How to create the perfect abandoned cart email

4 Minute Read

As any ecommerce merchant knows, abandoned carts are the most frustrating and ongoing source of lost revenue. A well cited statistic from Baymard Institute shows an average abandoned cart rate of a huge 68.53%.

The most frustrating part of this is that even when you have done all in your powers to completely optimize your site, visitors will still abandon carts. Frequently.

The good news is that, after website optimization, an effective abandoned cart campaign is quite simply the best way to get shoppers to return to your site and complete their order. Abandoned cart recovery emails have a high open rate and impressive click through rates. And, on average, a third of recipients go on to make a purchase after opening.

It is crucial, however, that you get each part of the email right.

I’m going to run through the 10 necessary ingredients to create a perfect abandoned cart recovery email.

1. Make sure your brand is clearly identifiable in the sender or subject line

This may seem obvious, but cannot be stressed enough. If a recipient is not sure of the sender, or if any trust issues arise, then the email will not be opened.

2. Make sure the subject line states the purpose of the email

Abandoned cart emails have a higher open rate than your typical sales email, but only if you make it clear to the recipient what the email is about. You heighten chances of the email being ignored if you don’t be clear about this in the subject line.

3. Display an image of the abandoned item/s

Make sure you show a good quality image of the items left behind. This serves as a reminder to the shopper and may re-spark interest in the product. After all, many carts are abandoned due to distractions, and a little reminder of what was left behind is sometimes all that is needed.

abandoned cart email

4. Have a clear call-to-action with a link to the cart

Make sure you make it as easy as possible for the customer to get back to their cart and proceed with their purchase. A clear call to action placed prominently near the image of the item is essential.

5. Add a sense of scarcity and urgency

Of course, not all shoppers will convert just by reminding them of their cart content. A little bit of scarcity and urgency can help here. For example, by showing the number of stocks left, or how much longer an item will be on sale, you can add a little nudge and an incentive to return.

6. Show customer reviews of the item

Further persuasion and trust can be added by throwing in a strong customer review of the item. If a customer is still undecided, let them know how much other people love the product.

7. Show recommendations of similar items

We know what product/s the shopper has shown an interest in, but an abandoned cart may be due to indecision as to whether the product in their basket is the ‘perfect’ one. For these undecided shoppers, product recommendations can be a great way to help the shopper find what they were looking for. Make sure you show these recommendations beneath the main image of the abandoned cart product/s.


8. Make all your shipping and returns policies and prices clearly visible

A common reason for cart abandonment is an unanswered question and a resulting lack of trust. Whilst it is crucial your site clearly provides shipping and returns information, so too should your emails. Trust is essential, and your shopper’s concerns should be addressed. Provide a clear link to your full policies.

9. Consider free delivery or a time-sensitive offer … but carefully

35.7% of abandoned carts occur once the shopper sees shipping costs (source: Business Insider) Free delivery is, therefore, a very effective means of enticing the shopper back to purchase. Likewise, time-sensitive offers can work well, too.

However, you don’t want to risk hurting your bottom line – there are online lists of retailers who offer abandoned cart coupons, and the savvy shopper may end up intentionally abandoning their cart to get an offer. So, use these cautiously.

Don’t necessarily give such offers and discounts to everyone, either. Segment your data carefully, and consider metrics such as ‘abandoned cart but did not return to site for 4 weeks’. For these indecisive users, an offer or free delivery coupon may be an effective incentive to return to your store.

10. Allow users to opt-out

Ok, so you’ve put together your email and you’re looking forward to seeing more shoppers return to complete their orders. However, unfortunately, there will be some of your buyers who just don’t want to receive these reminders.

According to Sherpa Research, while 51% of shoppers found cart recovery emails to be helpful, a further 38% found them to be annoying and wished they weren’t sent at all. The last thing you want is to irritate your shoppers, so by allowing them to unsubscribe from abandoned cart emails you will likely see a happier customer.


So, get creative, and remember to show your brand’s personality in your emails. By including these ingredients, you should be well on your way to perfecting your abandoned cart recovery emails. If you don’t have the technical capacity to leverage data and automate your own emails, consider a tool like Bunting to help you.

Whilst you will never be able to completely obliterate the pesky problem of abandoned carts, we expect that your email campaign will help you see massive improvements.  Let us know how it goes! 🙂

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