9 min read

The Abandoned Cart Email with a Discount: When Is It a Good Idea?

Written by Andriy Boychuk
9 min read
Table of Contents

    Among the various strategies for getting shoppers to return to their abandoned carts, discounts are incredibly popular.

    But you have to understand when it is smart to use an abandoned cart email discount and when you are best off using another method.

    Before Using an Abandoned Cart Email Discount: What Is an Abandoned Cart Email and When to Send Them

    Before we get into when you should use an abandoned cart email discount, get a quick refresher on what abandoned cart emails are.

    Abandoned cart emails are emails you send to a shopper that places an item in their cart and then “abandons” it by leaving the website without buying it. Your goal with this type of email is to get them to return and make a purchase.

    Ideally, you will send three abandoned cart emails.

    • Send the first one an hour after the person abandons their cart
    • The next one should be about 24 hours after
    • The final one should be anywhere from three days to a week after the initial abandonment.

    What to Do If the Customer Is Not Coming Back

    If your customer is not coming back for the item, you may feel as if you have a wasted opportunity.

    Your marketing strategy worked well up until the point that they abandoned their cart. This means you already used some of your marketing budget on the shopper.

    On top of that, the sale feels like it is within reach. You think the customer just needs a little push to convert.

    The most common methods of getting the customer to come back are abandoned cart emails and retargeting ads. But what if those aren’t working?

    Try the Abandoned Cart Email Discount Method

    If your other methods, including other types of abandoned cart emails aren’t working, then try an abandoned cart email discount.

    This is exactly what it sounds like. You encourage the recipient to come back and make their purchase by enticing them with a discount.

    There are several types of discounts that you can offer.

    Pros and Cons of an Abandoned Cart Coupon

    Using an abandoned cart coupon has the obvious benefit of giving your company another sale. However, there are also benefits to keep in mind, as well as some cons to be aware of.


    As mentioned, coupons are effective. If someone is unsure about buying something, offering a lower price is a classic sales tactic to clinch the sale.

    Additionally, as of 2017, 60% of cart abandonments were because of the extra costs being too high. Offering a discount effectively eliminates this issue, helping you make the sale.

    There is also the fact that you can potentially make up the value of the coupon over time.

    This comes from the ability to turn a one-time customer into a repeat one if they are satisfied. When used for first-time buyers, coupons can have an excellent ROI.


    While offering an abandoned cart email discount can get you the sale and bring in new customers, it comes with some caveats.

    There is the initial issue of reducing your profit margin – or completely eliminating it – on that first sale. If the client doesn’t return, then you won’t see an ROI for the discount.

    There is also the fact that offering too many discounts can have negative effects.

    • First of all, if your company offers coupons regularly, people will be hesitant to buy at full price. Instead, they will wait and only buy when coupons are available. That has an obvious effect on your profits. At the very least, they may still occasionally buy a full-priced item if they really want it.
    • There is also the possibility that you will end up attracting a slightly different customer base than you want with too many coupons. Yes, some of the people who wait for coupons to buy from you will be savvy shoppers from your original customer base. Others, however, will be those on tighter budgets who have no intentions of ever buying a full-priced product from you.
    • If you get a reputation for lower prices, it can hurt your brand reputation. This is especially problematic for higher-end or luxury brands. For these brands, high prices are typically associated with luxury. It will essentially seem less high-end and you will no longer attract the same clientele.

    Will It Hurt or Increase the Sales?

    Depending on how you use abandoned cart coupons, it can help or hurt sales.

    If you target your efforts to first-time buyers, you will likely see benefits. The same is true if you only occasionally offer these coupons.

    However, when you offer them too frequently, you will hurt your profits.

    The good news is that abandoned cart coupons are less likely to create issues like this than general coupons.

    This is because they are not transferable or shareable. You also have to think of them in the perspective of being the last chance to convert a lead.

    The Best Timing for the Abandoned Cart Email Discount

    We mentioned that you will have several abandoned cart emails. Try to include the discount in the second or third, rather than the first email.

    The first email is an initial reminder. By a day after the abandonment, the shopper is unlikely to return without an incentive, like a discount. This makes it the best time for the coupon.

    Examples of How to Introduce a Coupon

    Alex Mill

    This email introduces the coupon as good news and features a clear CTA.

    A great example of an abandoned cart email with a discount.

    Saatchi Art

    This email combines a discount with a sense of urgency by mentioning the high sell out risk.

    A good example of an abandoned cart coupon.


    The bold words “New price alert” offer savings without having the company actually lose money on a discount.

    A good example of an abandoned cart email discount.

    The Takeaway: When is the Best Time to Use an Abandoned Cart Coupon and How?

    Ideally, you want to send abandoned cart email coupons in the second or third abandoned cart email, so one day to a week after the cart abandonment.

    Entice the customer with an offer, using the above examples as inspiration.

    Further Reading

    Abandoned Cart Emails Under GDPR: What Changed

    Recover an Abandoned Cart Without an Email Address

    Understand and Reduce B2B Cart Abandonment

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