8 Data-driven Strategies to Boost Your Abandoned Cart Email Campaign

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and successful customer acquisition tactics, but, unfortunately, it still gets less-than-appreciated street cred from many marketing practitioners. 

For 10 years in a row, email is the marketing channel that generates the highest ROI for marketers: For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. 

But, it makes no difference how powerful emails are unless you choose to do great things with them. 

Retailers have been successful in using cart abandonment emails to re-engage with their customers and reminding them to complete their purchase. 

Studies have shown that 21% of the abandoned cart emails sent to eCommerce shoppers are clicked on, and 10.7% of such shoppers come back to the website to complete the purchase. 


Read on to discover the best practices of sending cart recovery emails and how you can maximize your email marketing ROI. 

Cart Abandonment Statistics

It’s 2020, all eCommerce Marketing persons still continue to battle cart abandonment. Here we offer some important statistics, which we gathered from a number of studies- to help you get a better picture. 

Average cart abandonment rate 

  • In 2006, 59.8% of online shoppers abandoned their carts. By 2017 that number had increased to 69.23%, a 15.79% rise. (Statista)
  • The typical shopping cart abandonment rate for eCommerce stores varies between 60% and 80%, with an average of 67.91%. (Wikipedia)

Cart abandonment rate across different devices 

  • Desktop – 73.07% 
  • Tablet – 80.74% 
  • Mobile – 85.65% 

E-retail cart abandonment rate by different retail categories

Reasons for cart abandonment during checkout

A Detailed Analysis of an Abandoned Cart Email

Like every retailer, you must be having your own doubts. Why are abandoned cart emails so important- I mean, why not just let the abandoners be abandoners? 

The reason is simple, by retrieving merely 1 percent of your abandoned shoppers, you can increase your revenue by 10% 

In fact, one of our top-performing clients- Tinte Cosmetics used cart recovery email campaigns and increased their sales by $60k in just 3 months. 

But, what’s the trick? How do you redeem the sales you’ve already lost? 

In this part, we break down the intricacies of abandoned cart emails— to help you optimize your cart recovery efforts.


Subject Line Give a Glimpse of Your Brand’s Personality

Dress up your message.

To put it another way, suppose you have got an important business appointment this afternoon. As an eCommerce merchant, you have the responsibility to dress well for the occasion. 

Likewise, your email subject line displays your brand’s character, it has the power to entice users to open the message. In fact, we would say, if you have a well-thought email subject line, half the work is done. 

Here is an example of how an email subject line should be:

You can experiment with several subject line ideas- like including urgency in the subject line or addressing the recipients by their name. 

Let this notion with a real-time example.

Divers Supply- an authorized dealer of diving equipment in the US- had set up an email campaign with the aim to improve their open rates as well as click-through rates. 

They sent the initial email to 46,116 recipients and achieved an open rate of 26.2%. The click-through-rate of this email campaign was 13.3%. This is much higher than their previous open rates and CTR. 

They sent the follow-up email a week after, but with a slightly different subject line strategy. 

This follow-up email campaign targeted 46554 Recipients, (including the people that did not open that first email) The open rate and CTR of this campaign was 22.88% and 10.7% respectively. 

According to recent studies on customer behavior, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

PRO TIP: A/B test your email subject lines to find out what works best for you

Email Copy Should Reinforce the Subject Line

There is nothing more frustrating than opening a beautifully designed email with a sub-par email copy. 

Creating a compelling copy is a bit of a challenge; to come up with a copy that converts, you should be well-informed about what and who you are dealing with. 

Understanding your target customers, and tailoring the message in a way that emotionally connects with them is the key to writing a winning email. 

Here’s an example: 

Using humor in email marketing is a grey area, but if you get it right, the readers will love you. 

Besides humor, you can attempt including several other tactics into your copy- like FOMO, urgency, etc to bring back the shoppers into the website again. 

For instance, by incorporating FOMO and countdown, you can build the tension as a sale draws to a close, like this one:

There are various ways in which you can make your FOMO emails unique- like offering exclusive perks only available to email subscribers or displaying two prices, one for ‘regular’ people and a discounted price for members only. 

PRO TIP: Optimize your preheader text for better email open rates

Optimize Your CTAs to Drive Conversion Actions

Is your email click-through-rate lower than you expect?

You have written a great subject line and copy, even optimized your email for scanners, but, for some reason, people aren’t still clicking through to your website. 

It may be the CTA button you are using that’s letting you down. 

Here are some tips to help you design a CTA button that will bring back the shoppers who had abandoned their carts: 

  • Follow the best CTA practices: use bright colors, add whitespace, place the button above the fold, etc
  • Use action-oriented text. For example: ‘Return to the cart.’ 
  • Try the first-person technique. For example: ‘Take me to the cart’ or ‘View my cart’
  • Create urgency. For example: ‘Buy now’

An example of an attention-grabbing email CTA should look like this:

PRO TIP: Use low-commitment CTAs 

Right Timing and Consistency Pays Off

You might say that there is no perfect timing for anything, but, in reference to sending abandoned cart emails, timing is everything. 

Sending a cart recovery email an hour after a shopper abandoned their cart is one of the most effective ways to seize their attention. 

This way you can leverage the same urge the shopper had when he/she added an item into the cart. 

You are still fresh on their mind, so make sure you strike while the iron is still hot. 


Sending a follow-up within an hour is 3x more effective than waiting 24 hours and 7x more effective than waiting a week.

Not just the time factor, the frequency of your emails is important too. 

By sending a series of abandoned cart emails, retailers could tap into shoppers’ subconscious mind- by using numerous approaches like creating a sense of scarcity, giving out exclusive offers and suggesting alternate product suggestions, and more. 

