Picture this. A customer is shopping around at a brick and mortar store whilst periodically adding products to their cart. But, as they approach the checkout line, they suddenly abandon their cart and exit the shop, leaving the store manager wondering “what just happened?”

Cart abandonment on an online store is just like that

Abandoned carts are a nightmare for online businesses. It is essential that you retain your customers and keep them engaged with your brand to keep your business growing. So, what should you do? You set up a cart abandonment email campaign, that’s what!

Cart abandonment emails are sent to customers who add items to their shopping cart but leave without proceeding to the checkout. Here’s an example!

Example Cart Abandonment Email 1

                                Source: Really Good Emails

Sending cart abandonment emails is an opportunity to win your shoppers back. These emails not only engage your prospects but also enhance the possibility of a purchase (which can help grow your business ROI). Before we move ahead, let us look at the reasons why customers abandon products in the cart.

reasons for cart abandonment

While your cart abandonment emails could feature an offer or just be a reminder for the visitors, the ultimate aim of the email is to give them a reason to return to your site and convert.  

Components of an effective cart abandonment email campaign

Personalized Content

When customers receive a personalized email, they are more likely to engage with the it. In the case of cart abandonment emails, personalization works even better. How? Well, the potential customer  is already interested in the products.  Tempt them to return and buy the items in their cart by including the product images in the email, create urgency by stating the products are selling fast, and/or give the potential customer a discount for the items in the cart.

However, the decision of what to offer depends on why the prospect abandoned their cart in the first place. Segment the abandoners into loyal customers who abandoned, repeat abandoners, and first-time customers so as to target them with the right content.

Unique Subject Line

33% of email subscribers open emails based on the subject line alone. Your subject lines should be clear and attractive enough to make the users open and view your cart abandonment emails. According to MailChimp, “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”

Tempting Offers & Free Shipping

Many prospects bail at the checkout because they discover they have to pay for shipping or that the shipping cost is too high. Combat this by offering them free shipping or free shipping over a certain amount (such as over $150)

For others, giving an incentive or discount may help to persuade them to come back to complete the purchase but don’t do so immediately. Often, cart abandonment emails are comprised of a three part email campaign.

The first email could is a general ‘you left something in your cart’ email. This is to remind them to come back and make the purchase.

In case the first doesn’t work, the second is to create urgency. You do this by stating that the products are selling fast.

The third and final email is when you can consider offering a discount.

Check out these emails from Bonobos and Huckberry. They offer discounts and free shipping, asking the customer to proceed to finish checking out.

Example Cart Abandonment Email 2

                                Source: Really Good Emails

Example Cart Abandonment Email 3

                                        Source: Really Good Emails

Upsell and Cross sell

Along with the products the abandoner (and still potential customers) left in their cart, you can also give other product recommendations based on the subscriber’s browsing history and past-purchase behavior.

Check out this reminder email from Orvis that also cross sells other products.  

Example Cart Abandonment Email 4

                                        Source: Milled

Attractive CTAs 

Having a prominent and attractive CTA (Call to Action) is the most critical part of any email–especially a cart abandonment email. CTAs with the right content and positioning are a great sales driver. Keep it simple and use direct content such as “Continue Shopping”, “View the Cart”, “Continue to Checkout”, “View my Order”, “Complete my Order” or the like. Avoid using multiple CTAs to make it less complicated for customers to engage.

Take a look at this attractive email from ULTA Beauty that has used CTA effectively.

Example Cart Abandonment Email 5

                                        Source: Milled

Timing and frequency of the email

Sending time and frequency are essential parts of a great sales recovery email campaign. Ideally, a cart abandonment email should be sent quickly after the user abandons the cart. According to a research compilation from Getelastic, re-engaging customers within the first 60 minutes of cart abandonment is likely to increase your conversion rates. After 24 hours of cart abandonment, there is a drop of 50% in user engagement. Optimize your sending frequency and time to improve the performance of your cart abandonment email sends.

Responsive Design

Provide your customers with a seamless shopping experience by sending them responsive cart abandonment emails. Design and code emails that will render well on multiple devices to make sure the customers complete their purchase. Online shoppers check their email on different devices, especially mobiles, and hence, emails optimized for different devices are more likely to increase conversions.

Series of emails

Sending a series of emails with follow-ups can help you get the most out of your cart abandonment campaign. Even if the first email fails at persuading the customers to revisit, the later emails in the series can act as a nudge that remind the customers of the products left in the cart.  Research shows that the second and third email sent after 24 and 48 hours after cart abandonment respectively can recover an additional 50% of abandoned carts.

Wrapping Up

Before you start your cart abandonment campaign, set up a system to track the various stages of your customer lifecycle, and customize your email messages accordingly. Keep in mind that sending time matters because conversion rate drops as time passes. Also, remember that cart abandonment emails are not same as regular email, and hence, what works for your core email program might not work for your cart abandonment campaign.  Plan a full-fledged email series and test a number of customized options for better results of winning back your lost customers.

For even more tips on building a killer abandoned cart campaign, read this article on How to Recover 22% of Your Abandoned Carts and Boost Revenue by 9%