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10 abandoned cart email examples to win back lost sales

· 21 min read · E-commerce,Email marketing · Aug 19, 2022
Davy, Financial Assistant (left) and Martin, Financial Manager (right).

Pop quiz! On average, cart abandonment accounts for a loss of 29%, 52% or 75% of e-commerce sales.

Believe it or not, it's 75%! That's a lot of revenue slipping away, but take heart. We've got some email examples that will help you. 

By using these field-tested abandoned cart email templates that re-engage people and compel them to buy, you can re-stack the odds in your favor and launch your sales into space.

Where do you start? Read on to learn how to write a winning cart recovery message and get inspired by some great abandoned cart email examples.

Abandoned cart emails are automated email campaigns that are sent with the sole purpose of increasing sales conversion rates by re-engaging shoppers that put items in their cart but left without completing the checkout page.

You can set up these emails by integrating an email service provider, like MailerLite, with your e-commerce platform to track and sync customer data. So when a potential customer makes it to the checkout page but doesn’t actually follow through with their order, they’re automatically sent an abandoned cart email to remind them to complete their purchase.

Why bother emailing shoppers who didn’t buy something?

Because almost a third of clicks on abandoned cart emails lead to a sale. That, my friend, is cart recovery.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts in the first place?

According to a survey conducted by Baymard Institute, the most common reason for shopping cart abandonment (48%) is extra costs being too high. In other words, shipping, taxes or other fees add too much to the bottom line to justify the purchase.

Reasons for Abandonments during checkout
Source: Baymard Institute

The second most common reason for cart abandonment is customers being forced to create an account (24%), followed by slow delivery times (22%), lack of trust (18%), long or complicated checkout process (17%), inability to see total cost up-front (16%), website errors (13%), unsatisfactory return policy (12%), not enough payment methods (9%) and finally, at the very bottom of the list; declined credit cards (4%).

This tells us that even though the shoppers are the ones abandoning carts, the reasons they’re leaving are largely in the hands of the online retailer.

So what can you do to lower your cart abandonment rates? Read on to learn exactly what goes into creating a successful abandoned cart email template. Plus we’ll share examples and some tips on writing an engaging email subject line along with some abandoned cart email best practices!

Every brand has its own voice and style when it comes to email marketing, but the most effective shopping cart abandonment templates are all made up of the same five elements:

  • Information about the abandoned item(s)

  • A clear call-to-action (CTA)

  • A way to contact you

  • Testimonials from happy customers

  • Links to your shipping and returns policies

Anatomy of abandoned cart email example

In the abandoned cart email template above, all five elements are covered in a way that’s natural to read, and provides the customer with enough useful and compelling information to convert the sale. Let’s break them down.

1. The abandoned item(s)

First and foremost, you need to remind your customers what they left behind. They added the item to their cart for a reason, and seeing an image of the product in their inbox is likely to reignite that flame.

When including abandoned item information, remember to include an image, the product name, price and any other relevant information (size, color, etc). They won’t need to double-check their order, creating fewer barriers between the shopper and the sale.

2. A clear call-to-action (CTA)

A clear CTA button is the most important part of your abandoned cart email. It’s the 2-3 words that compel the reader to click through and complete their purchase.

Your CTA should be easy to spot with easy-to-read, actionable instructions like “Check out now”.

More abandoned cart CTA ideas:

  • Complete my order

  • Let’s do this!

  • View cart

  • Claim offer now

  • Get 15% off

  • Choose free gift

  • Order now

  • Take it home

Want to learn how to create a CTA button that works? Check out this guide:

3. A way to contact you

There might be a perfectly valid, fixable reason that your customers are abandoning their carts. If you include your contact information or a contact form in your abandoned cart email then subscribers can easily get in touch with you and allow you to clear up any doubts.

You can opt to include this information in your email footer (e.g phone number, address, etc) or invite subscribers to reply to the abandoned cart email with any questions.

4. Testimonials from happy customers

Over 93% of online shoppers rely on customer reviews when dealing with an unfamiliar brand.

With lack of trust being a frequent cause for cart abandonment, adding testimonials, reviews or social media posts in your emails from happy customers provides social proof to give potential customers that extra bit of confidence.

After reading positive feedback from other real people, the cart abandoners are more likely to follow through with their purchase.

5. Links to your shipping and returns policy

Another way to empower new customers to shop with confidence is by including links to your shipping and returns policy in your cart abandonment email. It allows customers to shop knowing all costs upfront, while also understanding how long they have before they can return something.

This doesn’t just keep your customers in the know, it also prevents negative reviews from unhappy customers who didn’t know your shipping and return policies upfront.

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of abandoned cart emails to see what else you can add to your abandoned checkout email templates to make them stand out and drive sales.

The majority of abandoned cart emails are dull. They are generic emails that explain why you didn't buy something. Instead of boring and uninspired emails, send one that your customers will actually open. Here are just a few ways you can create the best abandoned cart emails.

Get creative

Creativity helps you stand out amongst the clutter. Write something that makes people laugh or use eye-catching visuals that remind readers why they chose your online store.

