How to Write an Abandoned Cart Email: A Step-by-Step Guide

CM Commerce Team

As an ecommerce shop owner, one of the most frustrating customer behaviors is the abandoned cart. They browsed your website, researched reviews, clicked through pictures, and hit that “add to cart button,” only to end up leaving. Are you left scratching your head, asking why?

First, let’s get the bad news out of the way.

The truth is: this happens a lot. In fact, 70% of people abandon their carts online without making a purchase, meaning three out of every four potential customers who add an item to their cart will leave your site without paying you.

The good news? You have an opportunity to win 10% or more customers back with an abandoned cart email strategy. By capitalizing on this type of automation, you’re able to stay top of mind with prospects to turn them into purchasing customers.

What is an abandoned cart email?

An abandoned cart email is a follow-up communication sent to someone who leaves an ecommerce website without purchasing the items left in their shopping cart. These are automated emails that are sent by connecting your ecommerce shop platform, like Shopify, and your email service provider, like CM Commerce.

Why do people abandon their carts?

To be fair, a lot of abandoned carts occur simply due to the nature of ecommerce shopping. Many users are shopping online to window shop, compare prices, build a wish list, explore gift options, and more. It’s reported that 58% of shoppers have abandoned a cart because they were “just browsing.” Other reasons include:

  • Fifty-three percent believe the shipping, taxes, and fees are too high
  • Thirty-one percent didn’t want to create an account
  • Twenty-three percent thought the checkout process was too long
  • Seventeen percent didn’t trust the site with their credit card information
 Baymard Institute Abandoned Cart Research

Source: Baymard Institute

What this means for your ecommerce shop is that the majority of online shoppers aren’t in the buying phase yet and will need extra coaxing.

So what about your own website? If you’re curious about your shop’s abandoned cart, you have to learn more about the customer interactions within your checkout process. Consider using the following tools:

  • Google Analytics: discover the customer journey on your website to understand where they’re dropping off.
  • Surveys: ask your customers about the checkout experience so you can address their challenges.
  • Heat and click maps: see where your customers click and scroll through eye-tracking tests to see how they really behave.
  • Research: do a deep dive on your audience to learn about their purchasing behaviors with similar brands.

Why are abandoned cart emails important?

With so many customers abandoning their cart before checkout, it’s critical to stay top of mind and deliver communication that reminds them to come back. Abandoned cart emails are highly effective and produce a high conversion rate, as they provide gentle reminders of the customer’s initial intent. The automated email strategy ensures your online store isn’t forgotten, and, in the age of online shopping, this is critical to boosting your bottom line.

What is the 2020 industry average for abandoned cart emails?

On average, these automation emails result in a 4.64% conversion rate, compared to 0.17% of a traditional newsletter. Not only that, but research shows that sending three abandoned cart emails have the potential to bring in 69% more revenue.

If you’re still not convinced, consider these additional statistics from our friends at Moosend:

  • Forty-five percent of all abandoned cart emails are opened
  • Twenty-one percent of all abandoned cart emails are clients
  • Fifty percent of all clicks result in a purchase

While you can send your customers different types of emails, abandoned cart emails can offer you a high ROI.

5 steps to create an abandoned cart email

By connecting your Shopify ecommerce store with CM Commerce, you’re able to automate the checkout process with personalized messaging, integrated reviews and ratings, and user-generated content to build your social proof. With dynamic and automatic emails, you have the possibility to recapture your customer’s original purchase intent.

Regardless of which email service provider you use, you’ll need to first connect it to your ecommerce shop to ensure data integration. Once you have that taken care of, you can start developing your abandoned cart emails. Let’s start with the top steps you need to create an impactful email strategy.

1. Craft a compelling subject line.

The greatest abandoned cart email is worthless if it’s not opened. For this reason, it’s crucial to develop well-written subject lines that serve as your ecommerce store’s second impression. For abandoned cart emails, the best subject lines need to be simple, urgent, and friendly. The goal is not to be too pushy, but to check in and remind the customer what they’re missing.

