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How to Write Effective Abandoned Cart Emails

a paper in an envelope with a shopping cart and a pencil

Your inventory levels are fully stocked, your marketing campaigns are flying out, and you have a constant stream of people visiting your website.

It sounds like a recipe for success, right? Not necessarily. You’ve forgotten one crucial element: shopping cart abandonment.

Over 88% of online shopping orders are abandoned. If you neglect abandoned shopping carts, you’re missing out on valuable sales.

Abandoned carts are the leaks in your online sales bucket. However, you can use abandoned cart emails to plug these holes.

Keep reading to learn why you need to prioritize abandoned carts, what a good abandoned cart email looks like, and how to write abandoned cart emails that convert.

Abandoned carts are hurting your eCommerce business

In any eCommerce business, it’s inevitable some website visitors will leave without buying anything. In fact, four out of five people who visit your eCommerce store will add something to their cart, then leave without purchasing.

These abandoned carts are hurting your eCommerce business.

Even if you invest in product stock,  spend money on paid advertising, or generate lots of traffic to your site, if you have a high cart abandonment rate, you’re throwing money (and sales!) away.

Thankfully, there’s a solution.

By perfecting your abandoned cart emails, you can reduce your cart abandonment rate and increase your sales.

What are abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are transactional emails automatically sent to customers who added products to their cart, but failed to complete their purchase.

These emails remind shoppers they have items left behind and encourage them to return to the store and complete their online purchase.

While abandoned cart emails are transactional, they’re also an effective marketing tactic for recovering lost sales. According to Moosend, 21% of people will click on abandoned cart emails, and 10.7% of those will go on to complete their purchase.

Customize your abandoned cart emails to further encourage people to return and complete their purchase. In their report, Klaviyo found that eCommerce stores that sent a series of two or three cart recovery emails made the most revenue. So, it’s a good practice to test different types of abandoned cart emails and see what works best for your store.

Types of abandoned cart emails

As seen in the above examples, abandoned cart emails don’t have to be boring. You can have fun and get creative with them.

To help you recover lost sales, try one of these types of abandoned cart emails:

  • Simple abandoned cart email – Keep things simple with a single email that highlights the customer’s abandoned cart items and states, “You forgot something.”
  • Helpful abandoned cart email – Some customers may abandon their cart because they need more help. Use your abandoned cart email to answer FAQs and offer support with their order.
  • Personal abandoned cart email – Personalize your abandoned cart email by including information specific to the products the customer left behind.
  • Scarcity abandoned cart email – Use scarcity in your cart recovery emails to encourage customers to go back and complete their purchase before they miss out.
  • Incentive-driven abandoned cart email – Encourage shoppers to go back and complete their purchase by offering an incentive for checking out, such as “Get 10% off when you complete your order.”

When deciding on the best abandoned cart email for your eCommerce store, focus on what your customers are most likely to respond to. You may need to test a few styles before you find the one that works for your brand.

Great abandoned cart email examples

Now that we’ve explained abandoned cart emails, let’s look at some examples of ones that work.

Use these as inspiration to optimize your own abandoned cart email.

Dollar Shave Club

In their abandoned cart email, Dollar Shave Club hooks people in with a short and direct question as their subject line: “Where did you go?”

The email itself sticks to this concise narrative by using easy-to-read bullet points to list the benefits of choosing Dollar Shave Club razors.

They then use a longer email to showcase their product before finishing up with persuasive copy designed to encourage shoppers to complete their purchase. This final paragraph also doubles down on the benefits of choosing Dollar Shave Club.


As one of the giants in the sportswear industry, Adidas isn’t afraid to take a bold approach to their abandoned cart emails.

Rather than selling the benefits of their products, Adidas opts for witty, tongue-in-cheek humor to encourage shoppers to check out their left-behind shopping carts. Their abandoned cart email starts with the subject line, “Sorry to hear about your wi-fi…” which is bound to get curious shoppers clicking on their email.

Once opened, the email continues the broken wi-fi assumption with the headline, “Is your wi-fi okay?” They keep the email short, but point out alternative options for shoppers who may need more encouragement by showcasing reviews and letting readers know they can customize products.


