Abandoned Cart Email: Do’s and Don’ts

Posted July 30, 2018 by   in Ecommerce Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Online shopping has taken the world by storm; it has shoppers flocking to the web instead of stores. eCommerce has given us the ability to buy almost anything at any time and anywhere. The ease of shopping associated with online retailers is what draws so many people to virtual stores instead of brick and mortar ones. However, the ease of product browsing and online shopping makes it easy for visitors to abandon their cart. On average 3 out of 4 carts are abandoned.

With all the work it takes to design an enticing website, build an engaging user experience, get visitors to your website and tempt shoppers to add items to their cart, it seems like a waste to let 75% of them get away. But how do you engage with customers who abandoned their carts in a way that will entice them to complete their check out? Abandoned cart emails.

Abandoned cart emails are one of the most profitable email funnels you can add to your email arsenal. These highly personalized, revenue-driving emails should be your weapon of choice when rescuing lost sales. Over 20% of online retailers are utilizing abandoned cart emails to their advantage; you should be too!




DON’T assume they will come back on their own.

DO send them an abandoned cart email; better yet, make it an abandoned cart email funnel.

It is advised by eCommerce experts, such as Shopify, to send more than one abandoned cart email. Statistically, the second email does significantly better than the first. Some retailers have reported that the second email does up to 400% better than the first and increases the total revenue generated from abandoned cart emails by 50%. This is compared to just sending one email. Some companies report that when they sent three abandoned cart emails, they saw a 56% increase. A 6% increase just by sending one more email is definitely worth it! However, be careful not to over send. Generally, a four email series is the perfect amount.




DON’T wait too long to notify shoppers of their abandoned cart. The time between the abandonment and the first email notification is critical. Make sure they have not lost interest and don’t allow them time to shop around.

DO send an abandoned cart email approximately 2 hours after they have left.

One of the main reasons shoppers abandon their carts is due to technical issues. If the shopper is having technical issues (on their end), sending them an email with a link back to their abandoned cart 2 hours after they had issues will allow them enough time to resolve their technical issues and conveniently complete the checkout. Providing a link back to their cart is good practice; the likelihood they will add all the same items back to their cart on their own after technical issues and then complete their check out is low.

Overall it is best to send the first abandoned cart email 2 hours after they have left. This notifies the shopper that you have held onto their items and they are available for checkout immediately. This also keeps them interested in the items, in case they are trying to price compare. Additionally, a second email should be sent no later than 24 hours after the abandonment. This time frame is essential because after this mark the likelihood of the shopper completing their check out decreases drastically.




DON’T assume they will still purchase at full price, especially if they have had time to price compare.

DO offer a discount on their cart.

It is best practice to offer a significant discount on their cart items, depending on your business’ discount offering capabilities. If you are going to create an abandoned cart funnel, you should offer a basic lower discount in the first email and gradually increase the discount amounts until the final email send.

It’s also a good idea to create a sense of urgency for the discount on their cart. Advertise the sale as ‘limited time’ and give them a certain period to utilize the discount. This adds urgency for the shopper to complete the purchase, otherwise, they may stay inactive and assume they can use the discount code later.



DON’T assume initiating an abandoned cart email funnel will solve all your problems.

DO address the major issues on why shoppers are abandoning their carts in the first place.

Some of the major reasons why shoppers will abandon their carts are due to technical issues, indecision, or high order cost/high shipping costs. Test your own user experience to see if you can find any of these issues in your own check out process.

Your site could be malfunctioning during checkout, prohibiting visitors from completing their checkout. This means, even if you initiated an abandoned cart email funnel, you would just be sending customers back to the malfunctioning page. How frustrating!

Also, offer customer support information. If a customer is indecisive, they may have some questions they need to have answered before completing their purchase. Make it easy for them to contact you. Better yet, contact them with a ‘personalized’ email, to see if they have any questions about the items in their cart.

Lastly, understand your pricing and if it matches up with the competition. If it doesn’t and is considerably more, is there something you are offering that your competition isn’t? If so, use that to your advantage in the abandoned cart funnel. Help your customers understand why they should purchase with you rather than with them. Also, analyze your shipping costs, if they are pretty high try to figure out a way to reduce the cost of shipping.




Abandoned cart emails are essential to securing lost revenue and keeping visitors engaged. These emails can be critical to your company’s bottom line, especially if you are seeing high cart abandonment rates. Make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to re-engage with these customers and that you are taking the steps necessary to correct the issues at the source. If you are a little overwhelmed with your eCommerce site, confused about sending emails and seeing high rates of abandonment, let us help!