1. Home Alive Pets’ abandoned cart email example

Home Alive Pets got creative in their abandoned cart email with some jovial email copy that’s more fun to read than the generic “you left this item in your cart”.

Abandoned cart email example from Home Alive Pets
Image credit: Home Alive Pets

(The pictures of cute puppies are definitely an added bonus too).

2. Taco Bell’s abandoned cart email example

Speaking of using images in your emails. Taco bell uses creative imagery in their recovery email example to capture the attention of their subscribers.

Abandoned cart email example from Taco Bell
Image credit: Taco Bell

Need design tips? Learn the best colors for marketing emails to spruce up your email newsletters. 

3. Whiskey Loot’s abandoned cart email example

We included Whiskey Loot for their creativity in their abandoned cart email. Even though they don’t include many fundamental abandoned cart email template elements, their witty copywriting approach still manages to build rapport. Upon reading their abandoned cart email, you get a real friendly feel for the brand, which is trustworthy in itself.

Abandoned cart email example from Whiskey Loot
Image credit: Whiskey Loot

The inclusion of FAQs at the bottom is also a great tactic to include in your templates. If you know why potential customers hesitate to follow through with their purchase, you can answer their questions before they even need to ask.

Offer an extra incentive

It goes without saying that discounts and savings appeal to customers who aren't sure whether to make a purchase or not–and you know a buyer is already interested if they add items to their cart.

Whether they’re just browsing, or saving items for payday, you don’t have time to wait, cross your fingers, and just assume they’ll convert. 

Instead, offer them a reason to come back so good that they can’t say no. A reason that makes it impossible for them to put off buying your product like a discount offer, coupon code or free shipping.

4. Pepper’s Abandoned cart email example

Pepper uses a tried and tested method to sweeten the deal in their abandoned cart email by offering $5 off selected items.

Abandoned cart email example from Pepper
Image credit: Pepper

5. Grove Collaborative’s abandoned cart email example

Grove Collaborative reels in new customers by offering up a free cleaning set in their abandoned cart email. To secure the catch of the day, they add that the exclusive offer expires tonight.

Abandoned cart email example from Grove Collaborative
Image credit: Grove Collaborative

6. Brooklinen’s abandoned cart email example

With unexpected shipping costs one of the most common reasons shoppers abandon their carts, Brooklinen sweetens the deal by offering free shipping and removing that obstacle all together in their cart abandonment email.

Abandoned cart email example from Brooklinen
Image credit: Brooklinen

Generate urgency

If you can create a sense of urgency, you’ll be more likely to convert abandoned carts. This could be done by offering a discount for completing the purchase within a certain time frame or including countdown timers in your abandoned cart emails.

It’s important not to go overboard with urgency, otherwise, potential customers might start to feel pressured and feel put off your email campaigns. Here are a couple of examples of urgency done right.

7. IPSY’s abandoned cart email example

Subscription beauty box service, IPSY, creates a sense of urgency in their abandoned cart email by offering a limited-time incentive with an expiration date. Their use of a countdown timer is noticeable without being flashy, making it subtle yet effective.

Abandoned cart email example from IPSY
Image credit: IPSY

Subscribers know exactly how long they have to act before they lose access to a VIP incentive.

8. Pulp & Press’ abandoned cart email example

Pulp & Press uses two different tactics to generate urgency in their cart abandonment email. First they remind customers that their cart will expire, then that their cyber monday sale is coming to an end. 

Abandoned cart email example from Pulp & Press
Image credit: Pulp & Press

If subscribers want to nab these items at a discounted price, they need to take action now. Both of these urgency tactics are framed in a way that benefits the customer. So neither come across as pushy.

Leverage social proof

Social proof is the phenomenon where people are more likely to do something if they see other people doing it. You can use this to your advantage by incorporating customer testimonials, social media posts, and/or reviews into your cart abandonment emails.

9. Luno’s abandoned cart email example

Luno injects social proof into their abandoned cart email by including social media posts from happy customers using their air mattress. 

Abandoned cart email example from Luno
Image credit: Luno

Readers can see the product in action, which makes it easier to picture themselves using it. And let’s be real, who wouldn’t get a little FOMO looking at those dreamy camping pics!

10. Adidas’ abandoned cart email example

Adidas takes a more direct approach to social proof by making customer reviews the focul point of their abandoned cart email. Yep, even massively well-known global brands use this tactic to build trust with their audience.

Abandoned cart email example from Adidas
Image credit: Adidas

MailerLite makes it easy for e-commerce businesses to send automated cart abandonment emails with the help of our built-in integrations. If you’re using Shopify or WooCommerce, you can integrate them with MailerLite to sync your customer data.

To set up an abandoned cart workflow, simply install an e-commerce integration, create a new automation and select the e-commerce trigger “abandoned cart”.

GIF depicting how to set up abandoned cart workflows in MailerLite

Then you can choose how long after abandonment you want the email trigger and get to work designing your abandoned cart email! The email sequence will automatically trigger every time a subscriber abandons their cart.

