8 min read

Abandoned Cart Timing: Best Time to Send an Email

Written by Andriy Boychuk
8 min read

Abandoned cart emails are an incredibly effective way to increase your return on investment. To get the most from them, however, you need to use the right abandoned cart timing.

Learn the best time to send an abandoned cart email and what type of results to expect from it. 

A Refresher: What Are Abandoned Cart Timing and Abandoned Cart Emails & Why Do They Matter?

Before getting into abandoned cart timing, take a moment to refresh your memory on what abandoned cart emails are and why they are important. 

An abandoned cart email is an email you send to potential customers after they visit your website, put something in their cart, and leave without buying it. 

These emails are a convenient way to convert customers. Your primary goal is to remind shoppers about the great item they almost bought and encourage them to go back and make the purchase.

In the best-case scenario, they will also buy related products you mention in your email or become a repeat customer. 

Abandoned cart emails are important for a few reasons :

  • They tend to have a higher conversion rate than some other types of emails
  • They let you take full advantage of your previous marketing efforts by targeting shoppers who are further along on the sales funnel. This makes the most of past investments. It also makes the conversion easier. 

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

Every customer has a slightly different reason for abandoning their cart. That being said, some reasons are much more common than others.

The following are some of the most common reasons that customers abandon their carts:

  • They don’t trust your website (or your payment methods)
  • You don’t offer their preferred payment method
  • Shipping costs are too high
  • Shipping takes too long
  • The checkout process is too long or complicated
  • They don’t want to create an account 
  • Your price is too high 
  • They don’t like your return policy 
  • They were just browsing and put the item in the cart as a way to bookmark it
  • There were technical problems (on their end)
  • Your website is slow or has bugs 
  • They had a question but couldn’t reach customer support.

Consider some data to show which of these above reasons is the most popular cause behind cart abandonment.

As of 2017:

  • 60% of respondents said they abandon their cart if extra costs, like fees, taxes, and shipping, are too high
  • 37% said they would abandon their cart if they had to make an account
  • 28% abandoned because of the checkout processing being too long or complicated
  • 23% because they didn’t get a clear calculation of the total order cost early in the process.

When is the Best Time to Send Abandoned Cart Email and Why?

The main question with abandoned cart timing is when to send the email. This is not quite as simple of a question as it seems, as you likely want to send more than one email.

That being said, the best time to send the first abandoned cart email is one hour after the initial purchase.

This is quick enough that you reduce the risk of the shopper finding the same product somewhere else and buying it from a competitor. 

At the same time, it is late enough that the shopper is unlikely to go back to their cart and buy the item.

For example, if a technical issue prevented them from buying, they probably would have resolved the problem and bought the product within an hour. 

Waiting an hour also reduces the risk of annoying customers who may intend to go back to buy the product.

It gives them enough time to resolve technical issues or clarify something about your shipping policy.  

The best timing for an abandoned cart email is one hour after the customer left the website.

How Many Should You Send? When and Why?

As mentioned, you typically want to send more than one cart abandonment email. That is because the first email is the most effective, but a second and third email still create enough conversions to be worth the effort. 

The most popular abandoned email timing is to send:

  • The first email after one hour
  • The second after a day
  • A third after three days to a week. 

If a customer ignores all three emails, they are unlikely to convert. 

You may also want to make the third email more general or make it a point to include other products.

After a week, the customer may have already bought the item in question somewhere else or decided against it. Your goal for the third email has two parts: conversion and future experience.

To some extent, you are hoping for a conversion. But you also want to keep your company in the shopper’s mind for the future and ensure they have a pleasant experience. 

Just remember to set up your abandoned cart emails properly. Specifically, make sure that you only send the second and third emails in the sequence to customers who don’t buy after the first or second email.

Accidentally sending an abandoned cart email to someone who already bought can annoy customers and reduce loyalty. 

What Are the Chances that a Customer Will Return with Proper Abandoned Cart Timing?

You can find plenty of data on how successful your abandoned cart emails are likely to be. 

One report indicates that cart recovery emails can win back 3 to 14% of the lost sales. This same report says you can expect to get about $5.81 per abandoned cart email. Others say you can get more than 10% of sales back. 

You can also consider the following. Abandoned cart emails have a 45% open rate. Of opened emails, 20% lead to click-throughs. Of people who engage with the emails, 50 to 60% make a purchase. 

The recovery rate varies based on the average order value. Businesses with AOVs under $50 on average typically recover about 3% of abandoned carts. For AOVs between $100 and $500, this increases to 5%. 

Conclusion

The ideal abandoned cart timing is an hour after abandoning the cart for the first email. Follow this up with another at 24 hours after the abandonment and a final one within three to seven days. 

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