I think we can all agree cart abandonment is an inevitable pain in the a**, right?

According to Shopify, 67.45% people put items in their online shopping cart only to leave it without completing their purchase.

That’s a lot of potential revenue lost.

But no need to throw in the towel just yet, because even though we can’t eliminate cart abandonment entirely, we can minimize the likelihood of it happening.


Abandoned cart emails.

This type of e-commerce email is one of the most effective, revenue-boosting emails you can send to prospects.

BigCommerce researched abandoned cart emails and found that the average revenue per email is $5.64, compared to only $0.02 for promotional emails, and $0.18 per welcome email you send.

In this post, I’ll show exactly how to write good abandoned cart emails that will lower your cart abandonment rate and increase revenue.

What’s not to like?

Inspiration is right at your fingertips!

I know how hard it is  to find good inspiration (especially when it comes to creating effective email campaigns.)

I’ve compiled a swipe file with all my favorite examples of abandoned cart emails, to inspire you and lower your cart abandonment rate today.

All examples have made use of at least two of the strategies below (which is why I love them).

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to your personal swipe file of abandoned cart emails and start lowering your cart abandonment rate today (includes 6 examples not mentioned in this post).

What are abandoned cart emails?

If you’ve ever exited a checkout before completing an order it’s likely you’ve received an abandoned cart email. If you have, you’ll know its goal is to help you overcome any objections you might have and turn you into a customer.

This isn’t an easy thing to do, but there’s a reason we add items to our cart—and a reason why we chose not to buy.

If you can identify these two reasons with your prospects, you’re already well on your way to writing the perfect cart abandonment email.

Here are the most common reasons users abandon their carts:

  • Pricing
  • High shipping costs
  • Lack of time
  • Complicated checkout process
  • Checkout process requires too much information
  • Lack of payment options
  • Lack of money at time of checkout
  • Internet connection was cut off
  • Other technical problems on the site
  • No guest checkout option

This list could go on forever.

It’s important to mention here cart abandonment doesn’t necessarily mean a visitor’s lost interest. Rather, it means an obstacle—internal or otherwise—prevented them from completing their purchase.

And it’s up to a cart abandonment email to help them overcome it.

Before you start sending out abandoned cart emails, you should make sure that your checkout process is optimized for simplicity.

Some of the above reasons can easily be avoided by making a few tweaks to your checkout.

First, you should always include multiple payment options as users don’t always have their credit card handy when impulsively adding items to their cart.

Thus, by adding more payment options, such as PayPal®, PayPal Express®, personal checks, purchase orders, and cash on delivery (COD), you give your customers a chance to pay with whatever option is easiest to them and increase the chances of them completing their purchase.

ASOS tell their visitors at the very beginning of the checkout process which payment options are available, removing any doubt visitors might have about not being able to pay with their preferred option.

ASOS Checkout Process

Another way to improve your checkout flow, it to include a guest checkout option.

While getting people to sign in so you have their information on hand, for promotional purposes, is nice, it excludes users who want to buy from you but aren’t willing to create an account.

Nike has this down perfectly, offering three different ways to make a purchase:

Nike Checkout Option

Pro tip: You can always add a checkbox in your checkout process where you ask people to sign up for your newsletter if you want to get them on your list.

Making your checkout process smooth and easy for everyone to use, will easily reduce your cart abandonment rate.

However, if we want to lower that percentage, even more, we need to have a look at the emails you should be sending.

How to create the perfect abandoned cart email

While there might not be a perfect abandoned cart email, there are a few ways to ensure your emails are effective.

As with any other email, your subject line is crucial.

If your subject line isn’t on point, your emails won’t be read.

The most effective subject lines are those that evoke emotion in the receiver.

If you get people to feel something, they’re much more likely to open and read your emails.

These feelings can include excitement, joy, curiosity, urgency, and fear of missing out.

Your subject line must include a promise of what people can expect when they open your email. And it must be personal.

Here are some of my suggestions for great subject lines for cart abandonment emails:

  • Hey Rikke, you forgot something
  • You’ve left something behind Rikke
  • Your items are feeling abandoned—please help them
  • Your favorite items are still waiting for you
  • Don’t let your favorite items sell out

(If you want more on how to write good subject lines and increase your open rates, read this article)

How to write abandoned cart emails that convert

Once you’ve got abandoned visitors opening your emails, you need to convince them to return to their cart to complete their purchase.

Here are six ways to do that.

1. Be specific

Depending on when you send your email (more on that later), people might have forgotten about their cart items.

This is why it’s important to specify which items are remaining in their cart.

