and offering one-page or express checkout, you’ll cut down the number of abandoned shopping carts.
How do abandoned cart emails work?
Merchants can create automations that are set into motion when customers complete certain actions. The process looks like this:
The merchant sets up the automation inside their eCommerce platform
Someone who has already given their email address logs into the site and starts browsing
They add items to their online shopping cart, but exit the page without buying
An automated email is sent once their session ends, reminding the customer which items they were interested and encourages them to checkout
The customer clicks the link inside the cart recovery email and completes their purchase
What is a good abandoned cart recovery rate?
Research shows that across all eCommerce stores, $260 billion of lost revenue is recoverable with cart recovery emails.
So, what does that look like when you’re running email campaigns? According to Moosend, half of the people who open an abandoned cart email complete their purchase.
Likewise, Klaviyo’s data proves cart recovery emails are opened, clicked, and convince shoppers to purchase:
Open rate: 41.18%
Click rate: 9.50%
Revenue per recipient: $5.81
Use those metrics as a benchmark; a goalpost for what your own emails should achieve. However, this data might differ from yours. It all depends on how shoppers use your website. Some people add items to their online cart to compare prices, shop for gift ideas, or even window shop without any intention to buy the items they’re adding. Not every cart is recoverable—but many are, if you send a reminder email.
8 abandoned cart email strategies and tips to boost revenue
01. Send your email at the right time
The first thing to think about when creating cart recovery emails is when you’ll send them. Just like any other type of email marketing campaign, timing is key. You want to remind shoppers of the items they left right after they closed the tab. They probably got distracted, or left your website for a reason—like high shipping costs. The goal is to find the sweet spot: not too soon after leaving, but while they still remember, want, and need the product they left behind.
So when should you send them? Send abandoned cart emails within one hour and you'll have the highest chance of converting. Almost 16% of shoppers complete their purchase if a reminder email is sent an hour later. Just over 11% of people convert when the cart recovery email is sent the following day.
If you created your site with Wix, you can easily create automated abandoned cart emails from your dashboard. You can specify the amount of time you want to wait before sending the emails. It can send the first email an hour after a shopper ends their website session without buying the items they’ve added to their shopping cart.
02. Write a great subject line
Did you know that almost half of people open emails based on the subject line alone?
Your cart recovery emails need to stand out in a shopper’s inbox. Your eCommerce store (see our guide on what is eCommerce) could be competing with more than 120 other emails fighting for their attention. A great subject line will attract the attention of your readers and push them to open the email to see more.
A good idea is to show that you already have a personal connection with them based on what they’ve left in their cart. For example, “We noticed you left something” is much more likely to draw their attention than “shop [product you left].”
03. Give an incentive
When encouraging people to return to your site and complete their purchase, it’s critical to think about why they bounced in the first place.
The majority of people abandon their carts because extra costs, such as shipping and taxes, are too high. You can reverse-engineer that problem, using incentives to bring the price down. Instead of battling with the idea of extra costs on top of their product price, an exclusive discount will make them feel like they’re getting a great deal.
For example, if you don’t offer free shipping, shoppers could be abandoning their online carts once they realize shipping costs are added on top of their product cost. So, incentivize cart abandoners to complete their purchase using messaging like: “Use code XYZ to complete your order today and get free shipping.”
Use these incentives to reverse engineer common reasons for cart abandonment:
Offer discounts on expedited shipping
Encourage customers to use guest checkout to speed up the process
Supply customers with a coupon code to receive a percentage off their order
04. Create a sense of urgency
Create a sense of urgency in your emails to encourage customers to complete their purchases as soon as they open the email, rather than later. Do this by tapping into the “mere urgency effect,” which pushes people to perform tasks deemed to be urgent before other important tasks.
Limited time offers work great here—especially messaging along the lines of: “Complete your order within the next 24 hours to get 10% off your order.” Shoppers are given a clear, obvious reason to do it—and do it now.
Scarcity is another tactic that plays on the same bias. It highlights the idea that if customers don’t buy the item now, you might run out. With an opening line like, “Stock is running out fast!” shoppers are incentivized to complete their order quickly.
05. Focus on one single product
When customers leave several items in their online shopping cart, it may be tempting to showcase all of those products in your recovery email. You may also want to add some related items too, just in case their selection wasn’t the one they were looking for.
But when you’re creating your cart reminder emails, focus on just one product. The paradox of choice means that when too many options are presented to you, you find it harder to make a decision. Showcasing a single item makes the decision less overwhelming than having to choose a complete list of products they need to decide whether to buy.
06. Direct them back to their personalized cart
Every abandoned cart email should make it as easy as possible for shoppers to complete their purchase.