Take a look at these examples:

  • Oops, you forgot something
  • Your cart is expiring
  • Good news: your price dropped!
  • Still thinking it over, Mary?
  • Your new spoon is just two clicks away
Chewy sends impactful abandoned cart subject line

We love this example from Chewy because not only is it a short reminder about the cart, but the pre-header also includes a helpful tone by letting the customer know that it’s saved for them.

2. Give an urgent CTA.

Every successful email includes a CTA, and your abandoned cart reminder is no exception. The CTA should drive your customers into the action of returning to their cart and completing the purchase. In good practice, avoid words like “buy” or “pay” because, as stated earlier, these customers might not be ready to purchase. Instead, use something like “return to your cart” to prompt your customer to take the next step.

Peel utilizes “Return to Your Cart” CTA

Source: Really Good Emails

Peel’s CTA immediately grabs your attention due to the bold, green color choice. The customer instantly knows what the expectation is, but the language isn’t too pushy where they feel pressured.

3. Show the abandoned product.

While this may seem simple, it’s important that you showcase the product that was left behind in your customer’s cart. Your customers may not remember what they added to their cart, so this imagery will act as a quick reminder. Put the image front and center of the email and include the CTA button underneath.

Besides the product image, include the price and title, so there are no surprises once they click back to your website. Accompany the product images with a flashy graphic that captivates your customer’s attention. We recommend developing a dynamic design like a GIF or slideshow and to stay consistent with your brand’s theme.

Moschino displays abandoned products in email

Source: Really Good Emails

We love this example from Moschino because it does a great job accompanying the company products with eye-catching imagery. The customer gets a feel of the Moschino brand that, hopefully, springs them into action to achieve the effortless “cool factor” desired.

4. Showcase the product with user-generated content.

How many times have you asked friends for a dinner recommendation or watched a product unboxing on YouTube? Utilizing user-generated content—like images, reviews, videos, etc.—in your abandoned cart emails is an effective way to capture your customers’ attention and pocketbooks. In fact, 79% of consumers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by user-generated content.

For your abandoned cart emails, we recommend utilizing reviews from the products left in the cart to build trust. If you’re looking to really capture their attention, integrate Instagram photos that show authentic product usage. Your customers will be able to envision themselves with your products, which will entice their original purchase intentions.

Adidas showcases user-generated content in emails

Source: Really Good Emails

Adidas combines both user-generated reviews and images to entice the customer into completing their purchase. The customer can easily envision themselves in the sneakers and might already be picking out an accompanying outfit based on the content provided.

5. Entice with a coupon at the right moment.

Everyone likes saving money. In your abandoned cart emails, include a coupon or promotional offer to sweeten the deal. However, as a warning, you may offer a coupon to someone who’s willing to pay full price. To use coupons successfully without devaluing your product, include the following strategies:

  • Try psychology sales offers like free shipping or loyalty program incentives
  • Only offer coupons to repeat customers that’ll not only increase sales, but also loyalty
  • If sending an email sequence, provide a discount email with the last email as your last effort to close the sale
Brooklinen provides free shipping

Source: Really Good Emails

In this cart abandonment email, Brooklinen provides free shipping as an incentive to complete their purchase. This email is effective because the incentive is bold and provides a sense of urgency.

Wrap up

With this five-step guide to creating successful abandoned cart emails, you have the ability to recapture your missed opportunities into sales. A great campaign will help customers remember you, as well as their original purchase intent. To create an impactful abandoned cart email, remember to:

  • Write a catchy subject line
  • Utilize a clear CTA
  • Showcase the products
  • Integrate user-generated content
  • Offer a valuable coupon or promotion

Are you ready to start creating your own abandoned cart emails? CM Commerce has everything you need to grow your ecommerce business with an automated email marketing strategy.