For creative brands such as Society6, it makes sense to lean into visuals. The Society6 abandoned cart email delivers maximum impact by being picture-heavy with minimal text. While it may not say much, the copy included is persuasive.

Their email subject line states, “Cart reserved (with the best offer available)” to hint that customers could receive an offer if they complete their purchase.

Upon opening the abandoned cart email, readers are hit with a time-sensitive offer letting them know their cart has been reserved for the next 48 hours. Underneath this headline is a small and powerful call-to-action (CTA) button that reads “Get My 30% Off.”

This CTA encourages shoppers to return to the store and finish their purchase to reap the savings.

Abandoned cart email best practices

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to writing abandoned cart emails. The previous examples showcase how every eCommerce store can add their own flair to these communications. But there are some best practices to consider.

Follow these abandoned cart email best practices to help convert those hesitant shoppers into customers.

1) Time it right

When you email customers matters. Klaviyo found 91% of the top 100 performers sent their cart recovery emails less than five hours after someone abandoned their online cart.

Additionally, as more time passes, the success rate of abandoned cart emails decreases. So, be sure to send your abandoned cart emails sooner rather than later. You want to reengage these shoppers while your brand is still relevant in their mind.

2) Personalize it

Personalization is key to engaging online shoppers. You up your chances of turning browsers into customers by interacting with potential customers in a way that feels personal and genuine. Adding a customer’s name into the email subject line, for example, can increase the email open rate by 20%.

You can further personalize your cart abandonment emails by displaying the items in their cart. You never know why someone might leave before purchasing. So, showing them the items they left behind is an effective way to guide them back on your site.

Don’t forget to include a CTA button that helps them easily navigate back to your online store so they can pick up where they left off.

3) Stay relevant

Don’t alienate your customers. Speak to them in a language they understand; use humor, make references they’ll get, and play to their interests. By tapping into your customer’s interests, you can build a strong connection based on relatability. This helps you stay relevant to your ideal customers.

Take Bonobos, for example: In their abandoned cart email, Bonobos does a great job of using humor and wit to reengage shoppers. This playful approach works well to recapture the attention of potential customers.

Another way to stay relevant is to increase the number of abandoned cart emails you send. Consider setting up an email series.

One abandoned cart email might not provide the persuasive push customers need. Klaviyo found almost half of the top performing eCommerce brands sent a two-part abandoned cart email series. While engagement decreases with the number of reminder emails sent, some recipients will still convert and complete their earlier purchase. So, sending two or three cart recovery emails could help you stay relevant in shoppers’ minds and encourage them to purchase their forgotten items.

4) Keep it short

Frequently, shorter emails are better. When sending abandoned cart emails, keep them short and concise.

Add too much detail and you run the risk of distracting your readers. Instead, maintain focus on the goal of your abandoned cart email and make sure everything included aligns with this goal.

To do this, make sure you feature only one call-to-action: getting them to complete their purchase. You can then complement this CTA with strong visuals and bite-sized copy that help persuade the reader to revisit your site and finish their purchase.

5) Add incentives

Oftentimes, people abandon their shopping cart due to costs. Whether that’s unexpected shipping fees, wanting to see if they can find a cheaper alternative elsewhere, or not being able to find a coupon code, customer purchase decisions are often driven by money.

When looking at why customers with intent to purchase abandon their online cart, Baymard Institute found that 49% left it due to extra costs (i.e., shipping, taxes, fees) being too high.

Giving shoppers an incentive for completing their purchase can reengage some of those forgotten purchases. You could do this by including a coupon code in your abandoned cart email. Tailor this incentive to your customers’ needs, interests, and values. For example, if your eCommerce store features a customer loyalty program, you could offer them the chance to double their reward points when they complete their abandoned cart purchase. Alternatively, you could offer free shipping, premium delivery, or a discount when they complete their abandoned purchase.

Wrapping up — Rescue your revenue with abandoned cart emails

Customers abandon their shopping carts for all sorts of reasons. However, ignoring abandoned carts alienates a valuable segment of your customers.

You can recover sales that have been lost because of abandoned carts by optimizing your cart recovery emails. When doing this, consider what tactics will work best for your audience, and be sure to keep in mind the best practices we’ve outlined here.