J. Crew Factory have made the images of the abandoned cart items the hero of the email.

The copy is super simple and the focus is on the items and how they can be yours in no time—and at a discount (notice the “now on sale” in red next to each item).

Showing people which items they’ve left makes the email more personal and reminds them of what they’re potentially missing out on.

You can mention the items in your messaging, and illustrate it with images (heck, you can even include it in your subject line.)

2. Be true to your brand

Today’s consumers want transparency and authenticity.

Reminding people of your brand’s values in your abandoned cart emails can help build a stronger relationship with your audience.

Your values, of course, should be evident in everything you do, but reminding abandoned cart customers of who you are as a brand, can make people more inclined to complete their purchase.

If you decide to use this tactic, it’s important you don’t write an entire novel about your values, as the focus of your email should still be on the abandoned cart items.

Here’s a great example from Ghurka:

Ghurka Abandoned Cart Email

Source: Pinterest

Ghurka starts by addressing the receiver by name, which personalizes the email further.

Then they let the reader know they have items in their cart, and these items are popular, handmade, and limited, which are all carefully selected words to make the product seem more exclusive.

Most importantly,  they thank him for thinking of their brand.

Even though they manage to fit all of that information in one email, the focus is still on the bag that was left in the cart.

Remind people of why they like your brand, to begin with, and you’ll build a much stronger brand relationship with your customers and reduce cart abandonment.

3. Be personal

With 94% of businesses saying how critical email personalization is to their success, it unsurprising I’ve included personalization in this post.

Abandoned cart emails are already personal to some extent (especially if you show users the items they’ve left in their cart.

However, you can personalize your emails one step further.

In the previous example, you saw how Ghurka addresses the recipient by name.

This is one of the easiest personalization strategies you can implement, and it makes a huge difference.

But let’s go beyond just including a name in the email.

Personalization also applies to how you write your copy.

In the following example by Ugmonk, you’ll see personalization at a whole new level:

Ugmonk Abandoned Cart Email

Ugmonk has created an abandoned cart email that looks just like an email you would receive from a friend, with plain text and a logo.

Even though we know this email wasn’t just sent to Sam, it sure gives that impression.

The email is also sent by the owner of Ugmonk, Jeff, who reassures the receiver his belief in his product and encourages the receiver to try it out and complete the purchase.

One further improvement would be to include images of the abandoned items.

The point of abandoned cart emails is to remind people of the items they’ve left in the cart and show them that they can’t live without them.

So, while this email is highly personal, it still lacks one of the most important things—the abandoned items.

4. Offer an incentive

It’s no secret we love free stuff and discounts.

And with that in mind, I encourage you to try offering an incentive in your abandoned cart emails that’s exclusive to the email and not something that everyone can get.

One of the reasons people might choose to abandon their cart is the price.

Maybe your products are a more expensive than visitors had originally thought, or they added another item to the cart, increasing the total cost.

Offering a discount in your email could be the final push they need to complete their purchase.

This is how Saatchi Art uses a discount as an incentive:

They tell the receiver that the items in their cart are at risk of selling out, and then offer a 10% discount if they purchase the items today.

This creates a sense of urgency, which has proven to be a successful tactic when it comes to getting people to buy.

(A personal anecdote: My parents were looking at RVs and another couple became interested in the same RV. Fearing they would miss out if they didn’t make a decision,  my parents quickly decided that they wanted the RV and bought it.)

Another incentive is to offer free shipping.

Like most shoppers, I  tend to abandon carts if the shipping costs are too high compared to the price of the products I’m buying.

Offering free shipping eliminates that reason, and people only have to pay the price of the product.

Here’s how Huckberry offers free shipping:

By offering a special promo code for free shipping, they increase the likelihood of people returning to their cart and complete their purchase.

Offering free shipping also decreases chances of people going elsewhere (offline or other e-commerce stores with free shipping) to buy a similar product.

It’s important to mention here not to discount too much,  too often, as people might come to expect it.

If your customers get used to receiving promo codes and free shipping, they might hold off on buying items at full price because they’re waiting for a discount code.

It varies from business to business, and it’s worth testing out to see how much an influence offering discounts have on your overall revenue.

5. Tempt with related items

Sometimes, offering a bit of inspiration or alternatives to abandoned cart items can help bring back the lost revenue.

People might not have been completely sold in the items they added to their cart, but might be interested in similar items they didn’t notice themselves.

Here’s an example from Moss Bros:

Moss Bros Abandoned Cart Email

Source: Pinterest

The hero image on this email is strong. It lets the receiver know that their items have been saved and then there’s a clear call-to-action.

