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Cart abandonment

Cart Abandonment Email Best Practices & Samples – Part 2

In Cart Abandonment Email Best Practices & Samples Part 1 we learned it is important to implement a cart abandonment emails campaign to recover as much of the lost sales as possible.

We learned what the best practices for the emails’ execution and individualization are. In part 2, we will learn what the best practices for the emails’ content are.


Best Practices for the Emails’ Content

The Ideal Subject Line:

The cart abandonment email’s subject line is the first thing customers see, therefore it greatly influences the email’s open rate.

It is essential that your subject line is crafted optimally to entice customers to open the email, because if they don’t open it, they won’t click-through and convert.

How to craft the ideal subject line?

Your subject line must be clear and must clearly convey the email’s message.

Your subject line should be personalized to create a personal connection and enhance relevancy. A personalized subject line refers to using the customer’s name or the name of the abandoned cart product. According to marketingsherpa, subject line personalization can increase the email’s open rate by 29.3%, the transaction rate by 49% and revenue per email by 73% on average.

To attract more attention, consider using special characters, such as “!!!”, a symbol (e.g. a heart, a letter), an emoji, etc., or using all caps.

On top of this, there are many techniques and approaches to a subject line you can utilize. The approach should match the email’s message and your brand’s personality.

Take a look at FloraQueen’s subject line. It clearly states the purpose of this email – motivating you to continue shopping by offering you a discount. They also made the subject line personal by adding the shopper’s name, which implies the discount is unique to you.

Black Milk Clothing knows how to catch your eyes. First off, asking a question and one that implies desperation and attachment is a clever way to intrigue the viewer. To add on to its distressed feel, the question ends with “?!” instead of a simple “?” and is written in all-caps – a sure fire way to stand out.


The Ideal Call-to-Action (CTA):

Once the customer has opened the email, we want to entice them to click-through to our site, which is done by clicking the CTA.

The email’s copy and visuals are meticulously produced to convince the customer to click through and convert (you’ll learn about this soon). However, it is not alone in the act.

A big, central player in attracting customers to click-through is the CTA. An eye-catching, desireable CTA is a critical factor to your click-through rate.

How to craft the ideal CTA?

Have one CTA per email. Too many CTAs can confuse and overwhelm the customer to the point in which he wouldn’t act at all. When you have one CTA, your customer’s attention is focused and he’s more likely to click through.

Relate the CTA to the email’s message. The CTA cannot be a stand alone button, it has to relate to the email’s message. In cart abandonment emails we want to motivate customers to recover their abandoned carts, so the CTA must be a link to the cart.

Lead up to the CTA. Have a short sentence before the CTA to lead up to it, as to make the CTA’s purpose clearer, put more focus on the CTA and to entice the click. You can ask a question (“want to see how to…?”) or use an enticing sentence (“find out how to…”).

Have an enticing copy for the CTA. The copy of the CTA should stimulate a click.


– Stimulate action with words of action (“take”, “complete”, “continue”).

– Convey personal choice with a first person point of view (“I”, “me”, “my”).

– Be clear about where the CTA will take the customer (“basket”, “order”), so they know what they are clicking on.

For example, some common CTA copies for cart abandonment emails are “show me my items”, “complete my order”, “take me to my cart”.

Place your CTA in the center of your email. This way it will be more visible, easier to notice and will increase likelihood of click-throughs.

Use urgency-inducing, attention-drawing colors for your CTA button, i.e. red or orange. To contrast this, use a neutral color for the background of your email.

Use buttons instead of linked text for your CTA. Buttons are bigger, more visible and therefore more attractive to click on.

Have your CTA change on hover. Either change the color of the CTA on hover or use 3D buttons that move on hover (or both). This makes the button more interactive and engaging and therefore more attractive to click on.

Some of the best examples are the following:

In FloraQueen’s email, the CTA is the main focus of the email, making it very attractive to click on. There is only one CTA for the customer to look at. The CTA is a big button, centrally located, in an urgency-inducing, eye-catching color.

The copy leading to the CTA motivates the viewer to click on it (a 10% discount) and uses words to induce a click-through such as “complete” and “now”. The copy on the CTA is also very attractive (although the use of “you” instead of “I”), by using the action word “continue” and clearly indicating it leads to making a “purchase”.

Boohoo is superb at writing CTA copies. Although the company uses 4 different CTAs in one email (each with the same link – to the cart) with no lead to any of them, their excellent copy must be noted. All of the CTAs have action words (show, complete, view), use personal pronouns (I’m, my) and clearly tell the end-location of the CTA (order, basket).


Some companies use more than one CTA – one for the cart and one to shop on the site. But there are companies that make it work well by emphasizing the cart CTA more than the shopping one. This gives customers more choice but also directs them to the CTA we prefer them to click on (the cart one).

Mothercare does this by fading out the color on the less desirable CTA.

Hello Merch does this by making the desirable CTA a button while the less desirable CTA a small link.



The Ideal Main Message of Each Email:

It is a common practice to have a different main message for each cart abandonment email.


First off, it makes each email unique and more interesting instead of sending the same email three times.

Secondly, each email provides a ‘solution’ for a different cart abandonment reason. This way, most of the reasons can be addressed and tackled.

Lastly, retailers prefer to begin with the least resource-intensive solutions and gradually add on more resource-intensive solutions if the need arises (i.e. the customer has still not converted). It is not ideal to use the most resource-intensive solution (e.g. offer a discount) in the first email, as a customer might be willing to convert without it.

For these reasons, the following is the best practice for each cart abandonment email’s main message.

