9 Tips to Win Back Lost Sales with Abandoned Cart Emails

Don’t skip the cart reminders. Take advantage of warm leads who are most likely to complete their purchase.

One of the most effective emails you can send to your audience is the abandoned cart email. When sent at the right time, it is a helpful reminder to encourage your customers to complete their purchase. Many people put together a cart but get distracted before checking out.

On average 69.82% of online carts are abandoned.

That is a lot of lost sales. But you can capture a lot of them back with an abandoned cart email — an automated marketing campaign designed to increase conversion rates. When they get a reminder of a shopping cart they left behind, many buyers come back to make the purchase. The best part? You can automate these reminders!

Shopify found that retargeting a customer with an abandoned cart email increases sales by more than 20% and reduces abandoned cart rates by 6.5%.

What is an abandoned cart email?

A visitor adding items to their shopping cart may get side-tracked or lose interest. If they navigate away, you can automatically send a reminder email to prompt the visitor to finish the purchase. This reminder is called an abandoned cart email.

The best reminder emails are creative and timely. The abandoned cart email’s sole purpose is to encourage completion of the sale. 

Supportive calls to actions (CTAs) included in this email can also help guide the potential buyer to spend more on upgrades or other products/services. These CTAs might include opportunities to learn more or see related items.

Some abandoned cart emails include special deals or free shipping for increased appeal. 

However, most simply serve as a timely reminder to spark action.

Why do people abandon online shopping carts?

You can create a more effective sales funnel when you know what makes your visitors fall to complete their order. According to Statista, the most common reasons for cart abandonment in the US for 2021 included:

  • Unexpected costs (shipping, fees, taxes)
  • Account setup required
  • Delivery time was too slow
  • Complicated checkout process
  • Inability to see the total cost upfront

In many cases, being clear about costs in the process and reducing the number of hoops your visitor has to jump through will help conversion rates. 

How to calculate your abandoned cart rate

You will want to know if your rates improve when you implement an abandoned cart email strategy. This calculation will serve as your baseline.

To calculate your cart abandonment rate, divide the number of purchases by the number of shopping carts created during a determined amount of time. Subtract this value from 1 and multiply by 100.

Abandoned cart rate calculation

This is the percentage of interest that didn’t end in a sale. Regardless of your current rate, send out reminders to reduce it as much as possible. 

What happens after cart abandonment?

Since there are many different reasons a shopper may leave the website without completing the purchase, there are also several things likely to happen after the abandonment. According to Statista, UK shoppers who abandoned their carts were most likely to:

  • Purchase the item from the site at a later date (31%)
  • Purchase the item from an online competitor (26%)
  • Changed their mind or weren’t looking to buy (23%)
  • Went to a physical store to make their purchase (8%)

Abandoned cart emails can potentially prompt a purchase from 80% of those shoppers. 

9 Tips for sending the most effective abandoned cart email

Writing a powerful reminder means following best practices for abandoned cart emails. Here are crucial steps you should follow to get the most out of your reminder emails.

1 – Trigger the email within 24 hours 

Statistics have shown that sooner is more effective than later when it comes to reminder emails. 

You want to catch your leads while they are still warm without being obnoxious. 

Conversion rates for neglected carts are highest when the email is sent out 30-60 minutes after inactivity. However, those rates plummeted after 24 hours—when the lead had grown cold.

2 – Use an attention-grabbing subject line 

Getting your email opened is a huge step with a cart abandonment email since many shoppers are used to seeing them. 

The best email subject lines stand out from the rest of the inbox, but still make it clear what the email is about. 

”You forgot something” or “Oops, Did Something Go Wrong?” are examples of subject lines that would perform well for an abandoned cart email.

3 – Copy should be short & direct

You should remind people what they left behind with copy that inspires them to take action. Get to the point very quickly with creative and succinct copy by trimming out all the excess.

Customers need a friendly reminder, they don’t need to be completely resold on the products or services. But highlighting a key benefit or two could help them finalize their purchase.

