Although e-commerce has experienced spectacular growth over the years, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. One of the best ways to optimize your e-commerce business and increase sales is by introducing abandoned cart emails into your strategy.
Shopping cart abandonment is actually a very common topic of discussion among e-commerce professionals, and for good reason:
Some research indicates that up to 70% of shopping carts are abandoned, resulting in an $18 billion loss in revenue annually. This means that even if your e-commerce business is doing well, you’re potentially missing out on converting seven out of every ten potential buyers.
We’ll then give you eight real life examples of successful abandoned cart emails and we’ll analyze them for you. That way you can borrow what you think will work for your own e-commerce business and adapt it to your needs.
Let’s get started!
What are abandoned cart emails?
The top reasons why online shopping carts are abandoned involve high shipping costs, discount code not working, having to re-enter credit card info, etc.
(Chart by Visualizer Lite.)
You can set up abandoned cart emails to automatically deliver based on triggers, through popular email service providers such as Mailchimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, or ConvertKit. Enterprise e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify offer built-in functionality for sending abandoned cart emails.
With properly optimized abandoned cart emails, the customer does not have to go back to the start of the shopping process; they can immediately pick up right where they’ve left off through a personalized link. Facilitating a smooth checkout process such as this is one of the best ways to maximize your efforts with abandoned cart emails.
Why your company should send abandoned cart emails
If you utilize some of the best abandoned cart emails as part of your business strategy, it can effectively boost your e-commerce sales.
Let’s consider the facts:
- According to Adobe, 71% of mobile purchases are influenced by emails from the retailer.
- According to Salecycle, about half of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and a third of the clicks lead back to purchases on the website. Additionally, Salescycle found that 3% of e-commerce revenue comes from abandoned cart emails.
- According to BigCommerce, $5.64 is made per abandoned email on average, compared to $0.02 from promotional emails and $0.18 from welcome emails sent. Additionally, BigCommerce found that some brands reported an increase in revenue from 8-20% after sending abandoned cart emails.
Abandoned cart email sequence
Timing your abandoned cart emails correctly is absolutely crucial if you want to increase your chances of saving a sale.
If you send your first one too quickly, it could backfire.
If you wait too long, the potential customer could lose interest or find a similar solution on another website. You need to hit the abandoned cart email sweet-spot and stagger your outreach efforts for maximum positive effect.
When to send abandoned cart emails after the initial abandonment
The best time to send abandoned cart emails is one hour after someone has placed items in their cart without checking out. You can send them earlier than that, but not too early. Sure, it’s possible that your almost-a-customer may have lost interest in your product or service, but it’s also possible that their child asked them a question about their homework.
Since you have absolutely no idea why the person hasn’t completed the sale, you do not want to send them an abandonment cart email too early.
Anything sooner than 30 minutes and you can risk coming off as being pushy. If they were going to buy from you, but got distracted by a child in need or for whatever other reason, then returning to their computer to find your abandoned cart email might be off putting.
How to approach the first abandoned cart email
An extra precaution against coming off too aggressive is to make your initial outreach effort completely about tech support. Make the assumption – whether it’s true or not – that something technical happened that prevented them from checking out. The language should be helpful and the approach should have nothing to do with selling them anything.
Remember, you are writing them to resolve any technical difficulties that may have prevented them from completing their purchase. If their first payment attempt was declined then give them additional payment options or suggest trying a different web browser.
When to send follow-up abandoned cart emails after the first attempt
The second best time to send abandoned cart emails after that initial outreach effort is after waiting a minimum of 24 hours – but not too far beyond that. You want to get them when the possible purchase is still fresh in their mind and before they fall off the fence.
This message can be slightly more sales-orientated and benefit-focused. Highlight the awesome features of whatever it is you want them to buy, and consider including a discount coupon to incentivize them to complete their purchase.
If they still don’t bite, consider sending a third abandoned cart message roughly 24 to 48 hours after the second.
Hopefully that gives you some idea of when to send abandoned cart emails and the general sequence that many successful businesses follow.