Email 1: reminder of cart

This email targets customers who have abandoned their carts because of technical issues, being distracted and forgetting, conducting research to buy later, etc.

Present the abandoned cart content in detailimages, price, size selected, etc. You can also induce a sense of urgency here by expressing scarcity – showing that only few items are left in stock.

Show the customer you care for them and are being helpful with a statement such as “we’re holding these items for you”, “we saved your cart”, etc.

One email we love is boohoo’s. The email makes it very clear what the cart item is – it shows a decent sized image, the full name of the product and its color, the quantity and price of each item and the total price. Boohoo expresses it is very helpful with statements such as “we’ve saved it for you (you’re welcome)” and by offering customer service contact points.

Another good example is Princess Polly’s cart abandonment email. The email clearly implies the customer has forgotten the cart and the company is just sending a helpful reminder for forgetful customers. They present the abandoned items with big images, reminding the shopper how attractive they are. The email also includes personalized product recommendations to entice the shopper with additional products.


Email 2: customer service

This email targets customers who abandoned the items because of a certain issue – shipping and payment issues and concerns, long or confusing checkout, unfavorable return policy, technical issues and more.

To combat those issues provide your customers with accessible information – a link to the FAQ page, show commonly searched for information or common questions and their answers.

Provide your customers with customer service contact points –  an email (the cart abandonment email should enable replies), a phone number and live chat.

Create social proof, such as ratings and reviews of the abandoned items, to motivate hesitant shoppers to make a purchase.

Use customer service tone rather than sales tone to appear as caring and helpful. Use sentences such as “how can we help?”, “can we do anything?”, “was there a problem?”, etc.

One company that does this wonderfully is Surfdome. The customer service tone is inherent all throughout the email – from the email’s subject line and header “thanks for visiting” to literally asking “is there anything we can help with?”. There is no part of that email that has sales tone.

The email is extremely informative, providing the shopper with essential information – a link to the FAQ page, to the delivery and return section on the site and to a customer service representative. At the bottom, it gives snapshots of the delivery and return policies and of customer service contacts via phone, email and live chat.

Another exemplar email is the one by Fat Face. At the bottom at the email, Fat Face takes a similar approach giving a quick snapshot of the essential information. Fat Face integrates social proof using the abandoned item’s rating and a review to ensure hesitant shoppers.

Email 3: monetary incentive and urgency

This email targets abandoners of all causes, though it mainly targets price-sensitive customers who abandoned the cart due to the costs.

A Barilliance study found that including an incentive in the third email is likely to increase the click-through-rate and conversions. The monetary incentive could be a discount/coupon code or free shipping.

The incentive should be personalized based on the customer’s cart content, purchase history, brand affinity, demographics and more.

A Barilliance study found that offering free shipping performs 100% better than a 10% discount.

Beyond incentive, use this last cart abandonment email to induce a sense of urgency and fear of missing out on the items, to prompt the customer to act quickly and convert.

The sense of urgency could be about:

– Time limit on saving the items for the customer.

– Time limit on incentive offered.

– Scarcity of abandoned items (i.e. limited inventory, low in stock).

Take a look at Eyebuydirect’s cart abandonment email. It offers a personalized incentive- 15% off of the order. It creates a sense of urgency and fear of missing out by putting a time limit on that discount, and by using phrases such as “what are you waiting for?”.

See the example of Surfstitch, which follows this guideline to change up their three cart abandonment emails and target almost all types of customers and abandonment reasons:

Use Personalized Product Recommendations:

Offer personalized product recommendations in each of your cart abandonment emails. These recommendations are presented in real-time to fit changes of the items’ inventory and customer’s shopping process.

Customers may have abandoned their carts because of hesitation regarding the item (due to the product’s characteristics, price, color, etc.). Therefore you can recommend similar items of better fit to customers’ demands and tempt them to purchase these instead.

Alternatively, you can offer complementary items, so that while you’re convincing the customer to complete her purchase, you are also tempting her to purchase additional products, increasing the order value.

These recommendations are extremely important for your emails’ effectiveness. They can lead to 35% increase in click-throughs and 30% increase in sales conversion rates.

Take a look at Nordstrom’s cart abandonment email, which presents product recommendations that are similar to the abandoned item (jeans of various styles), but at lower costs than the abandoned item.

On the other hand, Fab shows personalized product recommendations that are completely different than the abandoned item (no pillows are recommended), intending to cross-sell and increase the order value.

Use Humor:

Humor is an effective approach for emails. It shows your brand’s personality, makes the email memorable and attractive to open and click-through, creates a connection and builds a relationship with the customer.

Humor can be communicated through both visuals and copy.

Black Milk Clothing’s main tool in their cart abandonment email is humor. The image is unrelated to the abandoned item, but is truly engaging. They present the cart as a sad little dog that the shopper abandoned. They entice the shopper to come back for the cute dog.

The copy is also quite funny, saying the cart (read: dog) is lonely and needs someone to love it. They can only hope the shopper is not a cat person.

Chubbies is a company that impeccably utilizes humor in all of their emails. Their copy is brilliantly hilarious, letting their brand’s personality shine through. They use slang language and made up words (such as “Linky McLinkington”) and write in a very friend-like, joking manner.



It is important to set up cart abandonment emails. They can reduce cart abandonment by up to 30% and engage and build a relationship with your customers.

Follow our best practices for your emails’ execution, individualization and content to optimize your emails and their success (click-throughs and conversions).

Get started with a cart abandonment software. Begin with the best practices and test them (A/B testing) to optimize your emails specifically for your brand and customers for maximal conversions.


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