by Anna Wybieralska Aug 12, 2020

If you are looking for ways to minimize loss of revenue due to abandoned shopping carts, you're in the right place.

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Cart abandonment is an ever-growing challenge for retail marketers everywhere. According to AnnexCloud, a staggering 75.6% of online carts are abandoned by users every year. Many businesses focus on trying to bring back lost customers using retargeting ads alone. But smart marketers know that you need to optimize your abandoned cart emails to bring back customers.

An effective strategy for tackling online shopping cart abandonment must also include cart recovery emails. Just take a look at these statistics:

abandoned cart email subject lines

You can see why it’s vital for retail businesses to use cart abandonment emails in their marketing strategy. But writing good emails is one thing, optimizing them to increase the number of conversions is quite another. In this article, we will take a look at three simple strategies to help you maximize the value of your abandoned cart emails. 

How to write abandoned cart emails?

Whether you’ve never written these types of emails before or if you’re unsatisfied with your current results, use the tips below to craft great emails that will effortlessly grow your cart retention percentages. 

1. Use high-converting subject lines

Did you know that 64% of users decide whether or not to open an email based solely on the subject line? That’s why when it comes to transforming abandoned carts strategy strategy into recovered revenue, the first thing you need to do is focus on your subject lines. 

A slick subject line will grab your customers’ attention, boost open rates and increase clicks to your website. I can't stress enough how important this is. If your subject lines aren't up to par, it will be impossible for you to stand out from the sea of emails in your prospect’s inbox.

It won't matter if you've written the most complete and optimized abandoned cart email containing ALL the crucial elements. If your email has a boring subject line, very few of your users will open it. You will lose a lot in terms of both customer engagement and possible revenue. So how do you write high converting subject lines? Here are a few guidelines to consider:

  • Personalization is key: Include the customer name, company name or product name in your subject line.
  • Be direct: Use simple, clear language to get your message across.
  • Create urgency: Sometimes creating product capacity or urgency in your email subject line can boost open rates.
  • Try emojis: Some brands report that using emojis in the email subject lines improved open rates.
  • Keep it concise: Keep your email subject lines to 41 characters or less (about seven words).
  • A/B test: Always test your subject lines so you know which ones have the highest conversion rates.

It's up to you to figure out which mix of these practices best suits your business. Implement them into your email strategy and then test the results to find out what performs best so you can optimize your strategy.

Just keep in mind that in order to capture the attention of your prospective customers, it doesn’t mean that you need to get fancy or complicated with your cart recovery email subject lines. You can offer discounts or free shipping to get customers to complete their purchase. Just keep it short and to the point.

Effective examples to help you win back customers:

Promotional subject line examples

  • Empty your cart with 30% off
  • Snap me up now with an exclusive 45% off
  • Catch me before I disappear! 50% off - for 24 hours only

Product shout-out subject line examples

  • Your electric charger is tired of waiting for you
  • Can’t let go? Your red sweater is still waiting 
  • Vertex Fashion: Steve, finish your order at Vertex

Curiosity-inducing subject line examples

  • You deserve it!
  • We’ve got something special for you!
  • Wait till you see what we’ve got in store for you!

Cart reminder subject line examples

  • Kathy, you forgot me in your cart
  • Are you still interested in your blue cocktail dress?
  • 🛒 Did you forget something in your cart?

Customer service subject line examples

  • Need help with your order?
  • Ask us anything - we're here to help!

FOMO subject line examples 

  • MLP dollhouses are selling out fast, complete your purchase now!
  • Hurry! Your cart is going to expire soon
  • Last chance to get 20% off. Shop now!

Whether it’s inducing curiosity or enhancing your customer’s fear of missing out, there are many ways to use subject lines to increase and optimize your abandoned cart email open rates. Once you’ve gotten your prospects to open the email, the next step is to ensure that it contains a well-written and optimized copy. 

2. Write email copy that sells

Now let's take a look at how you can create an abandoned cart email subject lines that brings many of your shoppers back to your website.

Tip 1: Use persuasive text

Ultimately, your email text has the goal of pushing prospects toward conversion, so the copy needs to be convincing and customer-centric. When it comes to abandoned cart recovery emails, short and sweet is always the best.

Keep these things in mind when crafting persuasive cart recovery email copy:

  • Use creative email preview text: This often shows part of the first line of your email so you want it to be enticing.
  • Get to know your audience: Your copy needs to resonate with the personality of your ideal customer.
  • Have a goal: When creating your copy, you must keep a clear idea in mind for what you want to achieve. This will help guide your writing.
  • Use psychology: Make use of psychology when crafting an email copy. For instance, FOMO content, urgency, etc.
  • Use sensory words: Customers make decisions based on emotions, and the more descriptive you can get, the more you’ll tap into their emotions.
  • A/B test: As always, test your email copy to find out what performs best.

