How To Write & Deliver Abandoned Cart Emails That Are Worth $5+ Each

I just did a quick Google search for “abandoned cart statistic 2017”

The first search result quoted 37 different percentages from 2006-2016 with the average being 69.23% although, there is a noticeable increase over the 10 years.

The second result stated that cart abandonment rates for desktop are 61%, for tablet they’re 71% and mobile users leave 81% of their carts, which is attributed to ease of use.

Finally, the third result was an infographic post that broke their abandonment stats into 6 sectors: retail = 72.8%, fashion = 68.3%, travel = 81.7%, gaming = 64.2%, finance = 83.6% & non-profit = 83.1%.

So, the only logical conclusions I can draw from this reported data is that:

  1. The only abandoned cart statistics that matters are yours
  2. Your carts are going to be abandoned more often than not, so you need an effective method in place to recover as much of those lost profits as possible.

Introducing…the abandoned cart email.

In this blog post I’m going to show you:

  1. the most important features of an abandon cart recovery email if your goal is profit
  2. what to write in your emails &
  3. when you should send them

So…let’s get started!

Key Features Of A Profitable Abandon Cart Email

Last Friday I looked at over 100 Shopify stores that are successful enough to be included on ‘best of’ lists to see what they were doing with their abandon cart emails (yes, I purposefully abandoned a cart on 129 websites just to see what they were doing…I’m an asshole, I know).

I was surprised to find that only about half (67) have sent an abandoned cart email to me in the 5 days since. Of those emails, 28% landed in the promotions tab, not my inbox.

Why is this important?

Well, in order for an email to be profitable it needs to be opened and when an email lands in the promotions tab that’s much less likely to happen.

So, how can you increase the chances of your emails landing in your customers inbox?

  • Avoid HTML – we all know that fancy emails look great & if your goal is branding then fancy is the way to go however, if your goal is reclaiming as many sales as possible then your emails should be plain text with the following features:
  • 1 small logo or branded image & 1 picture of the product they left in their cart.
  • Include your customers name in your greeting
  • Write the email like you’re writing to a friend & avoid salesy/pushy language
  • Only include 1-2 links in the body of your email
  • Use a quality auto-responder if you’re automating your abandon cart emails

Once you’ve got your emails landing in your customers inbox the next challenge is to get as many people as possible to open them. This is where your subject line is important.

You can see some examples of subject lines above & the following subject lines belong to abandon cart emails that are awesome, according to the Shopify blog:

  1. We’re still holding the {product} for you. Act fast if you still want it.
  2. Complete your purchase
  3. You left items in your cart
  4. Lemme teleport you back to your cart. Free of charge.
  5. There’s still time to fetch your deal from {dog brand}
  6. Where’d you go?!
  7. Thanks for visiting us at {store name}!
  8. {name}, thanks for visiting {store name}
  9. {name}, do you want to make a deal?
  10. Did you forget something?
  11. {name}, Complete your order
  12. Eek- The {product} in your cart is almost sold out!

Personally, my most successful abandoned cart subject lines have been written around this style:

[Problem With Your Order] Dear {name}, we are unable to process your order.

I suggest starting with whatever subject lines appeal to you and then make sure that you’re testing them to find the ones that will consistently deliver the best open rates for your audience.

Now that your emails are being opened the last feature you need to have is a clear call to action.

Getting your customers to click the link and return to their cart to complete their purchase is your last hurdle and is best achieved by including a clear & direct instruction for your customers telling them what to do next ie: “Click Here To Complete Your Purchase”.

What To Write In Your Emails & When To Send Them

According to Soundest (an easy-to-use ecommerce email marketing tool) sending a series of 3 abandoned cart emails will generate 131% more sales than a single email.

Email 1

Everyone recommends sending the first abandoned cart email 1 hour after the cart has been abandoned.

In this first email your goal should be to connect with your customers using a personalised, friendly approach & remind them of the item/s in their cart with an image and a clear description of their item/s.

Some people recommend adding a discount incentive in this email while others believe this may encourage bargain hunting behaviour in the future & recommend waiting until the second email to provide a discount incentive – this is totally a personal preference.

Have a strong call to action like “click the link to complete your order” or “click the link to finish your purchase & make sure you get your items ASAP” that directs your customers without being too pushy just yet.

<logo or branded image>

Hi there {name},

Thanks for visiting <store name> today. I noticed that you started an order but didn’t finish it. If you had any questions or problems you can reply to this email and we’ll be in touch to help you out ASAP.

If you just ran out of time you’ll be glad to know we’ve saved your order and you can click here to finish your order so we can send your <product/s> to you ASAP:

<link to cart>

<product image><product description>

I’d also love to hear if you have any suggestions on how we can improve our website, again just hit the reply button and let me know.

<sign off>

Email 2

There’s a few different recommendations about when to send your second email. Shopify indicated that 10 hours is the ideal time while other ecommerce email providers indicate that 12 hours is ideal. I don’t find a difference of 2 hours to be significant, but it can’t hurt to test it for your audience.

In the second email your goal should be to incentivise the purchase with a discount code & start to introduce a sense of urgency to complete the order. You want to make your customers feel like they need to finish their order without making them feel like all you care about is making the sale.

<logo or branded image>

Hello again {name},

It’s <your name> from <store name>, I emailed you earlier about your incomplete order for <product/s>.

<product image><product description>

I want to make it as easy as possible for you to get your <product/s> so, I’ve created a discount code for you to get 10% off your entire order:


Please be aware that your cart will be saved for another 36 hours (after that we will need to ‘return your product/s to the shelf’ so to speak). You can click here to enter your discount code & finish your order now so that you don’t miss out:

<link to cart>

<sign off>

Email 3

The final email in your abandoned cart series should be sent 24 hours after the cart was abandoned.

In this email your goal should be to create a strong sense of urgency for your customers to finish their order to avoid losing their discount and their items.

<logo or branded image>

Hi {name},

It’s<your name> from <store name>and I’m just giving you a heads up that your order for <product/s> will expire in less than 24 hours.

This is the last email I’ll be sending before your order is closed, your 10% discount code <discount> expires & you risk losing access to:

<product image><product description>

Click the link to claim your product/s now, before it’s too late!


If you’re having trouble completing your order please reply to this email ASAP so we can help get everything sorted for you.

<sign off>

Automating Your Abandoned Cart Email Series

You have quite a number of options for automating your abandoned cart email series however, I’m only familiar with a couple of them. So, instead of telling you which app or email software you should choose, I’m going to tell you the key features to look for and let you choose the one that works best for your needs & budget.

  • CANSPAM compliance – Make sure you use an autoresponder service that complies with CANSPAM regulations
  • Allows A/B testing – Split testing your email messages, subject lines, CTAs, etc will means that you’re continually optimise and improve your email marketing
  • Contact segmentation – The ability to group your customers into segments will allow you to send much more relevant and personalised emails to your customers which will help achieve higher conversions
  • Mobile responsiveness – The number of people who are shopping online using a mobile device has been continually increasing therefore, you need to make sure your promotional emails are displying correctly on mobile devices
  • Email domian verification – When you send emails from a verified email domain your emails are seen as more ‘trustworthy’ and therefore, less likely to be sent to the spam folder
  • The ability to integrate with your ecommerce store!!

Once you’ve found the right email software for your business you can use their support tutorials to learn how to set up your abandoned cart emails properly within their systems.