Home > Resources > What Are Abandoned Cart Email? Strategy, Template, Tips, Campaigns Guideline!

What Are Abandoned Cart Email? Strategy, Template, Tips, Campaigns Guideline!

Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Drive 20-40% of your revenue with Avada
avada email marketing

What are abandoned carts? Basically, the money we lost.

It is well-known that about 60-80% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a customer completes a purchase. That implies that your sales may be as little as a third of what they might have.

So why did they leave your website without buying the items already in the cart? And how should we remind them of their original purchase intent? Those are the questions that I will give you the answers in this article.

Today, our main tasks are:

  • To identify reasons why potential customers left → exclude those reasons from your website;
  • To create → send cart abandonment emails using automation and good-looking templates.

This is the proper order to reduce the number of abandoned carts among your visitors, and emails are cheap to send too. Now, it may not be possible to persuade all who abandoned carts to check out. But it is definitely worth the efforts to resolve as many hesitations as you can, because you will see a significant percentage of prospects are persuadable.

With that in mind, here is your ultimate guide to create abandoned cart email campaigns for your online store. Read to the end to find more examples and our advised tool for email marketing.

Why do you need abandoned cart emails?

Why do you need abandoned cart emails?
Why do you need abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are one of the main pillars of eCommerce.

It is a follow-up email or a sequence of emails sent to someone who added the items to their cart and passed to the checkout section, but then left the site without making a purchase.

The abandoned shopping cart email reminds customers of the items they have left in the cart - enticing them to come back to buy things they were very close to purchasing.

Even if you just do just the basics of abandoned cart emails, you will start to see your revenue increase and your overall return and ROI on ad spend rise. You can then reinvest this additional money in other parts of the business for even better conversion.

It is clearly effective as a sales recovery tactic. It’s simple but underused by even some of the biggest retailers on the web. These are the retailers that leave their money on the table. Don’t be like that, take your chance and win back the lost sales by sending an abandoned cart email campaign right the way.

An abandoned cart email campaign essentials:

An abandoned cart email campaign essentials
An abandoned cart email campaign essentials

Skipped cart emails are easy to create and take a long time to pull back reluctant customers. There are two things that every abandoned shopping cart email must have:

Reminder of the item abandoned

Chances are, after a period of researching, your customers decide they really want to buy a product. It can take a few hours after abandonment to remember what they’ve seen in items in the first place. Unlike the cold reach out of a standard email format, this is a warm lead because the customer is already interested in the item.

More importantly, the customers may have never attempted to abandon the cart. Your website may crash, there is an unexpected shipping cost, or the checkout page timed out, etc. There are many reasons for a buyer to not complete a purchase. Saving their cart and displaying what they’ve planned to buy, as well as sending an email that links to their preserved cart is the easiest way to get the customers back.

Also, pay attention to the reason why the customers abandoned the carts. It is a great resource to upgrade your eCommerce website and increase the conversion rate. You may have a small P/S at the end of the email to ask for feedback on the reason for cart abandonment.

Effective email copy

Think of the abandoned shopping cart email as your additional marketing opportunity. You pay attention to making all of your marketing materials compelling, so you should not miss the chance here. Also, because you can set up email sequences with your email marketing service, both welcome emails and abandoned cart emails can have a better coordination for more convincing effect.

What are the ingredients for a good abandoned cart email campaign? Headlines that attract attention, great copy, and beautiful images are all important. By excelling in these areas, you can entice customers to go back to their carts and buy the items they left behind.

In short, every abandoned cart email needs to have effective email copy and a way to get back to the cart, maybe by displaying the items that were abandoned. If you can balance and make the most of the two essentials above, there is no doubt you can create a good abandoned cart email campaign.

How do abandoned cart emails work?

The concept of abandoned cart emails is nothing new to eCommerce. If someone leaves items in the carts for a certain period of time, it’s common to trigger an email reminding them of what products they left behind, or providing a discount offer to sweeten the deal.

Abandoned cart emails serve as a little reminder for buyers who might need a little encouragement to actually complete the purchase. Many consumers use the shopping cart like a wishlist, leaving it for hours or even days before they decide. Or they might have been distracted by any kind of interruption, then abandoned cart emails act as a way to bring them back to continue shopping without any additional friction.

So, how do abandoned cart emails work? By taking advantage of relevant data.

More precisely, cart abandonment emails work based on two key pieces of information:

  • The reason the customer starts to buy
  • The reason they walk away

By understanding these reasons and addressing them in your emails, abandoned cart emails can tackle the buyer’s problems and help them solve any hesitation in purchasing. Some common reasons for cart abandonment like shipping cost, having to make an account, or concern about security, can all be solved through email communication.