Speaking of being direct, check out this example from Nike:

Example of to-the-point email copy from Nike

4 – Use images to highlight what they are missing

The brain processes images about 60,000x faster than text. Images will spark instant reminders of what drew them to your items in the first place. 

The best emails think about flow and don’t just throw a bunch of images on the page in a way that seems cluttered or disorganized. 

Always include pictures or GIFs of the items they’ve left behind to help provoke a response.

Here’s a great example from hydrow:

Strong image showing rowing machine looking out at ocean

5 – Reinforce the product or service benefits 

Retargeting with a reminder email is the perfect time to highlight the product they are considering. Don’t assume your lead has made it through the funnel and understands your brand or knows your products.

Instead, offer your most influential reasons for why they should finish the checkout process on the items in their cart.

6 – Consider a discount or value 

If you plan to offer a great deal, the cart abandonment email is a good time to offer it. Even a small discount, like $5 or 10%, can make it more appealing to finish the purchase. People love to find deals, which could be the perfect way to help them make a purchase decision.

Saatchi Art does just that, plus they add a FOMO headline:

Example from Saatchi Art offering 10% off to finish purchase

7 – Offer social proof with reviews 

What do other customers say about those products? Providing reviews or testimonials can help motivate your leads to take the leap and make a purchase decision. 

Word-of-mouth marketing is the most influential marketing tool, and a genuine customer review has a similar appeal.

8 – Include a call to action (CTA) that fits your goals 

The primary goal of an abandoned cart email is to prompt a return and complete the sale. Your CTA should be positioned to drive that action. Don’t be afraid to use FOMO (fear of missing out).

For example: Get it before it’s gone or Limited availability.

9 – Set up an automated feature 

You shouldn’t have to manually send out your reminder emails. Set automated emails for cart abandonment to go out after a certain lapse of inactivity.

Abandoned cart email examples

There are all kinds of abandoned cart emails you can consider when creating your own. Here are some of our favorite examples from real brands. Check out the variations of value promise, humor, imagery and more.


Lego cart abandoned email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • LEGO is having some fun with their graphics 
  • Making the purchase process easy with “Make it yours in a smap”
  • Strong positioning of CTA’s
  • The email is enticing, supportive and amusing for someone previously browsing LEGO sets


Nomad abandoned cart email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • They add a touch of humor – “What Happened? Did your Wi-Fi Crash?”) 
  • They don’t take itself too seriously but still get the reminder across 
  • Relevant CTA –  “Seal the Deal.” 
  • They reinforce their 30-day return policy in a clever way


Dote abandoned cart email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • Another joke reminder — “Your shopping bag has abandonment issues”. That’s funny.
  • They keep with the light-hearty theme with “Save these items hours of therapy and give them a loving home.” 
  • The email is clean, simplistic, and clutter-free. 


Dollar Shave Club cart abandonment email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • Reinforces brand positioning
  • Offers a bold promise
  • Highlight several bulleted benefits for signing up at the beginning of the email
  • Nice, large product shot
  • The natural flow takes the reader to the bottom of the email, where a slightly wordier promise is made with another button to “Learn more” for those still feeling unsure.


Pepper Cart abandoned email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • This cart abandonment email offers a small discount to spark a purchase
  • The customer’s most recent cart additions are featured within the email to appeal to the potential buyer


Peel cart abandoned email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • Simplicity
  • Create a sense of urgency with “We’re holding the items in your cart for you, but don’t wait too long!”
  • Clear call to action in a color that stands out from the rest of the email.


Gilt cart abandoned email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • The expiring cart threat is used to spark immediate action
  • Alternative colors of the items in their cart are show, just in case another option could motivate them to purchase

Google Express

Google Express Abandoned cart email
Image from ReallyGoodEmails

What I love about this example:

  • Another really simple example, Google Express doesn’t get too fancy or cute with their email.
  • They clearly list the items and pricing from the abandoned cart
  • I like how they position the CTA right below the headline, in a prime position

Win back more lost sales with the perfect cart abandonment email

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to target a warm lead and recover lost sales. Set up your abandoned cart email in AWeber for an easy solution with powerful results. If you need help getting started, we have a pre-built campaign.

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