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7 Best Practices for Nailing Your Abandoned Cart Emails

Opening gift box and shopping cart

Table of Contents
1. 7 abandoned cart email best practices
2. Your next step for abandoned cart
3. Abandoned cart: The big picture [infographic]

Cart abandonment is an unpleasant reality that many online store owners can’t escape from. You’re doing your best to create a seamless shopping experience, and yet it’s inevitable for some customers to add items to their carts and then disappear. 

The good news? You can win back some those potential customers with proven abandoned cart email best practices. Strategic email and SMS workflows and personalization can effectively nudge them back to complete their purchase. 

For example, it took Island Olive Oil — a small family run business — just around eight months to see the amazing results from an abandoned cart email automation that now generates a significant amount of revenue. 

The astonishing part — these automated messages don’t even total 1% of their email marketing sends. Just 0.54%, to be precise.

Abandoned cart automation statistics

Island Olive Oil is now generating 27.67% of its email revenue with just this one automation. See how they did it.

In this article we won’t get into the reasons why people add items to the cart but don’t check out. Instead, let’s focus on what’s in your power — the abandoned cart email best practices.

Ready to learn how to craft compelling abandoned cart emails? Check out this quick, three-minute video that will get you up to speed in no time.

Listen to experts, Sara Florin (Kerrits), Sadie Arnold (Omnisend), and Lucas Walker (Rolled Up Podcast Network) talk about cart abandonment tactics on the Cart insiders podcast.

7 abandoned cart email best practices

In 2023, cart abandonment emails recorded conversion rates of 2.7%, qualifying as one of the best-performing email automation strategies.

“Cart abandonment has become one of these essential messages for ecommerce brands everywhere. First, it recaptures a significant portion of sales. But secondly, consumers increasingly expect to receive them.”

Greg Zakowicz, Omnisend senior ecommerce expert

Adhere to the following best practices for abandoned cart emails to get great results:

  1. Create a series
  2. Time it right
  3. Use high-converting subject lines
  4. Feature the abandoned product
  5. Add an easy-to-find CTA button
  6. Provide customer support
  7. Help them choose with a product quiz

1. Create a series

Sending one email upon cart abandonment is better than sending nothing at all. Two messages, and you’re heading in the right direction. But our rule of thumb is three.

Omnisend merchants with a three-message cart abandonment series have the best order rates. Sending just one abandonment cart email yielded 14.76 orders while using the three-message approach resulted in 24.94 orders in total.  

We recommend a sequence that follows roughly the same pattern as below, based on the abandoned cart best practices that tend to deliver good results:

  • Email 1 : A simple reminder: Remind the customer about their cart. It’s a slight poke to ask, “Did you forget something?” Show them the product (more on this later). It’s a non-intrusive nudge with the power to convert.
  • Email 2 : Product scarcity and value proposition: Here we’re saying, “You liked this product, now let’s get it in your home!” Infuse a little urgency with this reminder. Limited stock, perhaps? Or maybe there’s another type of time element to help your cause, like, “You don’t want to be caught gloveless when the first major snowfall hits, do you?”
  • Email 3 : Urgency and incentive: It’s time to communicate, “It’s almost gone. Here’s something to sweeten the deal.” Suggest the items will be snatched up by someone else and offer an incentive. That doesn’t necessarily mean a price discount. Free shipping with a certain spending threshold or free returns within 30 days can be just as enticing.

Don’t be afraid to deviate from the above formula. For example, To’ak Chocolate, known for its exquisitely sourced dark chocolate from rare cacao beans, uses an informative and engaging email series. They talk about shipping, insurance, customer ratings, and how to pair their gourmet chocolate.

The tactic drives a 44% conversion rate and nets a revenue-per-email (RPE) that’s 2,195% greater than that of the brand’s typical promotional campaigns. 

Read To’ak Chocolate success story.

2. Time it right

When is the best time to send your abandoned cart emails?

  • First email (1 hour after abandonment): As a baseline, we recommend delivering the first message one hour after abandonment. Strike while the iron is hot, because if you wait too long, you might lose the urge that prompted the person to add the item to their cart in the first place.
  • Second email (12 hours after abandonment): Follow up with a second email 12 hours later. This email can reiterate the value of added items and offer additional information on the product value, highlight customer reviews, or answer any questions the customer might have.
  • Third email (24 hours after abandonment): Send a final reminder email 24 hours after cart abandonment. This email can introduce a sense of urgency or a small incentive to encourage the customer to complete the purchase before the opportunity disappears.
Ab cart workflow

3. Use high-converting subject lines

A sleek subject line can grab your shoppers’ attention and lead to better open rates.

We examined the subject lines of nearly 100,000 abandoned cart emails. There’s one consistency that aligns with best practices for abandoned cart emails: they’re short and to the point. (Aside: we saw this same trend within the email copy text as well.)

Cart abandonment email subject line

Based on historical open rate data, here are the top five keywords used in abandoned cart subject lines:

  1. 15% off purchase
  2. Cart left
  3. $20 off cart
  4. Items left
  5. Still shopping?

The findings above don’t indicate it, but email subject lines that align with your branding can be very effective, too. 

A good example of a company that uses this practice to capture attention is Kerrits. Sara Florin, Senior Director of Branding and Marketing at Kerrits, says the company uses “horse language” (in other words — puns) to capture their equestrian-loving audience’s attention. 

For instance, the subject line for its first message in the abandoned cart flow — and the most successful one — is “Ride on back and complete your purchase.” It’s part of a series that produces an RPE of $6.64 and is responsible for 29% of all automated email revenue.