One improvement, however, would be to make the saved cart item larger as your eyes are drawn towards the related products because they take up more of the screen.

This is how Ralph Lauren does it:

The placement of the “you may also like” items is better in this email because it doesn’t take the focus from the abandoned cart item.

There are two ways you can promote new items in your cart abandonment emails:

You can do like Moss Bros and show similar items, or you can do like Ralph Lauren and show items that go well with the item in the cart to increase additional sales (underwear naturally goes with everything, right?).

6. Include customer reviews and testimonials

What’s the first thing you do when you want to try a new restaurant or book a hotel?

You look at reviews, right?

There’s a reason why reviews and testimonials work so well, and it’s because they relay (in most cases) people’s honest opinions of a product or service.

If visitors are in doubt when completing their purchase, a little nudge with a testimonial might do the trick.

Casper, an e-commerce that sells mattresses and bed linen, knows how to do this:

They use humor in their opening statement: “Come back to bed” (who doesn’t want that?), and then feature a testimonial informing the reader how great their products are.

Even though this email is simple, the testimonial makes me curious and eager to know if the products indeed are good enough to make you call out of work.

The email also matches the design of their site—clean and simple—which makes the email consistent with the company’s branding.

There are, however, two CTA buttons. Abandoned cart emails should have one CTA: Complete purchase.

Including more CTA buttons with different messages will only confuse the receiver and take the focus away from the purpose of the email.

If you can’t help yourself and you want to add an additional CTA button, at least make it smaller than your “Complete purchase” button.

(Further reading: Learn how to write powerful calls-to-action in this article.)

How to get the timing of your cart abandonment email right

The timing of your abandoned cart email is crucial if you want prospects to complete their purchases.

Ideally, you need to send your email within 24 hours of them exiting your checkout so the prospect’s near purchase is still fresh in their mind.

Abandoned Cart Email Timing

The sooner you send it, the easier people will remember who you are and why they added the items to their basket in the first place.

SalesCycle researched 200 global brands and found that emails sent within 20 minutes had an average conversion rate of 5.2%.

Emails sent within an hour had a conversion rate of 4.5%, while emails sent more than 24 hours after cart abandonment only converted at 2.6%.

While timing is important, getting permission to send your emails is even more important.


You can’t send tons of cart abandonment emails if you haven’t gotten permission to email people in the first place.

You might have already gotten permission through previous signups and account logins, but what about all the people who add items to their cart but don’t log in, or leave an email address?

Simple: Ask them for an email address.

The best way to do that is through an exit-intent popup in your checkout process.

Just before people leave your checkout process, you can show them an offer and ask for their email address.

This is an example from Cocomi:

Cocomi Exit Intent Popup

Returning to the reasons people leave, you should research your audience and find out where and why they leave.

If they leave because they ran out of time, you can show a popup with this message:

Hey! Did you run out of time?

Text: How about we send you a 15% discount code so you can finish your purchase later today? Enter your email below to get the discount and this won’t be the last time you’ll get a great discount on your favorite items.

Input fields: Enter email

CTA: Get my discount now

Exit-intent technology is the most effective tool to capture abandoning visitors, and if you customize your exit-intent popups, you’ll undoubtedly reduce cart abandonment and your site’s bounce rate.

Inspiration is right at your fingertips!

I know how hard it is  to find good inspiration (especially when it comes to creating effective email campaigns.)

I’ve compiled a swipe file with all my favorite examples of abandoned cart emails, to inspire you and lower your cart abandonment rate today.

All examples have made use of at least two of the strategies below (which is why I love them).

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to your personal swipe file of abandoned cart emails and start lowering your cart abandonment rate today (includes 6 examples not mentioned in this post).

Over and out

The perfect abandoned cart email consists of many different elements which vary greatly from business to business.

I do, however, hope that these strategies have brought you closer to creating a cart abandonment email that works for you and your audience.

Too many e-commerce sites let potential revenue fly right out the window because they don’t send people a friendly reminder that they left something behind.

Don’t be that business.

What are your experiences with cart abandonment emails, and do you have any tactics you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.

Rikke Thomsen
Rikke is Head of Email Marketing here at Sleeknote. Her expertise lies within copywriting, content marketing, and email marketing. When she’s not busy wearing down the keys on her keyboard, she loves getting creative in the kitchen, binging on Netflix series, and skiing in the Alps.

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  1. Interestingly, the download function doesn’t work..so now, i will have to Abandon the process of going further with this.

    However, good article, informative & points delivered very well.

  2. Rikke Thomsen

    Thank you, Erin. I’m glad you liked it.

    The link takes a few seconds to load, so if you try again it should be working just fine.


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