Speaking of successful businesses with proven abandoned cart email sequences, we’ll take a look at those next. This will enable you to see these timing concepts and other elements of abandonment cart emails using real life examples.
Eight of the best abandoned cart emails (and what you can learn from them)
You know what they say — steal like an artist.
In order to create high-converting abandoned cart emails, you should first look to brands who are doing a great job, then use their examples as a jumping off point to inspire your own efforts.
Let’s take a look at eight of the best abandoned cart emails, and the lessons you can take away from them:
1. Send your abandoned cart emails quickly, like BaubleBar
To start with, 75% of people that have abandoned their carts usually plan to come back to complete their purchases. Therefore, sending an abandoned cart email can help refresh a potential customer’s memory and get you the sale.
As we just discussed above, you should aim to send at least three abandoned cart emails, sending the first one within an hour of cart abandonment.
BaubleBar‘s email works because it includes one of the two important items your first abandoned cart email must have: A reminder of what specifically a customer has abandoned.
As we mentioned earlier, the first email shouldn’t be about closing a sale. Instead, it should be about determining why someone left your website, then showing the customer what you can offer them to complete a purchase.
As we also said previously, it’s not always the customer’s fault that a shopping cart was abandoned. Sometimes it can be the website having issues, or an outside distraction during the checkout process. Roughly 40% of customers surveyed said that website crashes and time outs are among the reasons why they were not able to complete a purchase.
BaubleBar’s abandoned cart email works because not only does it remind you of what you left in the cart, but it also has great visuals. In addition, it includes multiple links to take you back to your cart (note that the title, call to action button, and the photos are all clickable).
2. Use non-generic copy that matches your brand, like Fab
What differentiates the best abandoned cart emails from others is great copy. Think about your abandoned cart emails as an opportunity for additional marketing. Incorporate some personality into your email, so that your customers will get a sense of who you are and what your company is like.
This email from Fab is simple and straightforward, on-brand (with silly and fun copy), includes a photo of what the shopper was considering, and provides a link to the abandoned shopping cart. It also provides an incentive (free delivery) with an included coupon code.
Adding incentives like the coupon code is something that should be considered for the second abandoned cart email, which should be sent within the next 24 hours.
3. Offer a discount, like Anese
If the customer opened the first email, the second abandoned cart email should be sent 24 hours after they opened it. If they didn’t open it, try sending it 24 hours after you’ve sent the first abandoned cart email.
Use psychological tactics such as urgency and scarcity to make a customer act quickly on a purchase, like Anese is doing here:
Evoke a sense of urgency in your second email, by providing a time-sensitive offer, warning, or incentive.
Discounts are a great way to push customers to buy and are usually sent as part of a second (or third!) abandoned cart email. You don’t want to cannibalize your profit margin as part of your first reminder, which may be all that’s necessary to get someone to complete checkout.
That said, you don’t want to train your customers to always expect a coupon code, every time they abandon their carts. With this in mind, segment your email automation efforts so that only first-time customers get a discount offer after abandoning their cart.
When your customers engage with an abandoned cart email and decide to purchase, it may be helpful to automatically add the coupon code to the order during checkout for a more seamless process.
Since expensive shipping is often the top reason for abandoned carts, an offer that offers free shipping is usually much more appreciated than discounts.
On the other hand, you can evoke a sense of scarcity by telling your customers that you’ll hold their cart for a limited number of days. This works especially well when you have a small store that sells specialized products. Larger stores will (almost) always have popular items in stock and customers know that (and will resent you if you otherwise insult their intelligence).
4. Send up to three emails, like Kate Spade
Some businesses send a third email, while others opt not to — lest they be reported as spam.
A good suggestion for effective abandoned cart emails is to send one final email if either of the first two emails have been opened, but the recipients have been unresponsive during the past 48-72 hours. Since this is your last effort to get the sale, you should provide a really strong incentive that will entice the customer to convert.
Take this Kate Spade email as an example, which offers an incentive with a sense of urgency, to encourage customers to take action.
A few things to keep in mind when sending multiple abandoned cart emails:
- Structure your automated email sequences mindfully so that they don’t keep sending once the customer has converted.
