The Top 10 Abandoned Cart Email Examples

Published: Feb 25, 2020
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E-commerce businesses are in the midst of a boom. With global e-commerce sales projected to reach close to $5 trillion by 2021, online companies are showing no signs of slowing down.

Undoubtedly, there is no better time to focus on your sales and marketing strategy than now. Businesses often spend unlimited funds on the look and feel of their brands, but sometimes they neglect to apply simple fixes that can bring in additional revenue.

Abandoned cart emails are one of these simple fixes. They can increase sales significantly and only require some straightforward engagement with customers and a little persuasive writing.

This post will discuss why you need abandoned cart emails and the best practices for implementing them into your e-commerce business.

What are Abandoned Cart Emails?

If you have steady website traffic on your site but your sales don't seem to correlate, you're not alone.

Abandoned cart rates are incredibly high, with estimates nearing 70%. That means three out of every five shoppers are leaving your site without purchasing anything. For businesses struggling to gain a foothold in the market, those are devastating statistics. But abandoned cart emails, also known as cart recovery emails or abandoned checkout emails, can make a difference in your conversion rate and your bottom line.

As the name suggests, abandoned cart emails are follow-up emails sent to individuals after they have loaded their carts but failed to complete the purchase at checkout. These automated correspondences are customized and sent out anywhere from an hour to 24 hours after the prospective customer has left the site. Often issued as a series of two or three emails, they serve to remind customers about what they left in their basket and invite them to return to the site and complete the sale.

Benefits of Abandoned Cart Emails

With a nearly 50% open rate, which is significantly higher than other typical sales emails, abandoned cart emails have proven to be a highly successful marketing tool. According to a recent SalesCycle report, almost a third of clicks from cart recovery emails lead to sales back on the site. Depending on the size of your company, that can amount to hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars in recovered revenue.

Abandoned cart emails can help:

  • Boost revenue
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Increase cart recovery sales
  • Strengthen customer relationships

The right abandoned cart email can help your business grow and increase customer retention.

How to Write Abandoned Cart Emails

A good abandoned cart email does one thing well—engage the customer. The aim is to entice consumers to act on the email, return to the site, and finish their purchase.

Writing an abandoned checkout email isn't hard, but it should include a few essential elements in its structure. They include:

  • Identification of your business
  • Simple messaging that reminds customers what they left behind
  • A call to action (CTA)

Thankfully, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. There is a multitude of abandoned shopping cart email templates available online that you can use. E-commerce sites like Shopify and Big Commerce also have templates available for customers who use their services. All of these templates can be customized and personalized to your specifications.

But what does an effective abandoned shopping cart email template look like?

What Should Abandoned Cart Emails Include?

The look of your email can go a long way in terms of appealing to your customers. Along with the key elements mentioned above, your email should also be aesthetically pleasing. Make use of the product images and descriptions from your site and incorporate them into your email to create your best abandoned-checkout email.

While nothing about creating an abandoned cart email is hard, don't go writing your emails just yet.

First, have a look at our cart recovery email examples below. They will give you a  clearer understanding of what should be included in an abandoned cart follow-up email and help you grab the attention of your customers.

The Top 10 Abandoned Cart Email Templates

There are multiple ways to write a cart recovery email that expands on the general points given above. So, let's take a look at the top 10 abandoned cart email templates that best illustrate those key principles.

  1. Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
  2. Simple Messaging
  3. Personalized Copy
  4. A Reminder of Abandoned Cart Items
  5. Brand Authenticity
  6. Incentives
  7. Product Reviews or Testimonials
  8. Product Recommendations or Suggestions
  9. Time-Sensitive Purchasing
  10. Call to Action

1. Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

Did you know that, every day, close to 300 billion emails are sent worldwide? The average American office worker can expect to receive over 120 emails a day. As a society, we are inundated with emails, so any email you send has to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is with a subject line that compels customers to open their email. Lead with an incentive such as free shipping, a compliment on their taste in products, or even something a little unexpected like this cart recovery email sample from Adidas.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

The subject line reads, "Sorry to hear about your wi-fi." A statement like this is bound to catch the eye of even the most wearied scroller. Whether it's out of concern or curiosity, customers will open the email to see what information it holds. Adidas does well to continue the theme and seems genuinely concerned when they query in large letters, "Is your wi-fi okay?" The abandoned cart text followed by the image of the lone Gazelle running shoe makes a strong argument. Only someone having a technical malfunction would pass on purchasing their excellent product.

2. Simple Messaging

Online shoppers are busy. They don't have the time or energy to scan through loads of content. Keep your abandoned cart emails succinct, to the point, and well-written. That means no typos or inaccurate information. Take this example from Moschino.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

What makes this email work is its use of brevity, space, and visuals. There aren't a lot of words, which leaves little room for miscommunication. But there is enough directive there for customers to follow the steps and claim those products.

3. Personalized Copy

Personalized emails have a 26% higher open rate than non-personalized emails. Thankfully, technological tools and e-commerce sites keep track of who is shopping on your website, so sending a personalized email is easy. Abandoned cart emails are automated, but they can be customized to add client names. While you may not receive that information from every person who abandons their cart, if you do have it, you should use it.

