Top 10 Ingredients to Create the Perfect Abandoned Cart Email

August 9, 2015

Conversion Rate Is Strong (2)

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

The most frustrating part of all this is that even when you have done all in your powers to completely optimize your site (improve the user experience, make your shipping and returns policy crystal clear, alleviate all concerns regarding payment and answer all customer questions) 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 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 that perfect abandoned cart recovery email.

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

abandoned_cart_recovery 1

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, and you need to 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

abandoned cart email AHITC

Make sure you show a good quality image of the items left behind. This serves as a great reminder to the shopper and may re-spark that 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.

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

abandoned cart email - call to action

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 needed.

5. Add a sense of scarcity and urgency

However, not all shoppers will convert just by reminding them of their cart content. By showing the number of stocks left, you can add a little nudge and help incentivize the customer to purchase.

6. Show customer reviews of the item


Further persuasion 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

product recommendations - Furtinure countrywide

We know what product/s the shopper has shown interest in, but an abandoned cart may be due to indecision as to whether the product in their basket is right. For these undecided shoppers, product recommendations can be a great way to help the shopper find what they are looking for, and may result in that all important purchase. 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

Carts are not infrequently abandoned due to unanswered questions or even a lack of trust. Whilst it is crucial your site clearly provides this 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

One of the biggest reasons for abandoned carts is due to unexpected delivery costs. Free delivery is, therefore, a very effective means of enticing the shopper back to purchase. Likewise, time-sensitive offers work well, with an added sense of urgency.

However, you don’t want to risk hurting your bottom line – there are lists online of retailers who offer abandoned cart coupons, and the savvy shopper may end up intentionally abandoning their carts. I would recommend not using these on your first abandoned cart email – this could be an incentive used for your 2nd or third.

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 the site for 4 weeks’. These users are clearly not showing any intent to return and purchase, so an offer or free delivery may be an effective means of bringing these shoppers back to buy.

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 build your own emails, consider a dedicated tool to help you.

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

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