Lose Fewer Sales by Using Cart Abandonment Emails

By Rob Zaleski
Sep 19, 2018
abandoned cart emails header

Up to $260 billion dollars are being left on the table in the U.S. and Europe due to issues at checkout, much of which results in cart abandonment just before the sale. To increase customer retention and avoid losing cart abandoners, many e-commerce merchants are sending a personalized abandoned cart emails to shoppers who haven’t completed their orders.

If you can recover even a fraction of those abandoning their online shopping carts, you can see a healthy addition to your bottom line. And it isn’t as much work as you might think.

What are Abandoned Cart Emails?

Abandoned cart emails are an email marketing best practice that involves a little automation connectivity from your shopping cart to your email marketing service provider. If someone leaves items in their digital cart for an extended period of time or browses away from your site, an email is sent to the email address you have on file, or that they entered during the initial process of checking out. This email can be a simple reminder of the items left in the cart, or a discount coupon to encourage conversion.

By automating emails to shoppers who left behind a full cart, you can streamline part of your customer retention strategy. It’s an almost entirely hands-off marketing tactic that can pay dividends. For shoppers who meant to make the purchase but got sidetracked, this can act as a value-added service that helps build brand loyalty, showing them that you’re looking out for them by reminding them to complete their purchase. For bargain hunters, sending discount offers tied to a minimum order amount sweetens the deal and can increase your total sales on recovered orders.

shopify abandoned cart email marketing

According to Shopify, over 67 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned by shoppers prior to checkout. That means you could significantly increase your revenue and win repeat purchase opportunities by saving those sales. Even a small portion of additional orders can make a big difference to your bottom line.

Though it’s possible some potential customers were merely browsing or price-checking, it’s worth the effort to send abandoned cart emails to everyone. You can not only win back those that simply forgot to complete the purchase or became distracted by something else, you may even sway those who were only window shopping. Even better, when you do win somebody over with a cleverly crafted email, up to 27 percent are likely to become a repeat customer.

According to SaleCycle, abandonment emails have an 80.9% higher open rate and 50.5% higher click through rate than traditional emails. Sometimes, customers abandon a sale when the website crashes or the ordering processing is too complicated (which are other problems to solve and good information to know).

Even with those high open and conversion rates, it hasn’t yet become common practice to send users an email triggered by cart abandonment. Many big box stores, such as Macy’s, Apple, and the Gap, don’t employ this automated customer marketing strategy to save an online sale. These large players may be able to afford to leave money on the table. Smaller, emerging e-commerce sites cannot afford to let those sales disappear. So, the question is, how do you craft a great email to increase customer retention and grow sales?

How to Create Abandoned Cart Emails

There are a few essential parts abandoned cart email must include:

  • A catchy and/or clear subject line letting them know that they still have items in their cart. The rest of your email and offer mean nothing if the customer doesn’t open the email. Make sure it’s compelling and will stand out in a crowded inbox.
  • Be sure to include a direct link to the checkout page to encourage them to complete the sale right away. You should feature at least one of the items they left in their cart to visually reinforce their initial impulse.
  • An opportunity for feedback on why they abandoned the sale in the first place. The customer may have never meant to abandon their items, and their input could help aid you in addressing performance issues with your technical staff or service provider.

Great Copy

Think of abandoned cart emails as a bonus marketing opportunity. You take the time to customize your marketing materials, and you shouldn’t slack here. In addition, because of the purpose an abandoned cart email serves, it may be a much more welcome email than what you’d normally send.

Ingredients for a good marketing email:

  • The above-mentioned attention-grabbing subject line, possibly including the customer name, an item name, or a hint at an enclosed special offer (“You left items in your basket. Buy now for 10% off!”)
  • Great copy that reminds shoppers they liked the items enough to place them in the cart and includes promotions or discounts they are eligible for, and a clear call to action
  • Professional-quality images to remind them what they’re missing out on.

Clothing brand Chubbies does an excellent job of creating a compelling copy in their emails that fits their unique voice. Their abandoned cart emails are no exception. Check out this example, featured by Shopify on their blog.

abandoned cart emails chubbies

Although you want to influence your customers, don’t be pushy or you could avoid losing the customer permanently.

Effective Calls to Action Increase Customer Retention

Let’s touch a bit more on your call to action. You should make sure your CTA is prominent, contains a clickable/tappable link, and focuses on customer retention and completing the sale. Some examples include:

  • Take me back to my items
  • Complete my order
  • Continue shopping
  • Redeem my offer
  • Or something catchy that relates to your products

Using abandoned cart emails can help you identify problems causing you to lose sales, and help you regain your customers’ trust and business, and vastly improve customer retention.

ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing tool gives Shopify store owners the ability to create these emails now (more stores to come!), as well as other automated emails like product recommendations, review requests, and more.

Streamline and save!

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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