Research shows that 60% of people who receive personalized emails return to the site to make a purchase. The ModCloth email below provides a good example.

(Image credit: Shopify)

ModCloth uses the person's name in the copy of the text and also ends with a chummy closing. Using personalized copy can make your business more relatable and friendly. Consumers still enjoy buying products from and doing business with companies that provide a personal touch. Since 70% of companies don't personalize emails, incorporating this strategy provides an optimal way for you to stand out from the crowd.

4. A Visual Reminder of Abandoned Cart Items

The reminder is the whole point of the abandoned cart follow-up email, so it would be in your favor to make this a prominent part of the email. Some businesses only provide links back to the shopping cart, but a visual reminder will serve you better. As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words". Take a look at this abandoned cart sample email from J.Crew.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

The images in this email are vivid and large. Each of the items has equal weight on the page, and a product description follows them. Even if the customer had forgotten what was in their cart, the colorful images would attract them back to the site. Additionally, the use of simple CTAs makes this email effortless and compelling.

5. Brand Authenticity

Stay true to your brand and your messaging, even in your emails. Having a consistent brand message may be what sets you apart from competitors. Whether your brand is witty, caring, edgy, or high-fashion, it's always a good idea to incorporate your brand personality into correspondence with customers. ThinkGeek does this well in the example below.

(Image credit: Active Campaign)

ThinkGeek's customer base will appreciate this tongue-in-cheek nod to Lord of the Rings. The aim here is to maintain brand messaging across correspondence with your targeted audience. Because after all, isn't it better to buy from a brand that understands you?

6. Incentives

Additional costs like shipping and taxes are regularly cited as one of the top reasons people abandon their carts. Incentives are a great way to combat these deterrents. Incentives get customers to reevaluate their abandoned carts and consider completing their purchases. Discounts, free shipping, reduced prices, and coupons for use on future purchases are just some examples of possible incentive options you can offer. Let's turn to Huckberry's example below for an illustration.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

Who doesn't love a deal? Since shipping rates vary depending on where you live, this type of incentive and others like it provide a much needed financial break for customers who want your products.

7. Product Reviews or Testimonials

Do you have products that your customers just love? Well, now is the time to show them off. A Brightlocal Consumer review survey reports that the average consumer reads up to 10 reviews before they feel that a company is trustworthy. If you include reviews in your abandoned cart emails, you've already done the hard work for your customers. Remember that Adidas email in the first point? Let's take another look at it. But this time, we're focusing on the bottom half of the email.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

Throughout the email, Adidas continues to shine the light on Gazelles, making it clear that their customers have provided resoundingly positive reviews of this shoe. Bold colors and upbeat imagery make this email hard to resist.

8. Product Recommendations or Suggestions

We've all gone into a store and, when approached by the sales clerk, said, “Oh, I'm just looking.” Well, the same is true for online shoppers. 34 percent of people cite "just looking" as a common reason for abandoning their cart. That doesn't mean all hope is lost. Since you know what these customers were interested in, you can seize this opportunity to offer recommendations or suggestions. Take a look at this email example from Target.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

Aside from pointing out what the abandoned items are, Target also makes similar style suggestions based on those items. If the shopper wasn't too impressed with their original choices, they are quickly able to see other options that might better appeal to them.

9. Time-Sensitive Purchasing

If you know that you're going to miss out on a deal, doesn't that make you want it even more? That's the rationale behind including a time-sensitive promotion in your cart recovery email. Knowing that a product is almost out of stock or that they're going to miss out on a sale is just the impetus some customers need to complete their purchase. An excellent example of this technique is the Rudy's email below.

(Image credit: Really Good Emails)

Rudy's gets this right. They tell the customer to complete the purchase right away, or they will miss out on free shipping. Since we know additional costs are a contributing factor to high abandoned cart rates, this could entice someone to finish their purchase sooner rather than later. You can even offer to hold their products in their cart for a limited amount of time.

10. CTA

We saved the best, or maybe the most important, for last. No abandoned cart email would be complete without a clear CTA.

A CTA is a directive such as “Shop here!” or “Check out now!” It indicates to the consumer what they should do next. One of the main elements that all of the emails above have in common is a strong CTA. It's not hidden behind text or missing from the copy. Without it, your abandoned cart email doesn't stand a chance. And with it, you're making the lives of your consumers that much easier. CTAs are big, bold and stand out from the rest of the copy. They work to take consumers back to the checkout. Here's an example from Ralph Lauren.

In this example, Ralph Lauren does double duty with the CTA button. Strategically placed before and after the abandoned checkout item, you can't miss the CTA—and neither will prospective customers. CTAs can range from the simple (“continue shopping”) to the creative (“teleport me to my cart”).


Simple marketing tools like abandoned cart emails, newsletters, and blogs are readily available and require little to no investment. They make it possible for companies to stand out and succeed in an ever-growing market among stiff competition.

Easy to create and customize via online tools and e-commerce services, abandoned cart emails may be the thing that takes you from being a good company to a great one.

If you're not sending out abandoned cart emails, start today. By reaching out to your customers, you can recover lost sales and improve conversion rates. Now, isn't that worth it?

This article was written by writer Sophia Murphy.

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