Tip 2: Include the abandoned product

Some customers have busy window-shopping days and may not remember exactly which products they abandoned in your cart. That's why it's important to include a picture of the product along with other details such as the size, color, pattern, etc. within your email. This is also a great way to remind them what they are missing out on while giving them a quick way back to the cart. 

Make sure your product image is large, eye-catching and detailed. 

abandoned cart subject lines

To make this tactic even more effective, you might also display a sense of urgency. Show that the product could potentially go out of stock. The majority of shoppers tend to respond well to these types of deadlines. So, for instance, you could add inventory levels into your emails. This is likely to increase your click-through rates and completed orders. 

You can also add an offer to your product, although this has the drawback of conditioning your shoppers to always wait for discount emails on things that they would have bought anyway. So maybe save the discount offer for an email later on in the series (something that we’ll discuss a little later on) after you've tried other tactics.

Tip 3: Optimize your CTA for improved conversions

The next step in optimizing your emails for abandoned cart shoppers is to improve your call to action. Your CTA is arguably the most crucial part of your email copy. Make sure you add a big, bold, attractive CTA button that stands out and is easy to see. You want to grab the shopper's attention and nudge them toward the action you want them to perform next. 

With abandoned cart emails, the action you want them to take is pretty clear: complete the purchase.

So do your best to make it as easy for them as possible by having an optimized CTA button (in addition to your compelling email subject line, persuasive copy in the email body, a nice big, detailed image of the abandoned product and even an additional offer). Here are some examples of optimized CTAs:

  • Continue Shopping
  • Buy it Now
  • Get the Deal

Alternatively, if you would rather reduce the scope of commitment to make it even more likely that your customer will click to your site, you can use a low-commitment CTA like:

  • Return to Cart
  • Resume Your Order
  • Finish Checking Out
  • See Your Favorites Again

3. Optimize timing and frequency 

It's not enough to send just one email. You need multiple emails in a series if you want to save the cart. According to a study conducted by Return Path, sending at least three cart recovery emails increases revenue by up to 56% as opposed to sending just one. This is because shoppers tend to procrastinate, especially with certain types of purchases. 

Every abandoned cart triggers a cart recovery email (or multiple emails in a series) to be sent within a designated period of time. Since you will be sending emails designed to help move your prospects up the sales funnel, it's important to get the timing and the frequency right. Depending on the type of products you sell, the first email is typically sent within just an hour of the customer abandoning the cart. 

You will have to test the timing of each of the remaining emails in your series. Find what works best for your business according to the types of products in the cart. For instance, inexpensive, impulse-type purchases are likely to benefit from frequent emails. Conversely, pricey items might be better served by using messages that are farther apart, thereby reflecting the longer sales cycle.

What should a great cart recovery email sequence look like?

Email 1: 1 Hour After Abandonment

Your first email should be sent an hour after the cart was abandoned. Waiting too long increases the risk of the customer losing the shopping urge which made them put the item in their cart to begin with. So strike while the iron's hot, while you are still at the top of the customer's mind.

Email 2: 24 Hours After Abandonment

If your first reminder email didn't work, don't despair. Use the second email to create a sense of urgency to get the customer to return to your website and finish the purchase.

Email 3: 3-4 Days After Abandonment

Use your third email to test your potential customer’s interest in the item that they abandoned. You can do this by sending an email with a subject line like "your cart will expire soon", or "it's almost gone".

Email 4 (Optional): 2 Weeks After Abandonment

This email is not so much about recovering the cart as it is about offering the customer a few alternate product suggestions. For products with more value, you might consider a slightly different approach. For instance, instead of sending out the first email after an hour, you send it after 20 to 30 minutes. Also, instead of cart recovery, your fourth email would be focused on re-engaging your shopper and getting them to come back to your site.

Conclusion about abandoned cart email strategy

These are three of the most effective tactics to add to your email marketing strategy. Use them to optimize your abandoned cart emails and increase your business’s bottom line. With great cart abandonment email automation (including the subject line, message and timing), you will be able to recover a lot of your business’s sales on autopilot.

About the author

Jet Saini is the owner of - a popular Digital Marketing blog that publishes detailed tutorials that focus on helping people to build and run a successful online business. He started his blog in 2018 and since then has helped hundreds of people reach their marketing, blogging, and SEO goals.

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