We recommend including these three emails in your abandoned cart email sequence:

  1. Cart reminder email: These are the classic abandoned cart emails like you see in the examples above, with the abandoned item information, social proof or other popular items.

  2. Follow-up email: The second email should be for subscribers who didn’t open or click the first email. You can use a delay step and a condition step to separate your workflow.

  3. Final incentive: If the first two emails didn’t work, you can add another delay and condition step and add an email with a final offer, such as a discount code to encourage subscribers back to their online shopping carts.

You can edit your abandoned cart email workflow as many times as you like! If you create a sequence that doesn’t resonate with your subscribers. Tweak your content, delays, images, etc, until you're happy with your cart recovery rates.

Create an abandoned cart email automation

Sign up for a free MailerLite account to create your very own cart abandonment automation and win back those lost sales!

Sign up free

Did you know that 64% of people determine whether or not they’ll open an email by its subject line? No pressure, right?

Depending on your goals, the abandoned cart email subject line could be personalized, witty or creative–but they should all be descriptive. Subscribers should know what the email is about, and what incentive they’ll get for opening it.

Will they get a free gift or a discount code? Is something in their cart expiring?

It’s tempting to go with the generic “You forgot something!”, but that’s been done and now borders on boring. You’ll also want to avoid being too vague, for example, “Still looking?” isn’t descriptive enough to catch the eyes of your subscribers as they scan their crowded inboxes.

Good abandoned cart email subject line examples
  • We noticed you checking us out… 👀(Pulp & Press)

  • Hey Erin, get 30% off if you check out now! (Pulp & Press)

  • Oooh, good choice! We set it aside for you… (Food52)

  • Your basket is having abandonment issues… ☹️(Jack Wills)

  • You forgot something unforgettable (Winc)

  • Complete your order with $15 off (Eve Lom)

  • Last chance to lock in 40% off (Quicken)

  • Don’t leave a good cart behind… (cotopaxi)

  • Looking for a sign? Free shipping. (United by blue)

  • Your cart is sobering up (Whiskey Loot)

  • Empty your cart with free shipping (Specialized)

  • Your cart awaits, good shopper! (Homage)

  • You left without saying goodbye (Lendingtree)

  • Price drop on your favorites! (Columbia)

Along with engaging email design and eye-catching subject lines, there are a few more simple guidelines to keep in mind when creating and sending abandoned cart email templates.

1. Send your abandoned cart email at the right time

Email sending times can often depend on your industry, your audience and the type of content you send. But when it comes to abandoned cart emails, there is actually a tried and true, ideal sending time.

Abandoned cart emails should be triggered one hour after cart abandonment.

This leaves enough time to ensure the cart actually has been abandoned (and the shopper isn’t just comparing items from another store in a different tab) but doesn’t leave too much time that the potential buyer no longer feels empowered enough to make a purchase.

Wanna know more about the best time to send emails? Check out the article below:

2. Offer support and/or FAQs

New potential customers tend to be fearful of buying from online stores they’re unfamiliar with, so make it super easy to get in touch by including customer support channels like email or a phone number.

You can also anticipate and clear up any doubts hesitant shoppers may have before they even think to ask by incorporating an FAQ section into your email content. FAQs could answer questions such as:

  • “How long does shipping take?”

  • “How can I return items I don’t want to keep?”

  • “Is this product make from sustainable materials?”

  • “Does this product come with a warranty?”

  • “Is there a cooling-off period to use this service?”

  • “Can I get a discount for referring a friend?”

3. Optimize your email for mobile devices

With 85% of people using smartphones as their main device for checking emails, you’d better make sure your marketing campaigns are optimized for mobiles.

Luckily for MailerLite users, all newsletters built in our drag & drop editor and rich text editor are automatically responsive. This means that your newsletters will automatically resize for all devices including desktop and mobile.

4. Test, change and test again

Chances are, you’re not going to create the perfect abandoned cart email sequence on the first try. Analyze your automation email reports to see where subscribers are engaging (or not) and create new iterations to test again.

With each version of your workflow, your cart recovery rates should improve until you have a completely optimized abandoned cart automation.

Whether you’re a world-renowned e-commerce brand or running a small business from home, cart abandonment happens to everyone. Even if you're selling golden goose eggs, customers will still leave items in their cart.

If you are running cart abandonment emails that aren’t working, it’s time to spruce them up.

Use these examples as inspiration and take the best practices on board. If you’re still not seeing the results you want, maybe your business would benefit from using a combination of abandoned cart recovery tactics. You don’t have to rely on email alone, in fact, there are other ways to recover lost sales like creating personalized landing pages for specific products. 

Remember to have fun with it! Online shoppers are used to seeing boring abandoned cart emails in their inboxes. Test and tweak your abandoned cart email strategy until you find what works for you and inspire your customers to finish what they carted.

Erin Ford
Erin Ford
I’m Erin, I write content here at MailerLite. When I’m not typing away at my laptop, geeking out over email automation and targeting, you can find me at the nearest beach with my furry little rescue pooch, Alfie.
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