Kerrits subject line example

Want to test out your subject lines? Give our subject line tester a spin and get immediate feedback.

4. Feature the abandoned product

If your prospect has recently gone on a “window shopping” spree across different sites, they might have trouble recalling which of your products they’ve abandoned. So including a high-quality product image is a must.

Make it large if possible. You can also try a specific HTML email template builder and import templates into your email marketing software.

B-Wear Sportswear’s marketing team knows the impact of displaying a photo of the product, versus not. The brand uses BigCommerce as its ecommerce platform but found that its abandoned cart tool lacks the ability to display the product.

B-Wear Sportwear sales

B-Wear Sportswear’s abandoned cart emails resulted in 40% of total sales.

After making the switch, the brand has experienced a 15% increase in the recovered revenue rate for abandoned carts. Almost half of all people who click on one of the messages in the workflow make a purchase.

“Personalization goes a long way. We can dynamically show abandoned products, add recommendations, and better target with workflow splits.”

Shane Biles, B-Wear Sportswear director of marketing

Dive deeper: B-Wear case study

5. Add an easy-to-find CTA button

One of the cart abandonment email best practices, that’s proven to be effective, is adding clear and visually pleasing email call to actions. These are designed to grab the attention of the shopper and push them toward an action you want them to take. The action is pretty clear — finish buying the product.

Therefore, make it easy for them to do that. Near the product image, add a bold and easy-to-see CTA. The button text should be something like “Continue shopping” or “Buy it now.”

Snatcher Online

6. Provide customer support

Including a way to reach customer support is one of the often-overlooked abandoned cart best practices.

Make sure that your customer support options are spelled out, such as an email address, phone number, live chat option, and any other contact means.

It’s possible the shopper couldn’t complete the checkout process because of a technical issue. Or, they potentially have questions about the product — shipping times or refunds, for instance — that are best answered by a person. That goes even for small, low-priced items.

UGG customer support example

In fact, your third message in the series may be the prime time to insert a bit of proactive customer support. Use it as an opportunity to extrapolate what hurdles are blocking the sale from happening. Ask the shopper, “What can we do to make your buying experience better?”

Omnisend’s Zakowicz recounts a conversation with an owner of a high-end product business that does just that. Shoppers respond, and a lot of times the feedback is about shipping fees. Sometimes they have some wiggle room to lower the shipping cost. Other times, the only response is replying with an explanation and a “thanks for the feedback.”

“But,” Zakowicz adds, “he said the relationship has always benefited from a simple message like that.”

7. Help them choose with a product quiz

A cleverly embedded product quiz in an abandoned cart email can nudge hesitant shoppers towards a confident purchase. 

It addresses one of the key reasons for cart abandonment —  indecision. The quiz can ask questions to uncover the customer’s specific needs and preferences. 

Based on their answers, the quiz can then recommend the perfect product (including the one they abandoned) or suggest complementary items they might not have considered. This could work better than a generic sales pitch.

Take Allbirds’ email for example. Their call to action, “Take our style quiz and get personalized recommendations, handpicked just for you,” aims to tackle customers’ indecisiveness. 

Additionally, the data obtained from the quiz can serve as a guide for product development, marketing efforts, and future recommendations.   

Allbirds product quiz example

Allbirds is one of the most successful stores running on Shopify Plus.

Learn more: Shopify Plus website examples

Expert tip: Add multiple channels

The customer shopping journey is no longer relegated to a single channel. So your abandoned cart flows shouldn’t, either.

We will never downplay the importance of email in recapturing customers. They should be the heart of your abandoned cart strategy. But don’t be afraid to experiment by adding SMS marketing into the process or web push notifications.

Because these are opt-in channels, you know you’re communicating with shoppers via the method of their choosing. For example, sales from web push notifications occupy a small part of Divatress’ overall abandoned cart capture. But nearly everyone who clicks on it (98%!) makes a purchase.

Diva web push notification

Work in the other channels as you’re able. There’s no need to do it all at once, as the equestrian brand Kerrits demonstrates.

“I started with just an abandoned cart email,” Florin explains. “Three months later, I said, ‘Let’s try the SMS.’ Two months after that, I said, ‘Let’s try adding a follow-up abandoned cart, 24 hours later.’ So this program didn’t all launch at once. It started in pieces as I could manage them.”

Your next step for abandoned cart

If you haven’t gotten your first abandoned cart email flow off the ground, now’s the time to get going. Check out the short video below for a broad look at the mechanics behind setting one up in Omnisend.

More specifics for building your abandoned cart automation in Omnisend can be found in our knowledge base. We also have some guides specific to different ecommerce platforms:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce

And if you’ve already implemented a workflow and want to make it better — no matter what your marketing platform — you’ve come to the right place for that as well. Check out some of these resources packed with abandoned cart email best practices and useful tips:

  • Try our Email Subject Line Tester to boost your open rates
  • Get inspiration for folding SMS into your abandoned cart flow
  • Use Google Analytics to help lower cart abandonment rates

Omnisend Customer Success Manager Sadie Arnold has some advice for anyone wanting to elevate their abandoned cart email series. It starts with knowing your customer journey and then identifying where, within it, customers have questions or don’t have a good understanding of the product.

“So it’s trying to take those questions, and those issues that they’re having within your journey, and adding some value to the abandoned cart messages to try to eliminate any of those hesitations that they might have,” Arnold explains. “That’s really where we start first.”

Abandoned cart: The big picture [infographic]

What is an abandoned cart email -infographic

Source from Omnisend

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by omnisend.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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