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17 abandoned cart emails to win back lost sales

· 18 min read · E-commerce,Email marketing · Jan 31, 2024
Davy, Financial Assistant (left) and Martin, Financial Manager (right).

Pop quiz! On average, does cart abandonment account 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—this guide to abandoned cart emails will save your sales by helping you create messages customers can’t ignore.  

We start with 17 examples you can use to inspire your own emails. We then highlight abandoned cart email best practices before showing you how to create a sequence with MailerLite.

Abandoned cart emails are automated e-commerce emails sent to people who started the checkout process but exited the page before finalizing the purchase. These emails increase sales by encouraging shoppers to complete the transaction. 

They are effective because people who visit the checkout page are already close to buying, a reminder email may be all that’s needed to convince them to make a purchase. Data shows that almost a third of clicks on abandoned cart emails lead to a sale. 

You can set up these emails by integrating an email service provider, like MailerLite, with your e-commerce platform. This will track when users exit the checkout page and automatically send an abandoned cart email.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts?

According to a survey conducted by Baymard Institute, the most common reason for shopping cart abandonment is extra costs being too high (47%). In other words, shipping costs, taxes and other fees add too much to the final purchase price.

Reasons for Abandonments during checkout
Source: Baymard Institute

The second most common reason for cart abandonment is customers being forced to create an account (27%), followed by slow delivery times (24%), lack of trust (19%), long or complicated checkout process (18%), inability to see total cost up-front (17%), unsatisfactory return policy (16%), website errors (14%), not enough payment methods (11%) and finally, at the very bottom of the list; declined credit cards (6%).

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 see example emails you can use to inspire your own.

The best abandoned cart emails make it easy for subscribers to complete the purchase while building excitement around the product and brand. There’s no one way to do this, as these 17 abandoned cart email examples show.

1. Home Alive Pets

Home Alive Pets got creative in their abandoned cart email with some jovial copy that’s more fun 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

Taco Bell uses creative imagery in its recovery email example to capture the attention of its subscribers. Plus the email highlights that customers earn points when they make an order.

Abandoned cart email example from Taco Bell
Source: Taco Bell

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

3. Whiskey Loot

Whiskey Loot takes a creative approach to abandoned cart emails. The witty copywriting builds rapport with subscribers and makes the brand more memorable. The email also has an FAQ section that answers common questions that may stop people from buying.

Abandoned cart email example from Whiskey Loot
Source: Whiskey Loot

4. Pepper

Pepper’s abandoned cart email includes a $5 discount coupon for the selected items. This offer may be all the encouragement the recipient needs to complete the purchase.

Abandoned cart email example from Pepper
Source: Pepper

5. Grove Collaborative

Grove Collaborative reels in new customers by offering buyers a free cleaning set. The brand adds a sense of urgency by highlighting that the deal ends today.

Abandoned cart email example from Grove Collaborative
Source: Grove Collaborative

6. Brooklinen

Unexpected delivery costs are one of the most common reasons shoppers abandon their carts. Brooklinen includes an offer for free shipping in its abandoned cart email, removing this common obstacle to purchase.

Abandoned cart email example from Brooklinen
Source: Brooklinen


Subscription beauty box service, IPSY, creates a fear of missing out in their abandoned cart email example by offering a limited-time incentive. Their use of a countdown timer makes the offer expiry date extremely clear—subscribers know exactly how long they have before they lose access to the incentive.

Abandoned cart email example from IPSY
Source: IPSY

8. Pulp & Press

Pulp & Press uses two different tactics to generate urgency in their cart abandonment email. First, the brand reminds customers that their cart will expire, and then it mentions that the Cyber Monday sale is coming to an end. 

Abandoned cart email example from Pulp & Press
Source: Pulp & Press

9. Luno

Luno injects social proof into their abandoned cart email campaign by including social media posts from happy customers. Readers can see the abandoned products 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!

Abandoned cart email example from Luno
Source: Luno

10. Adidas

Adidas uses 3 prominent customer reviews in its 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
Source: Adidas

11. Brooks 

Brooks uses a fun, running-related pun in its abandoned cart email copy. This appeals to the brand’s audience and helps the email stand out. The product image and CTA are also super clear and clickable.

Brooks Running abandoned cart email
Source: Brooks Running

12. Pro:Direct Running 

Pro:Direct Running highlights that customers can pay for the basket over 3 months. This reduces the amount the customer pays now significantly, which may make the purchase more appealing.

ProDirect abandoned cart email
Source: ProDirect Running

13. GoDaddy 

Abandoned cart emails aren’t just for e-commerce. SaaS tools like GoDaddy use them to encourage visitors to buy too. GoDaddy's abandoned cart email strategy includes an initial email after an hour, then another email the day after the cart abandonment event.

GoDaddy abandoned cart email
Source: GoDaddy

14. Amazon 

That’s right, Amazon is also a fan of abandoned cart emails. The company is well-known for its high conversion rates, so if abandoned carts are working for Amazon, they’re probably worth experimenting with for your e-commerce store too.