More than that, abandoned cart emails also provide a way to collect feedback and determine why your customers choose to buy at your website and not the competitor’s - as well as why they walked off the carts. By doing this, you can solve the buyers’ concerns while improving the eCommerce experience.

Abandoned cart email strategy

 Abandoned cart email strategy
Abandoned cart email strategy

According to a 2014 report from Business Insider, about $4 trillion in goods were abandoned in online shopping carts, and about 63% of them were recoverable if savvy online marketers knew how. But it is easier said than done with email marketing, what you need is good strategies and tactics to convince buyers.

The challenge is that many eCommerce businesses are using the same cart recovery methods that have been tried and tested years ago. If you are using the similar approach, it becomes much harder for your brand to stand out in the recipients’ inbox. Being an email marketing app developer myself, I would like to show you 4 emerging strategies for cart recovery emails:

Include credibility in the emails

Internet scam is a real problem, so customers have become more careful buying online and first-time visitors would need more convincing to open the wallets. The best approach to this is using social proof as product rating and reviews to prospects know that many people have happily purchased your products.

How to use social proof in your abandoned cart emails? Here is how:

  • Remind buyers that they left products with high ratings in the shopping carts: You can use star ratings right in the subject line to increase the open rate, or show the stars inside the email. You can also include the number of reviews with the star ratings, something like “4.7/5 (78 reviews) will give an instant FOMO effect on buyers.
  • Showcase users’ good reviews in the abandoned cart emails: By showing the kind words of happy customers, you let recipients know that they are missing out on a really good item. Include some words in the subject line works too, like “Our customers can’t get enough of your product. Don’t miss out!”

Make use of loyalty

One of the most common strategies for cart abandonment email is to include a discount coupon, but customers have come to expect this now. Not to mention regular discounts can devalue your products. So, you should try to make the most of loyal customers and avoid sacrificing your profit margin.

The best way to do this is leveraging your brand’s loyalty and rewards program. By creating reward tiers in the program, you can segment customers and create different cart abandonment email campaigns for various groups of buyers. This email strategy converts incredibly well and boosts your recovery massively.

Focus on a single product

It is safe to assume that when a buyer adds 10 similar products to the cart, he/she won’t have intention to purchase all those products. So, instead of reminding the customer of all those products, try re-selling one single product instead. Here is the way to turn your cart recovery email into a more effective sale opportunity:

  • Use your abandoned cart email to focus on selling only one product and make that item really shine. An easy way to do this is to showcase your best-selling/highest-rating product among the selected products.
  • Once you have the favorable product, highlight some primary benefits of it specifically. Try to communicate the unique selling propositions (USPs) of the product clearly.
  • Then, use your marketing copy to elaborate on why the prospect should purchase it, and add some objectivity by including recent reviewers from other customers. This combination will give your prospects the full spectrum of information to aid the purchasing decision.

Keep a long-term connection

We can all agree that a small email list with high engagement rates is still better than a big list that is disengaged. Making sure that you are sending emails to recipients who like to receive them is a critical part of a successful email marketing campaign.

After a buyer abandons a cart, you have a legitimate reason to email them about the cart. But, after a couple of emails, you can’t keep sending emails without the person’s consent. You can even lose the relationship with this prospect if you are not careful. Sometimes, it is best to accept that it is not the right time for a consumer to buy yet.

What you should do in this situation is to retain a collection, by adding a final email to your cart abandonment email series, asking the recipient to sign up to your email list instead. This way, you can trigger another drip email campaign or send newsletters about promotions and new products. You will then stay on top of the consumer’s mind and convince them to purchase later.

Use more tools

Email is great for cart recovery, but there are also other tools that you can implement to complement your email marketing strategy. Because you use different mediums to connect with the customers, you can optimize the individual preferences of how they would like to hear from your company:

Here are some more tools you can use to boost your abandon cart email’s performance:

  • SMS and push notifications: You can send SMS and web push notifications to buyers to make sure you reach them on both computer and mobile. We plan on including SMS into our tool AVADA Email Marketing too!
  • Facebook: You can create retargeting ads to coincide with your email campaign, or send cart abandonment messages via Messenger.
  • Phonecall: You can also call buyers with a certain cart value to reach out. This is great to get feedback and address buying challenges with a specific customer.

Abandoned cart email subject lines

Abandoned cart email subject lines
Abandoned cart email subject lines

47% of your email recipients open based on the subject line alone. No matter how awesome your email is, if the subject line can’t entice anyone to open it, you are circling the drain. So you need punchy subject lines that can grab customers’ attention quickly in a crowded inbox.

