8 min read

Abandoned Cart: Get Your Customers Back with an Email

Written by Andriy Boychuk
8 min read

Every ecommerce business should take advantage of abandoned cart emails.

These emails can be an excellent way to boost conversions and encourage repeat customers. Discover all you need to know about emails for an abandoned cart: what to include and some examples.

What Is an Abandoned Cart and Why Is It the Perfect Opportunity to Send an Email?

An abandoned cart refers to when someone puts a product in their virtual cart then leaves your website without buying it.

Abandoned carts may seem straightforward initially but can be more complicated than they seem. This largely comes from the fact that there are several reasons someone may leave their cart. 

People may abandon their cart because: 

  • They decided they don’t want the product anymore
  • They found the product somewhere else for less
  • Your checkout process is too complicated or long
  • You don’t accept their preferred payment method
  • They aren’t happy with the time or cost of shipping 
  • They lost their internet connection
  • They had to go somewhere and forgot to visit your website to buy the abandoned item 
  • They don’t trust your website, brand, or payment methods
  • They had no intention to buy and simply wanted to research or bookmark the product 
  • Your website had errors or crashed 
  • You didn’t answer their request for customer support 

No matter the cause, an abandoned cart is the perfect opportunity to send an email. That is because the shopper already took nearly every step on the sales funnel; they just missed the last step.

This means that you should not need to put in as much effort to convert them to a sale. 

As a bonus, an abandoned cart email is highly targeted. After all, if someone puts an item in their cart, they are likely very interested in it. 

About Abandoned Cart Emails

To effectively use abandoned cart emails, you will want to keep a few things in mind. 

When to Send Them

One of the most important considerations is when you should send the abandoned cart email. You want to send it when the shopper is the most receptive.

You also want to avoid sending the email when it is too late. For example, if you wait too long, the shopper may have already bought the item somewhere else. 

You will usually get the best results if you send the email about an hour after the customer abandons their cart.

This is soon enough to prevent them from buying it somewhere else (most of the time). It is also long enough that the customer likely isn’t coming back to buy it. 

For the best results, follow up the first abandoned cart email one day after the cart is abandoned. You may even want to send one more email three days after, and even up to a week following the abandonment. 

What You Want to Achieve with Them

Your goal with an email about an abandoned cart is simple: You want customers to return to your site and complete their purchase. 

On top of that, you hope that they will appreciate your brand, the shopping process, and the product enough to buy again.

What a Successful Abandoned Cart Email Looks Like

The following is a quick checklist of what you should include in a successful abandoned cart email: 

  • Catchy subject line
  • An image and/or description of the abandoned item(s)
  • Recommendations for similar products 
  • A reminder about free shipping or returns 
  • Introductory text
  • Note saying that you will hold the item for the customer 
  • Discount or offer to entice the purchaser 
  • At least two clear CTAs (at the beginning and end)
  • Social proof or reviews 
  • Feature images 
  • Personalized with customer name and product name 
  • Email footer with contact information 
  • Mobile-friendly, responsive, or dynamic 
  • Part of a series (of three emails)
  • Mention that the product is reserved 

Examples of the Best Abandoned Cart Emails

To give you a better idea of how to create your email, take a look at some of the best abandoned cart emails. 


This example from Columbia has numerous great features.

A good example of an abandoned cart email

It starts with enticing words, “Great News!”

It also offers a discount and clearly shows the product from the cart. It also shows similar products for upsells or cross-sells.

This can be particularly helpful if the customer already bought the product they looked at from another site, as they may still find something they like from you. 

Showing other recommendations also appeals to customers who liked the product but didn’t love it, as they may have missed one of your recommendations.

The email also highlights standout features, like free shipping on all details. It even entices with discounts thanks to the 50% off doorbusters. 


This email has numerous great features. The subject line encourages recipients to open it by providing a compliment and letting them know that the product is reserved for them. This eliminates concerns about whether the product will even still be available.

The content itself includes two calls to action, a product description and image, and a reminder about offers that set the brand apart. These include referral bonuses and express shipping. 

One of the best abandoned cart emails.


This example from Perigold is similar in that it includes the abandoned item and related items. This can increase revenue.

It also helps attract customers who abandoned their cart after realizing the product wasn’t what they wanted; they may see something in your recommendations that do they want.

It also uses eye-catching text, referring to the product as “the perfect peace.” 

Best abandoned cart email to get back customers.

Public Rec

This email doesn’t add a discount, but it checks all of the other boxes.

It encourages you to “take another look” and reminds shoppers about free shipping and returns. It has an image, description, and price of the product.

It also has contact information in the footer. For even easier contact, the email notes that you can directly reply to the email, a rarity for marketing emails. 

An example of a great abandoned cart email.

Abandoned Cart Email: The Takeaway

Using abandoned cart emails is a simple and effective way to boost your revenue. With the best practices and examples in mind, you are ready to create your own. Just follow the above checklist and you will be set. 


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