When creating your emails, include a link to your customers’ cart. This way they can quickly finish what they started. Make sure your CTA makes it clear you are directing them back to their personalized shopping carts, with calls to “Resume Your Order” or “Purchase Today”.
07. Leverage social proof
Your customers might need an extra nudge that proves you’re the best brand to buy from. Social proof is your best friend here—especially considering the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with no reviews.
Increase your chances of conversions by showcasing:
Publications that have featured your product
Social media posts from happy customers
08. Optimize for mobile
It’s no surprise that more people are using their mobile devices for online shopping. Those mobile shoppers have notifications popping up on their screen constantly. It’s likely why the cart abandonment rate for mobile devices is a massive 85% (much higher than the overall average of 69%).
Make sure that your abandoned cart emails look good on both desktop and mobile—especially since around 62% of emails are opened on mobile devices anyway.
Even though you’re creating cart recovery emails on your desktop, send a test to your own email account and open it on your phone. That way, you can check whether the text, images, and layout present well on different devices.
5 best abandoned cart email examples
01. Islandport Press
Islandport Press’s abandoned cart emails look beautiful and neatly match the business’ overall brand. Their logo is front and center, and the entire email has branded fonts and colors. It’s a simple way to enforce brand consistency and recognition.
02. Ruby Love
We’ve touched on the fact that emails containing urgency can push cart abandoners to finish their checkout process. This example from Ruby Love proves exactly that.
There’s urgency in the subject line that indicates that someone should act now, rather than later, if they still want the item they added to their online cart. The same follows through to the email body. Ruby Love reinforces that the item is in “high demand” and almost sold out.
03. House of Sunny
House of Sunny uses scarcity to explain that the product won’t be around forever since they only make sustainable runs. They also use an incentive to increase the purchase rate of their abandoned cart emails. This special promotion is only available to shoppers who spend over a certain amount (which could increase their average order value, too).
House of Sunny also uses the opportunity to encourage shoppers to join their members club. This way, the brand can continue to send them members-only discounts.
This abandoned cart email example from Stash House Miami contains a big, prominent photo to remind shoppers of the item they left. It also includes a discount code to redeem on their purchase.
What stands out about this email is the playful wording. It speaks directly to the target audience with informal language, like “babe” and “check me out”. This helps build a relationship with your potential customers and makes your email grab your reader’s attention.
05. Mayka Skincare
We’ve touched on the fact that cart recovery emails need to be optimized for all devices—including mobile. This example from Mayka Skincare demonstrates how to do that. They have a bold headline, short subtitle, big product photo, and obvious call to action that look great on desktop as well as on mobile.
The prominent CTA gives a shopper one thing to do: resume their order. It’s also large enough that it’s easy to click from a small device.
3 abandoned cart email templates to bring customers back
When creating cart reminder emails, you can templatize your email content so all subscribers receive the same message—just with different products, prices, and personalized cart buttons.
Below are three great templates to do this. Each has placeholder text for you to add product images, descriptions, costs, and calls to actions. Mix and match the templates or build off of these to create the perfect messaging for your type of business:
Subject line: We noticed you left something in your cart.
Body Text: Did you get disturbed during your shopping session today? It happens to the best of us. Here’s what you left: [product photo] [product description] [cost]
Other customers loved this item. Ready to complete your purchase?
CTA: Resume Your Order
Subject line: We saved something for you (+ discount)
Body Text: We saw that you had this item in your online cart, but didn’t purchase it. Here’s a quick reminder to jog your memory: [product photo] [product description] [cost]
Purchase within the next 24 hours using code [coupon] to get free shipping.
CTA: Buy Now
Subject line: Get this before it’s gone…
Body Text: We couldn’t help but notice that you left [product name] sitting in your cart: [product photo] [product description] [cost]
It is a beauty!
We’d hate to see you miss out on this, but stock is selling fast and we can’t guarantee it will be around forever. Get it while you can.
CTA: See Your Cart
How to create an automated abandoned cart email with Wix
Wix Merchants can take advantage of the many eCommerce marketing and customer management opportunities provided by Wix. Here’s how to recover abandoned carts:
In your Wix dashboard tab, click on “Customer Management” and then go to “Automations”.
There you’ll be able to choose from various premade automations, including recovering abandoned carts. Click “Use this Automation.” (If you want to use the ready made template and settings, click “Activate”.)
To edit the emails and add your logo and branding, expand the “Action” tab and click “Edit Template”.
Optimize the timing of the email to determine how much time will pass after customers leave your site until they receive your email.
You can add followup triggers, or click “Activate” to launch your campaign.
Ready to get started on your online store? Create your free eCommerce website today.
eCommerce Marketing Writer, Wix
Brielle is a Colorado native with a passion for innovation and helping to mobilize entrepreneurs. Brielle is a marketing writer for Wix eCommerce, which powers over 700k online stores worldwide.