Here is how to do that (in a fast way):

  • Use the customer’s name to address the offer. You can write something like: “Hey James, you forgot something awesome in the cart!”, try to keep things friendly and personal.
  • Keep it short and sweet with less than 50 characters. You don’t want your subject lines to run off the screen into oblivion.
  • Don’t be spammy and write the subject lines as a clickbait. When in doubt, you should keep things simple and clean, not using more than one exclamation point. Ask someone to read and judge the subject lines for you too.
  • Use numbers to make your cart abandoned emails feel immediate and concrete, such as “Langdon, 6 great items are waiting for you in the cart!”.

Email marketing provides a great opportunity to A/B test the subject lines, so use that to track your results and improve the subject lines. Also, keep an eye on our blog posts, we share amazing examples of subject lines for different occasions all the time, like:

Abandoned cart email template

Abandoned cart email template
Abandoned cart email template

If you have any trouble building abandoned cart email, don’t worry because we have ready-to-use templates in our app - AVADA Abandoned cart email. The amazing templates help you set up your cart recovery email campaigns easily, and you can edit every element like logo, copy, product image, buttons, etc. We have three templates that you can customize by just dragging and dropping to create your cart abandonment email series.

To view information about your store’s abandoned carts, head to App => Abandoned cart => Shopping Carts. Here, just enter the email address in the search box to look for cart information of the provided email. Then, you can click the Use template button to select the appropriate layout before sending the email. After that, just hit Send cart recovery email to start sending.

Read more:

Best time to send abandoned cart email

Best time to send abandoned cart email
Best time to send abandoned cart email

In general, the sooner you send an abandoned cart email, the better. An email sent within the first hour of abandonment can generate more revenue than the same email sent a day later, so try to send as soon as you can after the customer leaves your site. The moment a shopper leaves the cart, you have a narrow opportunity to engage and recover the purchase intent, so make the most of it.

Online retailers should reach out to shoppers quickly and consider using a three-email sequence to engage with prospects. The first email, as mentioned, should be sent 30 to 60 minutes after the abandonment. Ideally, cart recovery should happen in the first two emails. The third email would be a last attempt to engage with non-responsive recipients, so it often includes a promotion. More than three emails can be annoying, so it is not advised.

Your email sequence can look like this (and remember that we have a pre-made sequence for you in the app!):

  • Email #1: Sent 30 min - 1 hour after abandonment, which is a friendly reminder that asks if the customer got distracted and forgot about the cart. You should include product images and a clear CTA to entice actions.
  • Email #2: Sent 24 hours after abandonment if the 1st email couldn’t bring the custom back. This email aims to create urgency and remind the buyer to purchase. You can have a discount that may expire soon, or remind that the selected product won’t be available much longer.
  • Email #3: Sent 72 hours after the 2nd email. This email offers an incentive for the prospect to come back, like a promo code for free shipping or a coupon. This is the last chance for your abandoned cart emails to grab the recipient attention, so make it count.

How to create an abandoned cart email campaign easily?

How to create an abandoned cart email campaign easily?
How to create an abandoned cart email campaign easily?

By now, you should have some ideas in mind on how to create an abandoned cart email. It doesn’t have to be fancy. And if you are on Shopify, there are many ways for you to create an email campaign for cart recovery. One quick note: I recommend not to wait more than 24 hours before sending out emails. You don’t want to wait to a point that the buyer has forgotten the items completely before you send an email.

In this section, I’m going to guide you through creating an abandoned cart email campaign easily, using our tool - AVADA Email Marketing. In case you don’t know, AVADA Email Marketing is a dedicated app that we made to help eCommerce stores saving time creating email campaigns, while maximizing customer lifetime value.

Let’s get started with step by step inside the AVADA Email Marketing’s dashboard.

1. You need to enable avada email marketing

Enable avada email marketing
Enable avada email marketing

First, if you have installed the app, remember to enable it before configuring anything.

Go to Store admin => App => AVADA Email Marketing => Dashboard, then click on the toggle button like in the picture to enable the app.

2. Then create a new campaign

2.1. Create a new event

Create a new event
Create a new event

At the dashboard, select Messages, and in Automation, you can see a list of your existing campaigns, click on New Campaign.

Here, you can select your event type, event, and preset email template. For abandoned cart emails, select Abandoned Cart Email for event and Shopping for event type.

With the preset, you have three options: Blank template, Abandoned cart: 1 email, and Abandoned cart: 3 emails.

To continue, click Save and Next.

2.2. Create a workflow.

Create a workflow
Create a workflow

Workflow is a drag-and-drop dashboard that you can create your email marketing series with which type of email to use, when to send them, and how they work together.