- Use A/B testing to see which of versions of your copy converts better, and deserves a spot on your personal list of best abandoned cart emails.
5. Show related products, like Amazon
If there are two things to keep in mind and plan around more than anything else when it comes to abandoned cart emails, they’re timing and frequency. Everything else — like crafting the perfect subject line and offering discounts — should be considered as secondary (though not unimportant).
In this case, Amazon, the boss of upselling and cross-selling, keeps it simple but effective with their automated/personalized emails for abandoned carts.
Offering suggestions for related items is a great way to upsell and/or cross-sell, resulting in more sales on top of the abandoned cart, though instead of always focusing on selling related products, Amazon’s emails are a smorgasbord of recently viewed products.
Sharing customer reviews can also be a great way to leverage social proof in abandoned cart emails to make more sales.
6. Make it about more than just the shopping cart, like Chubbies Shorts
If you don’t want to leave anything to chance, you’re going to want to optimize EVERYTHING about your abandoned cart emails — subject line, copy and imagery included — so that your email will stand out.
At the bottom of the email, the shopper is incentivized with a promo code. The catch is, the code is only valid for a limited time. So the shopper must act on it immediately. At the same time, it links the person to the abandoned cart, exactly as it was when they left it.
This email includes the three elements: subject line, copy and imagery.
For subject lines, the two most important things to include are: telling the recipient what they have to gain by engaging with the email and alignment with your brand’s overall feel.
You might also want to include the name of the item that was abandoned in the subject line.
If you plan using an attention-grabbing subject line, ensure that it is aligned with your customers’ sense of humor. That way it won’t be interpreted as insulting or offensive.
For imagery, it’s important to choose images that align with your brand, to create brand recall. Besides, people remember visual elements more easily than text, alone. But don’t stop at still imagery — you can also opt to include videos and GIFs in your abandoned cart emails to get attention.
No matter what, don’t get carried away: the CTA must be clearly seen to be an effective converter!
7. Make your email ready for mobile, like Bombas
Another example of an email done well is from Bombas.
The email itself is cute in its delivery, and appealing to the reader.
The line about hoping that the socks are given a good sock drawer is a clever use of personification.
As the reader, it really does make you want to click on the call to action button to finish the purchase.
After all, you don’t want to be the one responsible for the socks not having a nice, comfortable drawer to call home.
It’s great marketing.
What ties everything together in this example though, is that it looks great on mobile.
Most people access emails from their mobile phones.
In addition, mobile e-commerce sales in the US may hit up to $333.65 billion by 2021, so optimizing abandoned cart emails for mobile is a must.
Here are a few basic tips that will help you in creating some of the best abandoned cart emails that scale for different devices:
- Use responsive email templates.
- Reduce image sizes because download speeds on mobile are slower than desktop.
- Use shorter subject lines (around 25-30 characters) so that this text is fully viewable on a mobile screen.
- Increase the size of links and CTA buttons. Three out of four people use only their thumb to touch a device screen. Make sure that buttons are taller and wider than 57px by 57px.
- Lastly, test how emails display before sending them out.
8. Personalize for the products and the customer, American Eagle
If you can, incorporate personalization in your email by using any relevant data you’ve collected up to this point. An example of this in action would be to include discounts for high-value shopping carts. Alternatively, you could include the name of the item left in the cart within the subject line, as you can see in this American Eagle email.
Getting this sort of info from your e-commerce software shouldn’t be a problem.
Final thoughts on crafting effective abandoned cart emails that convert
Abandoned cart emails are a simple and effective solution for helping e-commerce businesses sell more. The secret to crafting the best abandoned cart emails lies in a couple of things:
- timing – send your first email within an hour of cart abandonment
- frequency – send up to three abandoned cart emails
- great imagery – include the images of the products
- on-brand copy – make sure you’re not sending generic copy
- incentives – give people a reason to come back
- mobile – make sure your emails look good on mobile
👉 Now you know what makes for a good abandoned cart email, make sure you read through these essential steps for avoiding spam filters.
Have you received any interesting abandoned cart emails lately? We’d love to see them! Tweet at @CodeinWP and we’ll share the best ones.