Check out this comprehensive blog to learn how to perfectly craft an abandoned cart email. 

8 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Cart Recovery Email Campaign

Let’s get straight to the point- you need to follow a systematic approach to take the best advantage of your cart recovery emails. 

Ready to dive deeper into the specifics of abandoned cart emails? 

1. Recognize Guests, Registered Customers, and Existing Email Subscribers

An effective cart retention program takes into consideration both guest visitors and existing customers.

Setting up pre-submit tracking will allow you to identify the anonymous shoppers in real-time as soon as they enter their email address. 

One of the best ways to implement this approach is to place your email capture field as early on the checkout page as possible. Thereby you can improve your chances of identifying a guest visitor before they abandon the checkout process. 

Personalization = More Power

Now that you have real data to work with, you can create separate personalized email campaigns to target different segments of customers within your audience.  

Another outcome-driven method to tackle your abandonment issues is to employ exit-intent popups

Here is an example:

Studies have shown that 10 to 15 percent of abandoned website visitors can be saved using exit-intent popups. 

2. Send Trigger-based Emails Using Real-time Customer Behavior Analytics

According to DMA, emails triggered based on customer behavior were responsible for 30% of revenues in 2014. In fact, 70% of email ROI is generated through segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns. 

You can’t expect a massive decline in your cart abandonment rate if you are still sending batched cart abandonment email campaigns to the lost shoppers. 

Yes, the potential of behavioral email is huge, yet only 20% of marketers are using this strategy. 

If you want to go a bit further with your cart abandonment email campaigns, you can trigger abandoned cart emails on a per-customer basis.

This can be done by tracking your customers’ last interaction on your website. 

Have a look at this sample email:

3. Align Your Cart Recovery Strategy with Customer Lifecycle

For those who don’t know, the customer lifecycle implies different stages that an existing customer progresses through in a company’s marketing and sales funnel.

So, how can you customize your cart recovery emails based on customer lifecycle?

Let me explain this through an example. 

Suppose a repeated customer exits your website without finishing the purchase. You shouldn’t incentivize this customer right away, instead, you can ask if he/she faced any difficulties during the checkout process. 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that you shouldn’t offer discounts or free shipping to such shoppers. The point is, you must not condition them to expect offers every time they abandon their cart. 

You can try a number of different, personalized approaches to find out what works better. 

4. Regenerate Cart Sessions to Facilitate the Customer Journey

The days of single-device user experience are long gone- for a millennial shopper’s digital journey is no longer limited to a desktop computer anymore. 

According to  Q4 2015, 37% of all eCommerce transactions involved multiple devices. 

So, what makes session generation important?

Modern-day shoppers are prone to abandon their cart even for a minor inconvenience they face. However, they tend to resume the process later, but on a different device. 

One study suggests that 40% of all online adults start an activity on one device and complete it on another. 

This is true in the case of abandoned cart emails too. And if you are not employing session generation and your customers are not logged in to their mobile/tablet, the shopping experience is at stake. 

5. Take Advantage of Product Cross-selling and Up-selling

Sometimes you have to face the hard truth, and still, be ready to use it for your advantage.

Yes, we are talking about cross-selling and up-selling possibilities.

No matter how much you try, there will be times when shoppers abandon you for some other choices they have. 

However, this presents a tremendous opportunity for the retailers to cross-sell or up-sell some of their best-selling products- based on that customer’s previous purchase preferences. 

Take a look at this example:

6. Make Sure Your Emails are Responsive and Mobile-ready

You can create an excellent abandoned cart email and still lag on your conversions if it’s not responsive across all devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. 

This is why it is important to design and code responsive email templates that render well on all devices. 

If you are sending thousands of emails every month/year, you’ve to make sure that the messages are optimized and are clicked on despite what device or browser your recipients are using. 


7. Use an email automation tool to send multiple abandoned cart emails

Email automation plays a significant role in the inbound methodology. Quite contrary to what its name suggests, new-age retailers are not just using Abandoned cart email triggers to automate the processes, but also to enhance human interaction. 

Here are some benefits of adopting email automation workflows: 

  • Offers opportunities to personalize the campaigns based on data retailers have
  • Improves relevance of emails through right customer segmentation
  • Allows retailers to schedule an email or a series of emails based on particular customer actions
  • Provide insights and detailed reports to help improve the efficiency of the campaign 
  • Saves time and effort

8. Build a Habit of On-going Optimization

Cart abandonment campaigns are not really for you if you think of it as a set-it-and-forget-it thing. 

Having worked alongside thousands of eCommerce stores, we now know that cart recovery campaigns are a constant work in progress. 

Split testing is the best way to improve your campaign’s efficiency, and ultimately your conversions. 

Trust us, there is no secret success recipe.

 However, through constant optimization, one can improve engagement metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and conversion.

We recommend retailers to test their subject lines first, and then move on to further aspects. 


No Final Thoughts

As eager as you are to eliminate cart abandonment, let’s be honest. There is no such thing as 0% abandonment. In today’s eCommerce marketing trends, it’s an all too common occurrence. However, with abandoned cart emails, you can help your shoppers make it through the purchasing process. According to SaleCycle’s study, almost half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks result in a purchase. Learn from the strategies above, and get started on reclaiming your lost sales today.

About the author

Ra Karthik

Ramachandiran Karthik is the Digital Marketing Manager at Adnabu. He loves to help Shopify stores grow their business with Google Shopping & Google Ads, using advanced features like multi-currencies, multi-languages, Metafields. Karthik has a lot of experience in digital marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to make advertising more effective for both advertisers and customers.

By Ra Karthik

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