If you select a Blank template, you can create and edit an email freely by your wish. The email design is really simple, but I will have another guide on that matter. Now, with a Blank template, you can edit Wait Time to delay your email in weeks, days, hours, or minutes; or you can edit Certain Time to send email based on certain days in the week, certain time in hour and minute, and your preferred time zone.

If you select Abandoned cart with 3 emails or 1 email, you have two premade templates made by use to save time building your abandoned cart email campaign. You can see the pictures of the two templates in the pictures below.

2.3. Ready to launch

Ready to launch
Ready to launch

After finishing building your workflow, just click Save and Next so you can enter general information to complete the campaign.

Name: The campaign’s name, you can only click the Finish button after you’ve entered the campaign name.

Description: The campaign’s description, this is to help you and your team understand the email campaign.

Tag: You can create and add tags to manage different campaigns more effectively.

After everything is done, you can click Finish. A popup would appear for you to select the campaign’s status: Keep draft or Go live. If you choose to Go live, the automation sequence will activate, and you just need to sit back and relax while watching emails getting sent.

3. Look at the report for more improvements

Look at the report for more improvements
Look at the report for more improvements

After your campaign launches, you can see the live status right at the dashboard. When you click on the campaign, a report tab tells all you need to know about the abandoned cart email campaign. The data included the number of emails sent, the number of converted customers, the revenue, and basic information like opened, clicked, and unsubscribed. This will give you a much-needed overview of the campaign and what you can improve for a better result.

3 excellent abandoned cart email examples

Having known how to create an abandoned cart email campaign, you should now look at some examples of eCommerce brands that have nailed it with abandoned cart email strategies. Here are three examples that highlight both best practices and emerging tactics that you can try.

Cali Fabrics

Cali Fabrics
Cali Fabrics

One of the most popular strategies for abandoned cart recall is to include coupons, but many customers have come to expect it since this is a common tactic. So it can be counterintuitive if you don’t use the discount properly. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • You may send the wrong signal that your product is not worth the price.
  • You can trade your margin and lose money with small profits.
  • You can offer a coupon to a customer who is satisfied at the full price.

Here’s how you use coupons without devaluing your products or reducing sales:

  • Offer coupons to repeat customers as a tribute. You can remind them of their abandoned cars and, at the same time, build loyalty.
  • Add value before reviewing coupons: There are many ways to show off the worth of your products like free shipping, killer reviews, money back guarantees, loyalty programs, and more. Using a discount is the last resort.
  • Create Coupons & Save Coupons for Final Email: In your email thread, save coupons for your final email - like last for customer conversions.

Cali Fabrics has an elegant abandoned shopping cart email with personalized and exclusive coupons that expire in just one day. They also included ratings, product reviews, and return policy reminders to remove any uncertainty and get customers coming back.

Stuart Weitzman

Stuart Weitzman
Stuart Weitzman

People pay more attention when they feel they may be missing out on what they are actually getting. That is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). So if you can inform a customer that an item may be running out, then it’s a great way to exploit the sense of scarcity and get them to act quickly. But remember to be honest.

  • Here are a few ways you can add urgency to your abandoned shopping cart emails:
  • There is a countdown timer to show time limits
  • Let readers know their item may sell out soon due to popularity
  • Be clear that your item is limited and won’t be replenished
  • Show how many others have purchased the item.

In the sample image, you can see how Stuart Weitzman “quietly” reminds customers that they have something in their shopping cart. Next, they are kindly reminded that the must-have item won’t last long, which means the reader should act quickly. They also provide support right below to assist clients during their business hours. The design is also simple and elegant, demonstrating the high quality of the brand.



Last but not least, you should always strive for simplicity. You can easily throw in all the flashy elements available in your email builder but don’t do it unless you want a colorful cake people can’t see any beauty. You can’t use every strategy in your abandoned shopping cart email.

Try adding only one strategy and then track the results to find out which approach works best. Some of the best practices for keeping your emails simple are:

  • Try using only one CTA - it might also show your trust in the product
  • Think of designing your email for mobile devices: You have less space, you have to save space in every pixel.
  • Responsive design is crucial, so if you have too many columns or duplicates, the design may be damaged.

There’s not much left to say about the abandoned shopping cart email from Casper. It’s simple, humorous, and the CTA pops up with a clear message inviting readers to come back.

Those are only three examples, but check out my article of more than 12 best abandoned cart email practices here if you want to see more. You will find many more brands that you can learn from.

Read more:

Final words

You see, it is easy to set up an abandoned cart email campaign, and it is really what every eCommerce business needs to do to reduce the abandonment rate and increase the conversion rate. By using AVADA Email Marketing, you have all the tools you need to create an effective email marketing campaign and relax while automation sending does the work.

Want to learn more about AVADA Email Marketing. Visit our website now!

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.