Amazon abandoned cart email example
Source: Amazon

15. Atolea Jewelry 

Atolea’s abandoned cart email includes a Titanic joke that appeals to its target audience. It also highlights 2 major benefits of the online store: the fact the jewelry doesn’t tarnish in water, and that you can get hassle-free returns on your purchase.

Atolea abandoned cart email
Source: Atolea

16. Daughters of India 

Daughters of India’s abandoned cart email includes the standard product image and link. But it stands out due to the reminder that the brand’s ethical and sustainable business practices mean you’re making a conscious choice when buying from the company.

Daughters of India abandoned cart email
Source: Daughters of India

17. Hardgraft 

Hardgraft’s abandoned cart email stands out as it includes a selection of product recommendations as well as the image of the abandoned item. This combo could increase the value of the final purchase.

Hardgraft abandoned cart example
Source: Hardgraft

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

A good abandoned cart email subject line could be personalized, witty or creative. But the most important factor is that subscribers should know what the email is about, and why they should open it.

Check out some of the real abandoned shopping cart subject line examples below.

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)

MailerLite makes it easy for e-commerce businesses to send automated cart abandonment emails with the help of our built-in integrations for leading platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. 

Follow the instructions below to create your workflow. You can also read our help guide on how to create an abandoned cart email for more details. 

To set up an abandoned cart workflow, 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
Source: MailerLite

Then you can choose how long after abandonment you want the email to 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: Send the first abandoned cart email with the 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.

Once set up, it’s possible to edit your abandoned cart email workflow as many times as you like! If you create a series of emails that don’t resonate with your subscribers. Tweak your content, delays, images, etc, until you're happy with your cart recovery rates.

Abandoned cart email best practices

As you’ve seen from the examples above, the most effective shopping cart abandonment emails follow similar best practices. 

They will typically include some combination of the following 5 elements:

  • Information about the abandoned item(s)

  • A clear call-to-action (CTA)

  • Testimonials from happy customers

  • Links to your shipping and returns policies

  • FAQs or customer support contact links

See how these elements can come together in the abandoned cart email template below. All 5 elements are covered in a way that’s easy to read and provides the customer with enough information to complete the sale.

Anatomy of abandoned cart email example

Other abandoned cart email best practices to consider are the timing of your email and optimizing its performance with testing. 

Let’s look at each of these factors in further detail.  

1. Include the abandoned item

First, remind customers what they left behind. Seeing the product in their inbox may remind them why they wanted to buy.

Include a description of the abandoned item, an image, the product name, price, and any other relevant information like size or color. 

2. Add a clear call-to-action (CTA)

Use a clear CTA button to compel the reader to click through and complete their purchase.

Your CTA should be easy to spot and include actionable instructions. Here are 8 CTA ideas you can use in your messages:

  1. Complete my order

  2. Let’s do this!

  3. View cart

  4. Claim offer now

  5. Get 15% off

  6. Choose free gift

  7. Order now

  8. Take it home

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

3. Make it easy for the recipient to get help

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

Include this information in your email footer or invite subscribers to reply to the abandoned cart email with any questions.

You can also anticipate doubts hesitant shoppers may have by adding an FAQ section to your email content. 

FAQ sections could answer questions such as:

  • “How long does shipping take?”

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

  • “Is this product made 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?”

4. Testimonials from happy customers

Lack of trust is a frequent cause of cart abandonment. Add testimonials, reviews or social media posts to your cart recovery emails to show potential customers they can trust your brand.

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

Empower new customers to shop with confidence by including links to your shipping and returns policy in your cart abandonment email. This clarifies costs and ensures there are no risks when purchasing from your store.

6. Send your abandoned cart email at the right time

The best time to send email newsletters depends on your industry, audience and the type of content you send. But when it comes to abandoned cart emails, there is 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 wants to make the purchase.

You can also use an abandoned cart email sequence to send follow-up emails in the days after the cart abandonment. 

7. A/B test your workflows

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.

You can use automation A/B testing to create 2 versions of your abandoned cart email subject line, delay time, or content to see which one performs best based on opens or clicks. Once you have a winner, use this version for all customers to increase the impact of your emails.

Is it legal to send abandoned cart emails?

We asked our legal team to clarify how to send abandoned cart emails legally, specifically regarding GDPR.

They answered that while abandoned cart emails are generally legal, compliance with GDPR entails the need to collect explicit permission or consent from subscribers before sending any form of marketing email, including abandoned cart messages.

Whether you’re a world-renowned e-commerce brand or running a small business from home, cart abandonment happens to everyone.

Cart abandonment emails are the easiest way to recover sales when this happens. Get started by signing up for an email marketing platform, connecting it with your e-commerce store, and creating an abandoned cart marketing automation. 

E-commerce stores with under 1,000 email subscribers can use MailerLite’s free plan to access all they need to send abandoned cart emails without paying a cent. 

Larger e-commerce stores can try our paid plans, which start at $9 per month and come with a 30-day free trial you can use to test the software.

Win back lost sales

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

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Editor's note: This article was updated in January 2024 with new examples and abandoned cart best practices.

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.